No rea­son why small va­ca­tion home can’t have first-class style

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences South - Christine Brun

Sec­ond homes at the beach rep­re­sent some of the most ex­pen­sive of all va­ca­tion spots. Yet there is no short­age of de­voted own­ers who count them­selves blessed to be able to claim part of any lim­ited shore­line as their own. Of course, in South Florida, most of those homes are ac­tu­ally con­do­minium units.

Some­thing about the seashore in­vites a blessed in­te­gra­tion of in­door and out­door liv­ing that is hard to sur­pass.

You feel that you are some­how at the edge of the world, watch­ing chang­ing light over the wa­ter all day and mem­o­rable sun­sets when the day is wind­ing down.

Peo­ple want the doors and win­dows to dis­ap­pear, and of­ten, this is one of the core re­quests of ar­chi­tects who de­sign res­i­dences on the beach.

It hap­pens that this thought is also an an­chor in space-sav­ing tech­niques.

The first time I vis­ited Hawaii, what most im­pressed me as an in­te­rior de­signer was the art­ful blend­ing of the in­side and the out-of-doors. It was an ex­quis­ite blend­ing of breeze, salt air, wood and stone. Huge doors in restau­rants and ho­tels would fold back, so you never had the sense that you were in­doors.

On a visit to a much-smaller plan­ta­tion home, vintage dou­ble doors and screens pock­eted back so that the de­li­cious breezes could flow right through the for­mal rooms. It was de­light­ful!

Check into the amaz­ing ca­pa­bil­ity of NanaWall, the prince of the glass wall that folds away. Visit for ex­am­ples of the flex­i­ble mov­able-wall con­cept and spe­cific get­away sit­u­a­tions where the bal­cony or pa­tio be­comes a part of the main room.

A sec­ond home must cap­ture as much work­ing space as pos­si­ble, and at the shore, most peo­ple want to be out­side on a deck or pa­tio. I came across this stun­ning ex­am­ple of a seashore home by de­signer Jen­nifer Gilmer.

Gilmer crafted a mul­tipur­pose space el­e­gantly com­posed of drift­wood tones and tex­ture.

She blended wood species and char­ac­ter that one might spy on a leisurely walk down the beach: bleached-plank floor­ing, honey-toned ceil­ing planks, etc.

Sev­eral other el­e­ments about this de­sign “sing” as a re­sult of the art­ful com­po­si­tion of the de­signer.

She used no color in the rooms and re­lied on the majesty of the sea and sky

White mar­ble is used for the kitchen coun­ter­top. Off-white is re­peated in the up­hol­stery, in the magnificent co­ral atop the ta­ble, and again in the bleached floors. The crowning glory in this plan is the smash­ing wal­nut slab used as a din­ing ta­ble.

Bold and ex­tra thick, this counter comes fromGrot­house Lum­ber, a man­u­fac­turer of cus­tom-built wood sur­faces lo­cated on a 50-acre farm in east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. Fea­tured on This Old House re­cently, the com­pany has a pro­pri­etary per­ma­nent fin­ish known as Du­rata.

While you can use wood for work­ing sur­faces in a kitchen, you must know that there are qual­ity is­sues of im­por­tance that will af­fect how pleased you will be with the per­for­mance of your wood

. coun­ter­tops. Re­al­ize, too, that you will get su­pe­rior sta­bil­ity with end-grain tops.

You will want a food-grade oil fin­ish that pro­tects the wood yet is safe for hu­man con­sump­tion.

This is be­cause “work­ing” wood coun­ters re­quire fre­quent oil ap­pli­ca­tions, and some peo­ple con­tinue to have con­cerns about the san­i­ta­tion is­sues of pre­par­ing food on wood. An easy so­lu­tion: Use a smaller cut­ting board to cut cheese or slice meat.

The hard­est species are also the most ex­pen­sive woods, in­clud­ing plan­ta­tion teak, gen­uine ma­hogany, wenge, co­cobolo, Santos rose­wood, Burmese teak and ze­bra­wood.

Of course, be­ing able to sand out any blem­ish caused by chop­ping and other food prepa­ra­tion is one of the en­dear­ing qual­i­ties to own­ing solid­wood coun­ter­tops.

Christine Brun is a Cre­ colum­nist.

Here, de­signer Jen­nifer Gilmer crafted a mul­tipur­pose space that is el­e­gantly com­posed of drift­wood tones and tex­ture.

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