My Favorite Things

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Galveston Island, like other seaside communities, has many homes with unique “coastal” features.
Many of these features stand out from the crowd, and have become my favorites. However, including all into a single design might make for an unusual structure. Think of it like Dr. Frankenstein working with spare body parts in his “La-bor-a-tory”. Not all the notable features I like could or should be used together, so I will share just a few that I might include if I had the opportunity to design and build a new house of my own again.

There is a cupola on one house that I particularly enjoy; it is combined with the sentiment of a lighthouse. That this cupola stood through the powerful winds of hurricane Ike makes me appreciate it more. Because it is a mostly glass structure, I’m not sure it could be reproduced today, as windstorm requirements might be difficult to accommodate without special engineering, since this was probably built about 20 years ago.
With the many varieties of roof materials available, my first and favorite choice would be a metal roof. Not just galvanized metal, as found on old farmhouses, but heavy gauge aluminum, with a Kynar patented finish. This lends the perfect, cottage look to island style, and in a maintenance free, long lasting bright finish that will withstand the rigors of gulf coast extremes.

Our island is a place where we are free to use exterior colors that we might not have used in suburbia. My new favorite exterior siding color is one I see on every trip along the seawall. Over time, this condo complex has replaced its aging taupe colored stucco with fiber cement siding painted in a variety of colors, with a coordinated beach-y effect. It has acquired a fun, new personality with this facelift.
My personal favorite is a cheerful, bold, aquamarine color trimmed so aptly in crisp white, which might go great with my choice of roofing (above).
Operable shutters are not a necessity as long as impact resistant (hurricane) windows are installed; however shutters with shutter dogs would complete the ideal look. Shutter dogs are metal decorative tieback hardware (originally hand-wrought iron, but now available in rust resistant aluminum and stainless steel) that served a function of holding the shutter open against the wall on the outside.
If it is necessary to close the shutters, the shutter dogs are turned to release, and shutters are fastened closed from the inside, providing security against the elements. If operable shutter dogs are not required, they also are available as a fixed decorative accessory.

Assuming there were no height or floor level restrictions in the neighborhood, I’d further include a viewing tower atop the house. It wouldn’t need to be large; in fact that is part of the charm of a loft tower. It would incorporate comfortable bench seating with throw pillows, and have windows low enough to view the scenery from a seated position all around. It could be outfitted with a powerful telescope to view the stars at night. The windows would all have opening sashes, so that the breezes can be enjoyed, and would help ventilate the whole house on those days when the temperature is just right.
These are just some of the features I would try in incorporate into a new design of my own. You too, can dream; start taking photos or clip pages from a coastal magazine, make selections of colors and materials, so that you can include a few favorite things of your own when you are ready to start a home construction or remodeling project.

Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact, or 409-632-0381.

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