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Our Idea Cottage has more than just good looks: It's got the latest materials and technology, too.

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Idea Cottage - Outdoor Spaces

Balcony

Jean Allsopp

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Siding: The second story's fiber-cement siding looks identical to wood, but has none of its maintenance issues. James Hardie's new Artisan line of siding (only recently available in the United States) offers a deeper shadow line, so it looks even more realistic.

 Windows: The Idea Cottage was built with materials designed to withstand hurricane-strength winds. Builder John Freeman Jr. worked with Marvin Windows and Doors to create the look he wanted with the best protection. "These windows and doors meet all the hurricane codes, including wind- and impact-resistance. They're a top-of-the-line insulated product," he says.

 Shutters: In addition to adding a decorative touch, J&L Shutters' Permex hurricane shutters guarantee safety in any storm. These synthetic shutters, made with CPVC and steel reinforcement, have passed impact and wind-speed tests required by the International Building Code.

 Roofing: John chose TAMKO's Lamarite simulated-slate roofing material because it stands up to rough coastal weather. The composite shingles are not only fire-resistant, but also capable of withstanding 140-mph winds. "The roofing has the look and feel of slate, but the price and weight are superior," residential designer Stephen Fuller says. "You would need much more structure to hold up a real slate roof."

 Brick: What look like hand-molded clay bricks on the exterior of the Idea Cottage are actually Eldorado Stone's thin, concrete brick veneers attached to metal lathing. Applied to a home's exterior like tiles, the veneers gave Stephen more design choices. "You can put them in places where you would get in trouble with the weight of traditional bricks," he says.

 Insulation: Formaldehyde-free insulation goes the extra mile to keep the house warm and dry, and it also repels mildew and mold. "With this kind of humidity, the insulation sometimes gets wet while you're building the house, and you trap mildew inside," John says. "This is what we really need."

 Garage Doors: They look as if they'd swing open, but these handcrafted panels by Carriage House Door are actually overhead doors that roll up and out of sight. Made from Spanish cedar, they're rot-resistant and fully insulated, and they blend perfectly with the architectural look of the house.

 Decking and Railing: For products that will stand the test of time and resist harsh coastal weather, John chose TAMKO's EverGrain decking and Tam-Rail system. Made of plastic, wood fibers, and recycled material content, the decking has the look and texture of real wood without the need for staining. The railing system, which combines a wood-and-composite-material core with layers of PVC, is equally sturdy, outlasting even the best wood products.

 Outdoor Lighting: To lend the Idea Cottage historical authenticity, the team selected French Quarter-style exterior lighting by Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights. These copper lights (antiqued to a dark caramel color) are hand-riveted rather than soldered to stand up to the coastal climate.

 HVAC: John selected Lennox Industries' Dave Lennox Signature Collection Model XP 19 to keep the Idea Cottage's air clean and controlled. With the highest efficiency rating possible, an air-purification system, and a dehumidifier, this HVAC system has it all. Particularly important in the hot, damp coastal environment, the dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air, making the home more comfortable at higher temperature settings.

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