Joe and Wendy Harrison have built the quintessential Florida beach home ... at Conway’s The Fairways at Centennial. With its stark white exterior and modern accents, the home stands out in a beautiful, unique way.
The couple and their children, Reid and Riley, have always lived in Conway and previously had a more traditional residence, but when they decided to build their new home, they wanted to bring the feeling of the beach houses at their favorite destination — Rosemary Beach — to their everyday lives.
“We built in Centennial to be on the golf course and to be close to the club and the pool. Someday I want to put in our own pool and pool house. We looked at several different areas, but we loved it out here,” said Wendy. “We wanted to live in town but have the feel of an open area. It feels a little like we are outside of town here, and with the golf course we will always have some green space,” added Joe.
The Harrisons enlisted the help of local builder Steve Boone in constructing their new three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, 3,100-square-foot home. “When we met with Steve, we knew we wanted something different. We love the feel of the homes in Rosemary Beach and Seaside and always enjoy staying there. We thought, ‘why can’t we have that type of house here?’ We conveyed that to Steve, and he was so easy to work with. He has a little of that coastal flair as well and had traveled to some of the same areas,” said Wendy.
They truly succeeded in bringing the beach to the golf course. Upon entry to the home, the brightness and airiness are immediately evident. “When we first started, we were going with slightly warmer tones, but when we actually started building, we made the decision to go completely white!” said Wendy. All walls and trim throughout the home are painted white, and the flooring is a stained concrete throughout. The staircase is just past the entry, and an armoire filled with beach memorabilia from the Harrisons’ vacations is directly past the staircase.
The kitchen, dining area and living room are one huge, bright space with tall windows and beach-inspired accessories and furnishings. “We like to entertain, and we wanted a big, open room where people could be in different areas but still be together,” explained Wendy. The kitchen features a large granite island, a framed built-in chalkboard for family messages and completely open-faced cabinets. “People were a little worried about the open cabinets, but it has been really easy,” said Wendy. The Harrisons got the idea from pictures they had taken at different beach homes. Several built-in shelves are also included, as are white tile and white wooden surfaces. The monochromatic façade is accented with touches of turquoise and green.
The dining area visually separates the kitchen from the living area. Large windows with light, airy window coverings allow natural light into the space, and a large pendant light hangs above the table. All lighting in the home was provided by Hambuchen Lighting.
“Jill at Hambuchen was great as far as helping us pick things out,” said Wendy. Large, exposed beams in a dark wood finish run the width of the ceiling and include stainless steel accents. The beams, while necessary to retain the outer wall, add interest by breaking up the brightness of the white walls and ceiling.
Joe and Wendy did all of the interior design and even kept an inspiration book during the building and design processes. “Joe and I both like design. We got ideas from coastal magazines and the beach homes, of course. We did get some assistance with paint color from Joe’s sister, Heather Mainord, who is a local painter. She did most of the paintings in the house as well, so of course she is really good with color and we valued her opinions,” said Wendy. Though the décor is predominately coastal, they mixed in some French cottage and modern elements.
A sliding, gray barn door leads from the living area to the man cave. The door was Joe’s design, which Steve brought to fruition. “The man cave was more of a library in the house plans. Though it is a man cave, I wanted it to have more of a design,” said Joe of the modern and cozy space. “The kids have really overtaken the man cave, anyway,” he added, laughing. Their sister-in-law, Heather Harrison, created the canvases with sayings that are used in the living room, man cave and master bedroom.
Another barn door leads from the opposing wall of the man cave into the master bedroom, which is also resplendent in white. However, the room does include bedding in yellow and gray and some natural wood elements, including a bench made for Wendy by a former student, which sits at the foot of the bed. “We really wanted an open and bright bedroom,” said Wendy. The room’s minimalist décor works perfectly with the aesthetic of the home, and the white wood used in the kitchen, living room and entryway is also featured as a custom headboard, made by Steve, which continues the effortless flow of the home. This same wood is also used in the master bathroom as a custom frame for their mirror. The bathroom features white tile, floors and walls, which are broken up by a few yellow accents. The overall effect is very simple and modern.
The entire home is light, airy and open — all goals of the Harrisons. “Working with Steve was great. He never said that something couldn’t be done; he found a way to make sure the details were in code and would work structurally. There was nothing we came up with idea-wise that he couldn’t do,” said Joe. The family truly enjoys their beach-inspired home, saying, “We don’t have the ocean, of course, but we now have the feel of being there all the time!”