Local Spotlight: Alys Stephens

By Mike Ragsdale | Photo by Tommy Crow

What opportunity could possibly tempt an attractive, upwardly-mobile, young professional to abandon her exciting career in bustling Manhattan to live and work along the coast of Florida’s historically sleepy panhandle?

How about the opportunity to help build—literally from the ground-up—a truly extraordinary new resort town that bears her grandmother’s name?

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Alys Stephens spent most of her summers on the secluded, sugar-white beaches of Florida’s scenic highway 30A. However, after obtaining her bachelor’s degree from the New York School of Interior Design, Alys was quickly hired by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, following the completion of an internship with Bunny Williams. For several years, she enjoyed the fast-paced and diverse lifestyle of the Big Apple.

However, her family envisioned a new town concept for their land back in Florida. They planned to name the town “Alys Beach,” after her family’s now-deceased matriarch. They believed that Alys Beach would be unlike any town ever built. This was young Alys’s unique opportunity to take part in building a lasting legacy bearing her grandmother’s name.

Alys graciously accepted a new job as the growing town’s “Style Director.” She left her career in New York behind, and moved into the home which she had purchased at Alys Beach with her siblings two years ago.

“We all got together and purchased the home at Alys Beach after we realized that we had officially outgrown the original 1950s bungalow of our childhood,” said Alys. “With my sister-in-law [an architect] and my sister [a landscape architect], we’ve all been contributing to make our home as comfortable and as practical as possible.”

The rest is history in the making…

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