Serenity by the Shore

Layers of subtle textures, neutral hues and bespoke touches make for a calm, cool and collected Alys Beach retreat by Nina Nash long and Don Easterling of Mathews Design Group

Alys Beach has always made its own waves amongst the cluster of communities sprinkled along Florida’s revered 30A Highway. The iconic hamlet maintains unwavering architectural standards with its unmistakable white edifices that fuse together Bermuda and Mediterranean influences, making the perfect canvas for an Atlanta family’s idyllic seaside retreat.

“You can’t help but get inspired by the natural surroundings and simplicity of Alys Beach,” shares Nina Nash Long, who co-designed the space with colleague Don Easterling of Mathews Design Group, the in-house design team for Mathews Furniture + Design. 

The homeowners, who lived in a different Alys Beach abode previously, were ready for more space and an interior refresh. Long and Easterling helped reimagine their new residence with an updated perspective that also felt true to their style and the area, incorporating white plaster walls and colors that reflected the sand and crystal-clear waters of the nearby shore. “We visited their previous home in Alys Beach and knew their style, but wanted to give them something fresh and different,” says Easterling.

The large family frequently entertains, but they didn’t want the comings-and-goings of friends—not to mention their spirited four-legged pet—to deter the design from a dirt-fearing palette of airy hues. Long and Easterling opted for pretty performance fabrics that are hardworking and durable, but to the naked eye, are contemporaries to beautiful interior fabrics. Long notes that, unlike most second homes, this retreat would not be used as a rental during the off-season, so they invested in quality, long-lasting furniture sourced from Mathews that they could enjoy season after season.

The free-flowing home was designed by Domin Bock Architects and built by Galvas Construction with a keen eye for detail, which Long and Easterling highlighted with a clean and sophisticated aesthetic circulating the home. Incorporating original curated art, including works by abstract artists Joe Adams and Paige Kalena Follmann, was a priority and thus sprinkled throughout the home. The kitchen mixed unassuming natural materials in the open space, like polished nickel, pewter and brass, plus a touch of handsome leather on the island stools.  

In the great room, a complementary assortment of fabrics, like linen, bouclé and velvet, add nuanced texture as opposed to distracting patterns. “We wanted it to feel tranquil, so we kept the hues very soft, using whites, pale blues and light wood tones,” Easterling explains.

Venetian plaster, applied by hand to the majority of the walls and ceilings, ties back to the signature style of Alys Beach. “It’s a beach house that doesn’t scream Beach House!” says Long. “We gave the home a sophisticated feel.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Nina Nash Long and Don Easterling, Mathews Furniture + Design, (404) 237-8271; ARCHITECT Douglas Bock, Domin Bock Architects, LLC, (850) 830-5773; BUILDER John Galvas, Galvas Contruction, Inc. (850) 231-0509;