Thursday, August 18, 2022

Where We Live: A ‘juxtaposed’ classic Carolina Beach cottage new to the market

Where We Live: A weekly look at the homes in the Cape Fear Region

WILMINGTON — Three years ago, Leif and Ann Covington were living in a 600 sq. ft. apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., awaiting the arrival of their first son, Clyde. Wanting a change of pace, the couple began seeking a new home, in a new place. Although they had only visited Carolina Beach once before, they decided to go out on a limb and give the beach life a shot.

The couple flew back and forth from New York several times over the course of the next year, before finally finding their dream home, a “classic” beach cottage, located just a couple of blocks from the beach.

“When we came to look at this house, and this is after like a year of coming down here looking for a place every two months,” Ann said, “we walked onto the porch, turned around and said, ‘this is the house I want, this is it.’”

This week’s Where We Live takes you inside the Covington home, located at 603 Ocean Blvd., in Carolina Beach. This cottage is a throwback to the era of the “classic Carolina beach cottages,” dating back to 1955, but with the the comforts of a modern home.

The new classic

“It’s definitely a mix of both (modern and classic), the flooring is solid, real walnut flooring, and the tiles are real ceramic. The HVAC has been updated too,” Leif Covington said. “You have the modern amenities of a new house construction, with the footprint of an older home, which is really nice.

“We don’t have any air conditioning problems, the house is cool, the roof is solid; it doesn’t leak. The house has been really great, not only as a beach home, but also being worry free,” Leif said.

The home is decorated to reflect the beach community, as well as the family's "chic, contemporary" style. There's a plethora of "vintage" decor, including an antique record player and a re-purposed sliding door, that provides a secret access way to the laundry room. (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)
The home is decorated to reflect the beach community, as well as the family’s ‘chic, contemporary’ style. There’s a plethora of ‘vintage’ decor, including an antique record player and a re-purposed sliding door, that provides a secret access way to the laundry room. (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)

In addition to being a “solid” home, it’s also located outside of the flood zone, meaning there’s no need for stilts, or flood insurance.

The Covingtons used their background in the arts to spruce the property up, modernizing the space they have to maximize it’s efficiency. This allows the 900 sq. ft., two bedroom, one bathroom home to stand out in an area that’s mostly modern beach houses on stilts.

“Annie was a designer in the fashion industry, and I was an art director in music,” Lief said. “So, we were able to take our New York arts aesthetic, and apply it to a beach house, and it looks good, you get that juxtaposition, it’s contemporary meets classic.”

The home is decorated to reflect the beach community, as well as the family’s “chic, contemporary” style. There’s a plethora of “vintage” decor, including an antique record player, and a re-purposed sliding door, that provides a secret access way to the laundry room.

Being utilitarian in nature, each section of the home is used to maximize living space.

One of the family’s favorite features on the home is the “three-season porch,” which faces the street, is encased by glass on three sides and opens to the living room in the rear.

“It just becomes so usable, right now we’re dealing with these storms coming in, but otherwise it’s totally screened,” Leif Covington said. “So, when it’s nice, open up the screens, when it’s raining, shut the glass. We live on that thing, we eat our meals out there, it’s just an incredible little space.” (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)
‘It just becomes so usable, right now we’re dealing with these storms coming in, but otherwise it’s totally screened,’ Leif Covington said. ‘So, when it’s nice, open up the screens, when it’s raining, shut the glass. We live on that thing, we eat our meals out there, it’s just an incredible little space.’ (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)

“We use the three-season porch constantly, it serves as another living room for us,” Ann said.

“It just becomes so usable, right now we’re dealing with these storms coming in, but otherwise it’s totally screened,” Leif continued. “So, when it’s nice, open up the screens, when it’s raining, shut the glass. We live on that thing, we eat our meals out there, it’s just an incredible little space.”

The porch features wood ceilings and, with the beach just a short walk away, ample storage space for things like surfboards, bicycles, or any manner of beach equipment.

In addition to the porch, the home also features a finished attic the family has turned into a conjoined office and music room.

“There’s also an amazing upstairs bonus space in the house that you can’t see from the road, you walk in and think, ‘it’s a smaller footprint on an older cottage,’” Leif said. “But, then you get to looking around and think, ‘I could live here,’ this works, this is where you get your extra space.”

“This place really just has good vibes, and great history,” he said.

The great outdoors

According to the Covingtons, the home sits on a .11 acre lot. While that may not seem like much, the size of the house itself allows for a large, fenced-in backyard for hosting parties, barbecues and gatherings.

"And then we have the shed for motorcycles, tools and storage for bikes and all that stuff. Plus, when you live at the beach, you better have an outdoor shower." (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)
‘And then we have the shed for motorcycles, tools and storage for bikes and all that stuff. Plus, when you live at the beach, you better have an outdoor shower.’ (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)

A yard is also something that many beach homes in the area lack. The family has utilized the space, much like the rest of the home, to maximize its use. The yard includes a vegetable garden, fire pit, outdoor showering area and a large shed that Leif Covington uses as a garage of sorts for his motorcycle and bike equipment.

“It’s been really nice to have a garden, and do our mints and tomato and okra and all those things,” Leif said. “And then we have the shed for motorcycles, tools and storage for bikes and all that stuff. Plus, when you live at the beach, you better have an outdoor shower.”

“I’m pretty sure we have the biggest yard on the block,” Ann said with a laugh.

These days, Leif tends bar on the island. He said that he’s always loved parties and gatherings, and the backyard has allowed the home to become the neighborhood gathering spot.

“We’ve had a lot of them (parties), and you can have 30, 40, 50 people in this back yard, and it doesn’t feel crowded at all, which is kind of crazy,” he said. “You’ll look around, and be like, ‘this is a big party, and this is fine.’ It’s just been amazing for that.”

In addition to being a party spot, the family has turned the shed into a multipurpose building, using a projector to watch everything from surf movies, to cartoons for the kids.

But of course, one of the main draws to a beach cottage, is the beach itself. The home sits approximately five blocks from the beach, and is within easy walking distance of the home, with a public beach access located at the end of the street.

According to the family, when they first moved into the home, they kept hearing noises in the night. Being from Brooklyn, the sound seemed alien...until they realized it was the surf. (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)
According to the family, when they first moved into the home, they kept hearing noises in the night. Being from Brooklyn, the sound seemed alien – until they realized it was the surf. (Port City Daily photo / CORY MANNION)

According to the family, it takes under one minute to bike to the access, and less than five minutes to walk.

Another draw, according to Leif, is access to some of the areas restaurants and bars.

“One of the cool things is, you have Surf House with some of the best Italian food in Wilmington, and then you also have Bowman’s, which is just a fried seafood institution. The area itself really has that juxtaposition,” Leif said.

In addition, he points to new businesses like Crush and Grind coffee and bottle shop, and Nollie’s Tacos, that are breathing new life into the community.

The Covingtons, now expecting their second child, are preparing to move across the country to be closer to their families.

Their home has been on the market for six days and is listed at $275,000. The home is zoned for Carolina Beach Elementary, Murray Middle and Ashley High School.

Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at the homes and unique places to stay in the Cape Fear Region. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at PCD@localvoicemedia.com.

For more information about this week’s home or to view the property, contact Jason Allen, Broker/REALTOR with Century 21 Sweyer and Associates at (910) 256-0021, or send him an email at jallen@century21sweyer.com. For more details, visit his website at jasonallenrealestate.com.


Get in touch with Reporter Cory Mannion: follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or send an email at cory@localvoicemedia.com.

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