• Designer Cheryl Maeder Discovers Architectural Gem Alys Beach

    Passage to Beauty: Alys Beach

    Cheryl Maeder, Fine Art Photographer and Designer at Gardenhouse has written articles for Decorated Life before..and I’ve loved every one of her decorating ideas. Having lived in Switzerland, Europe then San Francisco and Florida, Cheryl Maeder is constantly discovering ways of creating new decorating ideas for living spaces.  

    Today Cheryl brings us Alys Beach in North Florida. What a find! This town, with its ‘sparkling white’ sustainable structures will be on the map soon enough.

    Alys Beach – Sparkling White Architecture  

    by Cheryl Maeder

    Aly's Beach

    Source: Cheryl Maede

    Several months ago my husband, Gary, and I went to visit dear friends along 30A, a 28.5 mile coastal corridor that hugs the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida. The drive takes you along sugar white beaches and coastal sand dunes, reminiscent of the beach coastline along Carmel, California, however, not as wild, much more tame and calm.  

    On our trip we were fortunate to meet the lovely Marianne Khoury-Vogt.  When I met Marianne, I liked her immediately.  She reminded me of friends while I was living in Europe. There is a lot of depth to her that I find in those that have lived in other countries.   I discovered that Marianne and her husband Erik Vogt are the Architects who created Alys Beach.

    more at Aly's Beach

    Source: Cheryl Maede

    There was so much buzz about Alys Beach, that Gary and I decided to explore what all the talk was about.  I discovered that Alys is one of several villages along 30A that are part of what is called the New Urbanism, a concept centered on residential town centers.  

    We took off for Alys Beach, along 30A, meandering along when there in front of us was this canopy of beautiful high Palm Trees on both sides of our car majestically guiding us into Alys.  Gary and I parked our car and looked around at the most beautiful architecture, sparkling white, part Moroccan, Greek and English Tudor in feel.  

    doorway at Aly's Beach

    Source: Cheryl Maede

    I felt transported back to Europe, where I lived for eight years and yet here I was in United States.  It was modern and yet hints of old world charm.  The beauty of the architecture is a perfect mix of form and function, Art and Design.  Definitely built with a higher vision in mind.  I soon learned that Marianne and Erik Vogt received the 2012 Addison Mizner Medal in Landscape Architecture for their design.  Presented by the Florida Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.  The Mizner Medal “awards excellence in the creation of 21st Century classical and traditional architecture and related fields”.

    As we were walking through Alys Beach, I noticed that all the building structures were not only beautiful in design,  the architectural elements such as doors, windows,  railings etc. are all created with sustainable materials.  Everywhere we looked on all the buildings, they seemed to be created with sustainability in mind. As Gary and I lived in Northern California for many years, this, of course, was very important to both of us. 

    sustainable living at Aly's Beach

     I learned that the philosophy behind the community of Alys Beach is, in fact, Green.  That all the buildings are built to last for centuries with highly reinforced masonry construction. 

    “Alys Beach has exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of sheer beauty. It proves that architecture that is profoundly ecological and tough enough to resist hurricanes can be beautiful. This is important. There is too much of the attitude that “green” and “hardened” buildings are inevitably coarse and ugly and that we ignorant folk are supposed to just put up with it. Not so—as you can see at Alys”,  Andres Duany, cofounder of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., the Miami-based urban planning and design firm and Alys Beach master plan developers. 

    Alys Beach is a town in progress. The town is not fully built yet, however, you can envision the wonderful direction it is going.

    Being a fine art photographer and filmmaker, I was also happy to learn about “Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach”.   It is the world’s first projection art festival and juried competition.  With artists from around the world using the latest technologies to project their original works onto the town’s white walls at nighttime.  I cannot wait to enter the competition for next year….

    I hope you enjoyed this article on Alys by Cheryl. I love her holistic approach to living. Her decorating ideas mix her visual arts experience with her love of vintage furnishings, treating each piece she works on as art. Cheryl’s vintage furnishings evolve, with their own fabrics, paint colors and textures transforming into the best home furnishings they can be.

    See Cheryl Maeder’s home here, ‘Cheryl Maeder: In A Lush West Palm Beach Enclave‘, visit her site GardenHouse or read about her decorating ideas here, ‘Cheryl Maeder on Decorating and Design Elements‘.

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