Pensacola Beach Home: Amy Martin

by | June 2019

Photography by Lindsey Meeks

The Art of Patience

Amy Martin is a force of nature. And a patient but determined woman. She is a single mother with a demanding job in a family business, and she lived through – and lost almost everything she owned – in not one but two hurricanes. Six years ago, she began the journey to build her dream home by purchasing a lot overlooking Little Sabine Bay, just a block from where she had lived. She worked with architect Christy Cabassa to develop plans that reflected her vision of the perfect home, up on pilings, incorporating proximity to the water, sunrise and sunset views, a garage, and a master closet to die for. Martin and Cabassa worked well together, and the vision came together with Amy doing much of the interior design herself. “I started out thinking I would use a designer, but the two I approached were busy so I forged ahead with the help, talent, and advice from my family and friends – and from the Internet,” she says. “The end result is a home that feels comfortable and well-loved, and people seem to want to stay. It’s exactly what I wanted!”

The home is welcoming from the very beginning. Surrounded by palm trees, the yard features a WYLAND bronze fountain with water gently falling from the fins of three dolphins. Two balconies provide views of stunning sunsets, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Gulf of Mexico. The front stairs lead to custom-crafted ten-foot pecky cypress doors, and inside there are wormy chestnut ceiling beams throughout the home. “I love the look and feel of natural wood,” Amy says. “I went to Waynesville, NC to pick out the wood for the beams.”

Amy, who is part of the McGuire Management Group family and works in the family business, knew from the beginning that the kitchen would be the gathering place, and she planned accordingly. “Since everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen, I have a set of windows that slide open to an outside bar.” Also, the glass doors in the living area slide into each other, which almost completely opens the room to the vaulted outside deck. The result is a truly seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining space.

Amy’s daughter’s room has a sea glass theme, with a sea glass chandelier, and sea glass countertops and shower. A spacious bunk room provides ample space for guests, with four double beds allowing for eight people. This room features beach birds, and the adjoining bath has seashells embedded in the countertop. Amy’s personal favorite might be the powder room. “This room took longer than anything in the house,” she says. “The walls are completely covered with oyster shells – thousands of them, all from our restaurants. I had to let the sun dry them for days, then bleach them and dry them again before gluing them one by one to the wall. It was a great idea at the beginning, but it took forever! It’s one of a kind, and definitely a conversation piece!”

The master suite is on the top floor with its own large deck and an outside shower that leads into the indoor shower. The bath’s focal point is an antique stained glass panel that was a gift from Amy’s father. Another contribution from her father is the stunning mantel over the fireplace. “He found a large piece of red cedar driftwood in Highlands, NC, and asked if I was brave enough to use it for the mantel. We cut it to size, and I designed the Chicago brick fireplace to enhance it. He even gave me the art to hang above it.” The media room boasts a pecky cypress wall that Amy installed herself with the help of a friend. Doors and newel posts throughout the home are antiques and sourced from all over the country.

Amy’s background in the hospitality business, in particular designing all of the restaurants’ interiors and running the gift shops, gave her a sense of what building her home would entail. The masterpiece she created is a tribute to her hard work, her imagination – and patience.

 

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