Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bohemian Blue Florida Cracker: A house tour

‘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,
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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.
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A colorful local character who, in saving a 1920’s Florida vernacular cracker cottage….
found her self. and a neighborhood.
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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.
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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.
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She saw a sun in the vestiges of his trunk….she got a sun.
who does that? Dale does that…
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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.
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as you enter into the sunroom… you are greeted by sisters  Alice and Audrey….
Yoga Yorkies yep they do yoga. I saw pics
….Seriously adorable.
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The home is a treasure trove of vintage rattan and bamboo furnishings. Authentic Florida.
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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.
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Many of the paintings are from local narrative artist Deb Gooch…  Dale’s five kids
adorn the green wall of fame…
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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
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The kitchen puts the FUN in functional
I want a steel drum on my table to hold fruit now. right now.
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Three bedrooms and two baths create this Cracker.
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Outside is a small paradise… festooned in tropical color begging you, no…
demanding you to relax
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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?
seriously?
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personality around every corner….behind every shell…
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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
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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.
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Peeking out behind a natural Florida yard…shells replace grass. Tropical's happily roam
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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.
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IMG_9144 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.
kinda ingenious.
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This cracker home has two bedroooms….but also a bodacious loft up some turquoise stairs
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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.
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I Loved the tiny original closet doors….were we all 5 foot nothing in the 1920’s? 
fascinating.
Great  re-done galley kitchen…looking out to palms through their wind out windows
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Outside….another lulling paradise
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Fabulous firepit  newly crafted by Dale’s  middle son
so new…it has not even seen its inaugural fire yet…
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IMG_9208  vines will soon be climbing up this bamboo
window to the world…
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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.
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Thank you
Dale and all of those that
  save and celebrate these venerable old souls
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My straw hat is so off to you…
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seriously.

10 comments:

mari said...

Absolutely gorgeous

tammy j said...

thank you!
you captured the magic
of both places and their owners!

Will Philipp said...

Have always loved the spirit, creativity,& 60's hippie heart of my close cousin, Dale Philipp McGee!!
You have captured her through her talented eyes! Always love a visit to Dale to see & absorb the new additions to her Florida Cracker house----Sending love from cuz, Billy

Victoria Gould said...

What a wonderful blog post! I have walked by these houses and wondered what they looked like inside. Yes, I'm a house voyeur! Absolutely beautiful, with a bohemian Florida vibe. Dale and her friends are fabulous and their homes show their creative spirits.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

They were Lippin' full of FUN. Have at least 150 more pics in the camera.

Doing GREAT work these home savers!

VirginiaC said...

I TOTALLY enjoyed this post of these two beautiful homes...the photos took me right there....thanks.
The two yoga Yorkies are so incredibly cute too!!

rphilbeck said...

Awesome…makes me want to decorate my home like that. So bright and relaxing and colorful!! Thanks for showing us.

Lisa Porter said...

I so want to be your neighbor. And I crave living in a cracker box with a big personality. We're looking but so far nothing with a beach in sight. Will let you know if I do! Many thanks to your fabulous friends for the home tours!!!

Holly Woodcock said...

Help me, please! I have an unrestored, historic cracker house in downtown Fort Pierce, and would love for Dale to see it and give me inspiration for my house!

dale mcgee said...

Would be happy to talk with you about your Florida Cracker house. I love downtown Fort Pierce. Please contact me at home at 772-569-8849.
Look forward to meeting you.
Dale

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