INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Sisters Lori Auer-Smith and Karen Marcil have turned a lifelong love of all things of the sea into a unique interior design business based in Vero Beach.
While “home” is Vero’s barrier island, they have a showroom on U.S. 1, but the focal point of the business is on online where they recently launched www.OurBeachHouse.com. And it is from there that they can cast their net far and wide to attract clients that range from other designers to homeowners that share their passion for the sand and sea.
“It is not so much nautical as coastal — by the sea,” said Auer-Smith, who has been designing homes for 30 years. “Some people like nautical more than others so it is not like every house has so many things, but they all have the feel of the sea in it.”
“We had been collecting those types of pieces for many, many years but the hurricanes gave us a chance to utilize them all with an open canvas to do it all exactly the way we would like to do it,” Marcil said. “We had people stop every day during the renovation to see what we were doing and when we were done they wanted to know about all the pieces and how did we do it. “We decided it is so hard to find these things and we got the idea for a Web site so we could offer it to everybody throughout the county and around the world.” They launched a beta version of the website in November and it is live now, though they say it will never be completely done as each treasure hunt will bring new finds to add to their collection.
“We realized these things are hard to find so we decided to market to all the coastal towns from Nantucket to the California coastline, to Annapolis, all the really nice coastal seaside towns,” Marcil said.
They have already signed up 30 designers from around the country who share their passion for the theme, but have put that project on hold for a while so they can concentrate on other parts of the business.
Marcil’s background was in math and computer science and she worked as a systems analyst for the South Florida Water Management District before opening Absolute Protection security company with her husband.
“A lot of the traffic is coastal towns, but there are people that love the sea that are in the middle states,” she said. “We have also had people on our site from Australia, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic.”