The beach cottages in Grayton Beach, Florida, were deemed by the planners of Seaside as vernacular examples for architects to emulate. Along with the many other distinct styles found through out the different regions of the south; such as the “side loaded row houses” of Charleston, South Carolina, were the influence of early Seaside. The Grayton cottages however, were indigenous examples of the architecture for our design inspiration. Indeed many of our early designs for our clients in Seaside were greatly influenced if not down right stolen for their simple forms and their humble materials. We admired the human scale and unpretentious quality of Grayton but most of all it was the authenticity of the beach town that we found most livable. This unexpected, eccentric, unplanned and eschewed quirkiness made Grayton Beach perfect for us as opposed to a “planned” community which was not the goal of Seaside.
Here are some of the houses of Grayton Beach as shown in these photos shared by Dawn Thornton, Amy Hughes and Sarah Kay Hughes. You can see more on the Facebook page of “Summer Memories of Grayton Beach in the 50’s and 60’s” here,
These houses are still much the same except for paint, mature vegetation and of course all of the necessary modern up grades. Here are a few samples of the original cottages as they appear today. Please click on the highlighted text to view the VRBO site for further information.
See more of the history of the Butler family and Grayton Beach’s origins here. For more reminiscences of bygone days visit here.
The following house’s have particular historical importance:
The Dog Trot
The “Dog Trot” house plan is a open center hall or breezeway with rooms open on to the breezeway. The combination of this breezeway and open windows created air flow in the pre-aircondition era . This house in Grayton is a rare two story version of a dog trot. The house was moved a short distance to its present location in 1999 but originally the house was one story and raised to create living space above the open breezeway. The front upper floor was a porch and then converted to enclosed bedrooms. (see Hibiscus House for more rental information and history)
The “Washaway Hotel”
The “Washaway Hotel” is only a few hundred feet from the Gulf of Mexico and has been raised up on pilings for the obvious reasons of encroaching storm waters.
Renamed as “‘A Grayton Tradition’ “The Washaway” is a historic beach house and a local treasure located in the heart of Grayton Beach. Built in the late 1800’s by Capt. Gray and later used as the Coast Guard Headquarters for a cavalry unit during WWII, this home survived a major hurricane in 1926 (but was almost washed away), as well as standing strong during Hurricane Eloise in the late 1970’s, and Hurricane Opal in the fall of 1995. ”
There are several more houses I would like to explore further here and if I can I will include in my next post.