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Southern Shores Flat Top Cottages

Flat Top Cottages of Southern Shores

When you think about Outer Banks architecture, you likely imagine pastel-colored beach houses with expansive, wrap-around porches, sitting atop wooden pilings.  But in the mid-20th century, a different type of vacation home was popular.  Known as flat-top cottages, they are characterized by their no-pitch roofs and clean, mid-century modern lines.

Flat Top Cottage Aycock Brown
Flat top cottage in Southern Shores, circa 1955. Photo by Aycock Brown, courtesy of North Carolina Modernist Houses

Frank Stick, an artist and conservationist, is credited with designing the flat-top cottage.  Stick studied at the Chicago Art Institute and his paintings appeared on covers of popular magazines like Field and Stream and the Saturday Evening Post.  In 1929, he and his family settled on Roanoke Island and helped to establish the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.  Stick also played a vital role in establishing Cape Hatteras National Seashore as the United State’s first national seashore, which protects significant portions of OBX barrier islands.

Flat-top cottages David Stick and Frank Stick
Frank Stick (right) with son David Stick (left). Image courtesy of North Carolina Modernist Houses

After World War II, Stick turned his attention from painting and philanthropy to architecture.  In 1947, he bought 2,800 acres north of Kitty Hawk, including four miles of Outer Banks oceanfront.  Timber was scarce due to the war, so Stick chose to build with concrete blocks made of local sand.  Inspired by island-style homes in the Florida Keys as well as the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the home facades and floor plans are clean and simple. The flat roofs feature extended overhangs, which offer shade, while the large windows let in ocean breezes.  Many of the cottages feature local juniper-wood paneling, ceiling beams, and hurricane shutters.

Flat-Top-Green-Marie-Walker
Flat-top cottage. Image by Marie Walker, courtesy of My Outer Banks Home

Stick built 80 of these homes in a community called Southern Shores, which was incorporated as a town in 1979.  Currently, less than half of the original flat tops still exist.  Some were damaged by hurricanes, but most were replaced by multi-story vacation homes as owners’ tastes and needs changed.  The flat top cottages that remain are treasured by their owners as important parts of OBX history and iconic examples of mid-century architecture. 

Each year the Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottage Tour takes place in April.  Click the link to purchase tickets.


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

 

Build a Custom Home

5 Reasons to Build a Custom Home

There’s something special about walking over the threshold of a home you designed yourself.  Just like Cinderella’s slipper, a custom built home fits your lifestyle and your needs perfectly.  

While there are numerous reasons to purchase a pre-owned home, today’s newly-constructed and built-to-suit homes offer more benefits than ever before.  So these are the top five reasons to build your own custom home:

Design your dream home 

A home built before 1990 is unlikely to reflect the current needs and desires of most home buyers.  Modern trends such as open floor plans, resort-style bathrooms, professional-grade kitchens, and home theatre rooms just don’t exist in most older houses.  So the biggest benefit of building a custom home is your ability to design it to be exactly what you want.  

Open floor plan in custom home
Open floor plan and vaulted ceilings in a custom home built by the Coastal Cottage Company

“Green” products and construction  

Building codes require higher energy efficiency standards than ever before, which translates to lower utility bills and less impact on the environment.  New homes now feature tighter-sealed building envelopes, energy efficient windows, thicker insulation, and better air filtration which can alleviate symptoms of those who have asthma or allergies.  New construction also allows homeowners to take a whole-house approach rather than adding in elements piecemeal, saving significantly more money in the long run.

Lower maintenance and fewer surprises  

We’ve all heard horror stories of older homes that passed inspection but then a year or two later, the roof leaked or the HVAC needed to be replaced.  New construction has fewer of these costly surprises.  Not only are improved construction methods and cutting-edge engineering implemented, but you also get to choose the best building materials and appliances you can afford.  And many of these elements come with warranties and other guarantees, such as 30-year roof warranties.

Reasons to Build a Custom Home

Improved safety

More stringent building codes and advancements in technology mean that new homes tend to be safer. Hard-wired smoke detectors, garage doors with infrared beams, air conditioners with environmentally-friendly coolants, and materials with fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) keep your family healthier and safer.  Safety is especially important when building near the coastline.  Building a custom home allows you to take advantage of the latest innovations in high-wind zone home design and construction.

No renovation costs  

Pre-owned homes can be modified to meet your standards, but each alteration will cost you.  While changing paint colors and cabinet hardware might not be a big deal, removing walls or laying down new hardwood floors definitely are.  For example, the average kitchen renovation costs between $20,000 and $40,000!  So it’s not unusual for a custom home to actually be more economical than an older home that requires extensive renovations and repairs.  

Custom homes offer the latest designs and the safest construction methods, all tailored to your family’s lifestyle.  Why endure the stress and cost of renovations when you can enjoy a home that fits you like a fairytale glass slipper?  

We’d love to talk with you about making that fairytale a reality.  


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

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