McKnight's Senior Living, Design Successes, December 2018

Drawing inspiration from the Tampa metropolitan area and local coastal elements, Beach House Assisted Living and Memory Care at Wiregrass Ranch is designed to give assisted living residents an experience of the Florida they remember from their youth.

This particular beach house, located in Wesley Chapel, FL, is a 96,000-square-foot community that features 100 assisted living and memory care residences. Sixty-seven units are designated for assisted living, and 33 are for memory care.  The community was developed by a collaboration of The Douglas Co., Architectural Concepts, LCS, Prevarian Senior Living and StudioSIX5.

Established in 1942 by the James H. Porter family, Wiregrass Ranch is a 5,000-acre property now managed by JD and Quinn Porter and has been developed as a family community that includes residential neighborhoods, schools, retail shopping, entertainment and healthcare. It has been the centerpiece of a new construction trend that is revitalizing the North Tampa area.

“We could not be in a better location,” says Linda Mena, executive director of Beach House. “We’re not really close to the water, but the whole beach house concept is to create and new and relive old memories for residents. Many of our residents are people who spent their summers at the beach. We’ve only been open for six months, but we’re already 50% full.”

StudioSIX5 created the nautical flair of the community’s design theme, going beyond the typical pastel shades to bolder accents of red, navy and yellow against the neutral sand tone. Texture also is part of the ambience, as light-colored wood-look tiles recall boardwalks and driftwood. Casework for the reception desk and dining room hostess stand features river pebble accents.

“We did a lot of research on Wesley Chapel and found things that were local to the community,” says Emily Young, design coordinator. “We also wanted to incorporate vibrant colors and interior finishes that capture the character of the local area.”

That includes nautical upholstery and artwork featuring boats. Black-and-white photos of various watercraft are framed and presented in gallery spaces. Modern sculpture, such as a mesh-on-metal jellyfish piece, hangs on the wall above one of the lounges.

A wall mural depicts a sandy pathway to the ocean surrounded by soft seagrasses, enhancing the mailroom space as it opens to a multipurpose area in the wellness center. The community also features a billiards room and a tiki tavern called The Sand Bar to further the beach house theme.

“We market ourselves as ‘resort style living’ and Wiregrass Ranch is an inherent sales hook,” Mena says. “The décor is uplifting, and the environment is beautiful. But while the aesthetics are great, what really matters is the culture, the programs and our person-centered approach that considers each resident as an individual. We are committed to meeting each resident’s clinical and personal needs, giving them a purpose for each day.” n