One of the featured flat top cottages on the April 27 Southern Shores tour.
One of the featured flat top cottages on the April 27 Southern Shores tour.

The Southern Shores Flat Top cottages are some of the most iconic of Outer Banks architecture. At one time there were a few hundred of them, mostly in Southern Shores although almost every beach town had a few. 

There are not nearly that many now, and there are a lot of reasons for that. That, however, is a discussion for another day. There are, though, enough left that the Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottage tour is back for another round of visits to 14 flat top homes.

The tour is scheduled for April 27 and for anyone who never had a chance to see the simple, functional yet beautiful design of the homes, this is a great opportunity.

Flat Top History and Design

Based on designs that the founder of Southern Shores, Frank Stick, saw in Florida, the homes were built between the late 1940s and early 1960s. Square in design, when the Frank Stick and his son, David, sold the properties, the strategy was to sell an affordable vacation lot with a home on it to working families.

Because of that, there are some remarkable design features to the buildings. Unable to afford to bring in the best sand for their concrete, sand was taken from the beach. So yes, the walls may very well have seashells in them.

It seems crazy to think about it now, but when the houses were being built, juniper was a local wood at a very good price. As a consequence, beams and framing are almost always done in juniper—one of the reasons the homes have held up so well.

Fees for the tour benefit the Tour Benefits Flat Top Preservation Fund of the Community Foundation. For more information contact Sally and Steve Gudas at  804-399-8342.

Enjoy life’s simple pleasures on the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Brindley Beach Vacations and relax.