Pensacola Magazine

Modern Living on the Bayou

Written by Hana Frenette, photographed by Guy Stevens and Steven Vance

 When Ashton and An Hayward planned the design of their modern and airy home along beautiful Bayou Texar in East Hill, the two had several key elements in mind: an open floor plan, the use of natural light, and an effortless flow of indoor to outdoor living spaces. Their gorgeous 4,318 square-foot home is tucked into a peaceful cul-de-sac and offers waterfront views from every room and bathroom. Designed by nationally recognized architect, interior designer, and Cornell and Columbia graduate Alison Spear of New York, this five-bedroom, four-bathroom gem was created with modern functionality in mind.

“For us it was all about no wasted space, so we really put a lot of thought into utilizing the space and the land,” An said. “We really wanted to do something that was us, so we started from scratch.”

An and Ashton also note the many unique art pieces they’ve found together over the years—whether they’re in the form of a beautiful painting from Birmingham artists Jim Burnett and Clayton Colvin, or in a skillfully crafted drawing from the couple’s son Aiden, color and life adorn the walls of this stylish house.

The couple’s chic style and modern way of living resonates throughout the open and inviting home, encouraging guests and visitors alike to take in the breezy views and warmly lit rooms, while enjoying all the amenities of the popular East Hill neighborhood.

Living Spaces

The central living area encompasses the living room, dining area and kitchen into one shared open room with vaulted ceilings and a wall of floor to ceiling windows. Beautiful and crisp white tones run throughout the central space, accentuated by gorgeous pops of color in numerous paintings, upholstery, vintage glass pieces, and a richly shining mid-century modern credenza topped with inspiring art books. One of the home’s two Portuguese limestone fireplaces provides an additional focal point to the living area. 

A long and winding staircase made of Brazilian Walnut treads leads upstairs. The west side of the space opens up to the courtyard and pool, while the east side offers a sweeping panoramic balcony view of the bayou.


“The real purpose of the home is to provide that real indoor/outdoor living and the functionality that comes along with it—that’s more of the way people want to live these days,” Ashton said. “With the pool positioned on the front of the house and the bayou on the east side, we can open the front and back doors for an open air flow throughout the entire space, which is great, especially if we’re entertaining. Guests and come in and out and utilize the entirety of the living space.”

Kitchen + Dining 

The chef’s kitchen features stainless steel appliances, sleek and modern oak cabinets, quartz countertops, a wine cooler and a wet bar, along with plenty of warm light from the surrounding windows on both the north and east walls.

“We always congregate in the kitchen, even if we have a party; everyone tends to go there first—it’s definitely a focal point of the house,” An said. “We did a playroom right off the kitchen—which could also be used an office or a library—so I was always able to have an eye on my son while I was in the kitchen.“ – An Hayward




The three spacious bedrooms upstairs each feature contemporary high ceilings, views of the water, balcony and third floor deck space, walk-in closets and an abundance of natural light from the many windows. The master bedroom features the second Portuguese limestone fireplace, his–and–hers walk-in closets, dressing area, dual vanities, a marble tub, and a walk-in shower and water closet. Two additional bedrooms are located on the main floor, with easy access to the pool cabana bathroom, kitchen and living spaces.

Shower + Bath



Lots of classic white subway tile, marble and modern light fixtures make up the majority of the home’s four spacious bathrooms. The downstairs guest bathroom also doubles as a pool cabana bathroom, opening up on one side directly into the courtyard and pool area, providing a quick stop for a shower after a swim. The additional bathrooms upstairs boast double sinks and vanities, hand crafted wood detailing, elegant lighting, chrome fixtures and gorgeous views of the bayou. The upstairs master bathroom also features a unique and beautiful painting by local artist, Sharon Cope, who uses Q-tips to paint each of her pieces.

Outdoor Spaces   

   As you arrive in front of the home, you’re greeted by warm lights along the courtyard wall that spell out “home,” in Morse code. Enter the home through the serene front courtyard, complete with a sparkling granite salt-water pool, complimented by cypress and Spanish cedar hardwood accents and cobalt blue glossy brick around the exterior of the house. Walk through the courtyard and into the home through two tall double glass doors leading into the open living space. Continue through to the east side of the house through another set of double glass doors, onto the lengthy modern deck space and soak in the panoramic view of the bayou. The home features two bayou facing decks and balconies, along with a third floor serving as the bottom landing patio, and a private dock.

Although the Haywards love this house and have enjoyed the beauty and functionality of it’s design for nine years, they have decided to put it on the market. If you are interested in viewing this property, contact: Gary Michaels, The Mark Lee Team, 850.972.2177,