2018 CoVa Idea House: York Lane Cottage

The 2018 Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House is Refined, Rugged and Real-Life Ready

CoVa Idea House York Lane Cottage
Photography by Jonathan Edwards

Like sipping champagne on your daysailer, the stunning 2018 Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House is proof positive that elegance and a casual, coastal lifestyle need not be mutually exclusive.

The York Lane Cottage, with its turn-of-the-century Nantucket charm and 21st century amenities, is worth every one of its 2.6 million clams. Situated on a cove of Linkhorn Bay in Virginia Beach’s highly desirable Bay Colony, the vibe of this gray-shingled home with white trim and a black front door is that of a 100-year-old house with a modern makeover. Lush, environmentally sensitive landscaping helps nestle this home into its natural setting.

York Lane Cottage, Idea House

CoVa Idea House 2018
Garage flooring by Garage Experts

Inside CoVa Idea House

Just as the perfect beach vacation is both relaxing and rejuvenating, this 4,500-square-foot home is serene and sophisticated, but also sexy and surprising. The inspired architectural and interior design vision of Stephen Alexander Homes and Susan Wilson Interiors go together like sun and sand. And the welcoming foyer establishes the themes that flow throughout.

A soft paint palette of grays, blues and sand with oceans of white trim washes the walls and weaves through fabrics and textiles. For hardwood floors and furnishings, a stain that evokes the look of driftwood is casual, yet rich. Bold but graceful squares and rectangles are repeated wherever possible for a cohesive rhythm. And 90-degree angles unify everything from larger elements like white trim work, wainscoting and three-panel shaker-style doors to small details like hardware and faucets.

Polished chrome, polished nickel and other silver-toned metals lend sparkle, shimmer and often a modern edge to furniture, light fixtures and a treasure chest of accessories. Clear glass and Lucite open space up—as do open style light fixtures—with glass leaning more traditional and Lucite more modern. Contemporary interpretations of classical styles, especially those with a nautical, industrial or mid-century flare, are incorporated into every livable layer from floor tiles to ceiling fans.

These design themes are ones that Stephen Quick IV—who, together with his brother, Alexander Quick, and father, Stephen Quick III, comprise Stephen Alexander Homes—looks forward to incorporating into other recently acquired properties in this diverse neighborhood.

In the meantime, like roasted oysters perfumed equally of smoke and sea salt, this year’s Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea Home is refined and rugged … and real-life ready.


Stephen Alexander Homes
From left: The Quick family team: Steve Sr., Stephen IV and Alex

Meet the Builders

Stephen Alexander Homes, builder of the noted Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House, is an award-winning builder specializing in historical architecture with a coastal flair. Having won over 50 gold awards during Homearama, they are considered one of the most decorated home builders in Coastal Virginia. As a premier custom and residential home builder in Coastal Virginia, Stephen Alexander’s designs provide open, inviting living space for the entire family. Meticulous attention has been spent in the planning of every room in order to create a space that is both pleasing to the eye and functional for everyday living. Their top quality homes are a step above the competition.


Susan Wilson Interiors

Meet the Designer

Susan Wilson has been designing memorable homes and spaces that clients and builders love. An award-winning designer, Susan has the vision to forecast and execute what interior and exterior styling clients desire. Specialties include: model homes, show houses and residential design. She continues to assist local builders with their architectural style, floor plans, interior features and selections. Her style draws inspiration from historical, nostalgic elements and coastal influences as it collides with modern living. Susan successfully bridges the gap between builders and their clients over the years working independently with each to assist them in developing their “lifestyle” and achieve their “dream home.”


Family Room, CoVa Idea House
The Family Room draws from the surrounding rooms, inviting the spaces from all
around with a focus on the warm, wooden beams in the ceiling and a classic design.

York Lane Cottage
Solid pillars adorn the end caps of the kitchen island shaking hands with the wood
accents seen just a few feet away in the Family Room.

Family Room in CoVa Idea House
Wood accents tie in the space visually. Here seen in the built-in shelving that extends
to form a mantle.

Family Room

Mid-Century Asymmetry Finds Perfect Balance

Like pearls—or oxfords—with a white cotton button down, the classy-casual appeal of a white-on-white color palette is timeless and always fashionable. White shiplap, tile fireplace surround, slipcovered sofa and side chairs and accessories like bleached coral and white orchids keep the look fresh and breezy. The textured fishscale pattern of the fireplace tile creates a shimmer both elegant and organic. Open on three sides, this airy space has its own cozy flavor with exposed beams and a nod to mid-century asymmetry in the form of a slim fireplace mantle and floating shelves on only one side. But the repetition of rugs, fabrics and other materials ensures that this central space flows seamlessly into the adjacent dining room, kitchen and breakfast room. Creating sparkling continuity are a driftwood look and polished chrome console and side table, a Lucite coffee table and pair of stacked cube lamps with white linen shades and clear glass and chrome accessories like apothecary jars and picture frames. Throw pillows and a pair of ottomans repeat the drapery trim fabric from the dining room, while the round shapes of the ottomans sound a pleasingly unexpected note in this home where right angles rule.


Susan loves:

White-on-white color palette. “The layers of white look clean, fresh and coastal, yet elegant.”


Dining Room in CoVa Idea House
Guests will enjoy gazing upon the gorgeous light fixtures or the amazing view looking
out to the pool deck and dock.

Dining Room in CoVa Idea House
Lighting by Progress Lighting. Furniture by Esprit Decor.

Dining Room

Casual Elegance is Served with Every Course

This open dining room stylishly sidesteps stodginess to strike the perfect casual-formal balance. Finely textured grasscloth wallpaper in denim blue meets white shiplap wainscoting below for a jeans-and-white-cotton-button-down contrast that is crisp but not harsh. Continuing the theme of contrast is a gray, driftwood-look dining table with polished chrome partial-wrap legs sporting a sleek, flat profile. Nailhead trim overlays a hint of tradition onto contemporary armless chairs upholstered in natural linen. A white, wooden sideboard that seamlessly blends into the shiplap wainscoting provides the storage of a hutch without the heavy formality of stained wood. Above, a large pair of contemporary sea bird prints are elegantly organic. On the quartet of windows, floor-length, sheer, white panels are trimmed with a band of blue and white fabric with a fan coral design. Suspended from chrome rings on sleek Lucite rods, they have a mamma-meets-millennial appeal. A pair of polished nickel split chandeliers over the table blends classic design with a sleek contemporary material, keeping the look light and airy. Their wavy glass shades suggest sunlight shimmering off rippling water. Underfoot, a luxurious, blue-gray-on-white Oriental rug is soft on both the feet and eyes.


Susan loves:

A pair of split chandeliers. “They allow the room to breathe more so that the eye can absorb the other details.”


Stephen loves:

The openness. “We offer a formal area just inside the front entrance that immediately opens up to other spaces to avoid any sense of stodginess.”


Breakfast Room in CoVa Idea House
If the Dining Room didn’t feature enough of a view, this Breakfast Room offers front
stage passes to anyone sitting at this table. The two cozy swivel armchairs offer a
360-degree view of the space, so sip your coffee with guests at the table while
enjoying the delicious view outside.

CoVa Idea House Breakfast Room table
The screened-in porch is just off the Breakfast Room and offers an experience “one
step closer” to nature but with the comforts of inside.

Breakfast Room

Sunny Side Up

Surrounded by windows on two sides—and open to the kitchen and family room opposite—this room is all about the tree-framed view of the cove and the setting sun. But it is less a room than a light-filled space with a kick-your-shoes-off footprint as large as the formal dining room. A white, wooden, farmhouse-style table and chairs with neutral, linen-upholstered seats are likely to be the site of much more than breakfast, while a pair of white, slipcovered armchairs creates a cozy spot for morning coffee, afternoon tea or cusp-of-the-day cocktails. Contrasting topstitching adds a hint of crispness to the relaxed fabric while blue and white throw pillows with a formal print are more about sinking in than sitting up. Set against soft blue-gray walls, the palette whispers of calm seas beneath puffy clouds. A mod stacked cube Lucite lamp base with a square white shade is subtly chic and “sea”-through, while the gray, driftwood-look side table, white coral accents and chrome lanterns suggest all things nautical with a natty nod. Suspended above the dining table, the sleek polished nickel chandelier with its exposed bulbs is a contemporary take on an old-fashioned candelabra; its slim profile avoids obstructing the view.


Stephen loves:

The view and the light. “The afternoon sun makes this the place to be to maximize enjoyment.”


CoVa Idea House Kitchen
This massive yet sleek quartz-top island accommodates six guests comfortably,
enough prep space to set up a feast and a sunk-in sink that has fixtures pretty
enough to put on this giant pedestal.

Kitchen in CoVa Idea House

Kitchen island in CoVa Idea House
Island top by Cambria Quartz


A Mix of Materials Sizzles and Sparkles

Like miles of sugary beach sand, there is no such thing as too much white in a kitchen. Especially if a long stretch of white upper and lower cabinets serves as a foil for bistro-worthy Carrera marble-look quartz countertops, a graphic backsplash and a thick, 12-foot island whose gray-veined quartz top is boldly breathtaking.

Despite their traditional origins, the clean lines and recessed panels of shaker-style cabinet doors pair well with both modern and contemporary design making them the ideal choice for this kitchen. Similarly, a soft gray and white palette throughout ensures that the classic, mid-century and contemporary influences all play nicely together. Perfect for this palette are stainless steel appliances, including a massive commercial range (with both steam and convection ovens), side-by-side commercial refrigeration and freezer units, dual dishwashers and a contemporary riff on a farmhouse sink.

Shiplap cladding on the island with driftwood-look trim on opposite ends is repeated in the design of the powerful but quiet range hood. The design of the hood-flanking upper cabinets repeats the faintly nautical X-shaped motif of the island trim. This coastal casual vibe is dressed up a bit with the addition of graceful white cove molding, polished chrome hardware and, over the island, a trio of large sand bucket-style pendant fixtures with white linen shades. Lucite counter stools ensure that this gathering space is as contemporary as it is coastal and as airy as it is anchored.


Susan loves:

The graphic gray and white tile backsplash. “It softens what could be an imposing commercial range.”


Stephen loves:

The island. “It is not necessarily a work space but a gathering space.”


Culinary Space, CoVa Idea House
The only clue that gives this door away is the reflection of the beautiful scenery
outside. Otherwise, one could walk into this see-through barn door on crisp metal
rollers that seem to float in the door itself.

Culinary space in York Lane Cottage

York Lane Cottage culinary space
Photo by Nick Spencer, 360 CoastalVa Photography

Culinary Space in CoVa Idea House

Culinary Space

Prep and Pantry Space Too Pretty to Hide

Just behind the kitchen is a functional space intended for food preparation and storage. But, like pheasant under glass, it is so special that it is dramatically showcased behind a massive rolling glass door with gleaming polished chrome trim. An indigo blue refrigerator-freezer with copper hardware provides a dramatic focal point within the otherwise soft gray and white palette. Continued from the kitchen is white, shaker-style cabinetry, both open and closed, with polished chrome hardware. Similarly, the island’s dramatic quartz countertop is repeated here and on the wet bar. Small hexagon marble tiles create a subtle shimmer across the backsplash, floor and halfway up the opposite wall, while a contemporary chrome, candelabra-style chandelier glows overhead. Between the rolling glass door and the back porch—seemingly made for serving cocktails—is a shiplap clad island wet bar with a stainless steel wine cooler and deep undermount sink, plenty of discreet storage and a million-dollar view.


Susan loves:

A designated space for small appliances. “The separate culinary space prevents small appliances from cluttering the clean, open kitchen.”


Stephen loves:

The fun factor. “We have given people an opportunity to display their culinary passion in a way that friends and family can interact with it.”


Mudroom in CoVa Idea House


Staying Organized with Style

White shiplap wainscoting and weathered wood planks on the floor and on an L-shaped bench combine with wide cove molding and contemporary polished chrome lanterns to hit the rugged versus refined sweet spot. A white cabinet with chrome hardware, upper and lower cubbies, weathered gray baskets and a this-way-to-the-beach sign ensure that hardworking and functional doesn’t mean haphazard and forgotten.


Stephen loves:

The practicality. “This space can be full of all of the paraphernalia of daily life, but it hides it in attractive baskets, cabinets and cubbies.”


Powder Room in CoVa Idea House
Photo by Nick Spencer, 360 CoastalVa Photography

Powder Room

This Enclosed Space Feels Open and Bright

This little powder room has breathing room. Though it is tucked under the stairs, this soft gray-blue pearl glimmers with reflected light from luxe surfaces like small, hexagon marble floor tiles. On the accent wall, wainscoting of rectangular glass tiles bordered with mitered marble strips creates a repeated picture frame motif behind the white ceramic and polished chrome console sink. A glass shelf provides needed storage space, but the open design helps keep the space light and airy. Above, a built-in, marble-framed mirror fills all remaining space to maximize brightness, while a pair of wall-mounted chrome and glass sconces hover between industrialism and modernism. Lacy coral motifs complete the pretty picture whose overall effect is retro-refinement.


Susan loves:

The glass and marble tile wainscoting. “This tile pattern injects shimmer and reflected light into enclosed spaces.”


Stephen loves:

The elegant retro feel. “It is reminiscent of discovering that one original bathroom preserved during a historic restoration.”

Guest Suite in CoVa Idea House
This room has a magnificent view of the pool deck and wildlife beyond, a private full
bathroom and a private entrance.

Guest Suite in York Lane Cottage

Guest Suite

A Blueprint for Hospitality

This crisp, clean and cozy guest suite is a sophisticated salute to the seafaring life. A white shiplap accent wall is set off by striking indigo blue walls. A toned-down version of nautical blue, in certain light, a hint of a periwinkle undertone peeks through. Reminiscent of both denim jeans and architectural blueprints, this particular hue projects a relaxed and rugged artisanal vibe, pairing perfectly with the driftwood-look furnishings and floors. With its easy-on-the-eyes vibrancy, the color palette drove decorating decisions from framed blueprints of sailing ships to blue and white quilted bed linens. The glaze on decorative ceramic vessels suggests foamy surf and rippling tidelines. Flanked by porches and flooded with light, these guest quarters boast their own side entrance and deluxe bath for plenty of privacy just steps away from the helm of the home. The round mirror over the marble vanity calls to mind a ship’s porthole, while the rolling glass shower door is a sleek interpretation of popular barn-style wooden doors. Inside the shower, the contrast of large, dark-washed indigo wall tiles with a subtle woven texture and a neutral, chipped stone-look floor calls to mind a roll-your-jeans-up barefoot walk amid rocks and shells deposited by a gently tumbling surf.


Susan loves:

Indigo blue. “An indigo blue is the color of vintage architectural blueprints; nautical but toned down.”


CoVa Idea House multipurpose bunk room
Watch a movie, play a game, read a book, have a slumber party. That’s just what a
Multipurpose Bunk Room should offer.

CoVa Idea House interior

Inside look in the York Lane Cottage

Bunk Room in York Lane Cottage
The upstairs landing is a wide open space with built-in bookshelves and transom
windows spilling in ample natural light.

Multipurpose Bunk Room

Spreading Out While Staying In

Destination and staycation homes need a place for everyone to spread out. This multipurpose room offers the young and young-at-heart their own comfy quarters for watching movies, playing games and even spending the night. Just off the upstairs foyer, a modern ocean mural by Brushstrokes by Cathy Cox provides a magnetic pull down a few steps and into this immense space made intimate through the thoughtful use of materials and arrangement of furnishings. An L-shaped, denim sofa faces a flat-screen TV mounted on white shiplap below a set of windows and above a floating driftwood-look bench that doubles as a long shelf. Blue and white throw pillows and the restrained use of lanterns and other decorative objects personalize the space. On the opposite wall, a more traditional white window seat joins white wooden chairs with linen upholstered seats on either side of a white wooden table with a stained wood top, perfect for games, meals or crafts. Sand-colored walls and plush, wall-to-wall carpet with a linen-look pile keep the setting calm. White shiplap defines a cozy corner for floating white bunkbeds when it’s time for the littlest ones to turn in.


Susan loves:

Hand painted murals. “The modern ocean theme draws people in and makes the immense space more intimate.”


Stephen loves:

Spreading out. “Kids have their own space for games, movies and even bunkbeds for overnighters.”


Laundry Room, CoVa Idea House

laundry room in York Lane Cottage

laundry room in York Lane Cottage

Laundry Room

Hardworking Room Offers Loads of Fun

Like a freshly starched and pressed cotton shirt, this tall, light-filled space is crisp and fresh with pinstripe wallpaper, soft sand-colored paint, white appliances and white and charcoal blue-gray cabinetry and shelving. A glass door with transom, oval window with divided light and pair of black, open-frame pendant lights keeps things bright. A black “York Lane Laundry Company” graphic on the door injects a playful vintage vibe, while a stainless steel undermount sink and Carrera marble-look quartz counter with writing desk ensures that all this fun is functional. Just above, floating driftwood-look shelves are current and contemporary.


Susan loves:

The intersection of modern and vintage. “The pinstripe wallpaper looks like a man’s retro dress shirt.”


Stephen loves:

The fun factor. “It brings enjoyment to mundane tasks.”


York Lane Cottage bedroom

York Lane Cottage bathroom

York Lane Cottage bedroom, CoVa Idea House

Upstairs Bedrooms and Jack-n-Jill Bath

Separate Places but Cohesive Spaces

Joined by a Jack-n-Jill bath, the upstairs children’s bedrooms are spacious retreats for guys or gals. Quiet and cushy, a plush, sandy-toned linen-look carpet flows through both. In the front room, pale blue walls provide a soft contrast to layers of white textured linens, a white, built-in window seat and a reclaimed wood headboard with a jazzy chevron pattern. A washed wood dresser with polished chrome hardware and feet is a subtle nod to mid-century design. Overhead a semi-flush mounted fixture with a white linen drum shade is another bright nod to mid-century style.

Next door, a bolder color palette combines indigo blue wainscoting and a sand-colored upper wall with white trim in between. Polished chrome boat cleats attached to the trim surround the perimeter of the room providing clever hooks for bookbags and jackets. The washed wood and polished chrome furniture combination continues in this room with the bed, nightstands, dresser and bilevel desk offering both display and workspace. A Lucite desk chair with chrome legs marries a mid-century vibe with a contemporary aesthetic and keeps the space feeling open and uncluttered. Overhead lighting features an industrial metal shade which is continued in the shared bathroom.

Each room enjoys its own water closet with pale gray walls and single-sink vanities. The Carrera marble of the countertops is repeated in the floor with its bold, black-accented hexagon pattern. Linking the two spaces is a combination tub-shower clad in clean white subway tile with a rolling glass door and black hardware. Black faucets and thin mirror frames complete the cohesive look.


Susan loves:

A coastal flavor. “Hints of whimsy avoid beachy clichés and lean toward the elegant.”


York Lane Cottage, owner's bedroom

York Lane Cottage owner's bedroom, CoVa Idea House

Owner’s Bedroom

A Crow’s Nest for Looking Out and Settling In

Serenity reigns in this pale gray and white sanctuary. Its dramatic, vaulted ceiling clad in crisp white shiplap vies only with views of the cove through expansive windows. A two-tiered, polished chrome, candelabra-style chandelier with cascading crystals is light, bright and sparkly. Driftwood-look floors and furnishings are softened by white bed linens, drapery panels, lamp shades and a slipcovered chair and ottoman. Graphic patterns in soft gray and white grace throw pillows, drapery trim and an area rug to infuse this tranquil retreat with little pulses of energy. The use of clear glass makes the space feel even more open while chrome surfaces reflect more light. Accessories in both glossy and matte white create visual interest with layers of tone-on-tone texture.


Stephen loves:

The vista. “As soon as you swing open the doors, the expansive windows allow the outdoors to feel like part of the room.”


Owner's Bath, York Lane Cottage
Brizo handmade fixtures

York Lane Cottage bathroom

York Lane Cottage, closet
Closet Factory closets maximize organization.

Owner’s Bath

Steaming Up and Chilling Out

The striking focal point of this luxurious gray and white bath, with its separate water closet, is undoubtedly its glass-enclosed corner shower seconded only by its soaker tub and floor-mounted tub filler. Nestled into a corner defined by marble subway tile wainscoting, this tub is strategically located beneath a broad window with an enviable private view to encourage long bubble baths. The shower features intricate mosaic marble tile on both walls and floor, bench seating and four shower heads. Flanking the tub and shower are two robin’s egg blue, single-sink vanities with Carrera style countertops. Though both are built in, they look convincingly like free-standing pieces of furniture—one with a dressing table—as do the pair of open floor-mounted white cabinets for bath linen storage. Huge mirrors on three walls, polished chrome hardware and fixtures, a chandelier that echoes the one in the bedroom and chrome and glass accessories bounce light throughout this spacious bath.


Alex loves:

The shower. “The four handmade Brizo showerheads feel substantial and just a hint industrial in this elegant space.”


Pool at York Lane Cottage

Pool house at York Lane Cottage

Pool house at CoVa Idea House

outside at CoVa Idea House

grill at CoVa Idea House

Pool House, Pool and Grill Island

Sit, Swim, Stay

A deluxe pool house conceived as a modern industrial farmhouse anchors the spaces that comprise this home’s take on luxury outdoor living. A sail-shaped concrete pool with an indigo blue tile border boasts a shallow sun shelf and a built-in underwater bench for front row seating as the sun sets. Just beyond lies a boat basin. White loungers and Adirondack chairs dot the patio, its neutral travertine slabs bordered by no-maintenance strips of synthetic turf. The patio visually and functionally connects the main house, pool house, pool and outdoor cooking space. Constructed of stone with a concrete waterfall countertop, the 10-foot outdoor grill island seats four comfortably.

The white board and batten pool house features a gray standing seam metal roof, black window mullions and two pairs of French doors. Inside, white shiplap walls play off driftwood-look ceramic plank flooring laid in a chevron pattern. That pattern is repeated in the white subway tile backsplash of the kitchenette. White upper cabinets and Carrera marble-look quartz countertops are a crisp and clean contrast with washed wood lower cabinets and a pair of floating shelves. A white-trimmed rattan sofa and pair of chairs upholstered in gray and white ticking are rated for indoors or out. Choosing black for the cage-style pendant lights, nautical dock lights, hardware, fixtures and an industrial, eight-blade fan offsets the white and enlivens the contrast of dark and light tones throughout.

Just beyond the kitchenette, the pool house bath pairs a rugged concrete-look tile floor and shower with a Carrera quartz counter atop a charcoal gray floating vanity. Black fixtures and cage-style pendant light fixtures visually connect kitchen and bath, while hooks replace bars to provide more hanging space for wet towels. The shower repeats the neutral chipped tile floor from the guest suite bath in the main house, incorporates it as wall accents and showcases another spectacular rolling glass door.


Stephen loves:

The livability. “Everything had to pass the livability test for kids, dogs and guests.”






Closet Factory

Cox Communications


Eagle Bay

Esprit Décor Home Furnishings

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Garage Experts

Greenwich Kitchen Center

Heritage Woodworks

Inner Space Systems & Garage Concepts

Ply Gem


Susan Wilson Interiors

Visionscapes Land Design & Installation

Betsy DiJulio
+ posts and articles

Betsy DiJulio is a full-time art teacher, artist and curator with side hustles as a freelance writer, including for Coastal Virginia Magazine, and a vegan recipe developer and food stylist and photographer for Tofutti Brands.

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