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Courting Americana

By Margaret Abrams

Special reprint from The Seaside Times | Photography by Brittany Godbee

The next generation of Seaside, Florida, is making the trendiest new vacation spot a reality.

The Court is about to be Seaside’s hottest spot. Longtime visitors might remember the old-school hotel that sat behind Modica Market, but now it has been completely redone. And it’s the perfect place to call home for a long weekend.

The next generation of Seaside has been working on making The Court innovative and exciting. Town founder Robert Davis’s son, Micah Davis, has been working with a team, including Isaac Stein, whose family has called 30-A home ever since his father moved there in the early days to work as the town manager, and Peter Horn III, the next generation of Artisan custom home builders. Artisan was one of the first contractors in Seaside, and now their team is working hard to renovate the former Motor Court in a full-circle moment.Living room at the court seaside

The SEASIDE Style® team has been busy working on The Court, focusing on the marketing, branding, and interiors. Erica Pierce, vice president of The SEASIDE Style®, is the project’s interior designer, and she had a hand in everything, choosing the Serena & Lily furniture and the vintage photos that will hang in the hallways. Also part of The SEASIDE Style® team, her daughter, assistant vice president Makenzie Carter, and her niece, director of digital marketing Kendall Andrews, have been involved throughout the process, from working on the logo to curating the social media aesthetic and the merchandise which will be sold at The SEASIDE Style®.

The second generation of Seaside grew up together, and their parents worked in the town during the early days. Now, they’ve gone from playing in diapers on the amphitheater lawn to creating a space where new visitors can spend time.Bedroom at the court seaside

Below, we spoke to second-gen Seasider Isaac Stein about what it was like growing up in Seaside during the town’s early years, how living abroad influenced his unique landscaping designs, and what he hopes for the future of the town.

If you plan on checking out the boutique hotel (even if just to see its legendary landscaping), here’s what you have to know about the chic spot.

Margaret Abrams: Tell us a little bit about your father’s involvement in Seaside and how you decided to get involved with the town after growing up here?

Isaac Stein: My father has been involved in the development of Seaside since the beginning. He relocated down here in 1981 to be the first town manager. He and Robert Davis have known each other since they were college roommates and have remained lifelong friends. So, my relationship to Seaside has felt inevitable and natural. Just by growing up here, I was involved in a lot of projects and discussions about Seaside—talking about the future of Seaside is a regular dinner table conversation. Also, one of my first jobs was working on the renovation of the Seaside Amphitheater stage. I was the site construction manager, and I worked closely with Ty Nunn, the town architect, and my father’s site construction company to help build the keystone stage.Porch swing at the porch seaside with orange juice and breakfast

Margaret: What was the process like when undertaking The Court project?

Isaac: Working on The Court has been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed working closely with Micah and getting to know his fresh perspective on the town. The Court is one of the only courtyards in Seaside, so I feel privileged and honored to work on the landscape design while preserving and celebrating The Court and its history.

This project has also been exciting because it has brought so many people from the next generation together: Micah Davis, Peter Horn III, the next generation of Artisan (general contractors), and myself.

Margaret: How did your experiences living in Seaside, as well as elsewhere, influence what you’re doing now, especially at The Court?

Isaac: Seaside is an interesting and peculiar place. It has changed a lot and continues to do so at a rapid pace. What always really strikes me about Seaside compared to other places is how young it is. My father is twice its age. After living in other places—Miami, New York, Rotterdam, or Boston—and working in landscape architecture and urban design, I’m very aware of the history of development and the various factors that affect the evolution of towns and cities.Grassy Lawn at The Court Seaside

Seaside, Point Washington, and all of South Walton are just so young in terms of urban development. It will be interesting to see how it will evolve and what decisions today will affect the future for the town and the region.

Margaret: What can people expect when they visit The Court?

Isaac: What people can expect when they visit The Court is a combination of an Old Florida feel with the hospitality that Seaside is known for. The Court is a portal to an environment and a landscape that once existed all along 30-A. We wanted to create a feeling that the cottages were sculpted into the coastal scrub forests and dunes, something unique and beautiful about this part of the Gulf of Mexico.

Margaret: What do you envision for the future of Seaside?

Isaac: This is a difficult question. Seaside has been a trendsetter for the Panhandle and Gulf Coast. No development has been more influential in this region, and I think this influence extends beyond the area to other parts of the country. To date, Seaside has set a positive example for sensitive development—mixed-use town centers, meaningful public realm, and pedestrian-friendly urbanism. But Seaside is no longer a small town in the forest.

My hope is that it can continue to be that positive example as it grows. For me, that would include developing public transportation, diversifying industry and economic development, and protecting the area’s unique coastal ecology.Girl looks over balcony at the Court Seaside, FL

— V —

For more information about booking The Court, visit TheCourtSeaside.com.

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