Romantic Island Beach House
For those who love the beach, sand becomes a point of pride: Everyone wants to lay claim to the sofest, the cleanest, the whitest. So when a three-story house came on the market on Anna Maria Island, homeowners Steve Brown and Leah Anderson jumped at the chance to call it their own.
“This place has the best sand I have ever seen,” says Anderson. In addition to its prime location, their new home came with plenty of Old Florida charm an a long to-do list. Careful to maintain the structure’s original character, Anderson and Brown got busy transforming the once-rustic retreat with beaded-board paneling and a healthy dose of white paint. Here’s how they brought new life to their home while still honoring their style and its past.
Left: Steve and Leah enjoy the powder-soft sand near their home on Anna Maria Island, Florida.
Show Off the View
As a nod to the waterfront location, Anderson satisfied her nautical itch by installing a round, porthole-inspired window in the living room. “I wanted something unique for that wall that wouldn’t interfere with the view,” she says. “The view is everything.” Shades of white on the walls and a refinished dresser make the blue of the water pop.
Get the look: The living room walls are painted White Dove by Benjamin Moore.
Value Form and Function
The homeowners installed cement siding and hurricane windows to ensure the residence was strong enough to stand up to the elements, but they were also careful not to overlook aesthetics, opting for a traditional pitched roof and expanded decks with clear railings to provide interest to the rear facade.
Invest in Slipcovers
In the living room, the homeowners dressed the sofas, the chairs, and even the ottoman in white cotton duck slipcovers.
While the simple, uniform look appeals to Anderson’s casual aesthetic, the real treat is in how easy it is to throw the covers in the wash. “There are always kids around, so it helps keep things clean,” she says.
Rethink Your Layout.
With help from builder John Chasey of Longview Construction, the couple took down a wall and moved a fireplace in order to transform a small galley kitchen into an airy space that can accommodate family and friends.
“By placing the sink in the island, you can now converse freely with everybody while also looking out to the ocean,” says Anderson.
Upgrade Old Pieces
The couple bought the house fully furnished, so they were committed to repurposing whatever they could.
Get the look: Anderson revived the furniture on the balcony with a coat of intense White by Benjamin Moore.
The chairs and table on the balcony, for example, were holdovers from the previous owners but fit right in after a coat of paint. “Don’t be afraid of pieces that are damaged,” says Anderson. “Just because they’re not perfect doesn’t mean they’re not beautiful.”
Learn to Layer
The master bedroom on the top floor is equal parts masculine and feminine, with sheer draperies and layers of gauzy bed linens alongside hard-edged mirrored night tables and oyster-shell lamps.
A vintage architectural element serves as a headboard. “There are a lot of things going on, but nothing fights the view,” notes Anderson.
Though the palette in the guest room is shades of white, Anderson created interest with beaded-board paneling and sheer bedding.
“If you’re going to go all white, texture is huge,” she advises. “It keeps the space from looking too sterile.”