SoWal Style - Old Florida Cottage in Grayton Beach
May 4, 2020 by SoWal Staff
There is a lot of history in Grayton Beach. On every street are historic homes and fantastic memories. "Artless Sprite" is a quaint cottage with a long history full of family memories, and it is available to rent so new memories can be made.
Right in the heart of it all and close to the beach access, and "downtown" Grayton, Artless Sprite has been lovingly renovated and decorated for comfort and style with old Florida accents and family memorobilia.
The charming bungalow has two baths and sleeps eight in three bedrooms. The public beach access at Western Lake is less than a 3-minute walk, passing the infamous Red Bar (reopening planned for Memorial Day) along the way. Experience Old Grayton at its finest!
Contact Grayt 30A Vacations to book - www.grayt30avacations.com, 844-941-1213.
Jean Homrighausen is a member of the family of the current owners, whose family history in Grayton Beach dates back to ownership in the 1940s. She describes some collective memories of days gone by in Grayton Beach at Artless Sprite.
Our family's history with the cottage began when we bought it in late 1972. It was one of three adjacent houses in what was called “The Compound” that were all for sale at the time. Our parents decided to buy one of the homes at 156 Garfield. I’m not sure whose family compound it was or who it was bought from.
I remember that Hurricane Eloise storm surge in 1975 came up about four feet and left a line on the original asbestos shingles, and thankfully there was no other damage.
One of our first renovations was adding an enclosed outside shower. Soon after my brother Bill was showering au naturale and Dad threw rocks at the side of the shower, which caused Bill to duck down to look under the shower to which my Dad convulsed with laughter at his immodesty.
Siding was added and the kitchen cabinets and bathrooms were done some time in the 80s or 90s. One feature of the house that stood out was the hole in the bathroom walls. The two bathrooms were back to back, sink walls facing each other. The bathroom on the right was the boys’ and the left bathroom was the girls’. This designation was made because we often had 15-plus friends staying there. The dorm room alone slept nine people. Apparently the boys discovered the hole between the bathroom walls and spied on the occupants of the girl’s Bathroom. It was soon plugged!
Dad found a big round wall clock from the hospital where he worked. It fell off the wall which made it run backwards. So Dad hung it in the den near the TV in the house. We got really skilled at telling time by realizing that the real time was a mirror image of what it read. For instance, if it read 2:40, it was really 10:20.
When my cousin Tracey and I were about eleven, we expressed concern at Mom boiling lobsters alive in a big pot of hot water. Bill told us they scream when they hit the water. Tracey and I fled before Mom put them in the pot. We were halfway down the dirt road on the way to the store (Red Bar) and we heard screams coming from the house (Bill).
Dad had his 50th birthday in the house 8/10/79. Mom baked a cake with chocolate icing, and the middle fell. To put the finishing touch on the “crater cake,” we found a taper candle melted at a 45 degree angle, stuck it on his cake, and Dad blew it out. Mom’s baking reputation suffered a permanent blow from then on.
My brother Bill got his 21st birthday present at the house - a car!
I named the house “Artless Sprite” in 2013 when I began managing it as a vacation rental for the family. It’s named after the poem that Dad wrote when he was about 15. Dad, his sister Claire, and first cousin Ann who grew up with them in DeFuniak Springs, were spending the night at the beach one summer in their family beach house that used to be next door to the store (west side). Dad dreamed the poem, and upon waking, quickly told Aunt Claire to write it down as he dictated it. That house fell into disrepair some time in the 50’s and so it was torn down and the lot left vacant until it was sold in the 90’s. I felt like that house should be remembered somehow.
On the front steps written in the concrete were the names “Jack” and “Roger” with the date “Aug 31, 1957” so the house is at least that old. It's possible that it was built decades earlier or like a lot of old cottages in Grayton Beach, was a workers' cottage moved from the old saw mill in nearby Point Washington on Tucker Bayou off the Choctawhachee Bay.