Idlewild Cottage

@ Indian Rocks Beach

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It Flows Back to You....

Posted by Julie Nelson on September 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (1)

The neighboring historical cottage, built in 1917, was sold last summer from a family who had owned the cottage from its very beginning.  It was a sad day when they moved some of their stuff out of the cottage.  At one point, the owner came out of the house with this beautiful painting of three cottages on the beach.  I recognized our two cottages.  The third cottage, I also recognized, but it had been torn down in the late '90s to make way for a condo unit.  I immediately wanted this painting.  I was about to offer money for this painting. Before the words left my mouth, I stopped feeling it was not right.  The owner of that cottage was taking a piece of history that was important to him, especially now that the cottage was no longer his.  I had this feeling that at some point the painting would come back to me and I let it go.

The good news about the historical cottage next door is that it is being saved.  So now, we have two historical cottages next to each other at the entrance of Indian Rocks Beach welcoming everyone and reminding them of what Indian Rocks Beach may have looked like way back when.

A couple days ago I am out gardening and this lovely woman walks up to me and shows me a photo and asks if that the cottage next door in the photo.  I reply that it is the same cottage.  You can't tell right now because the cottage is under construction.  We start a friendly conversation and I eventually invite her and her friend on a tour of my cottage.  In the process, I find out that her husband is a painter and they lived here in the 1990s and he painted Indian Rocks Beach extensively.  He painted lovely beach scenes and cottages.  Many of those cottages have been torn down.  It is amazing to see how much the beach has changed.  In his paintings, there are no dunes or long walkways as there are now. And the cottages, he painted, many have been knocked down.  The conversation ends and she leaves with a promise to send me a link of more of the Indian Rocks Beach paintings her husband painted.  I received the link and she tells me to look at two photos of two paintings that may be my cottage.  One of those photos showed the painting of the three cottages that my neighbor owns that I wanted so badly.  The painting, or at least the image, has returned to me.  I am thankful. 

Painting by James Skvarch, Syracuse, New York

James Skvarch lived in Indian Rocks Beach in the '90s

Check out his website:

Article on Houzz - Rain Water Retention for Gardens - Idlewild Cottage is Pictured

Posted by Julie Nelson on March 20, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1)
Remodeling and Home Design

Contractor Steve Perry from J.S Perry & Co. Inc.  just sent me the link to this Houzz article on harvesting rain water.  Idlewild Cottage uses rain water retention from rain barrels to help water the garden.  Although we live on the beach, our environment is like the desert for most of the year.  We have a water shortage and water restrictions in place in Pinellas County. Currently, we can water our lawns once a week.  Idlewild Cottage does not have a lawn. Most of the plants on the property are indiginous or drought tolerant.  The rain barrels do come in handy as our plants do get thirsty.  We have 6 water barrels around the property.  The water is collected from the roof via gutters and delivered to the water barrels. 

I see Steve Perry often as he just stared a new project right across the beach access.  He is working on another restoration of a 1917 Indian Rocks Beach Cottage.

Mosaic Address Tile from Etsy - Handmade By Hippo

Posted by Julie Nelson on July 28, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

On Etsy I found a wonderful business that makes custom mosaic address tiles.  I contacted Claire from Handmade by Hippo and told her I would like a custom tile that reflected my beach cottage.  She made this beautiful mosaic address tile for Idlewild Cottage.  I love it and you can order one too for your home. Check out her site on Etsy.

Handmade By HIppo on Etsy


Posted by Julie Nelson on April 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy Anniversary Idlewild Cottage

Posted by Julie Nelson on March 17, 2013 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Three years ago today, on St. Patrick's Day, we became the proud owners of this lovely cottage.  My husband, Edward, and I thought we could fix it up in a few months.  We are pretty handy.  After the inspection, we found that the cottage was being held together by three things:  gum, tape and termite poop.  We brought in Steve Perry from JS Perry, Inc. and Andy Dohmen from Design Styles, Inc. to rework this cottage back to its former splendor.  It is a dream to live on the Gulf of Mexico.

Protect Our Dunes! They Protect Our Homes & Businesses

Posted by Julie Nelson on December 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

We love the dunes that are in front of our home and my husband and I take care of them as much as we can.  We plant indigenous plants that take root and help to strengthen the dunes.  We ask people who climb and jump on them to get off.  They may be illiterate and not able to read the signs posted that the sea oats and dunes are protected by federal law.  Well there was a great article in the NYT today and I want to share it with you.  Turns out, dunes would have made all the difference in some places in New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy hit.

Resisted For Blocking View, Dunes Prove They Blunt Storms, New York Times, December 4, 2012

Dunes in Front of our Home Before Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm Debby Halved the Dunes but Kept the Sea from Reaching our Homes

Dunes six months after Tropical Storm Debby

We place the seaweed that comes in with the tide on the eroded part of the dune.  It traps sand and helps to rebuild the dunes. 

Happy Holidays from the Hoofnagles

Posted by Julie Nelson on December 4, 2012 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Posted by Julie Nelson on November 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Get a Great Gift for Friends or Family that Love the Beach

Posted by Julie Nelson on November 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A website viewer wanted a 2013 calendar.  So I put together a calenar of some of my favorite photos that I took of Indian Rocks Beach.  The calendar is $19.99 and there is a good discount if you order five calendars or more.  Tax and shipping is not included.  Click here to take a look at some of the photos in the calendar and to place your order.

2013 Indian Rocks Beach Calendar

Dunes by Debby

Posted by Julie Nelson on September 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Our middle son graduated from high school on June 22nd and on June 23rd we were traveling down the road to Florida from New York with our youngest son and a friend who were to be dropped off at UNC for a program on June 24th.  Our nine year-old faithful dog was also with us.  So we drop off the boys and head down the road ready to drive the 12 straight hours it will take to get to our favorite spot in the world, Idlewild Cottage.

We get a call from Ed's mother who follows the weather wherever her children may be headed.  "What do you mean...Tropical Storm Debby?"  We have been so busy with life that we were not able to watch the news or weather in awhile.  Well Tropical Storm Debby (TSD) stopped us at Savannah and it was hard to find a hotel room during the storm that would take our very nice 54 pound Lab.  We found a room but we were really scared for our lovely cottage.  What were we going to find when we finally got to Indian Rocks Beach (IRB)?  Well, we told ourselves that we would rebuild if necessary and prayed.  It does not help when you fall asleep and dream of huge waves sweeping over the dunes towards our cottage.

Morning comes and we get out early and it seems that the weather, although bad, has made a skinny path of decent weather to travel.  We only hit a few bad spots although TSD went on to batter Florida for another three days after our arrival.  We arrive at Idlewild Cottage and all is soggy but fine.  The dunes did their job and saved our homes. 

Dunes Halved by Tropical Storm Debby

I asked by good friend and IRB neighbor, Kay, what happened in the last big storm to the dunes?  She said, "There were no dunes for the last big storm."  These dunes were created, by Mother Nature, during the 1992 Beach Renourishment Project.  The sand was laid down and Mother Nature pushed the sand into dunes that provide some very necessary protection for our homes.  If the dunes were not there the water would have been at our sea wall and possibly inside our homes.

The moral of this story is protect and love your dunes.  They protect homes and businesses along the beach.  The number one destroyer of dunes is man.  After TSD we encountered adults and children jumping on the dunes, kicking the dunes to see how the rest of the sand will fall.  Many times we would have to go out and explain to people, who were not able to read the posted signs on the beach, that the dunes and their plantings are protected by law (of course Mother Nature has free reign to do as she pleases) and many people would say, "oh I did not think about it."  Respect in public places is almost non-existent and it is sad to see the garbage left behind too by people when there are trash and recycle bins available at every beach access. 

Back to the dunes.  To keep people from destroying what was left of our dunes (TSD halved them) we put up stakes and tape before busy and frenzied atmoshpere of July 4th.  The stakes and tape did their job and the beachgoers stayed off the dunes in front of our cottage.  We then had the fabulous idea to add natural debris and seaweed to the base of the dunes to help build them back up.  This worked well until a group of young kids decided to take out the natural debris from behind the stakes and tape to build their own fort.

Imagine the scene.  I am walking out to the beach in the morning to take a look at the dunes.  We had our big first rain storm since TSD and I was hoping that some sand blew from the storm onto the debris to help build up the dunes.  Instead, I find this FORT!  I calmly take some photos before I rip that thing apart.  The father of the children walked up at this time and said, "oh, you don't like my kids' fort?"  I explained my work and why I was unhappy.  He was very nice and later had his kids come around to apologize.  I told him it was not all lost.  I leaned the larger palm fronds don't allow the sand to stick to them.  They are so large, they also encourge children and some adults to take them from the dunes, where they were lovingly placed, and build forts and provide a somewhat dryer seating area. So we adusted our use of natural debris to small palm fronds and seaweed.

Below are pictures of the dunes before and after Tropical Storm Debby.



Sometimes when my husband and I were collecting the seaweed in the morning, we had to laugh at ourselves.  No one else on the beach was doing this to the dunes.  Maybe we were just crazy.  Mother Nature could wipe out our work in a moment in a big storm.  On cue, here comes Tropical Storm Isaac.   We were dropping off our oldest son at college in Illinois when word about the tropical storm and its predicated path was being broadcasted.  The storm did not impact Tampa Bay area as early predication indicated.  Kay, our neighbor and friend sent us a photo of our dunes after Tropical Storm Isaac.  Amazingly, the seaweed was still there and Kay mentioned that the seaweed has kept people from trampling the dunes. 

Dunes After Troopical Storm Issac - photo courtesy of Kay

When I get back to Idlewild Cottage in October, the most recent beach renourishment project will be done on our stretch of the beach.  Before I left in August, I tucked some Railroad Vine on top of the dune.  When I get back I will place it over the new sand provided to help against erosion from rain.   When they renousish the beach this time they are pushing sand up against the dunes to help keep the structure of the dunes.  I will provide photos and more information on the beach renourishment in my next posting. 

An Old Florida Bungalow Gets Brand-New Polish

Posted by Julie Nelson on September 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Our contractor, Steve Perry, dropped by with architect, Harold F. "Bud" Dietrich, to take a look at Idlewild Cottage.  Bud writes for Houzz.  If you do not have the Houzz App for your smartphone yet, you should get it after reading the article below.  Anyone who is working on their house or apartment from construction, landscaping to decorating would really benefit from the helpful articles and inspirational photos of projects. Click here to read the article recently published in Houzz about Idlewild Cottage

2012 Contractor of the Year (CotY) - JS Perry & Co. Inc.

Posted by Julie Nelson on March 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

JS Perry & Co. Inc., the contractor for Idlewild Cottage, won Contractor of the Year (CotY) from the Tampa Bay Chapter of NARI.  Check out their award below for Residential Historical Restoration.  They also won in another category for 2012: Residential Addition.  Check out their website at  Congratulations Steve and Amy!

Merry Christmas 2011 - Our Christmas Card

Posted by Julie Nelson on December 13, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Design Styles Architecture's Holiday Card

Posted by Julie Nelson on December 9, 2011 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Check out Design Styles Architecture's Holiday Card.  They were the architects for Idlewild Cottage.

Thankful @ Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie Nelson on November 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The weather was perfect.  The husband was a little bad.  I had to remind him a few times that his apron said, "Yes, Dear."  I behaved myself.  For those who know me, that was a "feat."  Everyone pitched in with making great dishes.  Take a look at our Thanksgiving Day Photos.

The Wild Weeds of October

Posted by Julie Nelson on November 6, 2011 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

It looks like after all that work in the garden this summer that I was really trying to grow weeds.  I spent two days bent over at the waist pulling weeds fast and furious.  Check out the weeds that greeted my return.  Thanks to Kay for coming and helping me weed for two days.