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A Home Filled With Priceless Memories

J.J. Wilson’s vintage cottage opens a window into Riomar’s eccentric history.

A young J.J. Wilson stands in front of the home’s famous breezeway.

A young J.J. Wilson stands in front of the home’s famous breezeway.

One would be hard put to find a house on the barrier island that remotely resembles the aqua-colored one in Old Riomar. This rambling, multi-era “beach cottage” is perhaps best defined for what it has not: concrete block, drywall, irrigation and air conditioning. But most of what it does have is also distinctive, most notably the sash-weight windows and good heating. “In other fancy beach houses, you freeze your fanny off,” says its current occupant, 75-year-old J.J. Wilson.

A seasonal resident of the intriguing 1920 beach cottage for most of her life, J.J. is adept at giving walking tours peppered with recitations of her mother’s favorite sayings and stories behind the incongruous rooms and unlikely additions. It is quite literally a breezy place, with 58 windows providing natural air conditioning and decent views from just about every square foot.
 

Read the entire article in the April 2012 issue