Bridget and Bobby Bories both have a longtime connection to the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi. Bridget spent time along the coast as a teenager and Bobby’s family has owned the same waterfront property for a century. Five years ago, the couple built a vacation home of their own on the property so that they and their family could continue that legacy.
Bobby’s great-grandparents, Juanita and William B. Burkenroad, built the first of the family’s succession of homes in 1921. In the 1960s, their son, William B. Burkenroad Jr. and his wife Evelyn, moved the 1921 house to Second Street (behind the property) and then built a mid-century modern house where his children and grandchildren vacationed. When that house was destroyed by Katrina, Bridget and Bobby bought the land, tore down what remained and in 2014, began designing a new house.
The Borieses made a list of architects, which ultimately led them to George Hopkins, principal of The Hopkins Company.
“We had some idea of what we wanted but we also wanted to let the architect steer us,” said Bobby.
The couple also teamed up with contractor Renee St. Paul of Southcoast Construction and interior designer Heidi Friedler of Heidi Friedler Interiors, and began with some basic principles. They wanted a house that was strong enough to withstand hurricanes and tidal surges, that was easy to maintain, that offered spaces for gathering and privacy, that included two master suites, and that had porches and balconies to capture the views and breezes.
The new structure would have to stand up to the marine climate, meet building codes that have changed since Hurricane Katrina and follow rules set in place by preservationists. As the newest in a line of three family houses (all dubbed Burkedale after the Burkenroads), the project also took design elements from the two previous houses. The ideas for the balconies, porches and porte cochere all came from the 1921 house and were modernized for today.
Hopkins incorporated the Borieses’ ideas into a coastal vacation house comprised of a central 1 ½-story volume with symmetrical two-story wings on either end. Because the land is located on a bluff, it already met the elevation requirements, so the plans raised the house only a few steps, allowing it to look like the area’s traditional forbears. Hopkins placed the bedrooms (two masters and two guests) upstairs with doors that open onto balconies overlooking the water to take advantage of the views and provide a separation between the downstairs living and upstairs sleeping areas. Twin staircases in the great room lead to the suites with a hallway linking the two and an elevator for convenience. There is plenty of space for family to fan out. In addition to the kitchen, living and dining areas, Hopkins included a keeping room, a downstairs den, an upstairs sitting area, and indoor and outdoor porches.
“Our intent was to design a classic house of the historic Gulf Coast vernacular,” Hopkins said.
The cooling white of the interior, durable water-resistant materials such as ceramic flooring, fiberglass windows and hardy board, and amenities such as a SMART HVAC system offer practical solutions to sun, sand, moisture, and constant in-and-out traffic. Whether relaxing by themselves or hosting children and grandchildren, the Borieses say their pass times include sailing, crabbing, golf, tennis, cycling, picking blackberries, grilling and visiting local festivals.
“The floorplan facilitates the spirit of the indoor/outdoor activity that has occurred for generations and that their grandparents enjoyed,” Hopkins said. “We are bringing the past to the present.”
“We love it and we spend more time here than we ever imagined we would,” said Bridget. “Working with George, Renee and Heidi made it easy.”