Built to Last

A new home at Rosemary Beach is the result of a collaboration among talented design minds, as well as homeowners committed to quality.

After losing out on three homes during an especially hot period in Florida real estate, Paul and Courtney Amos decided that the only way they were going to capture their dream home was to create it themselves.

“We started driving down highway 30-A and when we got to Rosemary Beach, we stepped out of the car and turned 360 degrees,” Courtney says of the picture-perfect hamlet along Florida’s panhandle. “We didn’t have to say a thing. We knew it was perfect for us.”

The community’s petite lot and neighborhood covenants dictated that the house’s architectural design would harken to a Charleston Single House-style residence. “We had to make every square inch livable and truly functional for this young family,” says residential designer Rick Spitzmiller, of the Atlanta architectural design firm Spitzmiller & Norris, who worked with business partner Robert Norris to design the home.

“There are breakaway spaces for people to go off and have a moment of solitude, but overall the house encourages large gatherings and time together with family and friends,” he notes. In traditional Charleston Single House style, the first floor is usually overlooked for the second-story living spaces, but not so here. “We aimed to make every floor special,” says Spitzmiller. “The staircase is open to really connect the house and keeps any floor from feeling cut off from another.” The main level contains the living room, kitchen and dining room. In reality, the floor is all one room, but each space is given the geometry, scale and thoughtful design to make it feel separate from the others. Large windows and doors open wide to let breezes blow through. “It’s a grand house for piling people in,” says Spitzmiller.

However, it’s the living room ceiling that proves to be the home’s crowning architectural jewel. Inspired by a photo Courtney found in a book on early-20th-century architect Addison Mizner’s Palm Beach homes, multiple pieces of molding incorporate each branch of the snowflake-patterned, panel strap-work ceiling. “You can’t help but sit and stare at the beauty of the raw wood,” says Courtney.

With such a magnificent backdrop, the home’s decor had to be equally as captivating. “The architecture just demanded that we step it up a bit,” says Atlanta interior designer Carole Weaks of C. Weaks Interiors. “If we had not used strong antiques pieces and unique elements, it wouldn’t have suited the house nor the family.” Weaks traveled to France for the necessary pieces and special finds. She then focused on fabrics with personality over practicality—and then coated them with good fabric protectant to survive the harsh demands of beach life.

After settling into the house for a year, the Amoses brought in Seacrest Beach designer Susan Massey of Bohlert Massey Interiors. “Susan brought in another layer of detail and a beachy feel,” says Courtney. “We had the privilege of working with an incredible team to build a new home that has some real history.”

LIVE THE LIFESTYLE  Atlanta designer Carole Weaks shares a few of her beach house favorites
Pantry Staples: I like to pick up a few things from Bella Cucina on the way out of town—they go perfectly with wine and cheese.
China: I love simple white plates that you can get almost anywhere. If the children are grown, you can upgrade to something nice from Atelier de Villatte, which has a beautiful glaze.
Throw: Brahms Mount linen throws are an ideal weight.
Candle: Voluspa Laguna’s are great—even the name sounds good. Weekend
Reading: Nothing too heavy or serious. Anything by Nelson Demille always makes me laugh out loud.
Guestroom Essential: A waffle-weave robe by Matouk.
Cocktail: The best beach buzz comes from those crazy rum concoctions you never would dream of having at home.

Residential Design Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris, Spitzmiller & Norris. (404) 812-0224; spitzmillerandnorris.com Interior Design Carole Weaks, C. Weaks Interiors. (404) 233-6040; cweaksint.com  Susan Massey, Bohlert Massey Interiors, Seacrest Beach, Florida. (850) 231-3940; bohlertmassey.com