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One More Cottage in Seaside…then and now


Happy Summer-like Weekend! I hope you are not tired of cottages in Seaside, because I have one last one to share with you (for awhile :))  This one was actually my first love and the very one that made me visit the little town.  In my last post, I shared with you a home from a magazine article saved from a 2003 issue of Coastal Living.  Well let’s go even further back in time today…way back to the late 1990’s when this magazine was in publication..

Do you remember Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion?  I loved her artwork and fabrics back then. In fact, at one point the kitchen in our previous home was wallpapered in one of her cherry print papers (with framed Susan Branch recipes decorating the walls), and my daughter’s nursery linens were all made from a Mary Engelbreit cherry fabric.  Boy that was looooong ago!  Okay… back to the story at hand here.

In an August-September issue of the Home Companion magazine in the late 1990’s… not sure if it was the one pictured above, there was an article featuring a cottage in Seaside.  It was built by Tom Christ for Becky and Louis Portera of Dallas, Texas and named Crystal Blue Persuasion (after the 70’s song.) When I saw the photos of the interiors I absolutely loved them.  And of course, I wanted to see more.  So I searched through all the information I could find on Seaside rentals but soon found out the house was not available to rent.

We then had a vacation planned to the wonderful town. Being the super house sleuth that I am, 🙂 I tore out the tiny photo of the house…

and walked all the streets of Seaside with the photo until I found it there on Pensacola Street.

Becky Portera owned an antique shop in Dallas, and her husband loved old maps and shells. So many pieces of brown transferware, numerous antique maps, and a large number of shell encrusted items were included in the four bedroom cottage.  At some point in the history of the home, the Portera’s sold it, and its name was changed to Changes in Attitudes.  The new owners have continued to keep much of the original style of decorating.

Here again is the magazine article with the original living room.

Here is the living room today with different owners.

Take a look at the collection of maps on the original staircase.

And here is the same space now.

Another view of the dining area looking into the living room.

The Portera’s daughter’s room was decorated in “Florida flea-market” style with pink walls.

I believe this is the same room.  It is a little hard to tell with the view out the windows over the bed being so different now twenty-something years later.  If it is correct the current owners now call this room The Hula Room, and they included a shelf on the wall as the previous owners did.  Just look at how you can open up those french doors and walk out on the deck there….sigh. 

There was a wall of “touristy” plates opposite the beds when it was owned by the Porteras.

And in the new version of the room, it looks like they have plates hanging in the same place, too.

Here are two more bedrooms that were featured in the old magazine spread.  It was these bedrooms that really started my infatuation with the cottage.

They now call the room pictured in the upper left, The Captain’s Quarters.

I miss all the antiques in the new master bedroom – the little rattan table, the ship, and the brass binoculars. But the newer version is calming with its sandcastle colored palette.

A little different version of the room here (change in art work and pillows.)

Several rooms were not pictured in the magazine article, so these next ones do not have an older version with which to compare them. Here is the current master bathroom  (with a bathtub full of water waiting on you!)

And they have a bunk room with four built in bunkbeds.

I don’t know why they did not include the tower bedroom in the magazine article.  What a fantastic room!! And can you imagine the view?!

Besides all the great rooms inside the cottage, there are a number of even more wonderful outdoor spaces to enjoy with this house.  Wouldn’t you like to be dining out on this porch?

And look at this precious pergola covered deck.

Although it is not directly oceanfront, the  best outdoor place to me has to be the upper deck that can be accessed from the bedrooms.

This view of the water from the tower is amazing.

Oh yes, I could happily live out my days at this beach cottage in Seaside.  And lucky for all of us, this time, the cottage is available as a rental (but it is booked for the summer.)

And this time, there is a full virtual tour so that you can enjoy the house any time you would like.

I hope you are having a great Saturday on this first weekend in June whether you are by the sea or not.  My husband grilled steaks and prepared a new potato salad for lunch here today.  It was a “send off” for our middle son as he left for a summer job in Atlanta today.  I am off to “summer-ize” the screened porch. We’ll be enjoying it more in the evenings now as the summer heat begins.  I love a porch at night..whether it is here at home or at the beach.

Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

You might enjoy these posts:

Becky Portera - July 7, 2013 - 6:57 pm

Kelly, my name is Becky Portera, former owner of the Seaside house in your blog of June 1, 2013. We loved that house so much! Many many happy days there. We were the original owners until we sold it, due to the fact my husband was diagnosed with leukemia. He passed away four years ago.
But lets get back to happy times….. we added the pergola at the end of the driveway when our oldest daughter married there. We loved to eat out there ! Yes the “hula room” is the same room…however, I redecorated it after the ME photo shoot, a few years later when my youngest daughter married. She spent her honeymoon there, so we redecorated it together before the wedding. We had so much fun doing it. Very little has changed in the house…even many of the bedclothes are the same ! When we left the house, we sold it pretty much fully decorated. We took out a lot of special things, a lot of the maps and accessories, and left the rest. Fun to run across this…it brings back many happy memories, and I do hope the home is making many happy memories for those who rent there now. Our family still loves the area and we continue to go there every chance we get.


Oh wow! Becky it is wonderful to know you read the post!!! How in Heaven’s name did you find it? I have loved your home since I first laid eyes on it. I know it had to be a place of sanctuary for you and your family. I am so sad to hear about your husband.

And now on to happier times. Thank you for all the updated info on your home. How great that your daughter was married there! My sister was married in our former home. A wedding in Seaside would be dreamy!!! Would love for my daughter to do that one day, but she crazily wants a Disney wedding at this point. I hope this phase passes before she actually has to plan a wedding. 🙂 When your family visits Seaside, do you stay in your old home? And do you still have an antique shop as the ME article mentioned?

Thank you SO very much for reading the post and leaving all your comments here. It was a thrill to get it! We have been at Amelia Island for the last few days, so I have been unable to email.
Love your Seaside cottage!

antiquechase - June 7, 2013 - 1:53 pm

Just found you from SSS. Newest follower. Come over and say hi if you have time!

This house makes me want to pack it all up and move coastal!! I’m in LOVE!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - June 7, 2013 - 9:33 am

Kelly….I saved all of my Home Companions…I may have that issue!…I so love Seaside…and I am swooning over these pics…Hope you are having the beginnings of a great summer!!

Melanie - June 5, 2013 - 9:43 pm

That house is incredible…thanks for the tour!

Tom Christ - June 4, 2013 - 12:11 am

Kelly– Came across your wonderful site via pinterest and was glad to see a few of my houses featured. Glad you liked them! We’ve designed a great many homes in Seaside over the years and the timelessness of the designs are a testament to the architectural vision of the town.

Best Wishes,

Tom Christ, AIA
Christ & Associates, Architects and Planners, P.A.

Amy O'Quinn - June 3, 2013 - 12:21 pm

I could so enjoy a meal on that lovely deck!:) Thank you for sharing this post–great ideas and inspiration.

Also, I have been thinking about you and your family after reading your ‘3 Weeks in May’ post. God is so good, and I’m so glad He held your son in His hands at that terrifying time. We don’t always understand why things happen as they do, but it’s reassuring to trust the One who does know all! Sending lots of love and hugs to you. I know that was a scary time for you as a mama.

Thanks for sharing!

Arlene@Nanaland - June 3, 2013 - 8:51 am

Well I love Mary Engelbreit too Kelly! I must say that I prefer the cottage decorated by the new owners. Hey, I would take ANY cottage in Seaside. I do love that distressed blue farm table! Neat.

Paula B. - June 3, 2013 - 8:35 am

Loving the two decors, what a sweet home. Both sets of owners had a real sense of what they wanted for a beach style! Sounds like you had a great Saturday, grilling out really says the summer has arrived. We actually had our first heat wave, several days in the nineties… and now it’s a rainy Monday. Good thing because the kids are still in school although the seniors will be departing shortly. Have a good week, I’m thinking it’s the first that you are finally off? Enjoy!

Grace @ sense and simplicity - June 2, 2013 - 7:57 pm

I love seeing how homes transform through the years. Thanks for sharing. This one is a beaut!

Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA - June 2, 2013 - 7:41 am

Kelly, I was at the beach yesterday!!!! In the Sandbridge part of Virginia Beach, the water was FREEZING cold. You know it’s cold when the teenager kids would rather be at the park than in the water. The kids and I both noticed how some of the properties that were for sale last summer have now been sold, torn down, and lots of rebuilding going on. I have to say I like the BEFORE pictures better in the Seaside cottage……..Happy Summer!!!

Trish @TheOldPostRoad - June 1, 2013 - 10:06 pm

Interesting! Enjoyed that tour and comparison.

That was my favorite magazine of ALL TIME. I cannot believe she stopped publishing!


Louvina - June 1, 2013 - 9:51 pm

It is so restful to view this seaside cottage and compare the changes. I always learn so much– I’ve seen open roofed seating areas but did not know what they were called– now I know it is a pergola! Googled and read all about it! We are having a big week of graduation activities, baccalaureate, graduation on Thursday evening, and our lake party BBQ for 85 on Saturday! Today was spent getting everything ready– double cooker, picnic benches, boats, beach and yard cleaned, plus starting decorations inside! Your porch meal sounded so nice and I know you are exhausted from your week of closing out and moving your classroom. I made meatball subs and a pig pickin’ cake for all my helpers today –family and friends came to pitch in! Couldn’t do all this preparation without them! Happy summer to all and to all a good nite!

Garden, Home and Party - June 1, 2013 - 9:43 pm

This is my favorite house, inside and out that you’ve shared from Seaside. I love the decor and the view and am thrilled that it’s on VBRO…if I ever make it to Seaside, FL I’m renting it. 😀 Is it terribly expensive?

Linda - June 1, 2013 - 9:34 pm

I am not tired of seeing beautiful homes, never !!!!!!!!! This is a beautiful cottage, but, I must say I love the before the best!!!

Nana Diana - June 1, 2013 - 7:10 pm

What an awesome, awesome house. How neat that you could find it and were able to compare the before and afters- Love it- xi Diana

Kim - June 1, 2013 - 5:37 pm

Kelly, I love this home and it looks like maybe some of the old stuff on the walls was sold with the house. Probably didn’t want to patch holes. lol

Dawn - June 1, 2013 - 5:18 pm


This is another lovely Seaside home! I just love these kinds of vacation homes! I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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