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750 Sq. Ft. Beachfront Dune House in Florida


In 1975, Architect William Morgan wanted to build rental properties next to his Atlantic Beach, Florida home.  He only had one problem when trying to decide about building the properties.  He didn’t want to lose his beautiful ocean view.  His solution?  Use the existing sand dune on his property as the foundation and build the homes underground within the dune.  From that thought became the beautifully designed Dune House.

Now famous, the William Morgan Dune House (which is actually two separate, identical units) is 750 square feet and includes one bedroom, one bathroom, an eat-in kitchen and a semi-enclosed patio with ocean view.  The duplex was built using swimming pool technology, a gunite-concrete shell anchored to a cast-concrete floor, covered with a mantle of earth stabilized by native landscaping which helps maintain a 70-degree interior temperature. The beautiful interior features built-in furniture, mostly made of wood, curved walls and is almost identical to a stateroom aboard a ship. The property features breath-taking ocean views.

750 Sq. Ft. Beachfront Dune House in Florida

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Images © William Morgan Architects

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Images © William Morgan Architects

Video: William Morgan’s Beachfront Dune House

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Diana Graham

    No photos looking out of the windows showing the “breath-taking ocean views” mentioned? ??? Really??? Sorry, but that’s just stupid. And annoying.

    • Avatar LC

      Check out the links. More pics and floor plan.

    • Avatar jacqui

      went to the website and there still are few pictures that let one see i think this guy is afraid someone might copy his plan lol

  • Avatar Susie M

    those windows look like spooky eyes – and errr….. storm surge anyone???? Not that Florida is known for the odd hurricane or three…

    • Avatar Curtis

      How in the world did he get permits to build that? With the bad weather we sometimes get in Florida, the storm surges would put that home under water in no time! Here in Tampa bay, the average home that is even some what near the water needs to be 10′ above sea level! So how did the city allow for this kind of build right on the water?

      • Avatar Sally

        Codes were a joke back then. The beaches were a laidback community of small beach cottages, family-owned restaurants, surfers, hippies, dive bars, and cheap family motels. An architect could do what he wanted.
        We never dreamed developers would turn the coast into three hundred miles of view-blocking condos in less than two decades. (Ironic that most of his new construction is 3-4 stories tall to accommodate a microscopic footprint — all that’s left to build on.)
        Personally, I don’t think the new codes will make much difference if we take a direct hit. Unlike your area and Miami, we’ve only had a few small hurricanes, and haven’t had a direct catastrophic hit in this area (northeast coast)since Dora in 1964. Stats say we’re due before the end of next year (2016). We’ll see what stays and what goes. Usually science and Mother Nature win the war.

  • Avatar Christa

    Interesting home. I’m sure the neighbors appreciate the extra greenery! Great article Sabrena, thanks!

  • Avatar Nisa Deeves

    What’s annoying are erroneous comments made that clearly show that the commenter didn’t read, or in this case, WATCH THE VIDEO. If you did watch the video, you’d see several shots showing that lovely ocean view. 😉

  • Avatar Heather

    I think this is a wonderful idea. At first I was skeptical because of Florida’s ground but felt more confident when it was mentioned on how they built it like a pool. I like that hardly any greenery is lost. I also think(if they were building smart) that this will be one of the safer homes to be in when/if a big hurricane hits(I say “if” because I’m not which coast it’s on). It’s not really my decor style but I still think everything was nicely done. Now how much??

  • Avatar Lisa E.

    I’ve always liked berme houses. These two apartments seem to have everything but would have like to have pics of the bathroom and a bed in the bedroom(s). Some kind of storm shutters for the circular windows and a carport would be nice, too. What is the asking price?

  • Avatar fede

    YES! I would live here. Gorgeous and very unique.

  • Avatar Elle

    Oh geez. Beautiful interior. Spooky eyes, that’s funny! 😀 I suggest adding a flower garden in the shape of a smile under those eyes. More wonderful ideas to take away.

    I wonder if this property has ever actually been tested by a hurricane. Generally when mother nature wants something she takes it regardless of how we think we can outsmart her.

    • Avatar Sally

      You are correct, Elle, we haven’t had any serious hurricanes in this area since the place was built to test it. No one is allowed to build on or through dunes anymore because it’s destructive to the dune, and dunes have been nature’s way of natural coastal protection long before developers decided to ruin Florida. Developers either flattened them, or turned the dune area into a unnatural green “golf course” as shown. All that green grass is NOT remotely native to the coast or dunes and would have to be chemically enhanced to remain that shade of green.
      As for flower gardens, Not Happening. The ocean, salt and sand shred anything, hence the popularity of hanging baskets and potted plants.
      This place has been a curiousity for a long time, but to me, there’s nothing “old Florida” or attractive about it.
      I miss the old Mom-and-Pop motels who had enough sense to build ACROSS the road from the ocean, for their own protection, and so that others could SEE and enjoy the ocean. Most got bulldozed in the last three decades in favor of condos, but I still have the pictures.

      • Sally I would dearly love to see the old pix of the cottages and or old motels that are now gone the way of the Dodo bird. I stayed in one old one across from the ocean in Deerfield beach in the early 2000’s. I loved it. So if you can,when you can I think many would appreciate the pix. Thank you Vincent

  • Avatar Carlos

    I like the looks but at the time of a hurricane it will become what it actually is, a swimming pool…..

  • Avatar Melanie

    Tres Sweet Beautiful idea and completion!! Congratulations To those of u who can only critisize, get lost. These people share to help show you what can be done Just appreciate!!!

  • Avatar Paula

    This duplex was built in 1975, and looks new. Obviously weathers storms well. The two halves are nearly identical, one with red cushions, one with blue, and were built as rentals. The architect lives, or lived, next door and kept his view intact. If you look at Atlantic Beach on google maps you’ll see that the area is crammed with beach houses. This would be my only criticism, as I like a little space around me. The house (s) is beautiful. I love underground houses.

  • Avatar Lee Jackson

    These are gorgeous units, no doubt, but the cleaning would be a nightmare.

  • Avatar Marcy

    I have no way of envisioning what it might be like to live in something like this, but would I ever love the chance to stay for a few days!

  • Avatar Lenora

    I don’t mean to split hairs but when does it stop being a “tiny house”? I was under the opinion the cut off was 500 sq.ft. This place is 750 sq. ft., That’s not really tiny! I live in a 624 sq. ft. condo which is lots of room. I am obsessed with tiny homes, I really want one but by these listing I already have one!! Anyway limits or no limits? Guidelines or no guidelines. Guess it really doesn’t matter at the end of day!

    • Avatar Snitch

      Sorry about reporting the comment-was intending to REPLY, that said, this is a “small space” themed newsletter. What is small to one person is huge to another. It is all relative. Don’t get caught up in the strict defination, or you could miss out on some great looking unique designs. Enjoy! I hope tou like your small space! Cheers!

  • Avatar Emily c.

    Love it. Needs a few tweaks, mostly in the kitchen, and it could be like living in the future. Looks like you could have a picnic on your roof and watch the sunset and the boats go by.

  • Avatar Kim W

    Beautiful interiors, though what I presume is the bedroom looks rather bare!
    The exterior pictures made me think of the British children’s TV programme – the TellyTubbies – as the remind me of TellyTubbyland!! My children loved it!

  • Avatar Linda Renzi

    Great home. Hopefully you could have a garden on the roof, which would be a nice touch. It says “for sale”, so, where is it located and what is the price?

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