The new Southern Living issue named its six perfect “little beach towns” – and Tybee Island, Georgia was one of them. Tybee Island is a barrier island so close to Savannah, it was once renamed Savannah Beach - which didn’t last long. Today, renamed Tybee Island, it is home to tall condos and large beach front houses – but it is also home to decades-old tiny cottages – many of which are painted in bright, sunny colors. Whenever I think of Tybee Island, I think of the author Mary Kay Andrews who writes her best-selling novels from her own charming beach cottage there. Each summer, Mary Kay comes out with a new best seller, and this year is no different. Mary Kay’s latest novel, Spring Fever, was just released a few days ago.
“Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.”
Oooh, sounds like another great one from Mary Kay! I’m saving my copy to read at the beach next month.
Mary Kay's name is synonymous with Tybee Island. Though Mary Kay lives in Atlanta, her family’s summer house is on Tybee where she is a very beloved and popular presence. Mary Kay’s editor was gracious enough to share HUGE, glorious photos of her summer house with us, which is a real treat because mostly pictures of rentals are notoriously always so small. These luscious photos were taken by Tybee resident Belinda Hall.
The Breeze Inn is named about the motel in Mary Kay’s novel “Savannah Breeze.” Like many of the cottages on Tybee Island, its color scheme is bright and cheerful. (There is nary a house that I could find with the “Houston Look” on Tybee!!) The Breeze Inn is so cute with its white picket fence, turquoise paint and hot pink door. Notice the metal seam roof awnings.
An outside staircase leads up to the second floor. The Breeze Inn is also a rental – so if you like the looks of it, you can stay there.
The house, built in the 1940s, has been fully restored. It has 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and sleeps 7-8 people. The casual décor takes you back to a kindler, gentler time. Mary Kay installed a screen door – to recreate the sounds of summers gone by. The floors are recycled heart pine and the walls and ceiling are painted wood. The house is filled with vintage finds – Mary Kay is a lover of antiquing. The beach is only two blocks away and there’s an outside shower to rinse off the sand before you reenter the house. The kitchen is stocked for gourmet meals and the beds are made with 100 percent luxury cotton. Sign me up!
The downstairs sitting room has a white slipcovered sofa and blue and white striped vintage wicker chairs. Notice the wood plank walls and ceiling.
Along one wall is a floor to ceiling bookcase – filled with books and board games. Vintage turquoise lamps flank the sofa.
These green striped slipcovered chairs sit next to a long window seat. So cute!
Looking back towards the dining room – the kitchen is to the left of the table. Two school house style lights hang over the table.
In front of the sofa is this green painted chest that holds the flatscreen. Notice the Hitchcock style chair.
Next to the front door is this vintage chest – covered with fishing maps! Love the lamps that pick up all the turquoise colors in the room.
The table sits at one end of the long living room.
Flanking the table are these two slipcovered chairs with a matching set of 1950s styled flamingo prints above them.
The kitchen has all the mod-cons but retains its old fashioned look. Notice that fabulous sink!!! Vintage ad signs hang on the green painted wall.
Close up of the sink – was the faucet made out of a milkshake dispenser???
A close look at the collection of vintage ad signs, all apropos for a summer beach house.
Off the kitchen is a large screened porch that overlooks the back yard – it’s furnished in vintage wicker with a metal sofa, all done in pinks and green.
A rattan sofa is upholstered in pink and green stripes.
And here is the cutest thing ever - a pink refrigerator on the screened porch that holds extra drinks.
At the stairhall, a turquoise painted day bed provides an extra space to sleep.
More old signs in the stair hall. Notice the curtain fabric- just barely seen to the left.
Darling turquoise hat stand matches the day bed.
Love the mix of three different beds with different linens – that fill this “bunk” room. Love the painted wood walls and ceiling found throughout the house.
The second bedroom has the pink flamingo 50s vibe. Pretty quilt.
The bathroom – more beadboard.
The master bedroom in blues and white.
The office where Mary Kay writes her novels – her assorted book covers are framed above the desk.
And the master bathroom, painted blue with a wood stained ceiling.
The Breeze Inn is available for rent through Mermaid Cottages, which a stable of available cute houses on the island. HERE. Or you can contact this house directly through their web site HERE. The Breeze Inn is pet friendly, which is highly unusual for summer rental properties. There are TWO dog parks on Tybee Island – one for large dogs and one for small dogs. HERE.
Overlooking the houses on Tybee Island.
Mary Kay isn’t the only celebrity on the island. You can also rent Paula Deen’s beach house HERE.
Paula’s beach house has been completely remodeled and it’s only 4 blocks from the beach.
Here décor is more traditional than Mary Kay’s.
And when Paula Deen isn’t there – she’s there in spirit with this life sized cutout. Isn’t that hysterical!?!
Tybee Island with its lush green southern landscape.
Many of the original cottages are still standing – and many are painted in bright, bold colors, such as this one.
Even newer houses are built to look like original cottages.
Many of the brightly painted vintage cottages are found behind charming white picket fences.
While Mary Kay might be the most famous person on the island, another resident has done more to leave her mark on Tybee Island than most anybody. Interior designer Jane Coslick has designed over 30 houses on Tybee Island!! Her aesthetic is bright, bold colors, and many of the beach houses for rent have either been designed by Jane or were influenced by her.
You probably are familiar with this popular book, Cottages, which features Jane Coslick’s house on its cover.
This famous cottage has been featured in different books and magazines – it was completely renovated by Jane Coslick. On her blog she has the before and after pictures – you wouldn’t recognize this house from before!
Yep, this is what it looked like before Jane redid it – painting it lilac with a zebra door.
Inside Bohemian Cottage, the colors are more tame – aquas and greens and blues.
Overlooking the kitchen bar.
The tiled kitchen with a turquoise cabinet made from vintage shutters.
The breakfast room with a couch for a settee. Love the crystal chandelier.
A peek into the black and white striped master bedroom.
Outside Jane designed this sleeping porch with a vintage wicker day bed.
In the back yard of Bohemian Cottage is a smaller guest house.
Inside the second cottage is a charming bedroom complete with a crystal chandelier – great for teenagers with late hours.
This 1920s beach house is 99 steps from the beach – its called Old Love Cottage and is another one of Jane’s renovations. It’s tiny with a big one room open space and another bedroom in a smaller, separate cottage. There’s an outdoor shower for cleaning off right from the beach.
The path to the beach from Old Love Cottage. So romantic.
The main cottage is a one room living space – with a loft type bedroom.
Jane slipcovered these chairs in her beloved bright colors.
Look how cute the kitchen area is!
Outside, this tiny cottage houses the second bedroom.
Inside with two wood beds.
New owners have redecorated the guest house with one queen bed. To rent Old Love Cottage, go HERE.
Beside Jane Coslick, another designer is becoming famous on Tybee Island. Layla Palmer along with her husband Kevin who write The Lettered Cottage have renovated several cottages on the island.
THE ENLISTED MEN’S MESS HALL:
Built in 1929s, the Enlisted Men’s Mess Hall was one of three mess halls for the fort. Today, the cottage is a duplex. Another star of Tybee Island, John Mellencamp lives right near the cottage.
Layla and Kevin came and redid the cottage on a tight budget.
They used furniture that was found in the cottage like this original Hoosier’s cabinet.
Shutters become the headboard in the master bedroom.
The guest bedroom got a wicker headboard and a nightstand made of vintage luggage.
THE SCREENED INN:
The other half of Enlisted Men’s Mess Hall is called The Screened Inn. Layla painted stripes along with a border in the living room. She also repainted old wicker chairs to spruce them up.
The kitchen is darling with red and white striped curtains instead of cabinet doors along with galvanized tin pendant lights over the table.
Across from the kitchen is this darling red, white and blue kids rooms.
The neatest thing ever – in the master bedroom Layla applied a favorite book quote about the beach on the wall. To rent The Screened Inn, go HERE. To read Layla’s EZine about this redecorating project, go HERE.
Like Jane Coslick, Layla and The Lettered Cottage are making an impact on the cottages on Tybee Islands. So many of the rentals say – “featured on The Lettered Cottage,” or “remodeled by Layla Palmer.” I adore Layla and love seeing all her successes.
There are so many cute cottages on the islands. I spent days looking at one after another. I really love all the small old ones, like this cute house called Mermaid Manor. Of course, it is also behind a white picket fence. It’s been featured in three national décor magazines!
It is filled with beachy charm, white slips and lots of shells. To rent this beach house: go HERE.
But, if you prefer to rent a new house – there’s Serenity by the Sea. It was built from a Coastal Living magazine plan.
The living area is all seagrass, slipcovers and wicker – love it.
Fully equipped kitchen with all new appliances.
There are plenty of bedrooms, including the green and white master.
Even the bathroom is decorated in beachy turquoise. To rent Serenity by the Sea, go HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the colorful interiors found on Tybee Island. A special thank you to Mary Kay Andrews for the tour of The Breeze Inn. To read Southern Living’s Six Perfect Little Beach Towns, go HERE.
To order Mary Kay’s newest book, just click on the title to the right of the picture:
The latest – “Spring Fever”Last summer’s hit – “Summer Rental:”And to order Cottages, which features Jane Coslick’s beach house on Tybee Island: