HGTV Dream Homes Past

HGTV Dream Home 1999: Tropical Retreat

HGTV Dream Home 1999, a glorious tropical retreat in Rosemary Beach, Fla., is a dream come true in architecture and decor. Here, the charm of the past combines with the latest design techniques and materials to create a one-of-a-kind home.

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Architect Richard Gibbs notes, "The architecture here in Rosemary Beach is patterned after the time-tested traditions of St. Augustine, New Orleans and the Dutch and French Caribbean. The building code actually encourages the use of real materials that age gracefully, so the patina that you see on the exterior of the home is intentional and will increase the appeal as the building ages."

The house is built of concrete block covered with two layers of stucco on the first floor and treated wood siding on the second, both of which age beautifully. In fact, all the outdoor materials selected for this house are superbly weather-resistant. From the massive mahogany door, with its stainless steel exterior hardware, to the semi-transparent and semi-solid wood and concrete stains, which won't peel or chip.

"The street in front of the Dream Home is made of pervious concrete, so it can drain," Gibbs says. "We don't need storm drains or curbing because of this type of concrete that we use."

Combating coastal heat, high winds and moisture can lead to some truly creative solutions. Because the tin roof on this Florida home reflects heat, it has a cooling effect inside the house. Plus its resistance to sun and wind makes it wonderfully low maintenance. But the really unusual structural feature is the radiant barrier.

"We've had temperatures that were approaching 100 degrees, and I had used a product called a radiant barrier which is applied to the underside of the rafters," builder Steve Landry says. "It's just a thin foil barrier ... that prevents the sun from heating up the roof and the heat radiating down into the house."

There is a perfect harmony here between indoor and outdoor spaces that can be seen most clearly in a wonderfully-livable outdoor room, called a loggia, from the Italian word for "living place." The loggia is furnished just like an indoor living space, with comfortable, inviting furniture and separate living and dining areas. And everywhere you look, you see the rich, natural colors of tropical Florida.

In fact, it was the rich, earthy palette of the loggia that inspired the home's gorgeous interior. This feeling of freshness and fun extends throughout the house, from the ocean blue stain of the kitchen cabinets and the brightly striped curtains hiding bunk beds, to the cheery seating area in the master bedroom and its splashes of warm red.

There is a lovely harmony in a home that is at ease with both time and nature, and it's something that doesn't happen by chance. It takes ingenuity and careful planning and most of all, a willingness to dream.

HGTV's Kitty Bartholomew surprised Belinda Brown of Kingston, Tenn., with the news that she had won HGTV Dream Home 1999.

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