‘If you are lucky…
you may one day live in a house that is so effusively a part of who you are and how you live
that it will become a main character
in your life,
It will escape the bounds of geography, topography, street address and square footage,
and be, instead, the perfect backdrop for a life well lived.
A life you live.’
~Debra Shriver (foreword in House Proud by Valorie Hart)
Enter Vero Beach local, Dale McGee
House saver, soul soother, designer, boho spirit,
Mother of 5 Grandmimi of 8, friend to many many.
A colorful local character who, in saving a 1920’s Florida vernacular cracker cottage….
found her self. and a neighborhood.
I first met her 15 years ago when she and an artist friend were fixing up another 1920’s Spanish cottage
next to ours, in this same ‘full of history’ hood.
Lucky for us…
She has left her creative mark on a string of local gems she has touched around our town.
Don your flip flops….grab a straw hat… a cool drink… and
Join me on a tour of her Florida Cracker home
then, for extra fun… walk up the street with me to come peep
into another 1920’s cracker cottage she helped renovate and design…
let’s do the neighborhood. shall we?
Even the old oak that had to be cut down in front of the Boho Blue house many moons ago… lives on with personality… and you will get the Boho when you enter…trust me.
She saw a sun in the vestiges of his trunk….she got a sun.
who does that? Dale does that…
driveway is lined with our local ocean floor….washed and sun bleached shells….
and kitschy flamingos….cuz it is Florida, folks.
There is such a true love of old, collected kitschy Florida in this abode.
You cannot help but smile.
as you enter into the sunroom… you are greeted by sisters Alice and Audrey….
Yoga Yorkies yep they do yoga. I saw pics
The home is a treasure trove of vintage rattan and bamboo furnishings. Authentic Florida.
The main rooms are awash in color on the walls….and Dade county pine floors…These cracker homes live
much bigger than they look. Just enough room. Never too much.
Many of the paintings are from local narrative artist Deb Gooch… Dale’s five kids
adorn the green wall of fame…
Vintage Florida Kitsch…In the 40’s and 50’s Coconut heads were the tourist attraction of the day…Each coconut was hand carved and painted to reflect their own personality.
Sometimes they were decorated with feathers and beads,
but always with shells to create eyes, teeth and earrings.
Dale has been collecting these time worn funky treasures for decades.
They stalwartly guard the fireplace
The kitchen puts the FUN in functional
I want a steel drum on my table to hold fruit now. right now.
Three bedrooms and two baths create this Cracker.
Outside is a small paradise… festooned in tropical color begging you, no…
demanding you to relax
a small Key West sized pool…a winding path to a once pole barn, now shrimp colored art studio,
…and a palm thatch tiki hut. What more does one need?
personality around every corner….behind every shell…
a self admitted housie from the early childhood days of creating homes of sticks and blocks
…Dale continues to create small wonderland habitats of moss and succulents
Can you hear the palms swaying…cicadas crooning?
But…don’t relax too much…just yet.
Lets head down the oak lined street….
Her neighbor to the direct north is this gorgeous cottage. breathed alive…House CPR..full of soul.
Two houses down we meander upon another sweet 1920’s cracker…designed by Dale for her friend and neighbor.
Peeking out behind a natural Florida yard…shells replace grass. Tropical's happily roam
Just stepping into the sun warmed, window lined room….warms your heart
Dale’s love of vintage Florida art and furnishings are found throughout.
and work beautifully, expressively in this cottage.
A cool and functional addition to the home were spyder solar tubes…small portals that deliver reflected light
into hard to reach places. Florida sun washes the room without the FEEL of Florida sun.
This cracker home has two bedroooms….but also a bodacious loft up some turquoise stairs
That I forgot to get pics of….stellar little original room that currently housed two pop out bean bag twin beds. The room originally was rented to Navy soldiers in the 1940’s while they did their pilot training. seriously.
I Loved the tiny original closet doors….were we all 5 foot nothing in the 1920’s?
Great re-done galley kitchen…looking out to palms through their wind out windows
Outside….another lulling paradise
Fabulous firepit newly crafted by Dale’s middle son
so new…it has not even seen its inaugural fire yet…
window to the world…
This cracker also houses an artist studio in the back yard….bathed in light…white cement floors
hammock in front.
Quietly…or perhaps not so quietly…this sweet neighborhood is becoming an art enclave.
tucked away. creating genius.
Dale and all of those that
save and celebrate these venerable old souls
My straw hat is so off to you…