Tour this Dauphin Island Dream Home

The Dauphin Island home of Kaye and Mike Tew is the perfect retreat for their children and grandchildren.

Living room decorated with coastal accents
Kaye found the coffee table that anchors the living room at Five Gold Monkeys. White orchids from Cleveland the Florist fill her planter held up by sculpted seahorses. Twin sofas from March + May Design provide plenty of seating for when the whole family gets together. The room is painted Pure White by Sherwin Williams. Photos by Summer Ennis Ansley
Kaye creates a beautiful tablescape for entertaining family and friends. The dining chairs and lamp are from March + May Design.

As soon as Kaye Tew swings open the front door of her Dauphin Island home, her hospitality is overflowing. Already knowing that she and husband Mike really built their home to host family and friends, I wasn’t expecting any different. She welcomes me in and takes me to her study where she says goodbye to her prayer group. The seven ladies have been meeting together for over 25 years and now stay in touch through Zoom. Within a few minutes of my tour, we’re holding framed photos of grandkids, and she’s telling me all about how they spend their time when everyone is there.

In the summer of 2002, Mike and Kaye found themselves empty nesters. Their daughter, Lauren, had just gotten married, and their son, Brad, was heading back to college. One Saturday, Mike said, “Let’s go to Dauphin Island.”

“We rarely went to Dauphin Island,” Kaye reminisces, “but we did that day.” They didn’t go with any intention of buying a house, but they found themselves looking at homes from the West End to the East End. Much to Mike’s surprise, Kaye found one she liked. “Of course, it needed a little face-lift inside and outside,” she recalls. 

“Then after 16 years in that home, our family had grown,” Kaye says. “We added a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and six grandchildren. We needed more space.” But they couldn’t leave the property they had grown to love. They had named the place “Tew Palms” after the two palm trees by the water, and they delighted in the quietness of the area and the views of British Bay. So they bought another lot, moved the original home, sold it, and built their current home in 2018. 

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“We already had our house plans from Jean Savell, and GLH Home Builders had begun construction. That’s when I called Natalie Roe of March + May Design and said, ‘I need help!’” Kaye had ideas of what she wanted, but she needed Natalie’s expertise to bring it all together. “Her creativity and energy and access to furniture, fabrics, art and other finishes elevated the aesthetics of our home,” Kay says.

An open floor plan that allowed everyone to be together in the kitchen, dining area and living room was really important to Kaye. She spends a lot of time in her kitchen, especially when the grandchildren are in town. They offer little helping hands to assist with cooking and baking. Mike grills filets, and they have mushrooms, twice-baked potatoes, salad and bread on the side. “Those kids request that meal,” she says. “They will go back for seconds!”

Open concept white kitchen
Kaye selected pendant lights from Lantern and Scroll that bring a pop of color to the light, natural tones in the kitchen. Bar stools with pattern are from March + May Design. The cabinet color is Lattice by Sherwin Williams.

They work up an appetite by spending their days on the water. The little kids go up and down the sea wall with nets in hand, hoping to catch crabs, shrimp and shells. They break for golf cart rides to get snow cones. Everyone, including Kaye, enjoys biking around the neighborhood. Mike can be found in-shore and off-shore fishing, and the children love to fish off the dock. They also enjoy riding on the jet ski and boat and swimming in the pool.

When the family isn’t sharing meals together or time on the water, the younger generation heads upstairs to play video games, watch movies or challenge one another to board games, such as Monopoly, around the table overlooking the water. 

“Four girls and two boys,” Kaye laughs as she shows me the girls’ room with a row of twin beds and the boys’ room with just two twin beds. 

Coastal style bunk room
Each granddaughter has her very own bed with a white Chippendale headboard by David Francis Furniture. Window Pane by Sherwin Williams provides the perfect backdrop for the framed swimsuit prints from Sketch + Co. The pillows are covered in Payton by Lulie Wallace, and the Roman shades are made from Gerty’s Dot by Erika Powell Textiles.

Angler Mike has claimed the ground floor and named it the “Fish Camp.” The area includes a fully-furnished apartment (where he had to quarantine during COVID), plenty of fishing equipment, exercise equipment and a work space.

It has been nearly 20 years since Kaye and Mike drove to Dauphin Island on a whim. Now a permanent resident of this little slice of paradise, she stands on the pool deck, looking out at the sky, sun and water. “All we can do,” she says softly, “is say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ We don’t take it for granted.”

Living room with coastal decor
The upstairs living area is decorated with vintage shell prints Natalie found and enlarged. The fish fabric on the pillows is Laghetto from the Manarola collection by Osbourne and Little, and the rug and chairs are from March + May Design.
Fish prints from Sketch + Co. surround the television in the playroom. The family enjoys playing board games around the white tulip table, and the blue and white poufs from Five Gold Monkeys provide extra seating or a place to prop feet.
Wallpapered powder room
Blue stripes, as well as the beaded mirror, make a laid-back, coastal statement.
Coastal master bedroom
Soft beach colors create a serene master suite. Art by Christina Baker hangs above the bed. Visual Comfort lamps rest on the Noir nightstands. The euro pillows are covered in Kravet’s Lido print, and Kaya II by Lee Jofa covers the bolster.
Colorful home library
Fish art by Elaine Gleason ties in the nautical theme and colors of the study. Labyrinth by Schumacher wallpaper brings a subtle pattern to the space.
Coastal guest bedroom
Crisp white linens keep this guest bedroom light and airy.
Coastal guest bathroom vanity
Natural light and coastal tones make this bathroom inviting for guests. The blue heron art is from Kaye’s collection.

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