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Beach house Architectural features

Posted by lishaana (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 22, 11 at 11:59

We may be able to tear down and rebuild my MIL's beach cottage into a much larger beach house in the near future(to accommodate 3 generations of family).

So, in your dream build, what cool architectural features would you love to have? Don't take cost into account.

A few facts:

House is Beachfront(east facing) on a 50 wide x 100 deep lot.

Location mid atlantic

We will probably build it on 4 floors with an elevator(the bottom floor will not contain any bedrooms etc due to flooding concerns)

I did a search and found a previous post from about a year ago with some good tips, but I would like some "wow factors" that can be built onto the house.

Also anyone know of any online resources with photographs of beach houses? I have already scoured the large house plan websites.

Thanks!

nancy

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous beach house post


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Beach house Architectural features

We are building a much smaller beach house, but in Florida. So some things may be the same ie water and sand, but you may have other concerns if you will be using it in the winter too....maybe you could add firepits or an outdoor fireplace.

Big porches. Thankfully we have ours covered, which significantly cuts down on the heat coming in (its noticeably cooler and we dont have our ac yet). I am just about to start my day..so I'll have to revist this post=). I have toured many a beach house so I'm sure I have lots of Ideas stuck in the back of my head.

You may want to visit sites that *rent* beach houses especially in very upscale areas (around the country even). They will have pictures of the interiors and may give you some real life ideas as well. Another thought - you could search MLS / real estate listings for waterfront homes for other ideas. But If my guess is right - you'll have all the help and unique cool ideas from the folks here at Gardenweb - they are amazing!

Best of luck - can't wait to see what they come up with.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Here's a link to Sarah Richardson's beach house. It might give you some ideas :)

There are photo galleries of the different spaces and links to episodes of the show.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sarah's beach house


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Having stayed with big groups at various beach houses I have an idea that might seem odd but I'd love in a beach house. Not an architectural feature exactly, but if you have big groups I think it would be nice.

I'd love two big bathrooms that are set up almost like locker rooms, each with 2 or more sinks, 2 toilets, 2 showers. (Toilets and showers would be partitioned for privacy.) That would eliminate the standing in the line for the restroom thing when you have a very large group: women and girls can use one lockeroom/bathroom while men and boys use the other. People can brush their teeth, dry their hair, etc. while someone else is in the shower. I'd even steal an idea from a beach restaurant near the camp where I worked in college: the doors would be painted "buoys" and "gulls" (boys and girls.) DH things that's goofy but sadly we're not building a beach house anyway.

These could be on your lower level because with tile or concrete floors the flooding might not matter.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

In the same vein as the previous poster...

We are building 5/4. There are 2 master suites that have 2 doors to get to the rest of the house. This allows others to use the bathrooms without going thru the master bedroom in mass showering situations. It also give 2 doors for sound control so that you can have screaming kids and someone can still sleep in. So there is a suite door with a short hall going to bathroom or bedroom.

Regarding a first floor. I don't know your location or elevation. We have a fairly high lot at 14 feet so we could maybe get away with a first floor but we won't. The flood insurance if you have anything on the first floor goes way up. Even with breakaway walls (required by code), the rates can go up. I think the federal subsidy for flood insurance is undoubtedly on the chopping block so don't be fooled by today's low rates.

Here if we build at BFE you don't get a discount. At 1 ft above, there is a 33% discount. 2 ft - 50%, 3 ft or more - 66%. No small deal.

Of course, we can all hope that the world is the same after this weekend.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Thanks for the link lavendar_lass.

Chicagoans- I had a similar idea for a locker room on the bottom floor accessible from the beach. Never thought of separate "Buoys" and "Gulls" rooms...LOL!

David_Cary- The current cottage has a bedroom and bathroom on the bottom floor with breakaway walls... Good luck on your build!


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

FYI - no bedrooms allowed by code here on new construction on the lower level. By changing of course, you will lose your grandfathered flood rates so there will be more of an issue. I've seen old houses at 1/3 the rate of new construction because of grandfather issues.

Obviously windows - floor to ceiling. Maybe an sliding wall system where you can open the ocean side of the house to and let the breeze in. Stainless steel railing to not block the view.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Before you get too far down on planning a grandiose house, and this question may already be asked and answered, but do you have height restrictions you need to contend with? Seems like this is a common restriction in many beachfront properties.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Kemo_ken
We are in the unincorporated part of town where we don't have to contend with the 30 ft height restriction. I believe the county resriction is 42 feet where we are. We are surrounded by 3 and 4 floor houses, duplexes and small condo buildings. There was just a house built 2 blocks down from us that is 4 stories...

David_cary

We are not planning a BR on the bottom floor just a bathroom/locker room to the outside. I do realize the insurance rates will be much higher. Thank you for the advice!


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

To answer your original question...cool architectural features to incorporate...how about some ceiling beams? Maybe something chunky and rustic. Do you plan to panel the walls...maybe white washed?

I would have a big kitchen/dining/seating area for family gatherings. I'd love to have a fireplace in this room, for cool nights and conversation. It would be nice to have a screened porch, too. Maybe something that incoporates a built in BBQ and nice outdoor table with seating.

Another fun area would be a big game room with television, card/game table, some comfy sofas...separate from the kitchen area. A wonderful place for kids to congregate and enjoy the evening, while parents are sitting by the fire (in the other room) enjoying a well-deserved glass of wine :)


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Most localities regulate the boardwalk/beach access issues, but if possible, I'd choose to place something like that on the property border and share it with an adjacent property owner. That would allow maximum unobstructed views.

Your "locker room" bathrooms go hand in hand with using daybeds for built in seating in the great room. If you did a sunken area centered on a fireplace and used twin mattresses for the built in seating, that would create a lot of "crash" sleeping space without having to have dedicated bedroom space for all of the visitors.

A large sized laundry room with floor drain and room for hanging wet bathing suits and towels would also be nice. This should be adjacent to an outdoor shower area (with space for lots of terry robes). If you can keep the salt and sand outside, you've won half the battle. Have a vac pan by any entry point to deal with the rest that inevitably will make it in despite your best efforts.

I'd personally prefer to only have a first floor area be a large screened patio with outdoor fireplace rather than have it be enclosed living space. This would be for insurance purposes as well as to have a nice shady spot away from the sun to be able to gather. When I was looking at buying a beach shack myself, I was really shocked at how much difference in insurance there was in one of the new stilted construction ones and one of the old ones that weren't raised. Even though the old ones had made it through Katrina without flooding, the rates were still prohibitive. (10 times as much from one company's quote!) I know you said "money is no object", but I find that hard to believe. :) Even folks with large budgets would like to spend that money on tangible items rather than the ephemeral protection of insurance.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

We've just finished the plans for our beach house and one thing our architect incuded, which hasn't been mentioned yet, is a beverage bar on the third floor. We have a very large deck on that level, where we know we'll congregate for drinks and good times, so this should work out well. Good luck with your project!


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

My extended family and I spend some time every summer renting a place on Lake Michigan. It's not your typical beach house per se since it's not on a "coast" but we absolutely love it nonetheless.

We have 3 generations as well sharing the beautiful home, and the one place we all enjoy the most is the screen porch. It runs almost the full length of the back of the house and is accessed via the kitchen/dining, family room, and also master. We absolutely LOVE it, and will be incorporating something similar (hopefully) in our home to be built next spring.

good luck!


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

live_wire- Thanks for the suggestions. When I states "money is no object" I didn't mean we had unlimited funds... I just wanted to see what people would come up with abd not be limited by cost. Certainly, we would pick and choose a few "wow" items to splurge on. The rest would be on a budget.

Unfortunately, sharing lots is not an option. But our lot is next to one of the beach entry points so there is the equivalent of a empty half lot on one side of the house.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

I would put some hanging beds on a porch, especially if it is screened. Great place for kids to hangout and also gives some extra sleeping space if the weather is good!

Photobucket


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

FEMA rules will not allow a bathroom on the lower floor for new contruction if that floor is below base flood elavation(BFE). Period. Your county or city will not allow this to be permitted. They will fail your blueprints and send them back to you for revision before they issue you a building permit.

If you don't believe me, ask the architect or drafter or call the local building department that does the permitting. or check the FEMA rules.

Do a metal roof - galvalume which is over plywood. They withstand high winds, they last 50 years or longer. Insurance is often cheaper with them. Normally folks get them unpainted..which is a silver gray. This also is energy efficient and will save on your AC bills.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

You can do the breakaway walls on lower level, and that isn't really much more expensive on insurance versus leaving the lower level open aired. The issue with the lower level is no bathroom fixtures, no electric outlets below the BFE (you can have them, they must be above BFE...maybe you put them at 5' high if that is above BFE), no sheetwall below the Base Flood Elevation. Also no interior doors or trim below BFE. You can use exterior doors down there because they are able to handle the flooding. You can also use pressure treated wood below the BFE and also concrete wallboard. they don't allow bathroom fixtures even though logically they are waterproof. But that is their rule. You can actually have a sheetrock on the ceiling if that is technically above BFE. So basically downstairs you usually have concrete floors and pressure treated wood or concrete block walls below BFE. they officially call it storage. It's like an unfinished basement, but above ground. FEMA has entire books on the rules. You need to understand them when building in a flood plain.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

In my area, you can't have concrete blocks. I'm surprised that would be allowed anywhere coastal on new construction but it maybe that that rule is state. The idea is that you want the storm surge to pass unimpeded under the house.

I don't have exact figures but I got the impression that enclosed areas on the ground level raised your flood rates about 50% even with breakaway walls.

The plumbing rule is strange.

FWIW - in my jurisdiction I have to have 2 feet of freeboard which basically means that I can't have anything until BFE+2.

Oceanfront construction is a truly complex process with rules from Federal, State and local jurisdictions. But it sounds like the OP really just has FEMA to worry about. I'm a bit jealous but rules are often helpful for safety as this weekend reminds us.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

FYI in most of FL, concrete block exerior walls and concrete piers is the norm. You really don't see those telephone pole looking wood stilt structures. Those are older homes mostly or on islands where they can't transport concrete blocks...I really only see those stilt homes on wood pilings on TV so they must be common somewhere.

For the concrete block structures...They looks like a standard 2 story from the road.
To handle potential flooding, you have breakaway walls on the lower level if in a V zone(the beach, usually and the open bays). When the walls break away, the structure is held up by concrete piers that stay.

Waterfront areas that are not V zone(often rivers and canals and creeks and some bays)...you can have concete block walls with open holes at the bottom 12" of the wall.

There is a FEMA calculation of how many sq inch of open holes you have per sq foot of exterior wall. They are called flow through vents. They are designed to allow the flood waters to flow into the stucture and out of the structure without putting too much water force on the exterior walls.

Break away walls are similar...but instead of allowing water the flow through those vents...the entire wall is designed to break away given the force of the water.

I have one of these encluded structures directly on the water and flood insurance is approx $250/year. You cannot tell that it is a elevated home from seeing it from the outside. It looks like a typical 2 story home.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Yeah - FL is different. Up in the middle of the country, we don't allow concrete. The topography is so different although I think there is just a different attitude about beaches. Here dunes are natural and meant to be protected. Concrete would be too disruptive.

I suspect the mid-atlantic is the same.

No one oceanfront is paying $250 a year for flood insurance at least around here. $3000 is more the norm. I've seen private over $10k.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

I am not oceanfront...but bay front. FEMA allows concrete and that is at the national level. I don't see how concrete block is any more disruptive than building the house with wood. Bottom line, the footprint of the home is going to have a big house on it. Block doesn't disrupt things outside the home footprint and can leave everything else natural. Ours is surrounded by huge old trees on 4 sides and has lots of endangered species on the property. You can't even see the house because of all the trees and they are very close to the home. Some of the pros of concrete - it won't catch fire on the outside and termites won't eat the exterior walls and they will never rot.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Our building department in NW Fl told us that anything below the BFE +1ft had to have the vents. 1 sq inch for every sq ft of space below BFE +1. We are the canal front so only thing we have to worry about was garage. We have a concrete foundation no piers.

There are some houses near me building on wood pilings! They are only a few ft off the ground but most houses around here are built on concrete piers if they are elevated.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Concrete block can't be breakaway. Concrete requires digging a footer. Piles get driven in from above and don't disturb the sand around them. Florida allows concrete barriers oceanfront but I agree that concrete piers in a lot of situations are as good as wood - particularly in not disturbing the storm surge. Concrete is great but it is also a more permanent disturbance. Building oceanfront around here is not a permanent action. We have to dismantle houses when the beach erodes enough - try doing that with concrete. Certainly possible but a lot more work.

FEMA allows concrete. CAMA (Coastal Area Management Assoc) does not.

Does FL have a bigger problem with termites or is the concrete all just hurricane protection?

Sweet Tea - you are missing out on a lot of beautiful beaches if you have neven seen wood pilings.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

Wood pilings are all you see on the Mississippi Gulf Coast---at least for the homes that have been built after Katrina. And those are the only homes that are there. Everything else was wiped out. There are a LOT of blank nothing lots with just driveways still there. It's kinda eerie. Bent trees and driveways. Here and there a cabin on stilts. Not too many upscale homes being replaced.


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RE: Beach house Architectural features

I have not read this entire thread but I wanted to comment...the home that we rent on the Cape has some really neat features. My favorite is the outside shower and the deck placement. They have decks that face east for the sunrise and on the west for the magnificent sunsets. The house is on 3 floors...when you walk in, there is the entry area and stairs that go up and stairs that go down. The master area is directly off the entryway to the right. Up the stairs is a large great room with decks on either side (nice sliding doors which when open provide a great crossbreeze, and then the kitchen opens to the great room. They also put a third deck (a lookout) on top of the main deck...very cool. Down the stairs from the entry are 2 bedrooms, laundry and bath...the door that leads to the back deck and outside shower. I love this house and we have been renting it every summer for years! Hence, my username...capegirl! HTH


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