Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Love Story of an Alabama Cottage

This is an emotional sneak peak into the beautiful beach cottage of my wonderful mother and father in law.  We were home in Alabama for his funeral, after a heroic battle with cancer, and this was his final piece of art work which they so beautifully created together.  The story of their life is a book on its own, but the story of this house is amazing in its self.  

Years back the main house, pictured above on the left of the deck, was gifted to them from a dear friend.  Being as adventurous as they are, they bought a stunning piece of property 150 yards. from Mobile Bay, and simply explained, cut the house into pieces, put it on a "trailer" and slowly and carefully rolled it down the road.  They then raised it 14 ft in the air and created the most beautiful stilt house.
Once that was done they added a guest house (to the right of the above picture), and a crows nest (pictured below).  The end result, a beautiful home that portrays the most ultimate journey and story of their love.

After walking up the grand entrance steps and through a beautiful front porch, where some pretty fantastic hammock swinging and music playing went on:

You enter into the

and are greeted by this hand carved wooden alligator

Heart pine flooring, passed down wicker couch, and a woven teak rug.

As you can tell, they were both well traveled.  She was an importer from Indonesia, store owner, and is a sail boat captain.  He was from South Africa and sailed around the world on a boat he made.  The house truly reflects their life stories.

To the left of the fire place is the 

The headboard is an antique Balinese screen with an assortment of chenille and linen super comfy pillows.


Vessel sink with salvaged Heart Pine counter top.

Heart Pine shelving and a beautiful collection of bath salts, soaps, and oils from around the world.  The hand carved wooden dancing women were designed by my mother in law.

When you walk out of the master suite and beyond the living room is the
Where some pretty amazing meals happened.

Fresh Gulf Shrimp, caught that day from Billy's Seafood

and of course Cynthia's amazing cheese grits (thank you Kell and Cynthia for the wonderful love filled meals).

Granite counter tops, original white painted cabinetry, and the wood work above the pass through is salvaged railing.

The bar is made from salvaged Heart Pine paired with bamboo bar stools.

A beautiful vignette on the bar of sea glass, shell and black and ivory candles.

As you walk through the kitchen you are lead into the 

I love the family room, it is so cozy and collected.  The piece above the sliding glass door is actually tree bark in a full circle, skinned from the tree in one continuous piece.

Again, this was designed by my mother-in-law.

The man himself.

The mirrored bar made even more alluring by the wooden mermaid! 

Even the doors they hand made!

Vintage suitcases used as a coffee table topped with glass.

Teak dining table with shell candle holder.

Balinese wooden Camel table made of imported German wood.

Gotta love the whimsy!

Even the
LAUNDRY ROOM is great:

My families clothes would never be dirty if I was working in this space!

The GUEST BATH is just so whimsical:

Hardware on a vintage shutter.


This is a house with a story behind every detail.  You can feel the love, work, care and passion it took to execute such a beautiful space.  This took sacrifice, and it does not go without notice.  Even the deck boards were salvaged after a hurricane from blown away boat docks.

The walkway was another salvage put to beautiful use.

When I look back at these pictures I'm amazed at the personal detail that has gone into this house.  Every board hammered, every window placed, down to the art work designed, was done by two of them and a few friends.

This post is first and foremost dedicated to the creators of this beautiful space, but it is also dedicated to all of you hard working couples out there who share a dream for the land you bought together and went for it by building a home with your four hands.  It gets hard, you sometimes wonder if it's worth it, if you will ever finish, but when you sit down at the end of the day you have something no one else can truly ever understand except the two of you, and THAT is a love story.


  1. Would love to hear what you all think.

  2. This is beautiful, the last paragraph made me tear up. My husband and I are at the very beginning of the adventure of building our own house. THanks for sharing this. We are Heather and Matt's friends in New Mexico.

    Cara Olson-Kolb

  3. What a warm and inviting place they built with love. I am so blessed to have been able to see it. I'm Cynthia's friend from upstate NY.

  4. Your home is amazing. What a wonderful blend of cultures, colors, styles, and love :-)

  5. wonderful, like a vibrant dinner...textures, colors, warmth and just delicious.

  6. I love the way you tell this story Heather-really well done!

  7. What a beautiful portrayal, in words and photos,of the wonderful and unique home that Robin and Rivers created! It has always been a work of love and it shows in every nook and cranny! In fact, it's the "house that love built"! Deb Hood

  8. Absolutely beautiful! There is so much to love in that home, which makes sense, considering how much love went into making it.

  9. If you think the house is unique you should meet Rivers!