SOLD!!! A recent donation of a large oil painting by Helen Crouse will help preserve one of the last remaining Flat Top cottages of Southern Shores.
Debbie Weiland of Richmond, Virginia, donated a Crouse original to the Outer Banks Community Foundation to benefit the Flat Top Preservation Fund, a perpetual endowment that helps fund the maintenance, protection, and preservation of the 1953 Frank Stick Flat Top cottage at 13 Skyline Road in Southern Shores.
Flat Top cottages once dominated the Southern Shores landscape. Known for their distinctive cinder block walls, flat roofs, jewel-toned soffits, and vertical shutters, Southern Shores Flat Tops were designed by Frank Stick, the visionary developer, painter, avid outdoorsman, and architect. Today, only approximately thirty Flat Tops remain, most built from indigenous Outer Banks materials.
Crouse was a Flat Top lover, having spent many summers in Southern Shores in a Flat Top cottage built by her grandfather from blocks he cast by hand on site. As an adult she made a study of this vernacular architecture, painting a series of over 50 oils on the subject, including the donated work. In her paintings, she hoped to “capture this time before telephones, televisions, or air conditioning… when vacation meant being alone with nature and perhaps a book or a sketch pad.”
Debbie Weiland was another lover of this Southern Shores style. She spent 9 idyllic years on the Outer Banks with her husband, Joe, walking the beach, sunning among the dunes, watching sunsets, and tending fish ponds and gardens. They purchased the 24 x 36 inch “Structural Organic” in 2011.
“Structural Organic” depicts a sun-draped corner of the Knight Cottage at 113 Ocean Boulevard, examining the play of light on the architectural angles of the cottage’s quintessential soffits, juxtaposed against the natural shapes of a cactus and the cumulus clouds overhead.
After her husband’s passing, Ms. Weiland generously donated “Structural Organic” to the Outer Banks Community Foundation. In partnership with the Dare County Arts Council, the Community Foundation sold the work to benefit the Flat Top Preservation Fund. All proceeds will be placed in this endowment to maintain and preserve the cottage, which is the only Flat Top in permanent protection. The cottage was bequeathed to the Community Foundation in 2007 by an anonymous donor and is now used as the Community Foundation’s office.
Anyone wanting to contribute to the Flat Top Preservation Fund can do so via our website. Select “Other Fund” and choose the Flat Top Fund from the list that appears.