American Dream fronts Grayton Street, with Another Dream behind it. The house is twenty-four feet wide by thirty-two feet deep, including the eight-foot porch. Twenty feet of deck on the first two floors separate and join the two houses, a space that includes a grand staircase and outdoor showers under the stairs done in Italian beach vertical stripes, red and white for the front enclosure, yellow and white for the other. American Dream is painted vivid blue (Purple Martin), with white trim and red doors, window stiles, rails, and “Colonial” muntins. A white stringcourse surrounds the house, defining the attic level. The style is Charleston-type and minimalist Italianate, with an attic dormer facing center-front.
The three floors are contained within the code’s allowed thirty-foot height limit. The living, dining, kitchen space is on the second floor and is modernist—an open plan. There is a full bath and utility room clustered together with the kitchen at the front of the house. Living and dining rooms are a story-and-a-half, with an attic, open loft space over the Westside deck ceiling and, at the front, closed rooms over the kitchen/bath/utility area. The attic contains loft-sleeping space and a closed-off bedroom with half bath. The HVAC and water heater are also tucked into the attic space. The ground floor has two bedrooms, a full bath, and foyer that includes a hallway, entrance door, and spiral staircase linking the three floors.
Ralph F. Bogardus is an amateur architect with a twenty-five year connection to Seaside. He and his wife, Ann, became homeowners (lot purchased with Ken and Mary Ann Clark) in 1988, and he designed and built two houses (front/back, side-porch connected Charleston type) on Grayton Street, between 1990 and 1993. During the mid 1990s, he served on the town council.
His interest in architecture began much earlier, and while he never pursued it professionally, he was admitted to the master’s-degree program in architecture at Washington University (St. Louis, MO) in 1970. He instead pursued Ph.D. study in American studies at the University of New Mexico (1971-74), spent a post-doctoral year at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN (1974-75), and then joined the American studies faculty of the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, in 1975. He retired in 2001 and is currently Professor Emeritus. Today, he and his wife reside in Old Seagrove, next door to Seaside.
Bogardus credits architects Michelangelo, Palladio, Leon Krier, Aldo Rossi, Alvar Alto, Louis Kahn, Michael Graves, Robert Venturi—as well as writers Jane Jacobs, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Vincent Scully—for providing his architectural education. Also important were the mid-Western vernacular, Italianate farmhouses he grew up with, and the early-20-century vernacular houses he later found in places like Tuscaloosa, AL, De Funiak, FL, and Florala, AL. Finally, the numerous houses and buildings by architects that he has visited over the years—from Antoine Predock’s La Luz in Albuquerque, NM, to Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain—have provided instruction.