No doubt the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to place a greater value on the places we lay our heads at night–one only needs to look at the beaucoup profits racked up by retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot during the lockdowns to see we are, as a society, investing in home improvement.
It’s something that Matt Titone, graphic designer and architecture-obsessive, was thinking about a lot this spring when he sent the second volume of his gorgeous coffee table book Surf Shacks off to the press. “It’s important to note that this book has been finalized in the midst of a global pandemic that has changed the lives of everyone on the planet,” Titone writes in the book’s introduction, before arguing that the hardships have served to “shine a light on what truly matters: Where you live, the physical space you call home, who you share it with, and the community you surround yourself with.”
Like its handsomely designed forebearer, Surf Shacks Vol. 2 is nearly 300 pages of style-y architecture and funky interior design, distinctive tchotchkes and vintage ephemera, lots of surfboards (of course) and unapologetically surfy characters, who, as it turns out, are the distinguishing feature of a surf shack, more so than any particular aesthetic.
As capable a graphic designer as Titone may be, his curatorial skills–his artful selection of which characters to feature–are what make Surf Shacks Vol. 2 (like Vol. 1) sing. For every tan (and almost annoyingly good-looking) couple vamping in their midcentury modern chairs or sarape-draped couch, Titone sprinkles in a colorful and disparately decorated bungalow like that of madcap surfboard shaper Peter Schroff, whose eight pages serve as a Dadaist performance art piece among a book that’s otherwise a white-walled gallery show.
Titone and Read McKendree tackled the majority of the photography for the new volume, a workload that took them from Hokkaido to Tofino, Byron Bay to Harbor Island, Hawaii’s North Shore to the northern reaches of Long Island, among other ocean-adjacent locales.
Though he now lives in southern California, Titone attended Flagler College in St. Augustine before graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. His wife, Courtney, grew up in Jacksonville. It’s not surprising then that Northeast Floridians are again well represented in the new volume, though First Coast-natives like Karina Petroni (Bahamas) and Robert Glover (Ventura, California) have made their surf shacks elsewhere.
If you’re a fan of creative print design, unique interior decor and architecture, or are simply keen on a dose of escapism, Surf Shacks Vol. 2 is a worth a look.
We recently caught up with Titone and asked him about this newest collection of surfy abodes.
Surf Shacks Vol. 2 is available at the Void retail shop, during our Friday Pop-Up sale, every Friday from 11am-6pm. We highly recommend heading over to Indoek.com and nabbing a copy directly from the creators. The folks at Indoek are also offering signed editions, which come with a hemp tote. Very cool!
Volume 1 was well-received (and rightfully so). I’m wondering how soon the wheels were in motion for this second volume? Had you already stacked photos or had a list of folks you wanted to see in a follow-up?
In your introduction to the book you note that it was sent to press in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. I think a lot of people would agree with your saying that this global health crisis forced us to place greater value on our homes and communities. Have you had some more time to reflect on what this book is all about given the context? Do you see it as a vehicle for inspiration to improve our homes? A form of escapism, perhaps?
When Vol. 1 came out, I asked you to describe what makes a surf shack and you said it was more about the “characters” inhabiting the house than any particular architectural or interior design. Now that you’ve got two volumes under your belt, have you picked up on any threads that tie the architecture or interiors of these surf shacks? Anything that keeps popping up in all the houses?
Again, Northeast Floridians are well-represented in this volume, though many of them live outside of the region. Does it strike you as interesting that this oft-overlooked surf hamlet produces so many “characters” with neat houses? Tell us how how cool we are!
Can you pick a favorite shack from this volume and tell me why?
Surf Shacks Vol. 2 is available at Indoek.com (Click the image to head to their site) and at Void Magazine’s Friday pop-up shop in Jacksonville Beach.