Local couple re-building two homes in Seaside by Pratt Farmer
Homes age. Lifestyles change. People come and go. That’s real estate. That’s the nature of just about any town in America. But what about iconic towns like Seaside, where many of the homes are second or third homes whose owners visit a few times a year? Without a doubt Seaside is truly unique. Its Florida Cottage style homes with front porches, metal roofs and lush landscaping have captivated the hearts of visitors for three decades.
Town founders Robert and Daryl Davis had a vision for a little town along the coast that would promote connectedness, closer relationships and a casual laid-back lifestyle. Fortunately, that dream lives on, even as more than 14 homes in Seaside are being “re-birthed” through re-design, re-construction and in some cases a major demolition and new construction altogether. That might rise to more than 40 over the next 10 years. And yes, that’s not uncommon for any town in America. “What is uncommon is that the owners of homes in Seaside who wish to alter their home are painstakingly working with architects and interior designers to ensure that their ‘new’ house will look as if it has always been here,” says Richard Jabbour. Jabbour and his wife, Gayle, now have two homes in Seaside, both on Tupelo Street.
Prior to the Jabbours’ marriage, Gayle had owned a home in Rosemary Beach for 20 years. They considered living full time in Rosemary Beach while building a rental home in Seagrove, but ultimately decided they wanted to live in Seaside, as they loved the “vibe” of the small town. It took a year to sell the Rosemary home and find a suitable home in Seaside.
“This town is truly one-of-a-kind. In fact, I know of people who are now in their third generation of family coming to Seaside. As we walk through town late in the day to grab dinner, I notice the smiles, laughter and happy-go-lucky people ending their day having created a closer relationship with someone else. How cool is that!” Jabbour says.
“We built our first home together in Old Seagrove and actually discovered that we liked working together throughout both the design and construction phases, and this convinced us that we could find a house in Seaside, see it through a complete renovation and live there permanently,” says Mrs. Jabbour. “When we decided to leave Rosemary, we were drawn to Seaside because of its reputation for being so unique. The quaint homes, tree-lined streets, and busy-ness of the community was a draw for us. We bought 35 Tupelo back in 2017 because it afforded us an opportunity to reimagine the home and rebuild it in such a way that we could live there as a family.”
The 35 Tupleo Street lot measures 60x100 and by Seaside standards, that’s large. Large enough that the Jabbours are building
a 3,200-square-foot replacement home. “We engaged the noted architect, Robert Orr, to design the new home because of his affinity for Seaside. He has designed a number of homes here as well as a lot of the commercial space in Seaside. “We knew there would be no learning curve for him. Not every designer ‘gets’ the style in Seaside and that was something we were emphatic about retaining,” Jabbour says. The new home will have an open tower for enjoying the wonderful sunsets, a courtyard pool and of course, screen porches. Rocking chairs are welcome. Most notably it will also have a two-car garage, an almost unheard-of feature in Seaside.
The Jabbours love the community so much that they acquired their second home on the same street in 2018. Coastal Cutie, now known as Life in Shorts, is located at 46 Tupelo Street. Sited on a 58x50 lot, Orr designed an all-new concept that included a second floor and tower. Now under construction, Life in Shorts pays tribute to the former home design by retaining the first-floor footprint as a true Florida Cottage. With the addition, Life in Shorts will have 1,450 square feet.