Renee Inge and her husband lived in the Texas Hill countryside, overlooking hundreds of acres of ranch land. Although they thought this would be their forever home, after losing Bob to a sudden illness, the plan shifted and Renee found herself drawn to laid-back, sunny St. Augustine. While visiting the area, she contacted a Realtor and their first stop was Sea Colony. For Renee, “That visit ended the hunt.” She was taken by the community’s beautiful, well planned, colorful surroundings, steps away from the ocean.
Here, she bought a “cottage” as well as the adjoining lot for privacy. Though she first thought it might be “too late” in life to build a home from scratch, after serving on the community’s architectural review board, Renee met both a builder and architect who spoke her language and before she knew it, plans were in motion. “Building a house can be stressful, but it can also be a rewarding, creative project,” said Renee. Renee worked closely with architect Michael Stauffer, as well as Cora Johnston of Generation Homes to bring her vision to life.
The finished product is Renee’s seaside dream home. “My home is my sanctuary because I designed it to highlight art and special pieces that my husband and I acquired over a lifetime of traveling – as well as incorporating contemporary pieces, such as photo art, that capture the beauty of St Augustine, and life by the ocean,” she said.
DESIGN STYLE & COLOR INSPIRATION
The house presents a clean, contemporary design, with traditional elements such as over-sized trim and wood beams so that rooms change character depending on the furnishings. Floors are white washed oak capable of being both formal and beachy. Before Renee moved into her home, she purchased a large Anne Packard Canvas for the dining room. It became the color palette for the first floor interior colors.
Renee’s home blends contemporary furnishings, with a beachy feel. Renee likes to think of downstairs as having a South of France look, since it includes many pieces she and her husband purchased in Europe. Between the open concept floor plan, the sharp white aesthetic, and the windows, light radiates throughout.
ALL ABOUT THE ART
At the heart of Renee’s design choices for her home is a collection of art from near and far. “Good art can be the easiest way to change a room without purchasing large pieces of furniture,” said Renee. Renee boasts great enthusiasm toward the many local artists she has managed to work with, and those she has recently discovered. “A number of our artist residents live and do their work here, but sadly don’t have a St. Augustine gallery presence.” Renee is doing her part to ensure their works get plenty of time in the light on her own walls. “St. Augustine’s art scene is becoming very exciting. My dream is to see it nurtured, and have our beautiful city become a true art destination,” she said.
When guests enter Renee’s home, the first thing they see is a large floating glass piece with etched jellyfish, created by Kyle Goodwin who Renee met at the Farmers Market. The functional and intentional collaborative art piece serves as an ideal divide between the entry and living spaces.
No surface in Renee’s home is left untouched by artistic accent pieces. Each piece is delicately and intentionally displayed.
A focal point that ties in the upstairs and the downstairs is this bead textile adorning the stairwell, designed by local artist Peggy Ward of the Bead Chick.
One of Renee’s prized pieces is her wiggle chair, nestled in the corner of her dining room. Appropriately named, the chair was designed by American architect Frank Gehry, discovered by Renee in a in a kitchen store in France.
The upstairs of Renee’s home has a Caribbean feel with cabinetry designed to look as if it belongs on a fine yacht.
“My favorite room is the upstairs living area because of its beautiful views, and it contains many marine antiques that remind me of my sailing days on the Chesapeake Bay,” said Renee. The upstairs living area boasts its own display of artwork and accents.
Renee’s master bath is a blend of modern amenities with classic charm, offering a sense of relaxation and escape.
Once again, this space isn’t without its own artistic ornamentation and detail.
Just off of the master bath is Renee’s walk-in closet – perfectly styled and the envy of nearly every girl in the history of time.
The upstairs guest rooms boast their own marine-inspired personalities. The pulls are authentic sailboat cleats. Marine antiques were purchased locally, and pillows and throws help to emphasize an “island look.” Here again, art remains a driving element.
One of the guest bedrooms features local artist Tripp Harrison’s canvas, titled “Conch Boat,” as the focal point. Another bedroom is decorated around local photographer Tom Tibbitt’s work. “His soft, silvery photos against the silver sage walls give calm to the room, yet bring St. Augustine scenery into play,” said Renee.
Ultimately, each and every inch of the home is a reflection of Renee’s past experiences blended with artistic inspirations derived from her present surroundings—St. Augustine scenery.
Speaking of the scenery… you can’t ask for a better view than Renee’s upstairs deck, overlooking the waves of the Atlantic.
Here you can find Renee taking advantage of the views, both in the morning and evenings. “I use the upstairs outside deck in the morning with a coffee, streaming NPR radio, and reading newspapers. I’m frequently back up there at 5 p.m. with friends to share wine and laughter,” said Renee.
Thanks to the blend of art, architecture, and serene seascape, this Sea Colony home is a dream for Renee.
Owner: Renee Inge
Size: 3,000 square feet
Amenities: 3 bed, 3.5 bath
Year Built: Completed Feb. 2015
Architect: Michael Stauffer
Builder: Generation Homes
Renee’s Home Tour is featured in St. Augustine Social Magazine October/November 2015 print issue. Photography by Leonard Blush exclusively for St. Augustine Social.