By ALEXIS WILLIAMS
On the west end of Ocean Springs, steps from a vibrant downtown and beautiful Front Beach is a historic building recently renovated for mixed-use as a charming boutique hotel, casual restaurant and office space. Built in 1894, the building formerly known as The Porter House was purchased and renovated by Joe and Jessica Cloyd, Roxy and Ted Condrey, and Adam Dial. The original intent was to house office space for their respective companies but the project, thankfully, evolved into much, much more.
“We needed office space,” said Roxy Condrey who owns Rain Residential. “But we all soon realized that the building was unique and wanted to offer it to guests.” The Condreys also own The Inn at Ocean Springs, a quaint and beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of the historic downtown area on bustling Washington Avenue. It wasn’t long into the renovation process that The Roost, the name coined for the hotel, became part of the plan.
“We wanted to add rooms to the Inn because of its success and also add rooms in downtown Ocean Springs,” said Condrey. “This was the perfect opportunity.”
When restoring the structure, the group began to realize just how unique the building actually was. The natural canopy of live oak trees provide ample shade and and allow five of the six rooms to sit almost atop the trees, hence the name, The Roost.
“The building itself has so much history that it was a good opportunity for us to tell a story to people to come to the area,” adds Condrey. “The history of Ocean Springs makes it so special. Visitors can sit under the beautiful oaks, walk downtown and walk to the beach all from our location.”
They worked with the City of Ocean Springs to preserve the historical aspect of the property. The reclaimed wood found on the ceiling of each suite is original to the building. “The accent wood is my favorite because of how well it turned out,” said Condrey. “It really is a story, and we got to watch the process unfold. As we pulled the wood out, sanded it and washed it, the colors were changing.”
Along with the wood accents, the owners added other intriguing touches along the way. The entrance façade is made of oyster shells placed by the owners and members of the community, giving guests a coastal feel even before entering the building. A modern steel staircase provides access to the second floor seating area and guest rooms.
Mixing French Country with modern southern charm, each room is exquisitely and uniquely decorated with guests in mind. Rooms have luxurious bedding and organic amenities. Two of the six rooms have kitchen amenities hopefully encouraging visitors to extend their stay.
Each suite is named with Ocean Springs in mind – Shearwater, Pelican, Heron, Canopy, Straw Grass and Islander – are the six named rooms. The owners worked with the Anderson family to use famed Ocean Springs artist Walter Anderson’s prints for the identifying each suite. They took Anderson’s prints and had them engraved into pieces of the original 1800s wood to welcome visitors to each room. The Islander pays special tribute to Anderson himself, as Islander was his nickname.
Eat, Drink, Love Catering and Restaurant anchors the building and welcomes diners for lunch Monday – Friday with plans to add Saturdays and liquor soon. The business was established in 2015 and located for several years on the east end of town close to Ocean Springs Hospital and the medical area. Owners Lauren and Seth Braden focused on catering and also served boxed lunches. Their business also included an oversized freezer for take and bake casseroles. They were looking for a larger space when they touched base with Ted Condrey who told them about The Roost project.
“It’s been the best decision we made,” said Lauren Braden. “A good day at our old place was 20 boxed lunches, now we’re serving 150 lunches a day.”
The Roost and Eat, Drink, Love are working together also to host weddings and receptions on site. They recently held their first wedding at the new building, and it was a great success for everyone. The back lawn provides ample space for the reception site, and the front porch is a perfect spot for cocktail hour.
City leaders are excited to see the addition of The Roost to downtown. “It is a much needed addition to Ocean Springs,” said Cynthia Dobbs Sutton, executive Director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “As a tourist town, Ocean Springs brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, so we are in need of boutique hotels to our downtown. This addition is helpful towards that effort.”
604 Porter Avenue, Ocean Springs
Eat, Drink, Love Catering
604 Porter Avenune, Ocean Springs