A Pearl Of A House
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Silver, a natural complement to blue, flows through the design as both a color and a surface texture. From more rugged and industrial galvanized metal trays and such to deluxe stainless steel kitchen appliances and chrome fixtures to more sparkly mercury glass candle holders, vases and picture frames, silver-toned finishes are a unifying motif throughout. Galvanized metal baskets are reminiscent of crab or lobster traps and serve as storage bins in the mudroom, while in the boy’s room upstairs, they are mounted to the wall where they function as shelving. There, the tailored metal bed boasts a more industrial feel with its built-in trunk style storage underneath, accessible from three sides.
Unique light fixtures combining wood and metal in the dining room as well as in the foyer, culinary space, kitchen and master bath feature interlocking ovals in the former, evocative of a sextant or compass rose, and rectangles in the latter reminiscent of seafaring lanterns. Edison LED bulbs in the lantern-style kitchen fixtures—with a row of four suspended from chains over the massive, extra-thick-topped 11-foot island—lend a vintage charm, as do the bin pull hardware on the kitchen’s lower cabinets.
But there is no shortage of natural light courtesy of this home’s 55 windows of various shapes and configurations and generous inclusion of transoms, allowing light to flow from one space to another. Wilson’s approach to window treatments is understated: a little bit nautical and a lot relaxed. In the breakfast room, she incorporated boat cleats and white nautical ropes. Overall, she used a light hand in regard to dressing the windows, employing fabric to soften all the white trim but keeping the treatments “simple and up high” so as not to interfere with the light nor the view out to this very green 15,000-square-foot lot. In the family room, she used the vertical lines of longer white drapery to subtlety counterbalance the horizontality of the shiplap.
Decorative objects and fabrics—especially relaxed linens and crisp cottons—infuse the home with the natural elements Wilson favors while weaving nautical threads throughout. Reflecting the coastal setting are matte, white starfish and shells, driftwood relief sculptures; lanterns filled with sand, shells and candles; and diminutive succulents in white, ceramic vessels that suggest underwater plants and scrubby dune grasses.
The heavily textured sisal rug in the family room suggests nautical ropes, as does the white linear pattern on the gray upholstered rattan chairs cozied up to the fireplace. Nodding in a maritime direction without going overboard are gray and white striped throw pillows on the washable white slip-covered sofa and loveseat, which complete the breezy but welcoming conversational grouping. Stripes appear on the master bed coverlet and the porch rug to extend the subtle reference.
An “X” suggestive of a nautical flag is another motif that lends unity to the home’s design. Appearing in unexpected places, it is built into the wine bar in the culinary space where it provides storage for wine bottles, while in the porch furniture and loft railing, the “X” serves as a structural design element.
Among this home’s noteworthy features is generous and varied storage. Built-ins flanking the family room fireplace hold rows of upholstered gray, lidded bins, while cubbies in the mudroom provide everyone with space to stash his or her own stuff. The kitchen features all manner of bins, lazy Susans and pull-outs matched only by those in the nearby pantry, accessible through French doors.
In this handy and handsome space, open horizontal shelving, vertical compartments, drawers, pull-out bins, baskets, swanky refrigeration and more make food storage, prep and staging a breeze. The master closet is a marvel of drawers, cubbies, bars for hanging clothes and slanted shelves for shoes. Located off the upstairs guest suite are walk-in conditioned attic storage spaces that open up one into the next almost Alice in Wonderland style.
Though The Gloucester is built around entertaining, private spaces were no afterthoughts. The expansive master suite is accessible both to the family room and, by pocket door, to the mudroom and laundry room with its full-size stackable washer and dryer. Beyond is a two-and-a-half car garage with a gray, epoxy floor.
For the master bedroom, Wilson chose an upholstered headboard to “cozy it up.” Crisp and clean white linens signal that “you’ve stepped into a retreat.” The adjacent master bath with its double sink vanity, private water closet, double rain head shower and white freestanding tub remove any remaining doubt. White, subway tile in the shower suffuses the space with vintage charm.
Upstairs—located off the loft with its comfy reading chairs and shared round ottoman—is everything guests could want for a relaxed stay. To the left are their own laundry facilities tucked away in a closet, a guest suite whose bath is accessible from the hallway and a vast, multiuse space. To the right, Jack-and-Jill boy’s and girl’s rooms flank a shared bath with a double sink vanity and dressing area separate from the toilet and tiled shower.
Wilson introduced a bit more whimsy in some of these spaces with, in the girl’s room, a “California Dreaming” vibe complete with a grass-skirted surf shack reference. Murals painted by Brushstrokes by Cathy Cox depict a lighthouse and sandy beachscape in the boy’s room and a tall pirate ship in the multiuse space which visually lowers the height of that ceiling.
Wilson further humanized the scale of the sunken multiuse space, located over the garage, by breaking it up into areas with different functions, including a media area with an enormous sectional sofa and 35-inch TV, and a game/craft area set off against a handsome box bay window. This space is outfitted with a long, wooden table featuring a nifty hideaway trough down the center.
Believing that a house should “tell a story,” Wilson chose to intersperse custom hand-painted signs with artwork—some of it Stephen Quick V’s beach and surfing photographs printed on stretched canvas—to evoke memories. The signs are examples of the nostalgic references this designer loves, as they read like souvenirs of family vacations.
Overall, the nearly 4,000-square-foot home seems to exhale a satisfied sigh with 9 to 11-foot ceilings, pleasing proportions and ample spaces like the breathable gathering area between the kitchen island and family room, the breakfast room large enough for a full-size dining table, and the upper loft—in lieu of a living room—at the top of the stairs. As Quick notes, the home is designed with less rooms, “but we exaggerated how you come and go with taller doorways and wider stairs.”
However, from the look and feel of things, you won’t want to “go” far for very long.
The 2017 Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House is located at 2740 Ashby’s Bridge Court, Virginia Beach.