Noel Cross+Architects
Architects & Designers
Breakers Beach House beach-style-exterior

Breakers Beach House

Firmness . . .
Santa Cruz’s historically eclectic Pleasure Point neighborhood has been evolving in its own quirky way for almost a century, and many of its inhabitants seem to have been around just as long. They cling to the relaxed and funky seaside character of their beach community with an almost indignant provinciality. For both client and architect, neighborhood context became the singular focus of the design; to become the “poster child” for compatibility and sustainability. Dozens of photos were taken of the surrounding area as inspiration, with the goal of honoring the idiosyncratic, fine-grained character and informal scale of a neighborhood built over time.

A low, horizontal weathered ipe fence at the street keeps out surfer vans and neighborhood dogs, and a simple gate beckons visitors to stroll down the boardwalk which gently angles toward the front door. A rusted steel fire pit is the focus of this ground level courtyard, which is encircled by a curving cor-ten garden wall graced by a sweep of horse tail reeds and tufts of feather grass.

Extensive day-lighting throughout the home is achieved with high windows placed in all directions in all major rooms, resulting in an abundance of natural light throughout. The clients report having only to turning on lights at nightfall. Notable are the numerous passive solar design elements: careful attention to overhangs and shading devices at South- and West-facing glass to control heat gain, and passive ventilation via high windows in the tower elements, all are significant contributors to the structure’s energy efficiency.

Commodity . . .
Beautiful views of Monterey Bay and the lively local beach scene became the main drivers in plan and section. The upper floor was intentionally set back to preserve ocean views of the neighbor to the north. The surf obsessed clients wished to be able to see the “break” from their upper floor breakfast table perch, able to take a moment’s notice advantage of some killer waves. A tiny 4,500 s.f. lot and a desire to create a ground level courtyard for entertaining dictated the small footprint. A graceful curving cor-ten and stainless steel stair descends from the upper floor living areas, connecting them to a ground level “sanctuary”.

A small detached art studio/surfboard storage shack in the back yard fulfills functional requirements, and includes an outdoor shower for the post-surf hose down. Parking access off a back alley helps to preserve ground floor space, and allows in the southern sun on the view/courtyard side. A relaxed “bare foot beach house” feel is underscored by weathered oak floors, painted re-sawn wall finishes, and painted wood ceilings, which recall the cozy cabins that stood here at Breakers Beach for nearly a century.

Delight . . .
Commemorating the history of the property was a priority for the surfing couple. With that in mind, they created an artistic reproduction of the original sign that decorated the property for many decades as an homage to the “Cozy Cabins at Breakers Beach”, which now graces the foyer.

This casual assemblage of local vernacular architecture has been informed by the consistent scale and simple materials of nearby cottages, shacks, and bungalows. These influences were distilled down to a palette of board and batt, clapboard, and cedar shiplap, and synthesized with bolder forms that evoke images of nearby Capitola Wharf, beach lifeguard towers, and the client’s “surf shack” program requirements. The landscape design takes its cues from boardwalks, rusted steel fire rings, and native grasses, all of which firmly tie the building to its local beach community. The locals have embraced it as one of their own.

Architect - Noel Cross Architect
Landscape Architect - Christopher Yates
Interior Designer - Gina Viscusi-Elson
Lighting Designer - Vita Pehar Design
Contractor - The Conrado Company

This photo has 4 questions

June 1, 2014
macddy1 wrote:
Is this home a sealed home with conditioned attic space? Love the loo
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Noel Cross+Architects
no, but most of our projects are these days. We started this project in 2006.
    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 5:59PM
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June 1, 2014
macddy1 wrote:
How does the tower area ventilate the hot air that has risen into it?
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Noel Cross+Architects
Many of the upper windows are operable.
    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:04PM
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July 7, 2012
Shannon Richard wrote:
what type of wood did you use on the pathway? looks great!
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Renaissance Kitchen and Home
I don't know for sure but it could be Brazilian Walnut (IPE') or Mahogany. Both are good exterior choices.

Torry Manzo
Renaissance Kitchen and Home
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:58AM
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Noel Cross+Architects
    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:46AM
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April 18, 2012
Rebekkah Ziel wrote:
What is the exterior color? - What is the exterior color?
Thank you!
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Noel Cross+Architects
All there colors were custom color mixes, so we can't reveal them.
    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:58PM
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What Houzz contributors are saying:

Cross paid tribute to the local vernacular by staying in line with the scale and simple materials of the beach cottages and bungalows surrounding this home. Board and batten, cedar shiplap, and clapboard on the exterior help contribute to this modern beachfront look. Landscape architect Christopher Yates used a combination of low-maintenance coastal plants for the front yard. One challenge was containing the horsetail grass, which can become a problem if not held back. In the end, Yates and his team encased the entire planting area in a concrete basin.
Vanessa Brunner added this to Designer Sketch: Noel Cross
What inspires your designs?Many things. My love of architecture, all styles, modern being my favorite currently. The environment, the specific site and the surrounding region are huge inspirations. Probably most of all are my clients. My only nonnegotiable is that they must love their home, so I take a lot of inspiration from what they are dreaming of, what would make them the most happy and proud. I try to capture their souls and create a shelter for their psyche, if that makes sense. The bottom line is that buildings are for people, so they for me are the most important inspiration. The site is a very close second; in some cases it's a tie.Where's your go-to place for inspiration?Outside. Nature.Where in the world do you want to go next? Why?Spain. Man, I am just dying to see Barcelona and the work of Antonio Gaudi, and then drive over to Bilbao and experience Gehry's Guggenheim Museum firsthand. For me there are so many similarities in the work of these two great architects. Both are true artists deep down, and without art in architecture, you just have bricks and mortar with no soul. Why do it?Do you still draw, or is everything on the computer now?I still hand-draw every project, especially in the design phase. I leave the CAD to my wonderful staff, who are much better at it than I am. We eventually complete the design in 3D on the computer, which is an awesome and powerful tool, but most everything is still designed with a pen in my hand.More Designer Sketches:Jean Dufresne | Josh McCullar

What Houzzers are commenting on:

gincyp added this to mountain modern
on Thursday
Stairwell to ground
zannah16 added this to Front Deck
on Thursday
Sure, why not
georgetownsc added this to georgetownsc's Ideas
on Sunday
Love the architectural detail for rooftop. How do we give 835 Front a signature look. This rooftop includes enclosed and open area
morganeblackwood added this to beach exterior
January 23, 2015
adriennekincaid added this to House ideas
January 17, 2015
Railing around deck, house paint colors
jewaltz added this to Exterior
January 13, 2015
brackets from columns up to shed roof above porch with exposed underside of metal roof
suemccurrie added this to cottage ideas
January 6, 2015
2nd floor balcony
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none added this to elwach's ideas
January 1, 2015
gables over deck
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December 20, 2014
Ladder shape
WMR Design added this to Cardiff Beach House remodel
December 19, 2014
Railing and color
caronine added this to caronine's Ideas
December 16, 2014
Great new build
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December 14, 2014
degengray added this to exterior
November 28, 2014
raised walkways above garden
waterfall777 added this to weekly
November 25, 2014
lots of glass on top is cool
brendaarnold added this to Board and Batten
November 18, 2014
upper deck off second story
Casey Laborde, AIA / Folck West Architects added this to beach housing
November 18, 2014
cantilevered trellis / tall windows. Vertical B&B siding, good rails too.
sheakeri1 added this to sheakeri1's Ideas
November 18, 2014
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November 11, 2014
Awesome outside
Monika Keller added this to Pacheco House
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November 10, 2014
robertethier added this to Farm house exteriors
November 9, 2014
knee braces on top floor, similar to Polygon design
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November 9, 2014
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November 5, 2014
addition to home
Sheila Plumley added this to Landscape Ideas
November 5, 2014
no grass, deck/walkway, stairwell to second floor
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November 2, 2014
Entry detail
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November 2, 2014
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October 30, 2014
bdebever added this to Bathroom Ideas
October 26, 2014
rooftop deck
Restoration Dream Builders added this to ORCHARD DRIVE IDEAS
October 24, 2014
A good idea for a mix of vertical siding to save money
K. Miller Interiors added this to clearwater houses
October 22, 2014
White trellis work
nlc1035 added this to backyard
October 20, 2014
deck over first story
hjmswillow added this to environmental design
October 19, 2014
What the???
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October 19, 2014
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October 18, 2014
Outside home theme
jennieac added this to cottage style
October 15, 2014
glass room upstairs
joannmcinnis added this to Beach House
October 1, 2014
Upper level
kitelove added this to HOUSE
September 26, 2014
Slightly raised walks and deck. Way easier than flush.
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September 19, 2014
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September 19, 2014
Tower design
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September 18, 2014
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September 15, 2014
Metal railing; open tower with plenty of windows
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September 12, 2014
cool lines
jabomom added this to sunroom addition
September 10, 2014
this is cool it might go w/ the house
hollybarks13 added this to California Dream House
September 5, 2014
Boardwalk and garden
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September 3, 2014
oh my
Carol Cobb added this to landscape
September 3, 2014
architectural element over windows
pottersgirl added this to Exterior Paint
September 2, 2014
The top deck and windows. ..also color.
James Givens added this to James Givens's Ideas
September 2, 2014
The cottage
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August 31, 2014
srbeach added this to florida house
August 20, 2014
Deck and windows above
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August 19, 2014
windows, siding
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August 18, 2014
siding and windows
sheppup1 added this to House Style Exterior
August 18, 2014
Wire railing. Arching for Over juicers balcony.
wgbell added this to wgb outside
August 16, 2014
Navarre like colors
Rosemary Paddington added this to rosemary_paddington's Ideas
August 15, 2014
Interesting architecture and boardwalk
ID.ology Interior Design added this to Cameron
August 13, 2014
Interesting use of different finishes
fernheath added this to beach shed
August 9, 2014
Roof deck!!!!
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August 9, 2014
porch railing
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August 7, 2014
Debbie Wade added this to passive solar
August 7, 2014
bogmanswife added this to House Colors
August 5, 2014
Love the deck
jorgensenj added this to jorgensenj's ideas
August 3, 2014
Funky design
stevywhite added this to exterior house
August 1, 2014
Medium gray exterior paint with white windows dark trim and medium Townwood to warm it up
cheryldoran added this to cheryldoran's ideas
July 31, 2014
like how rails go way down
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July 28, 2014
Beachhouse siding
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July 27, 2014
arts and craft key detail idea
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July 21, 2014
Lake B&B
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July 18, 2014
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July 17, 2014
Great use of up
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July 17, 2014
house color
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July 17, 2014
beachhouse details
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July 12, 2014
Gray board button with white trim
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July 9, 2014
glass room
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July 6, 2014
stairs to deck and boardwalk
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July 2, 2014
Exterior modern
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June 29, 2014
Exterior railing
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June 28, 2014
Ric says for SunRoom
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June 22, 2014
Siding for cottage
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June 17, 2014
roof deck
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June 16, 2014
crock386 added this to crock386's Ideas
June 16, 2014
Cool elevation
jbamber87 added this to jbamber87's ideas
June 16, 2014
Badass cottage
qfortune added this to qfortune's Ideas
June 15, 2014
Use of a 450 sq ft lot and it's simple yet great use of windows for natural lighting...
heatherparkinson added this to heatherparkinson's ideas
June 8, 2014
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June 7, 2014
Paint colors
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June 7, 2014
cokerjen added this to garden and exterior
June 7, 2014
window trim
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June 6, 2014
C Paige Design added this to Beach Cottage
June 5, 2014
board and bat siding & deck
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June 4, 2014
beach cottage
pmanley08 added this to 249 lakeland ideas
June 3, 2014
curved front staircase
kevi1225 added this to kevi1225's Ideas
June 2, 2014
Love every aspect of this!
Massey Design Group added this to Gee Exterior
May 30, 2014
charlienancychris added this to charlienancychris's ideas
May 28, 2014
Energy efficient siding ?
a1wilheit added this to Exterior
May 28, 2014
Katy Game-on added this to Tremont ideas
May 26, 2014
Wood walkway
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Different materials
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May 24, 2014
rosesteve added this to Just Fun Ideas
May 21, 2014
Thomas Wilson added this to thomas_wilson's Ideas
May 19, 2014
Exterior color
Heather MacNeil added this to Roof deck
May 18, 2014
Could be similar look to ours
ace1179 added this to ace1179's Ideas
May 18, 2014
room under deck
jones enterprise inc added this to jonzy2014's Ideas
May 13, 2014
kiervh added this to kiervh's Ideas
May 12, 2014
very cool house
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May 12, 2014
Lake side cabin exterior
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Cat mountain house
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May 8, 2014
I like the bold departure from the standard.
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May 7, 2014
stairs curve - whynot?
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May 5, 2014
Container home idea
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May 4, 2014
brilliance219 added this to homes.
May 2, 2014
a little more space and it would be heaven!
marley333 added this to Outside paint
May 1, 2014
gray and white with brown lanai
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April 30, 2014
Can I come in?
britlo added this to britlo's ideas
April 28, 2014
blue grey color
nma420 added this to nma420's ideas
April 26, 2014
love rails, siding
savbrook added this to savbrook's Ideas
April 22, 2014
Cool deck
zulu72 added this to zulu72's Ideas
April 20, 2014
Elevated deck for more dun
rejyeo added this to Exterior
April 17, 2014
Wooden path
lxander724 added this to lxander724's ideas
April 13, 2014
Emily Callman added this to emily_callman's Ideas
April 13, 2014
Exterior colors
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April 10, 2014
exterior paint
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April 10, 2014
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April 10, 2014
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April 9, 2014
Addition with 2 floor open deck
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April 8, 2014
like for add on
Susie Labbe' added this to webuser_52837's Ideas
April 7, 2014
2nd story room with a deck
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April 6, 2014
Gr8 home design
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April 2, 2014
love little houses
dvmin04 added this to dvmin04's Ideas
March 31, 2014
roof top deck?
tideaway added this to tideaway's ideas
March 31, 2014
Love this look
anthonymc added this to Torquay display
March 30, 2014
Torquay display
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March 29, 2014
check at tresses over windows
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March 28, 2014
aylim1990 added this to house exterior
March 27, 2014
Upstairs lots of glass
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March 25, 2014
Exterior color
mlessner added this to Beach House Exterior
March 24, 2014
pergola type structure over windows
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March 24, 2014
cool house
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March 23, 2014
Interesting walkway
michelle_kirkwood added this to michelle_kirkwood's Ideas
March 23, 2014
gorgeous second story
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March 23, 2014
Narrow lot
mcollier57 added this to Exterior Ideas
March 23, 2014
reminds me of Capetown, with side entry
bonnzil added this to exterior paint
March 22, 2014
exterior paint
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March 22, 2014
jenleh1 added this to jenleh1's ideas
March 22, 2014
Walkway and railing for beach house
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March 22, 2014
Amazing. Ready to move in.
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March 21, 2014
Wow love it
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March 19, 2014
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March 15, 2014
Louise Cooper added this to Beach house windows
March 12, 2014
Great windows, great siding, great colors, love this house
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March 12, 2014
hawkrick added this to Townline Rd Cottage
March 11, 2014
Very cool use of second story outdoor space
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March 9, 2014
Possible extension to upside down house
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March 9, 2014
clairepierce added this to Future House
March 8, 2014
beach getaway home
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March 8, 2014
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March 6, 2014
Future roof deck
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March 6, 2014
love deck over screened porch
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Paint color
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Siding and color
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February 28, 2014
"shelter for your soul" funny, modern style # other projects
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February 28, 2014
Great use of space
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February 27, 2014
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February 26, 2014
wooden path
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February 26, 2014
second floor
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February 23, 2014
Color combination
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February 19, 2014
Love design and layout/use of space
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February 16, 2014
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February 15, 2014
exterior colors with cedar
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February 15, 2014
Beach home
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February 14, 2014
Beach house
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February 13, 2014
After the hurricane 2 story
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February 13, 2014
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February 9, 2014
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February 9, 2014
windows, upper
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February 8, 2014
Upper addition is primarily windows
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February 8, 2014
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February 8, 2014
color of outside & trim
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February 7, 2014
Cool deck - like a pier
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February 4, 2014
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February 2, 2014
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February 2, 2014
Don't like railing posts mounted on outside
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January 31, 2014
deck path
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January 29, 2014
beach rental
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January 28, 2014
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