Built by Dexter W. White Construction with decorating tips and furnishing by Vicki Runge of The Furniture Shoppe, Beth and Rusty Grays’ home on Stringer’s Ridge combines stunning views with a casual seaside decor to provide what feels like a seaside mountaintop escape.
By Candice Graham
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We wanted comfortable, casual living – natural elements, rustic – we weren’t going for perfection,” says Beth of her family’s home. Set amidst treetops and with a view of downtown city lights, the Grays’ home is a perfect blend of urban and rural mixed with a serious seaside vibe.
“A lot of our inspiration came from homes in the Watercolor, Florida area. We vacation there a lot. We’ve stayed in many houses and every house has been unique. We’ve just taken bits and pieces of things that we loved about each,” Beth says.
Beachy, serene hues throughout with fun, unexpected color pops provide for a calm, family friendly layout and design. “We’ve built four houses, and it all built up to this. There were a lot of things about the other houses that we duplicated and then added the other things that we loved,” Beth says.
Beth says all her furniture comes from either The Furniture Shoppe or vintage stores, but she does have one custom piece that shines: the dining room table. “I had this table handmade in Maine. I fell in love with an old antique table down in Seaside, Florida, and so I had it made to those dimensions,” Gray says. The richly stained table is made entirely from reclaimed wood. Chairs lining the table are a mix of vintage and new, chalk painted and antiqued for uniformity. Cushions are covered in a fun floral pattern with reds, pinks and greens.The living room space features plush couches and an ottoman in neutral tones, which allow for the floor and even the ceiling to shine. The floor is a rough four inch white oak with rustic knotty spots. It’s sanded and oiled with a tinted oil to provide the livable, worn-in comfort that the family was looking for.
Details like the ceiling weren’t forgotten in this home either. Drawing inspiration from homes in Watercolor, Fla., the Grays chose a wooden planked ceiling, and imperfection was key. “When they were hanging them, they started hammering it really tight, like with hardwood, but I wanted some space in there. I didn’t want it to be perfect,” Beth says. The trim and crown molding mirrors the 1×4 planks for a relaxed Floridian feel.
It’s often said that the kitchen is where everyone congregates, and the Grays knew they needed theirs to be a practical space, both for cooking and for family meals. Now, the kitchen is open to both the dining area and the living room space, so the family is never closed off to one another. White cabinets and a light colored backsplash with contrasting black soapstone countertops add drama to the kitchen workspace. An island bar in the middle anchors the space and serves as a place for quick, casual meals. Super white, a material which is a mix between granite and marble, was used as the island countertop stone. A pot filler, a bar fridge, and custom cabinet features add to the functionality of this open kitchen.
Gray is a color that runs throughout the home. Almost all the common rooms of the house are painted in “Gray Owl” by Benjamin Moore with “White Dove” on the ceiling, cabinets, and trim.
The master bedroom is a continuation of the calm airy colors throughout, with vintage and rustic Sugarboo artwork. “Halo” by Benjamin Moore on the walls and “Healing Aloe” by Benjamin Moore on the ceiling together create a seaside spa feel in the room, and the windows provide a flood of natural light and a view. “One of the first nights we moved in, I was lying in bed and could see downtown. I was surprised by that. The other thing that surprised us was the sunrise. Sometimes I’m hurrying to get ready so I can catch it. The whole view thing surprised us. We knew it was good but we didn’t know it was this good,” Rusty adds.
Off the bedroom is the master bath, separated by a barn door hanger, which Beth had seen on Pinterest. The bathroom color is again the crisp, bright “Healing Aloe.” Adding to the resort feel, a cream colored travertine countertop and matching cream vanity area are offset by “Halo” cabinets and stone floors.
Upstairs, the bedrooms of daughter Emma and son Parker reflect their personal style. Emma’s room is painted with a bright splash of her favorite color – turquoise. An accent wall of stripes makes the room pop with personality. But her favorite part? Just like most girls, the big bathroom and closet. “I like the bathroom because it’s glittery and when my friends are over they all have room to do their hair. I like my closet because it’s bigger than my other one and it has lots of room,” Emma says. Parker’s room shares a balcony with Emma’s, and also includes a barn door hanger, made from an actual vintage barn door that Parker repurposed himself.
Just off the kitchen is the family’s screened-in porch, but you won’t catch them calling it that. “It’s our favorite spot in our home for hanging out as a family. Sometimes it even acts as our dining room,” Beth says. “We’ve got a wireless surround sound system out here too for playing our favorite music.”
With its spectacular view of the city, the family uses this space in the winter months too, lighting fires in their fireplace. “If it rains or when it is cold, we can drop the tent shades to keep the room dry and warm,”Beth says. Neutral browns and tans with bright splashes of red make this space fun and inviting. “I always use a pop of red. Every time I buy something it ends up being red. I naturally go to reds and blacks and grays,” she says.
Beth and Rusty Gray have built four homes, and through learning the dos and don’ts of each, plus mixing in elements from their favorite vacation spot, they’ve finally attained the relaxed, imperfect perfection they’ve been striving for.