Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How do you know it is Spring in Georgia? Because of the Home Tours!

When the third week of March arrives, my girlfriends and I pile into our cars and head south to St. Simons Island, Georgia. No, we are not driving down I-16  for Spring Break. But we are as excited as any teenager heading off for a week of fun in the sun! We are off to see the Annual Tour of Homes sponsored by Christ Church. These beautiful homes are located on St. Simons Island and Sea Island, two of the wealthiest areas of Georgia. This years selection  did not disappoint!. The architects, builders and designers all had out done themselves this year.
The mission of the Tour of Homes is to raise funds for local charities primarily benefiting women and children. It takes about 350 workers to put on the day long tour. Approximately 263 work at the homes. Also open the day of the tour are several historical buildings.

Hawkins Island Drive
Our first stop was on Hawkins Island. This home was five years old and belong to the busy family of local interior designer Stacey Anderson of Hampton & Hawkins Interior Design Inc. Special features like the mud room with custom design fishing equipment storage and lockers for each family member shows what special attention to detail was used in this house. A home suitable for entertaining with an outdoor kitchen and fireplace on the screen porch. Another unusual touch was the grass and tile checkerboard designed patio.
Cottage 56
This 1930's Spanish Colonial Home was built just two years after the famous Cloister resort on Sea Island. The home is full of asymmetrical arches  and details and a  combination of doors and windows let the sea air blow through. The building materials for this home where brought over on ferries or barges as the bridge that connects to the mainland had not been built in 1930. The grounds and patio areas are as wonderful as the inside of this unique home.
Cottage 133

The next Sea Island home is a perfect example of Island Entertaining. With its open floor plan, it is ideal for formal or casual entertaining. The front exterior has been completely redone and the columns are made of salvaged brick with a slight taper at the top. The house also has a cedar shake roof and the exterior is a combination of brick and tabby. A new pool, spa, outdoor kitchen area and remodeled porch add for the perfect spot to gather with friends. The back porch has beams made out of wood that came from an old cotton gin.

Cottage 84
Our only ocean front home was celebrating a 50th anniversary. It has had only two owners The original deed to the home was on display along with a number of island artifacts. All the wood used in the house is cypress. There are seven bedrooms and seven baths in this home. Along with a "first" beach near the house for the children to play, on you will find a spectacular view of the ocean and all the privacy you need. Along with the children's art that is scattered in the rooms and hallways you will find a number of family pictures and even a celebrity or two!

16 Forest Lane
One of two homes on the tour designed by Atlanta architect, Keith Summerour. This Spanish influenced home has the same North Carolina gray brick that was used when the Cloister was remodeled. The owner has a beautiful collection of antiques and oriental pieces.  This home also has pecky and clear cypress beams.The kitchen and keeping room have beams that were originally in textile buildings in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  A lovely outdoor area that include a courtyard and separate entrance to guest house are visible as you exit this home that is perfect for gracious entertaining.

Pikes Bluff
 (Frederica Township)

There is no question that this house out at the north end of St. Simons Island was the hands down favorite of our group. The owner, who is the principal of Windmere Interiors of Short Hills, NJ, designed the interiors to show their love of all things nautical. There is a tremendous respect for the history of the area. As you enter the foyer of the house, three antique flags hold a place of honor. There is a special bookcase in the living room to display their exceptional collection of staffordshire pieces. The owner has a wonderful talent for choosing beautiful fabrics and trims and no attention to detail was missed. The back of the house has a large porch and garden room that overlooks the infinity pool and a beautiful view of the marsh and  boat with boat house completes the owners love of ships and water. 

Our last house took us back to East Beach on St. Simons Island's. It overlooks Gould's Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. The house designed by Keith Summerour is situated to show the spectacular panoramic view of the water. As we entered the property from the side street we were shocked to see a live Arabian horse being moved into a stall under the guest quarters to join another already in a second stall! But as we toured the grounds, they seemed to fit right in with the home.The owners love for horses is apparent in the fountain in the courtyard and other areas of the home. The house is called Villa de Suenos, “House of Dreams” and is inspired by a 15th century Spanish home. The floors in the main house are limestone and heart pine with venetian plaster on the walls and ceilings. The quatrefoil design is used often in this beautiful home. There are large windows to showcase the view, many balconies and a courtyard where an infinity pool seems to flow right into the Atlantic. This Spanish Style Villa was the perfect ending to a day spent appreciating the beauty, both man made and natural, that the Golden Isles has to offer.

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