With the basic structure in place, the design team chose products that will hold up in the corrosive coastal environment. Composite siding promises not to rot, warp, or split like wood. "I love the shingles," Gerrie says of the fiber-cement product. "They hold paint for a long time." Fences, columns, cornices, and beaded-board porch ceilings made from cellular-PVC material will also resist rot. "This has become the product of choice for exterior applications," says Jim. "You can glue it, nail it, cut it, and it holds paint well."
On upper-level porches, in the cabana, and on the ground, burnished amber composite decking will hold its rich, rain-forest mahogany look without the need for protective sealants through many icy winters and 100-degree summers. "It looks much like natural wood," Jim says. Because it fights insect infestation and rot from standing water, it's perfect for ground-level decks and walkways.
Landscaping also must stand up to seaside elements. To ensure
its survival, Doug took cues from native flora. "We tried to use as
many plants that are indigenous to Norfolk as possible," he says.
Sheltered from the beach, the backside of the house features a few
less-hardy varieties. "But the salt and wind tolerance increases as
you get closer to the bay," Doug says. "We planted long-blooming
perennials to come up at different times for a mix of colors."
Ornamental grasses such as pennisetum and miscanthus, leopard
plant, and black mondo grass give the garden natural form, while
gardenia and ginger lily bring fragrance.
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