Human beauty may be fleeting, but in the world of architecture and interior design, beauty lasts. “Beauty is a very green feature,” says Christian Wagley, who oversees environmental issues at an eco-focused Florida beach community. “We tend to keep and value beautiful things. If they need to be fixed, we fix them. Ugly buildings, on the other hand, tend to be torn down.”
Sustainable, beautiful buildings in a town planned around pedestrians are features that make Alys Beach notably green. The resort community on Florida’s northern Gulf Coast sits between Destin and Panama City, but it is light years away from those legendary traffic-heavy, “spring break” towns.
Shops, restaurants, and offices are within a five-minute walk of residences. Narrow streets, limited parking, and miles of sidewalks encourage walking rather than driving. It was a neighborhood model that convinced Wagley, a long-time conservationist, to become the community’s environmental program manager. “Traditional neighborhood development offers tremendous benefits in reducing the carbon footprint, because we’re creating towns where we walk and ride bikes,” he says.
In the space shown here, outdoor fabrics used for drapery panels and cushions are dyed to resist sun and water damage and are also certified as low in chemical emissions and safe for indoor use (sunbrella.com).
Interior designer: Georgia Carlee, ASID, GCI Design, 56 Spires Lane, Suite 12A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459; 850/ 217-8155, gcarlee.com.
Kitchen designer: Susan Massey, Bohlert Massey Interiors, 850/231-3940.
Town founder of Alys Beach: Jason Comer.
Photographs by Jack Gardner
Text by Amy Elbert
Drapery and cushions (“Dupione’’/Cornsilk #8012-0000): Sunbrella, sunbrella.com, trade only.
Chairs (“Fusion Lounge Chair’’/Java Finish #2860-2000); chair and daybed fabric (“High Noon’’ #676): Brown Jordan, 800/743-4252, brownjordan.com, trade only.
Daybed (recycled teak): Yellowtail Trading Co., 850/622-5760.
Cocktail table (“Campinas X Side Table’’ #C067-02): Environment Furniture, 323/935-1330, environment-furniture.com.
Balls in foreground: Phillips Collection, 202/387-2151, phillipscollection.org.
Trim paint (“Decorators White”): Benjamin Moore & Co, 888/236-6667.