Inside a glamorous South Bethany beach house
SOUTH BETHANY, Del.
Tucked behind a sand dune in this popular summer getaway is a beach house that’s dressed for a party. ¶ Roseann and Pat McGeehin’s oceanfront haven has a touch of glamour not often found in shingled houses on pilings, which are a staple on the Delaware shore. Designer Barry Dixon reached to the sky, sand and sea and dipped into Roseann’s well-appointed closet for inspiration for the colors and mood of this stylish 3,100-square-foot retreat. ¶ “I am one of those people who likes to dress up no matter what,” Roseann says. “I like my house to look that way, too. We did not want our place to look like the typical beach house, we wanted it to be something totally different.” ¶
Dixon delivered, conceiving a vast great room with a wall of windows and seating areas furnished with lavender and pale blue lounges and ottomans; several places to dine and linger over a glass of wine; and a sleek SieMatic galley kitchen lined with cabinetry in a driftwood finish. The powder room sparkles with shaved mica wallpaper, reminiscent of the inside of an abalone shell. Upstairs in the master suite, a sculpted Waterworks soaking tub offers a Hollywood-style ocean view.
Every detail was carefully thought out, from the riveted gunmetal steel fireplace surround to the globe lamp made of coconut shells hanging over the breakfast bar. The washed, reclaimed oak floors don’t show the sand; decks on both floors capture ocean breezes.
“They wanted the house to be modern, happy, colorful and a bit avant-garde,” says Dixon, who designed the original house the McGeehins built on the same lot 20 years ago, as well as their homes in Potomac and Palm Beach. As for colors, he drew from “the watery blues of the ocean to the violets of sunset,” he says. Purple happens to be Roseann’s favorite color: She collects lilac Fiestaware and wears violet eye shadow.
“They wanted the house to be modern, happy, colorful and a bit avant-garde.” Barry Dixon
The McGeehins are into fitness. Roseann, a former Montgomery County math teacher, co-owns Rehoboth’s Body Shop fitness center, where she teaches Zumba classes. Pat, a certified public accountant who is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting, comes to the beach to relax with morning runs and pickup basketball games.
Pat and Roseann, both 58, grew up in Hazleton, Pa., and married after college. They first came to South Bethany in 1993, renting a house a few doors down. They were immediately charmed by South Bethany’s small-town atmosphere. They decided to buy land and build. On a local house tour, they discovered the work of Dixon, then of Washington, now of Warrenton. Dixon worked with them on plans for the house and its furnishings in a modern, casual style: sectional sofas, pop art, stone floors, bright colors and a stainless steel kitchen.
As years went by, the McGeehins spent more time in South Bethany and enjoyed hosting family and friends there. They were entertained by the shifting panorama out their windows, families arriving with armloads of coolers, tents and umbrellas. Says Roseann, “Cities pop up in front of us.” They found themselves savoring late afternoons at water’s edge. “We spend a lot of time sitting in a circle of about eight or 10 friends,” Pat says of their beach chair hours. “We relax and basically solve all the problems of the day. This is probably my favorite time.”
Barry dixon’s color picks See the paint palette designer Barry Dixon selected for the McGeehin home.
In 2004, Roseann bought the gym. And about seven years ago, the McGeehins and Dixon began to explore a makeover of the house with Christopher L. Pattey, an architectural designer with Becker Morgan Group in Salisbury, Md. “We wanted to update it and to have the house be much more open and airy and more focused towards the ocean,” Pat says.