By the Sea

BY Lou Anne Liverman

While I wasn t going to have a beach house on the beach I knew I wanted this home to reflect that same beach look and  lifestyle   says Kim Beck who with her husband Mike lives at the quiet end of Fontenay Drive in Landfall s French provincial Vincennes neighborhood — located less than a ten-minute bike ride over the drawbridge to the beachfront.

I always wanted to retire in a beachy community — to live in a home that felt soothing and made me feel happy and serene   Kim says.  We were living in Atlanta when we bought this town home and that particular time in our lives was very stressful and busy. We were raising our children. Mike was on a career-track and working a lot more. There were lots of outside expectations during that time in our lives and so I was looking to get away from all that when we bought this place. I wanted this house to reflect a more calm and relaxing lifestyle.

It was good timing for Kim who fortunately crossed paths with two Wilmington locals highly regarded in the home and construction business — the late Wright Holman an iconic and visionary builder and interior designer and Airlie Moon owner Julie Robinson.

 Bless his heart. Wright understood what I wanted right away   Kim says.  He was the perfect temperament for me and the perfect architect for this space. Nothing was too much trouble and there was never a rush with Wright.

Julie who over the years has worked with many builders agrees.

There was no one quite like Wright   she says.  Such a depth of character. And he had great vision. Kim and I had ideas of how we wanted the space to look and function but Wright was the one who structurally showed us how it could be done. 

The original footprint of the five-now-four-bedroom home was fairly functional but the overall layout was lacking the practical and structural spaciousness suited for the Becks and their adult children.

We basically took it down to the studs — busted walls down — opened it up   Kim says.

The redesigned master bath which once harbored an oversized tub as a focal amenity now touts his-and-her vanities and an open walk-in shower in place of a tub. The upstairs open-loft originally looked over the family room and served as a somewhat-noisy teen hangout. Now walled in the space has been repurposed as a home office for Mike. Strategically placed windows in the office s A-frame wall welcome natural light and a panoramic view of the cul-de-sac s common lawns and lake.

Upstairs each oversized guest room provides private baths instead of the  original jack-and-jill configuration.

Wright always had a good idea for any room   Kim says in the open and light family room.  For instance the [cathedral] ceiling in this room originally was sheet rock and Wright suggested we do a bead board for a more coastal effect. I agonized over just the right size bead board   Kim laughs.  He was very patient though.

As for the interior s color and decor tops on Kim s wish list were white slip- covered sofas dark hardwoods and soft blues and sea greens for the walls. Having met Julie Robinson and seen her style as early as 2004 when she worked with her sister Leslie Hales Kim knew the designer was the one who could and would give her the exact look she wanted. 

I really wanted that  shabby chic  coastal look that Julie is known for   says Kim of her home s interior.  And I wanted the colors to reflect the ocean and the calmness of that and so this is why you will see repeats of blues and greens in almost every room. It s very relaxing.  

We are not too serious [at Airlie Moon]   Julie says laughing.

Living and decorating homes in a coastal community she prefers not to compete with the coast s natural colors striving instead to use these outdoor colors as a jump-off palette for the interiors she decorates. Considering herself a laid-back person Julie believes her customers and clients come to Airlie Moon for that calm feel.

Our signature is coastal and calm. And obviously casual   Julie says duly noting the artistic woodwork of interior design consultant Susan Covington Sac Art Designs as an example of this coastal and casual look. Covington has resurfaced and either repainted or distressed a variety of furniture pieces for the Becks including the master bed end tables bedroom and bathroom doors the oversized family room mantle and Mike s glazed office doors. Vintage glass light fixtures designed and handcrafted by Louise Gaskill of Raleigh add an eclectic and whimsical touch to the overall casual feel and warmth of the home. 

Everyone worked so well together during the [renovation/design] process. We definitely collaborated a lot   Julie says — all in a collective effort to give the Becks the beach-style home they had envisioned for themselves years ago when commuting to and from Atlanta.

Our Atlanta home was more Tuscan and earthy-colored   Kim says. In contrast the color scheme of their Landfall home upon purchase incorporated bright yellows purples teals and forest greens — with orange floor tiles in the kitchen and broadloom carpet or light wood throughout the remainder of the home.

It s funny   Kim says looking around now at her color-calming surroundings.  We bought this place for retirement. But after we bought it I would drive from Atlanta around March when it got warmer and stay for a few months. Then the months turned into the whole year until eventually it became our full-time residence. I had just come to love it here that much.

Homeowners Mike and Kim Beck

Building Contractor Wright Holman Holman Lackey Construction Co. Inc.

Interior Designer/ Furnishings Julie Robinson Airlie Moon

Appliances Atlantic Distributors

Kitchen/ Bath Hardware/ Specialty Hardware Bird Decorative Hardware & Bath

Plumbing Signature Plumber Inc. 

Electric Standard Power Inc.

Electric Fixtures Coastal Lighting

Lighting Fixtures Louise Gaskill Company

Hardwood Installer Evanko Hardwood Floor  

Tile Supplier Southeastern Tile Connection Inc.

Tile Installer James Tile Co.

Cabinet Manufacturer Cabico Inc. 

Countertops & Backsplash/Installer Marble and Granite Kitchen Masterbath/ Bathroom Sellers Tile Co. Inc.

Closets Closets & Things

Paint Benjamin Moore & Martha Stewart

HVAC Batts Heating and Air Conditioning

Surround Sac Art Designs Inc.

Vintage Doors Sac Art Design Inc. Fulford & Co.

Custom Furniture Sac Art Design Inc. Saltwater Salvage Design

Bedroom Accent Wall Fulford & Co.

Rugs Gallery of Oriental Rugs