Movies transport us to other worlds, allowing us to live vicariously through the characters. If you’ve always wanted to be a globetrotter, James Bond takes you from Cuba to China to Czechoslovakia. If you’ve ever wondered what Mars might be like, The Martian transports you there. And if you wish you could visit the Outer Banks, look no further than Nights in Rodanthe. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ book, the characters played by Diane Lane and Richard Gere fall in love when they team up to protect a very special Outer Banks home from a storm.
This home has a fascinating story to tell. Built by Roger Meekins in 1988 on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the home was originally called Serendipity. At the time, there was more than 400 feet between it and the ocean. But as the years passed, the sand eroded, and the tide encroached. In 2009, Hurricane Bill damaged the home, destroying its septic system and HVAC. The second owners, Michael and Susan Creasy, wanted to sell but the extensive repairs kept buyers at bay. It soon slipped into such disrepair that the county wanted to condemn it and after each storm, residents wondered if it was still standing. Hope for Serendipity seemed far away until fans of Nights in Rodanthe, Ben and Debbie Huss, saved the property in 2010.
The first task was to move the property farther from the ocean to prevent high tides and hurricanes from further damaging it. According to Richard Adkins of WRAL, the house was lifted off its foundation, placed onto a trailer, and transported seven-tenths of a mile down N.C. Highway 12 to its new location. The house was raised several feet higher than it had been and the pilings were dug 16 feet down for greater stability.
Ben and Debbie are such fans of the movie that they made every effort to replicate the set. According to Irene Nolan of the Island Free Press, the Husses watched the film dozens of times and worked from enlarged still photographs. They added the iconic blue shutters over the windows, painted the beadboard cabinets a vibrant aqua, and filled the home with antiques, including a 1918 Adler organ similar to the one in the movie.
According to Hooked on Houses blogger Julia Sweeten, they remodeled the kitchen to look just like the one Diane Lane cooked in, tracking down the same wallpaper used in the movie. But even more wonderful than their renovations is the Husses desire to share Serendipity with others by making it available to vacationers. So come to Rodanthe to take in the spectacular oceanfront views and enjoy Ben and Debbie’s loving attention to detail!
Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company