As a native New Englander, MGB Co-founder Steve Ellis worked his way through college performing bright work (varnishing; painting) and exterior maintenance on boats from Boston to Maine, serving as a mate on a 111-foot motor yacht traveling from Canada to the Caribbean. “Boats are about not wasting space,” he says, applying the tenet to his current profession whenever possible.
His love of all things nautical and sustainable is manifested in his vacation home, located on Jewfish Key, with salvaged heart pine from an Ybor City tobacco factory, reclaimed cedar barn wood, repurposed sails for shower curtains and closet door panels, and aptly-named port and starboard decks. Soy foam insulation affords the option to close off bedrooms while opening doors to the main house. By pocketing away strategically-located sliders, the house essentially becomes an outdoor adventure subjecting its occupants to the meditative effects of gentle breezes, birdsongs and the sound of the sea.
To access the home’s second level, an outdoor wooden staircase makes it an adventure for the Ellis’ daughter and young children of visitors. Eves and angled ceilings resourcefully create bedroom spaces for 10, with inspired play nooks in the two upstairs suites.
“Our getaway is built on a very human scale and allows us to spend our time on the island ‘outdoors,’ even when in the kitchen preparing meals with friends, or lounging indoors,” Ellis says.