Ask the Expert: Architect Geoff Chick Shares About Creating a Dreamy Beach Getaway

Photography by Colleen Duffley
Photography by Colleen Duffley

4. You design so many coastal properties, how do you keep it fresh?

I wouldn’t say we are occupied with keeping things fresh. For me, the look evolves slowly from one project to the next. We strive to bring in abundant natural light, which I can’t imagine ever going out of style. All of our homes have a common DNA that makes our projects instantly recognizable to most people in the community, but everything starts with a great floor plan. I’d like to think our homes will still be relevant 25–50 years down the road.

Geoff Chick exterior
Photography by Colleen Duffley

5. Your projects have great curb appeal and are always so inviting. Is there a design element that you feel is essential to creating a welcoming home?

I do love a dramatic porch space. Recently, I designed a home for a client who wanted a wraparound porch on their three-story home with a view facing the Gulf. I had decided against using our signature heavy timber brackets to extend the roofline out on the third-level porches. The client rejected the more conservative design, saying, “How is anyone going to know this is a Geoff Chick house without the porch brackets?!”

Photography by Colleen Duffley
coastal foyer with natural light
Photography by Colleen Duffley

6. This house has a very organic feel with the extensive use of wood on floors and walls. It is layered without being fussy and open without feeling cavernous. Do you have tips for readers on how to best achieve such great results?

I have to give credit to the builder and the decorator for doing such a great job with the colors and materials. I will say the extensive use of cypress on the ceilings and the barn doors gives an authentic warmth to all the spaces. I also love the reclaimed heart pine floors and beams in the hallway ceiling. The combination of new and old materials makes each feel fresh. The coffered ceiling of the great room helps to break up the scale of the space by lowering the ceiling and giving rhythm to the separate areas within the overall. The transom windows are key to bringing extra natural light to the center of all the spaces on the first level. The great room ceiling is 12′ tall, with 8′ doors, and the transoms are at 10′. This gives us enough space for the coffered ceiling detail and trim. The first level hallway is 8′ wide, taking what would normally be a boring hallway and creating an opportunity for a small sitting area with a wet bar.

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