Exploring Seabrook

Take 300 acres of rugged Pacific Ocean coastline and couple it with a dream...

Founded in 2004, Seabrook is a planned beach community, 3 hours from Seattle. And when Coastal Living Magazine decided to construct the ultimate dream beach house, this is where they built.

Seabrook is a haven, just outside sleepy--and forgettable--Pacific Beach, Washington. And a haven it is. Adjacent to the sales office is a picture-perfect coffee shop. Across the street is a small market with enough wine and gourmet nosh to satisfy those trekking in from the city.

I've never been on a movie set, but a visit to Seabrook satisfies that urge. Beautifully-crafted houses ranged in an eclectic collection of "best of the beach" styles. Parking, I navigated a space in front of a house with a wide front porch. A guy who looked straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad was reading a book...with his golden retriever lounging on a plaid blanket nearby. American flags fluttered in the wind, while kids whisked by on their retro-style bikes.

Nostalgic for a time and a place I never knew, Seabrook evokes the notion of 1950's neighborhood block parties, sweet tea on the front porch, and those days when you greeted your neighbor by name. Tied up in that thought, I watched kids barrel roll down a slope of grass, giggling their way to the bottom.

Wary of the "planned community" aspect, as I walked the crushed oyster shell path leading to the beach, I wondered. What are the essential elements of community? And if you incorporate them in your plan, will it resonate with buyers?

At the launch party, this sense of community was definitely a subject of conversation. Ingrid talked about growing up in Brooklyn. Before air conditioning and internet drove people inside, back in the day, hot summer evenings were spent out on the front porch. Kids played in the street, and neighbors chatted with each other on the stoop. "Nobody does that anymore." She paused, reflecting on a recent visit home, "The streets are quiet now."

Next, I struck up conversation with a woman who recently purchased a 500 square foot cottage at Seabrook. "I'd like to have a house on the beach, but I chose to be near the community garden instead."

Prodding her, I asked, "You gave up the beach for community in the garden?"


This had me pondering...In our modern world can we design for "community"? Addressing a table full of designers and magazine editors, we glanced up the hill at the heart of Seabrook.

Yes, it's possible.

--This way to Seabrook!

Simple choices: beach or town fun?

The plan...rolling out in phases.

Americana, on the Pacific coast

Seabrook community center. See that crow's next? You'd find me there...

A slice of New England in the Pacific Northwest.

Build to suit

Coffee and off in the distance, an ocean view

Forgot to bring something from the city? Lil's Pantry has staples and a small mix of gourmet items.

Vino at Lil's Pantry--a basic selection of usual suspects

Housemade frozen dinners (seafood & burgers, mostly)

Back from a beach run

Next stop? Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House.