Diverse architectural designs, stunning interiors, and art of all kinds will be featured during the 2013 Valentine Tour of Homes presented by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA). The annual event will open the doors of six special South Walton homes to participants on Saturday, Feb.16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17 from 12 to 4 p.m.
"Each year, we aim to include a diverse mix of homes that offer architectural, historic or artistic significance," said Jennifer Steele, executive director of the CAA. "This year, our tour has been expanded to two days and will include even more homes with styles ranging from classical to Florida cracker to modern."
At the east end of Highway 30A, the home of Carmen and Scott Skrien in Alys Beach reflects the town's focus on sustainable building techniques. Designed to mimic Bermuda's whitewashed limestone and stepped cement roof tiles, the Certified Platinum Florida Green Home was designed by Domin Bock Architects and built by J.D. Scott. The interiors were designed by the homeowner, Carmen, and the home’s kitchen won first place for Thermador Southeastern National Competition.
Classic Florida-style architecture is featured at the heart of the tour through homes in Seaside, Seagrove and Grayton Beach. The Residences at Hotel Viridian in Seagrove Beach was inspired by old Florida architecture, circa 1940-1960. The featured gulf-front home showcases custom artwork throughout the home by talented artists, including Allison Wickey, Melissa Davis, Susan Lucas and Melissa B.
A contemporary take on the classic Florida Cracker cottage, “Birdie’s” was designed in 1991 by the late Samuel Mockbee (his only work on 30A) who founded the Auburn University's Rural Studio. This Seaside house was purchased six years ago by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley. Ever mindful of the architectural integrity of the modest structure, Barbara applied her signature style with light touches and the introduction of colorful fabrics. This cottage is featured in “30A Style,” the definitive coffee-table book of South Walton homes by Lynn Nesmith.
The artwork of Margo Russell will be the focal point of the contemporary home of Savage Bell located in Point Washington, the only home not located along Hwy. 30A. Bell has transformed his home into a gallery featuring the works of Russell and other local “Outsider” artists. On Western Lake in Grayton Beach, guests will get a feel of old Florida as they tour the Magnolia Treehouse, the tour’s only historic home.
In Dune Allen, the tour will feature a low-country style home within the gated community of Cypress Dunes. The home features expansive outdoor living spaces with covered porches and an open floor plan to capitalize on the coastal breezes. Bordered by Topsail Hill State Preserve, the home enjoys quiet and peaceful surroundings.
The proceeds from the self-guided annual tour benefit the CAA’s Educational Giving Program, which provides over $20,000 in grants to Walton County teachers and scholarships for students to participate in supplemental and continuing art education.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased online at CulturalArtsAlliance.com and locally at Smith’s Antiques in Destin, the Bayou Arts Center, Sundog Books in Seaside and Hidden Lantern Gallery in Rosemary Beach. For more information about the Tour and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, call 850-622-5970.