When it came time for Cody and Britnye Shore to find the perfect home for their young family, they knew just the place. Tucked beneath moss-draped oaks on a quiet street a few blocks north of downtown St. Augustine, the little three-bedroom cottage the couple chose was the perfect size, with the perfect mix of historic charm and renovation potential – plus, they didn’t even have to change the name on the mailbox.
Cody was just a toddler in 1987 when his parents first bought the bungalow that he now shares with his wife and two young children. The first generation of Shores stayed in the house over two decades, right up through high school when Cody and Britnye first met. After attending Flagler College together and getting married in 2006, the second generation of Shores started their family in 2012 with daughter Nola Mae and soon after added a son, Hendricks. By 2014, they needed a place to lay down permanent roots.
“We just loved it so much and had so many great memories there already,” says Britnye. “Once we had kids, we knew it was time to buy it so that they could have the same experiences growing up there.”
But even with the home’s built-in nostalgia, there were still a few things in the 1943-built bungalow that the new generation of Shores knew they wanted to change.
“Because the house is over fifty years old, the rooms were all pretty small,” says Britnye. In fact, the kitchen, living and dining rooms were all compartmentalized into separate, cramped spaces. With two energetic toddlers who needed plenty of room to run and play, the family embraced the idea of a more open concept floor plan.
Led by husband and wife team Annie and Brandy Holland, of East Coast Design & Construction, Britnye and Cody embarked on a complete renovation of Cody’s childhood home. The result is the perfect marriage of historic detail and modern convenience. Dark wood trim, crown moldings, and a portrait rail match with the home’s original five-panel doors, a few of which even still have glass doorknobs, staying true to the house’s World War II-era roots.
One other historic element that was important to keep in the home was a special door jamb between the front porch and living room. Stacked in two neat columns are a series of dates and pencil marks – one noting Cody’s growth from 1987 through 1996 and one that starts in 2015 with a line for Nola Mae.
Outside of those important historic elements that survived the transition from one Shore generation to the next, much of the home’s other decorative styles had to go. The old black-and-white checkerboard flooring that once covered the kitchen and laundry room were ripped out, along with the dark cabinets and appliances that made the room feel even smaller. Now, beautiful, dark stained hardwood floors run throughout the kitchen, living, and dining rooms. Towering white cabinets with plenty of storage flank stainless appliances, including a modern double-oven and matching stainless hood.
“The kids love it because they can ride their bicycles right through the middle of the house,” says Cody. Now six and four years-old respectively, Nola Mae and Hendricks have perfected a closed circuit from their playroom on the enclosed front porch, through the living and dining rooms, around the kitchen island, and back. Along the route, the kids’ reflections bounce off the tin ceiling in the living room before they zip around the largest obstacle in their path – an eight-and-a-half-foot custom made dining table.
“We love to entertain and have family over,” says Britnye. “It’s another benefit to opening up the house a little more that we now have more space for everyone to gather.”
The table, along with a few other select pieces in the home, were built by Cody’s fellow St. Johns County Firefighter and local artist Noah D. White. “Noah is an extremely talented woodworker and he’s very special to our family,” says Cody.
One other important aspect of the Shores’ home renovation was the addition of a second bathroom. By reducing the size of their laundry room, Cody and Britnye were able to top off their new spin on an old home with a spa-like master bath complete with double-headed shower.
Around the same time that the Shores completed their renovation and finally settled in to their home, Britnye launched her own business with The Bardot Beauty Lounge, a full-service salon offering hair styling, makeup, waxing, nail care, and more. The business quickly grew to encompass both a permanent location off Old Dixie Highway and a mobile studio available to rent for weddings and other events. With such tremendous success came new opportunities.
In the spring of 2018, Britnye and Cody decided to transition their house to an Airbnb and move their family to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina to launch a new location for the Bardot, while still maintaining their flagship store in St. Augustine.
“We will still be coming home at least once a month,” says Britnye. “Not just because we have business to conduct here, but because this is really our heart.”
Photography by Leonard Blush and Heather Vreeland