And, Ed Quinn has the type of personality that gets people involved.
Giving a name to a home is “kind of like a theme we’ve seen wherever we’ve lived along the water,” said Ed. He got his inspiration from waterfront cities where his family has lived: Fairfield Beach, CN, and Sayville, NY, the ferry gateway to Fire Island.
After moving to Gulfport, “I bounced the idea around the whole family,” he said. That was in late 2016.
He had a couple of sessions with his dad, his mom and his wife, Suzanne.
They talked about the name, the type of wood, colors, lettering, the iconic symbol – a beach umbrella, and even the thematic way the sign would be attached to the front of house.
In November, his dad passed away, but “he got to see the sign,” said Ed. In December, he placed the sign on the outside of their home.
Making the sign at the kitchen table was “therapy,” said Ed because his dad had been very ill. “It’s special to me.”
The wood base is repurposed from pallets from when he sodded his yard. The wooden letters and beach umbrella were custom ordered online. The nautical rope and boat cleat being used as a hanger were purchased at local craft and hardware stores. He even added a touch of sand-textured paint under the umbrella for artistic effect.
“I picked the corally, orangey colors,” said Suzanne. “We didn’t want it to be matchy-matchy with the house. It was a collaborative effort. Definitely.”
By taping fliers to mailboxes, Ed spread the word about his house naming and sign idea up and down his block of Dupont Street S., which is in sight of the open sky of Boca Ciega Bay to the south.
The Quinns’ neighbor two doors down, Jeff Wright, got on board and says, “It’s a movement!” as he displays the sign for his home: Barefoot Bungalow. He and his family enlisted the help of a professional artist from John’s Pass to make their sign.
“Five or six [other homeowners] so far are doing it,” said Ed. Egret’s Walk at one home. Just Chillin’ at another. “It takes time from a cultural standpoint.”
For his next step, he’s thinking about creating a web presence where people can post pictures of their signs and local artists can get involved in the process.
“It’s happening. It’s catching on,” said Ed. “It’s kind of a cool thing for an artsy beach community.”