Comfort on the Coast

For clients in Florida, Keith Summerour and Jackye Lanham make a stylish splash on the sun-kissed Gulf Shores.

The project afforded a prime opportunity: Tucked between Highway 30-A and the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida beachfront property was a blank canvas for Summerour & Associates Architects, Inc.

Because the site was in Seagrove Beach, the architects didn’t have to comply with the two-story limit required by neighboring Seaside. “That gave us an opportunity to create a vertical design,” says Keith Summerour. But project manager Ryan Duffey goes a step further. “It set the stage for us to be rebels,” he says, tongue in cheek.

The white structure, its color inspired by the surrounding sand, is divided into two distinct concepts: The two-story garage/guest house on the “street” side somewhat disguises the fact that there’s a four-story building facing the beach.

“The first impression is rich, warm timberframing that cantilevers over the garden and feels part of streetscape,” says Duffey. In contrast, the interior is light, bright and spacious. “There’s a ‘spine’ that goes through the house,” he adds. “As soon as you walk in door, there’s a continuous spiral [staircase] that goes all the way to the roof deck. There are very few doors in the house, allowing a great flow of space. And we designed in black and white; that’s why it’s so sculptural.”

But the architectural beauty of this beachfront residence is matched by its interior design—thanks in large part to the fact that designer Jackye Lanham was on the design team from the start.

“The architecture of the house is very strong, and we wanted our interiors to complement the thoughtfulness and careful details that the Summerour team had created, so we blended our approach to theirs,” says the designer. “Our goal was to keep it simple, natural and organic. Everything was about feeling cool, even when you are hot.”

Fresh-as-a-breeze interiors accomplish precisely that. “The color of the water is gorgeous so we wanted to keep the interiors simple,” Lanham explains. “The San Marco Italian plaster walls are all white, as are the major furnishings, and the rest of the palette is pale blue-gray, blue-green and cream.” What’s more, perfectly appointed textures and materials—from the wicker chairs in the kitchen to custom wrought iron chandeliers throughout—are right at home in this oceanfront residence.

Still, there’s more to this residence than its superb aesthetic appeal; the designer also knew the house had to be family friendly. Custom sofas in the living room, for instance, are decked out in a durable indoor/outdoor linen. “There’s nothing too involved,” Lanham says. “It’s a barefoot-type house, where you don’t have to worry about things getting knocked over or broken.”

Given the sense of calm this place conveys, who could have a worry in the world?


ARCHITECTURE Summerour & Associates Architects, 409 Bishop St., Atlanta 30318. (404) 603-8585;
INTERIOR DESIGN Jacquelynne P. Lanham Designs Inc., 472 East Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Atlanta 30305. (404) 364-0472;
BUILDER Christian Tennant, 10952 E. Hwy. 30-A, Suite A, Panama City Beach, Florida 32413. (850) 231-9502;