This is the final picture of the little Passe-e-grill beach cottage. But trust me, it did not look like this when we started!
On this project, Henderson Lee called in a panic with the little beach house she and her husband had purchased on Pass-a-grille Beach, Florida, in the state of being completely gutted and was not sure what to do with the inside.
She had architectural plans from an architect for the exterior and inside walls but wanted our help pulling together this project to create a more modern and fun interior for her family.
This is one of several projects I worked on for the Lee family along with my friend and colleague, Gail Levine. She and I work well together; we bounce ideas back and forth to come up with the best design and then I create the floor plans and elevations and make sure all of our designs will work, spatially, structurally and beautifully. It’s fun to work with creative partners.
The transformation of this little gem is unbelievable. I love how the soft blue of the exterior blends in with the sky and the stark white trim looks so fresh in comparison.
This is a photo of the interior front room of the small beach house before the renovation project. More of the existing dividing wall still needed to be removed.
For this room we added a door with a glass panel so light can come in, along with a wall of cabinetry with drawers and cubbies for storage and two long cabinets one with shelves to hide games and equipment and the front cabinet as an overflow for the taller hanging clothes of visiting guests.
The other part of this room will be a comfy sitting area to be used as a place where kids can hang out, play games and watch TV.
For a lot of people, seeing a kitchen in this disrepair can be a bit daunting. I envisioned it as a blank slate with endless possibilities. The Lees wanted a kitchen design that was more modern with an inviting draw that would become the hub of the house.
To help save on the budget and for easy cleaning, we chose a high gloss white melamine flat panel for the doors and drawers along with simple long stainless steel cabinet hardware to create a more contemporary look. The stark white of the cabinetry repeats the white of the exterior trim color, which creates a visual continuity to the space and also makes the bold teal blue of the glass tile wall pop. We created free floating shelves on both sides of the sink area to create a more open space and also storage for dish ware that would be easily reached at mealtimes.
The natural color on the travertine floors was duplicated in the honed Travertine stone chosen for the countertops at the sink whereas a white solid surface material was chosen for the island, as this top will get a lot more wear and tear.
Designing the upper cabinet doors to pull up to open along with the frosted glass fronts there and on the tall pantry door, add to the more modern feel of the kitchen.
The back door on the right side of the kitchen is a double paned glass front door with the screen on the interior creating light or privacy when needed. Another storage closet is to the right of the back door.
This photo gives you an overview of the layout and shows the relationship between rooms. The Space between the family room and kitchen is separated by two cubes of wall, one on each end with open space between. The vaulted ceiling on the family room side also visually designates the family room. On the kitchen side of both cubed spaces are utility and storage closets. We designed a shelving unit on the family room side, one for books, game, shells and the many kinds of treasures you might find on the beach and the other located by the couch, for a television and electronic equipment. The flooring through out the whole house (except the bathroom) is a honed travertine floor with little to no grout lines. We chose this neutral colored material for it durability, because it would hide sand that would most likely find its way inside but, most important, because it would also be easy to keep clean. The couch is extra wide so it can also be used for additional house guest to sleep. There is a door to a guest bedroom to the right of the couch.
This is the “before” photo of the only bathroom in the house. When you only have one bathroom for a beach house designed for a house full of family and friends, every square inch will be crucial to the design. Thankfully, they also added a nice outdoor shower.
Starting with the cabinetry, we used the same style, material and high gloss white as the kitchen even down to hardware except here we switched to a brushed nickel finish, which shows less water spots. By using the same cabinetry style it creates a uniformity and flow through out the house. There are two sets of tall upper cabinet with a brushed nickel frame and frosted glass front, one for linens that is located directly across from the door as you enter the bathroom and the other one to the left of the double sink vanity which can be used for extra towels, toiletry kits for overnight stays and electric toothbrushes as there is an outlet designed inside the cabinet unit.
For the countertop, we chose dark chocolate colored granite that had little movement and blends perfectly with the basket weave mosaic used on the floor and in the shower. The faucets, from Kohler, are the single-hole Margaux faucets in a brushed nickel finish. Single-hole faucets are my favorite because they are easier to clean around and seem to leave fewer drips on the counter.
The end wall behind the bathroom entry was mirrored to give the illusion of a larger space. We designed a half wall for the shower with glass on top to give the toilet area privacy while still keeping the top space open.
Larger white sparkly stone tiles were used on the shower walls and seat creating a bit of fun and adding some glamour. Putting a seat in the shower was a design option that will be helpful for showering a bunch of small children together. The shower enclosure is a seamless glass, which is reinforced at the top with an L shaped strip for stability.
There are two bedrooms in this cute little beach cottage, one being the Master bedroom. Here the clients wanted a bedroom that had clean lines and the simplicity and luxury of a fine hotel stay. To help open up the room we used sliding mirrored doors on the master closet. The closet on the far wall is used as an owners closet and has a lock on the door. There is a wall outlet in between the entry door and owners closet to hang a flat-screened TV.
The second bedroom was large enough to put a queen-sized bed and a set of bunk beds for sleeping. There is a built in unit across from the beds that contains both pull out drawers and tall cabinets for hanging clothes along with space for a TV.
It is amazing what you can fit into a small space and make it seem not so small using a few design tricks. I grew up on Pensacola Beach with a bunch of old tiny beach houses just like this one. Most times people just bulldoze and start from scratch. It was fun to be a part of this project that kept the integrity of the original cottage, yet able to transform it into a great space for a growing family.