In Galveston, we tour what just might be the most beautiful new beach house in Texas. Or for that matter, anywhere.
A Gorgeous Family Mansion on the Shore
You’ll feel conflicted standing on the beach in front of 1609 Seaside Drive, looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico. Before you are all the beautiful elements that normally hold your gaze while at the coast: breaking waves, a sailboat offshore, seagulls overhead.
And yet, you’ll want to turn around, and stare instead at the house.
Built in the quiet community of Beachtown in 2012, this striking home is a relatively new fixture in Galveston’s 175 year history. But with design that recalls the aesthetic of generations past, with strong Gothic Revival lines and Victorian cues, it seems as though it could have been here just as long.
The home was designed by renowned architect Milosav Cekic of Austin. His inspiration originated in the rich heritage of Galveston’s earliest architectural achievements, themselves a product of the Victorian era. Indeed, authentic Galveston is essentially Victorian: its Golden Age began in 1839, two years after the reign of Queen Victoria began, and was all but destroyed by hurricane in 1900—a year before her reign ended.
Like many of the earliest mansions on the island, 1609 Seaside sits on a long, narrow lot and expresses itself vertically, and dramatically. Three stories of living space rise above the ground floor, topped by a steep angled roof you’ll see on your approach from miles away. Thirty seven French doors open to porches adorned with custom milled corbels and charming twin posts.
The interior is no less impressive. It is large, yes: the home spans over 5,200 square feet. Still, it achieves the coziness of a family beach cottage, helped in part by intimate spaces, tongue and groove 8 inch panels, and charming 100 year old French Oak wide plank floors.
The heart of the home is on the second level, where the kitchen, dining room and living area merge together to create an inviting conclave for the entire family. Antique light fixtures hang overhead; beach stones adorn the gas fireplace; and the kitchen island is honed Carrera marble.
The home boasts seven bedrooms, in all, and seven and a half bathrooms. An adorable child's bunk room will make you wish you were again a child, while the master bedroom, with its New Zealand wool carpet and private porch overlooking the Gulf, will make you feel better about the fact that you're not.
The top floor opens up to cathedral ceilings, and features a lounge with wet bar; an exercise room with sauna; a library where you'll try to read, but end up napping; and two private lofts, accessible only by ladder, to occupy the highest points in the home.
Other notable features include an elevator with maple veneer cab, servicing all 4 levels; a home automation system, which controls everything (security, climate, lighting, and audio) via smartphone; gorgeous designer lighting and custom furnishings throughout; and of course, nodding to the realities of life on a hurricane-vulernable island: 150 mph impact doors and windows.
As of April 2014, 1609 Seaside Drive is on the market, fully furnished, for just under $4 million. You don't have to purchase the home to experience it, however: it's also available for short term vacation rental. Just remember to pry the kids from their bunks when you leave.