Beach Dreamin'

August 2011
Written By: 
Denise Mullen
Photographs by: 
Christopher Nelson

Maryland family builds a luxurious, oceanfront vacation home




Wearing flip-flops, shorts and a boyish grin, Randy Hall fondly reminisces about the summers of his childhood. “My family is from Turbeville and we would spend the summers staying in a beach house here. We would hang out on the Garden City Pier, go to the arcade and eat hot dogs at Sam’s Corner. Those were wonderful times and now I get to share that experience with my own children.”

For now, the Halls are Maryland city-slickers, working, raising two children, swamped with extra-curriculars, but always looking forward to their next trip to the beach.
When a rare oceanfront lot in Garden City recently came on the market, the Halls wasted no time putting in an offer. Smack in the middle of popular Waccamaw Drive where rows of stilted seaside homes have names like, Lawdy Mercy, Shore Thing and Sea Clusion, the plot was not only generous but promised sweeping views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the marsh.

Contracting with builder Preston Guyton of CRG Construction, plans got under way to create Randy’s big boy version of a vacation beach house, Sea La Vie, a 6,000-square-foot, three-story, Shaker-style cottage with 8 bedrooms (incorporating two master suites), 8 1/2 baths, an elevator, a third-story playroom complete with pool table and foosball, heated swimming pool, hot tub and private wooden walkway to a wave washed, glittering strip of beach.

“We had the lot size to accommodate it and we wanted a place that our whole extended family could vacation in together,” says Randy. “But this was a big project and since we can’t be here full time yet, we wanted to be able to rent it out as well.”

Randy’s wife, Kimberly, had some early trepidation, “I have to admit I was pretty nervous about building something this major, long-distance. We couldn’t just jump in the car and be here if something went wrong, but Preston kept us in touch every step of the way, every day. He even put up a website for our house so we could see what was happening all the time. I don’t feel like we missed anything.”

Kimberly’s challenge was to create a cozy family space, keeping in mind that it wouldn’t always be her family staying there. “I knew I couldn’t really personalize. I went for a sophisticated beach look, went to High Point and picked out nice, sturdy furniture, trundle bunk beds and even bean bag chairs for the third story hang out room. Then I had all the comforters and shams made of strong fabrics that are easy to clean.”

Pulling from the surrounds, the Hall “cottage” palette reflects ocean and marsh in blues and greens, white-washed furnishings and earthy tiles.
On their first official sleep-over in April, Randy found love and serenity on the second-story porch, overlooking the Garden City marsh with the comings-and-goings of fishing boats and steady fluttering of tall grasses.

Their 12-year-old son Carson was excited to find that he could see fireworks at night from all the windows in his room and has rediscovered a passion for swimming in the pool.

But 9-year-old Caroline says she likes the pool too but you “can find one in most neighborhoods.” She is making the most of her beach time by swimming in the ocean waves, running with their family dog, Maggie, and playing Bocce Ball in the sand.

And the whole family has been introduced to the fun and convenience of a built-in Lazy Susan in the middle of the gigantic round kitchen table. “The kids are just loving saying, ‘Please send the sour cream around,’” laughs Kimberly.

Now, the youngest generation of the Hall kin is forging a bond with Garden City Beach and coming to understand why their Daddy will always have sand in his shoes.
“Ohhhh yes,” says Kimberly. “Randy has come full circle.”