Churchill Bayou Materials and Finishes

We are thrilled with the outcome of our most recent house located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

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This was our first time building a house on stilts. This is common practice in our part of the world, as it puts the main living level on the second floor, maximizing the homeowners’ view of the bayou (or gulf, bay, lake, etc.).


These homeowners have amazing taste and brought some really fun ideas to the table. We were happy to bring their vision to life!




The kitchen back splash is made of glass tiles that can be found at Lowes. All the materials we used are linked below.


The materials in the kitchen are clean, cool, and sleek. They brought in some fun details with the light fixtures. And how amazing is this reclaimed wood ceiling in the dining nook (which happens to overlook the bayou)?

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The ceiling detail and light fixture are just perfect for this ultimate tree house in the woods.


And suddenly we have the urge to do dishes.

Here are the materials used in this kitchen:

Counters: Eco by Cosentino in White Diamond
Backsplash: American Olean Stellaris Gemini (3×6″)
Grout: Snow White
Flooring: Jasper Engineered Hardwood in Pheonix Grey
Wall Color: Front Porch by Sherwin Williams (7651)
Sink: Kohler Dickinson Farmhouse Sink

The homeowner provided their own light fixtures and the reclaimed wood ceiling.

And there you have it. Stay tuned as we share more details from future jobs and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Houzz.



All photos by Captivisions.

Considerations when Choosing a Fireplace

Even down here in the Sunshine State, we love a good fireplace. While fireplaces are mostly just for show in Florida (and hanging stockings), they remain a beautiful accent to any home and certainly provide warmth for our Northern friends.

There are actually quite a few options to consider when choosing a fireplace for your home. In many cases, your budget will be the deciding factor in the type of fireplace you choose.

As with most aspects of building a home, the options can get complicated and overwhelming, so we’re breaking it down for you. The exterior of most fireplaces can be finished out any way you choose. In this post we will focus on the firebox itself. There are two main types of fireplaces to choose from: traditional masonry fireplaces and factory inserts. We’ll start with the most expensive…

Traditional Masonry Fireplaces are made by brick masons and are the most expensive option.


This is the outdoor fireplace at our personal home. Forgive the ash and soot- we like to watch college football by the fire and haven’t gotten around to cleaning it.

This type of fireplace is how all fireplaces were originally built and is the most authentic-looking. We mostly see these in high-end construction, as they are the most expensive. Masonry fireplaces are wood-burning, but keep in mind that any wood burning fireplace can be fitted with gas logs; however a strictly gas-burning fireplace cannot burn wood. Wood-burning fireplaces are therefore the most flexible.

Masonry Kits are typically what is used to build a masonry fireplace. These kits provide all of the components needed to build the firebox itself and the exterior can be finished with a variety of materials and mantles. Check out Isokern for different styles.


Photo from Earthcore.



The other firebox option is a factory-built insert. These are the most popular fireplaces in our market, because they provide a lot of flexibility and bang for the buck. Keep in mind that the insert is just the firebox itself. When browsing the options, try not to focus on how the mantle and exterior is finished, since you are not buying those things. The builder will finish the exterior and mantle on site. We typically look for a fireplace that has a minimal amount of exposed metal. That way, we can cover most of the firebox with a nice finish material, such as brick.

There are many different types of factory-built inserts to choose from. One popular brand is HeatNGlo . You can get an idea of the many options by browsing their website. Among factory inserts, there are three types we typically see: Ventless Gas, Direct Vent Gas, and Wood-Burning.

The Ventless Gas option is the most affordable option of the three and the easiest to install. This type of fireplace burns clean, but it can put out a smell. It also puts out a lot of heat so you wouldn’t want to run it for hours on end.

lauries fireplace

Direct Vent Gas is probably the most popular type we see. They are moderately-priced, energy-efficient, and fully-contained, so you won’t get a draft from the chimney. This option requires simpler venting than a wood-burning fire place and you can turn it on with just a switch.

molly fireplace

The last factory-built option is Wood-Burning. These fireplaces do everything a traditional masonry fireplace does, but come pre-built and are less expensive. Since they burn wood, they require a larger vent pipe than a gas fireplace. This vent pipe must be enclosed in a decorative chimney. As such, this option is the most expensive of the factory-built fire places, but it is still less-expensive than a traditional masonry wood-burning fire place.

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We hope this brief run-down of fireplace options has been helpful to you as you choose a fireplace for your home. It really comes down to your style preference and your budget. Stay warm this winter!

Bathroom Mirror Options

You glance into your bathroom mirror countless times each day, but you’ve probably never given it much thought. When it comes time to remodel your bathroom or begin a new construction project, you’ll realize that you have choices when it comes to the design of the mirror.

trimmed mirror 1

One option is to have the trim carpenter frame out a mirror in molding. This gives the mirror a very clean and classic look. Light fixtures can be mounted into the mirror or outside of the molding on the wall itself.

trimmed mirror 2

trimmed mirror 3

Another option is to browse your local home goods store and purchase decorative mirrors to hang. This allows you more creative freedom than the first option, and it’s generally more affordable. When you consider the cost of the mirror and trim materials, plus the carpenter’s labor, a store-bought mirror will save you money.

bought mirror

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some bathrooms in your home can have store-bought mirrors, while others are trimmed out.

matties way guest bath

I purchased this mirror from Home Goods for around $70, but the other four bathroom mirrors in our home were done by the trim carpenter.

Do you prefer one look over the other?

Creating a Functional Mudroom

Mudrooms have become increasingly popular and have also become one of our signature design features.

A mudroom is a storage area, often tucked away near a secondary entrance to the home. It’s likely where the family comes in and out of the home. It’s a hard-working, high-traffic area that sees a lot of jackets, bags, shoes, dirt, and more.

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Life happens in the mudroom! It does in our home, anyway.

So what are the key features in a functional mudroom?

1. Hooks

Mudroom - Indian Bayou

Hooks are great for hanging backpacks, purses, raincoats, winter coats, pet leashes, and more. Hanging items on hooks frees up more mudroom space.

2. Benches

Mudroom - Brown St

The first thing you want to do when you come home is take a load off, as well as your shoes. A bench allows you a quick and convenient spot to sit down for the task at hand.

3. Cubbies

Mudroom - Calhoun

Cubbies are perfect for storing shoes, socks, sports gear, and more. Our kids know to take their shoes off and stick them in a cubby as soon as they walk in.

4. Additional Storage

Make your mudroom work double duty by including baskets and bins. This allows each individual cubby to remain organized. Since we keep our kids’ shoes in the mudroom, they also each have a basket of socks. It makes getting out the door a breeze!

phillips built in

5. Be Creative!

You don’t have to build a traditional mudroom. There are all sorts of creative ways to trim out extra space and storage. These small cubbies are perfect for storing towels in a beach house.

Your mudroom doesn’t have to be a dirty, messy space. It’s a great way to extend the design and detail of your home. We use a variety of materials and techniques when building our mudrooms from shiplap to wainscotting. The options are endless.

Would you include a mudroom in your custom home? Do you have one? If so, do you find it functional?

Baby Guard Pool Fence

Whether you are in the process of building a house with a pool, or just adding a pool to your existing property, you will soon discover some very strict building laws when it comes to pool safety.

We not only have a pool, but we have three small children, so keeping them safe around water is top priority to us. When we were building our home, we added the Baby Guard Pool Fence for an extra layer of protection and peace of mind.

pool fence 1

The fence is made of mesh and a series of reinforced aluminum poles set every 36 inches apart around the pool. Stainless steel safety latches are at all of the access points which can be locked with a key.

Corporate-trained Baby Guard installers come to your pool and install the fence for you. It can be installed on many different surfaces, including pavers, which we have.

pool fence 2

We have really enjoyed this fence and the peace of mind it gives us when we are in the yard with the kids. It can be taken out of the holes in the ground and put away, if need be. We generally will roll a section back while we are swimming, then put it all back in place and lock it up once we are done.

We recommend this fence to clients who choose to include a pool as part of their custom home. Click HERE for more information on Baby Guard Pool Fences.

Our Favorite Grays

As far as interior paint colors go, grays are about as hot as it gets these days.

Many of our clients opt for gray when selecting paint colors and we certainly understand why. Gray allows you to maintain a neutral base but with a bit of character. Also, lighter cabinets and counter tops will really stand out against gray walls as opposed to white or beige.

If you’ve spent any time at all researching grays. you know that the options are limitless. Some have green tones while others have purple or blue tones. Staring at all the samples at the paint store is enough to make your eyes cross.


Look no further! We’re breaking down our FIVE (current) favorite grays for you that we’ve used in recent projects. Take a look:

Glidden- Universal Grey (CN61)

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With hints of taupe and beige, Universal Grey is, well, universal. If all else fails, go with this color for neutral walls with some warmth.

Sherwin Williams- Drift of Mist (SW9166)


Drift of Mist looks like a true gray to us. Cool and clean and perfect in any room. And how perfect is this kitchen? One of our very favorites to date.

Sherwin Williams- Sea Salt (SW6204)


Sea Salt is our go-to bathroom color. It definitely has strong green undertones, but it goes well with so many different materials and makes any bathroom feel like a luxurious spa.

Sherwin Williams- Rhinestone (SW7656)


Rhinestone is another classic gray that is crisp and neutral while being warm and inviting.

Sherwin Williams- Gray Screen (SW7071)


Gray Screen provides a hint of blue, which is definitely drawn out by the navy penny tiles in this bathroom. This color is great for bathrooms and would even be darling for a kid’s room.

So there you have our current favorite Grays. Do you have a go-to gray?