SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (WAVY) — One floor, minimal rooms and an unbeatable view.
“The story of the flat tops in Southern Shores is the story of the mid-century modern homes,” said historian Sally Gudas.
In the 1950s, more than 150 flat top cottages made up the town of Southern Shores. The homes were designed by developer Frank Stick. Now only 25 remain, with six of them designated as historic landmarks.
“We want to preserve as many of these wonderful pieces of Southern Shores history as possible,” Gudas explained.
Sally and Steve Gudas purchased their own historic flat top in 2009 after previously vacationing in the 68-year-old cottage that sits on Wax Myrtle Trail.
“I fell in love with the uniqueness of them,” said Steve Gudas.
Juniper paneling and concrete floors span the homes.
“Some of the concrete block that was used was manufactured in Kitty Hawk Village and they used old shells and old conch shells and stuff like that,” explained Lee Whitley of the Southern Shores Historic Landmark Commission.
A testament to a simpler time in our country’s history.
“People are nostalgic about them and nostalgic for the time where you could go just with your family and rent a reasonably priced small home just at the beach,” stated Sally Gudas.
Across NC Highway 12 and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean sits the Price cottages. The second home serves as a guest house. Both flat tops were built in the 1940s.
“It’s been a labor of love but really just a riot. Our family comes and visits. That’s the biggest joy. They come down and they say it’s great, they don’t want to leave,” said owner John Price.
Both the Price and the Gudas families work to help preserve the remaining flat top cottages in Southern Shores through tours and donations. Sally Gudas tells 10 On Your Side this year alone, more than 700 people have toured the historic beach homes wanting to learn more about the town’s history.
“I think too many people have made a business out of building super structures to maximize their return on their investment,” Price concluded.