Beach House Basics

Two furniture-industry insiders retreat to Bald Head Island, where their second home showcases casual, no-nonsense
coastal style.

 
 

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"His ambition was to have a beach house by the time he was 50," says Delores Rosebrock of her husband, Lou. "It had to be one you could sweep out?just fun, funky, and practical." Starting on Bald Head Island, a second-home enclave off the southeastern tip of North Carolina, the two anticipated an exhaustive search. But they found what they were looking for in the very house they were renting. "We looked at a lot of other properties, but we just loved the name," says Lou of the two-bedroom cottage called "Beach Music."

Only 1,100 square feet, the floor plan is simple. A large living and dining area, kitchen, bedroom, and bath make up the lower level, and a loft bedroom and bath overlook the downstairs space. Lou, president of Whitecraft Furniture, and Delores, an interior designer, agreed the island cottage needed to be casual and sprinkled with found objects. "We didn't want it to look like our living room in High Point," she says.

Instead of scouring showrooms in their hometown, known worldwide as a furniture-industry mecca, they selected a few favorite basics. Delores chose a denim-covered sofa, round wicker tables, and white wicker chairs. Finds from antiques stores, flea markets, and custom builders filled in the rest. A substantial custom-made piece holds books and family photos while hiding the TV and stereo. Delores tied the great room's color scheme together with a fanciful shell-motif fabric that covers pillows and frames windows and French doors. This comfortable style continues in the adjoining dining area with its painted-white barstools, dining chairs, and wood-topped table.

Above the main living area, the ceiling soars two stories. Lou and Delores added interest to expansive white walls with decorative touches such as architectural elements, art, and items from their personal collections. "The window above the French doors needed embellishing," says Delores. An old shutter unit found in an antiques shop makes the perfect surround for the unadorned window. A framed map and small pieces of art contribute watery hues. Pond yachts from Lou's collection perch on shelves, and Delores' jars of sand?labeled with destinations and dates?sit atop window ledges and furniture. "The sands are from all the beaches we've ever been to as a couple," Lou says.

Because a bedroom with a view was a priority, the Rosebrocks reassigned the sleeping quarters, moving the master bedroom up to the loft that overlooks the living area. "The previous owners had the master downstairs," says Lou. "But we loved seeing the water from our bed." For privacy, they added shutters above the loft's half-wall and a door at the top of the stairs. The downstairs bedroom became the guest room. Originally, that space lacked character. "The room was a box," Delores says. "It needed some interest." She hung salvaged pediments over the windows and painted a quote around the top of the sky-blue walls: "Let's take a quiet journey to that peaceful place ... . " "The saying came off a card I liked," she explains.

Outside, the house opens to a wraparound porch with rockers and a large, uncovered terrace, where the Rosebrocks added a teak dining set, a lounge area, and herb plantings. "We love to do late-afternoon dinner parties outside with friends," Delores says.

Even though their beach house hunting ended right where it began, the Rosebrocks don't regret buying the first home they saw. From the start, it was the green-painted hardwood floors that sold them. "We just knew it was our 'sweep-out' beach house," Lou says.

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