Home & Garden

Former garage becomes family's cool retreat in Bay St. Louis

It started as a good place to store the family's Airstream.

Now, what once was a gas station in Bay St. Louis is a weekend destination for Holly Lemoine-Raymond and her husband and teen son. The family lives on a farm in Hancock County near Picayune, but the tiny getaway spot is just right for getaways to the Bay.

"We live on a 44-acre farm out in Hancock County," she said. "I'm a little bit country and a little bit city." The farm house is about 728 square feet.

"My barn is actually bigger than my house," she said with a laugh.

When the yen for town hits, the former service station offers a cool, cozy niche that's handy to everything.

"You can see we're just like three blocks from the beach, and just a quick walk to downtown," she said. "It's like we're in the middle of it all."

The former owner of the Cyprus Cafe, now a Realtor, Lemoine-Raymond put creativity to work in the building's transformation. In addition to once being a gas station, it was a feed store and also a shop for powdercoat painting.

"When this came available, I was super excited," she said. They bought the property last spring and completed the work in January. The exterior got a gray paint job and a Costa Rica-inspired fence as well as raised planters that hold herbs and vegetable plants.

"I was prompted to do this for my son and me," she said about the small garden. "He's 15 and like to see things grow."

Inside, industrial meets rustic for a fresh, informal and kick-back friendly atmosphere. Lemoine-Raymond combined pre-owned furniture, budget-friendly accessories and a not-so-secret ingredient: pallets.

"Oh, my gosh, what you can do with pallets. I have a lot of pallet stuff," she said. Where to begin? Sliding doors are covered with pallet boards. The bathroom walls gain warmth from boards in a similar fashion. The star, though, must be the "porch" swing, which she made from pallets and a baby crib mattress.

More creativity can be seen in the canvas drop cloths used as curtains.

A laundry/closet gained shelving through more ingenuity.

"People were laughing at me because we didn't have shelves in here, so I just cut some shutters and put them in as shelves. They work, don't they?" she said with a laugh.

Lemoine-Raymond was inspired by a retro-style floor lamp for the home's design.

"I used that and ran with it," she said. A fan of light fixtures, she found several that reflect the industrial style of the floor lamp.

The Airstream Bambi sits in the "garage" area, which boasts a new industrial door ("our only big expense," she said). A ladder in the garage leads up to the bunk area, which is visible through old windows salvaged from older homes in the Bay. At some point, the couple might add to their Bay haven, and the garage is the perfect space to do that.

"My husband and I always wanted to do something like this," Lemoine-Raymond said. "I'm not scared. I love challenges."