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The Ultimate in Outdoor Living in Inlet Beach

By Erin Oden

Steve and Bridget Neidhart enjoyed a long history of coastal property ownership before embarking on building their dream home in Inlet Beach, Florida. Aptly named, their beach house Emotional Rescue exudes elements of the coastal lifestyle we all depend on for a reprieve at the beach. The Neidharts’ intimate involvement in the design of the home included a desire for significant emphasis on outdoor living. Their vision accomplished a true show house that boasts one of the most impressive outdoor living designs to be found.

Complete with a fire pit and sand beach for games!

How did you discover 30A? Tell us about your first visit to 30A.

We discovered the area in 2007 and purchased a condo in Sandestin during our first visit. It took several more years to explore 30A as Bridget and I were both working so our infrequent visits were consumed by enjoying Sandestin. In 2010, we went for a road trip and turned onto 30A from 98 on a whim. We immediately realized that we had discovered something special as we were blown away by the coastal dune lakes, WaterColor, and Seaside. We knew we would eventually live here.

The largest private pool in the area, measuring 30×15 plus 11×18! Also features a sunken swim-up bar.

The home site you selected for building your dream beach home is notably large for our area, allowing for the impressive outdoor
spaces you 
designed. Tell us a bit about the selection process of your unique site?

Our first purchase on 30A was a home in Seagrove in 2010. We loved the house, but we knew pretty quickly that it was a placeholder until we found a more perfect location. The Seagrove house was about 1 mile from Seaside, which wasn’t bad, but we decided we wanted to be a little closer to the restaurants and bars of either Rosemary or Seaside and we knew we wanted more space. We also decided it would be fun to build a house so that we could incorporate everything that the Seagrove house didn’t have – great views and spacious indoor and outdoor areas large enough to accommodate large groups of family and friends. So we started looking at lots. That’s when we discovered Inlet Beach. The lot on Walton Rose was perfect in every respect, so we purchased it within a year of buying the Seagrove house.

Jaw-dropping views from the rooftop deck.

You have shared with me that you carefully designed this home over several years. Tell us about the design process of your Inlet Beach home? And, specifically, what were your main goals in the design of your outdoor space?

I knew we planned to rent the house for part of the year, so before I started designing, I contacted our Seagrove house rental manager and asked him to share what he believed to be the characteristics of the perfect rental house. Then, over the next year Bridget and I were like sponges, accumulating design ideas from different houses and researching design magazines until we thought we had everything we needed to begin. We wanted great views, but being several tiers back from the Gulf we knew we would have to build high to get them. We dislike the boxy “skyscraper” look of many of the taller beach houses on 30A, but we were fortunate to have a large enough lot to be creative in our design approach. We chose to taper the house down from left to right and front to back to give it a more natural look. We wanted a seamless transition from our first floor indoor to outdoor space, so we incorporated a slider that disappears into the wall to create the feeling of a continuous room from inside to outside. We also designed a roll-up-garage-style window in the first floor kitchen to open up that area to the outdoors as well. We ended up with three separate living spaces in the pool area, affording ample space for large groups.

Fully incorporate the outside with inside with the high-design window and door system.

How has your family personally enjoyed the outdoor spaces? What are your favorite memories spent outside at Emotional Rescue?

Our favorite day in Inlet Beach consists of enjoying an afternoon at the beach with friends, swimming in the pool, watching the sunset from our tower, and then retreating back to the first floor lawn for an evening around the firepit.

What have been the highlights of living in Inlet Beach?

Inlet Beach is close to everything we need – Rosemary Beach, shopping, golf, the beach, etc. It has a real neighborhood feel as more folks live there year round than in other locations on 30A, which has resulted in many great friendships that we’ll take with us even after we leave. We love going to the beach and finding no one else there, only to look down the beach and see the crowds filling the beaches in neighboring Rosemary. Finally, our favorite experience is walking back from Rosemary in the evening after dinner. When we walk through the gate in Inlet, the entire night sky opens up and we see stars everywhere.

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