In architecture, adaptive reuse (also called building reuse) refers to the repurposing of an existing structure for new use. For example, converting an old church into a restaurant, an old train station into an office space, or an old windmill into a home. Adaptive reuse architecture breathes new life into historic structures by converting them into something useful for the surrounding area.
In Cheriton, one of the most exciting things happening now is the adaptive reuse of the former Esso Park Auto Court at the intersection of Bayside Road and Bayview Circle.
The renovation is being undertaken by Sylvia and Eric Hawkins. The couple purchased the property last year with the intention of converting the bungalows into short-term and vacation rentals. The location is now called Cape Charles Tiny Living.
The couple also purchased and reside in the brick rambler next door, and are on the property overseeing all aspects of the renovation.
“We just love the Eastern Shore, we have always loved it. And one day as we were exploring, we came across the property, and just fell in love with it. It just had so much potential,” Sylvia told the Mirror.
Reuse and renovation are not new to the Hawkins’. They have renovated Airbnb properties in Richmond and Charlottesville.
“This project is a little different for us,” Eric said. “Some of the other places, our friends would look at us like we had totally gone crazy. But with Tiny Living, everyone can see the vision we have for this place.”
For residents of Cheriton, they are also excited about the vision. Many of us have been driving past these bungalows for many years just hoping someone would come and rescue them.
Eric told the Mirror that they see Cape Charles Tiny Living as a multi-faceted affair.
“We see Cape Charles Tiny Living as appealing to a new kind of vacationer, some of the younger travelers that are coming to the Shore as a destination vacation, or just passing through and want to see what the area is like,” Eric said.
Cape Charles Tiny Living is designed to fill a niche for those not looking for glitzy 5-star accommodations, but those coming for the beauty and nature that the Shore has to offer, whether coming to explore the coves and barrier islands by boat or kayak, to take part in our world-class fishing, the viticulture of Chatham Vineyard on Church Creek, agritourism, or to check out our area’s rich, historical fabric. The small footprint and eco-centric design fill a void for many destination travelers.
The Hawkins’ estimate that most of the bungalows will be completed sometime next spring.
For us locals, the project brings a sense of excitement to Cheriton which seems poised for a re-birth of its own. The timing is just about perfect. Many of us see places like downtown Cheriton and Exmore as the next, real cool spots that will exploit the quirky and little bit eccentric personalities of smalltown Eastern Shore without being overrun by excess tourism.
The original structure served as an Esso (now Exxon) auto park court, with a gas station, general store, and a series of bungalows behind:
The renovations at Cape Charles Tiny Living are right on point, with meticulous attention to detail that allows for maximum spaciousness and livability inside of a small, eco-friendly footprint. Foldaway bed and desk units are an example of how these units maximize the space.
Paul Plante says
Good luck and best wishes!
Deborah Bender says
What a great idea!
Douglas Luther says
I always wondered about this property. Best of luck!
R. Ward says
So exciting, I love it! I wish someone with the means to do so had a vision similar to this for the old Candlelight in Birdsnest. Congratulations and Godspeed Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins!
Jonny Stevenson says
I’m delighted to see these reused. Have loved these little cottages for decades. Wishing you the best.
Cristina Wray says
Congratulations Sylvia & Eric, you guys are amazing 🙂
M. carey says
Thank you Sylvia and Eric Hawkins. Continue this great work.
Jeremy Ayersman says
Stuart bell, it amazes me every time I see a comment from you that you somehow become more ignorant. Your blatant racism has no place. Please go folk yourself.
You have brought them back to life! Congratulations and all good wishes for the future!
Why hasn’t Scotiagirl’s comment been posted?????
I love what you are doing!!!
Tevya Griffin says
What a wonderful project. Best wishes!!
Meliss Ellis El says
Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins. Your tiny homes brings new life and excitement to the area.
Melissa El Parrish says
Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins. Your tiny homes brings new life and excitement to Cape Charles. Beautifully renovated keep us abreast on the Grand Opening!
Susan Brown-Clukey says
Congratulations Sylvia and Eric. Can’t wait for it to open so I can book a stay. Maybe you can host a locals Arts festival that people from out of the area can come shop. The history of the area with local made arts and goods. That would be an awesome weekend combination.
Sylvia Hawkins says
Thank you everyone for all the prayers, support and love it’s like the houses feel it to. Saying Finally I’m feeling love on.
Shannon Williams says
Can’t wait to come stay in one and see you guys again! Sean and I could ride out there on our bikes. You two did an amazing job!
Blue Hoss says
‘The couple purchased the property last year with the intention of converting the bungalows into short-term and vacation rentals. The location is now called Cape Charles Tiny Living.’
If it is only short term and vacation, why call it Cape Charles Tiny Living?
Stuart Bell says
bless your heart.
Stuart Bell says
‘The small footprint and eco-centric design fill a void for many destination travelers.’
WTF kind of Liberal Gobbily Goop is this?
Stuart, thank you for showing you’re ignorance.
Stuart Bell says
It seems that I am right on target.
You know that I do not care what you think of me.
Evelyn Bailey Faulks says
Love the idea. I’m looking forward to renting one. This is my early childhood home area – Eastern Shore, Exmore.
Dot Watkinson says
Wonderful! Everytime I have passed by the court, I have wished that someone would rescue it and restore it. My wish has come true, and I pray that Eric and Sylvia will be wildly successful, and possibly be able to build a small repro of the restaurant.
Dave Moore says
It’s always nice to see abandon properties on the Shore being “repurposed” Life long resident and never knew about this little piece of history. Good luck to you guy’s!
Peter Simpson says
Congratulations Eric and Sylvia! Hope to see you guys over New Year’s! To Stuart Bell, I have been in the fine wine business For over 35 years and I can promise you that Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek is a first class operation. Those making fine wines in Virginia, like the Wehners at Chatham, are amongst the best winemakers in the world! The challenge growing grapes in Virginia far exceeds most any other region in the world. So leave your crass comments somewhere else. They don’t apply here. Well written once again, Wayne!
Stuart Bell says
Bless your heart…
Peter Simpson says
Thank you, Stuart!
Jean Raleigh says
This area was called Bay View when I was a child growing up there. The main building is actually
an historic structure–just with lots of renovations over time. My father owned the nearby country store
and you can see the Bay View post office in the Cape Charles Museum.
Thank you for saving these cute little cabins! What are you doing with the main building?
Minnie Hall says
So very proud of you two. Keep pressing on and reach these unbelievable dreams! God Bless.
Eric Hawkins says
I would like to thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. It means a lot.
Freddie B Manning Sr says
I was looking him up for some HVAC service, and realized the evolution of the Hawkins family is forever evolving. Best wishes to your new endeavors, and looking forward to spending a night in that new environment.
Hop Sing says