Inside a Florida Beach House Where Dogs Can be Dogs

When Peter and Alice Lyders started building a beachfront house on Florida’s Emerald Coast, they wanted to create the perfect getaway for their human family as well as their three dogs: Missy, Bentley and Sadie. 

So the completed six-bedroom house has plenty of pet-friendly features, including two doggy bathtubs and a swimming pool shallow enough for the dogs to easily climb in and out.

Located in Inlet Beach, the roughly 6,300-square-foot house was completed in 2020 and cost about $9 million to build and design, according to the Lyders. It is now on the market with Jonathan Spears of Compass for $19.95 million.

Mr. Lyders, 70, owns over 170 Taco Bell franchises in the Midwest. He and his wife, who live primarily in Michigan and have four adult children, had visited the Emerald Coast a few times before deciding to build there. Ms. Lyders said the emerald-green ocean reminded them of the Caribbean, while the sand dunes were reminiscent of beach towns in Michigan. 

In February 2016, the Lyders bought the beachfront lot in Inlet Beach for about $3 million, breaking ground on the home about a year and half later. The lot spans roughly 7,500 square feet with about 85 feet of beach frontage on the Gulf of Mexico. A wooden walkway leads from the home to the beach.

Many of the homes in the area have modern designs with stucco exteriors, according to Mr. Spears. The Lyders, however, chose a New England-style home with cedar shake siding, an aesthetic Ms. Lyders said she admired while visiting Nantucket and Cape Cod when she was younger. The goal was to make the house look like it had been passed down for generations, she said.

The Lyders family.

Jennifer Boris Photography

“We started creating this narrative, this story, of a house that had been there for quite some time,” said the home’s interior designer, Tennessee-based Chad James. The ceilings, for example, have reclaimed-wood beams from an old barn in Pennsylvania, which cost a total of roughly $14,000, Mr. James said.

To emulate a New England-style beach house, Mr. James chose cedar shingles for the gable roof and cedar shake for the siding. Inside, the entry hall is lined with dark-stained oak panels and moldings, which collectively cost about $70,000. Hidden inside one of them, at the foot of the staircase, is a roughly $1,800 gate that can be pulled out to prevent the dogs from wandering into houseguests’ bedrooms, Ms. Lyders said.

Baked wood flooring can be found in the entry hall and throughout the home. The baking process protects the color from scratches caused by pet claws and high heels, according to Mr. James. The cost of the home’s baked flooring, he said, was roughly $150,000.

More: Off-the-Grid House Outside Los Angeles Lists for Nearly $1.5 Million

To the right of the entry hall is the great room, which has French limestone floors. The Lyderses chose an open-plan layout for the great room in part because it allows their dogs to roam freely between the space and the basement, where their black-marble dog baths are located. The larger of the two baths is for Missy the Great Dane and Sadie the St. Bernard, while the smaller one is for Bentley, the bulldog. 

The kitchen is located on one end of the great room, while the main living room is on the other end. Between them is the dining room and a sitting area next to the kitchen. When entertaining, guests tend to hover around the kitchen, Ms. Lyders said, so she wanted the room’s design to prevent crowding while still welcoming conversation.

In the primary bathroom, a bronze-and-agate light fixture hangs over a marble bathtub.

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 “The way we could do that in this home was to create somewhat of a keeping area that allows people to be close to the kitchen and in the conversation without directly surrounding the island,” Mr. James said.

The roughly $250,000 kitchen has sanded plaster walls, pewter countertops, and cast-glass light fixtures. The Taj Mahal marble backsplash, meant to emulate the area’s sandy white beaches, has veins of crystals and amethyst.

Upstairs, each bedroom has a view of the Gulf of Mexico, Ms. Lyders said. Mr. James said he designed the bedrooms to represent the personalities of various family members. One of the Lyderses’ children likes dragonflies, for example, so one bedroom has pillowcases with dragonflies on them.

More: A California Home Sells for $29.948 Million—While Its Furniture Fetches ‘North of Six Figures’

In the primary bedroom, blue silk wallpaper is embroidered with birds and trees.

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In the primary bedroom, blue-silk wallpaper embroidered with birds and trees cost about $32,000. A custom-made bed frame has bronze arms shaped like tree limbs. In the primary bathroom, a $14,000 bronze-and-agate light fixture hangs over a marble bathtub.

The home’s exterior has several balconies facing the water. The pool is lined with recycled glass tiles in a lagoon blue intended to the mirror the color of the ocean. The tiles cost roughly $18,000, according to Mr. James. 

One of the family’s pets drowned in a pool in the past, Ms. Lyders said, so they designed this one to be shallow enough for their dogs to get in and out easily. The house also has an automated fountain to fill the dogs’ water bowls.

The Lyderses have enjoyed spending time at the Florida house with their children, gathering there for getaways and holidays. “I was always having us do some sort of game on the beach and some sort of card game on the porch upstairs,” Ms. Lyders said. She was so happy, she said, “it made me cry a couple times when I’d walk by and see all our kids out on the porch.”

Unfortunately, they don’t visit the home as much as they’d hoped, Ms. Lyders said. They have a ranch in North Carolina, where they are spending more time.

Demand in the North Florida market has remained steady despite a nationwide housing slowdown, Mr. Spears said. Last month, a home about 3 miles from the Lyderses’ house sold for $18.25 million in cash. In November, the median listing price in Inlet Beach was $1.7 million, up 19.5% compared with the same period last year, according to (News Corp, parent of The Wall Street Journal, operates

A wooden walkway leads from the home to the beach.

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