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

By Abigail B. Millwood
August 12, 2008
Jean Allsopp

Siding: The second story's fiber-cement siding looksidentical to wood, but has none of its maintenance issues. JamesHardie's new Artisan line of siding (only recently available in theUnited States) offers a deeper shadow line, so it looks even morerealistic.

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

Shutters: In addition to adding a decorative touch, J&LShutters' 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 theInternational Building Code.

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

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

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

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

Decking and Railing: For products that will stand the testof time and resist harsh coastal weather, John chose TAMKO'sEverGrain decking and Tam-Rail system. Made of plastic, woodfibers, and recycled material content, the decking has the look andtexture of real wood without the need for staining. The railingsystem, which combines a wood-and-composite-material core withlayers of PVC, is equally sturdy, outlasting even the best woodproducts.

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

HVAC: John selected Lennox Industries' Dave Lennox SignatureCollection Model XP 19 to keep the Idea Cottage's air clean andcontrolled. With the highest efficiency rating possible, anair-purification system, and a dehumidifier, this HVAC system hasit all. Particularly important in the hot, damp coastalenvironment, the dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air, makingthe home more comfortable at higher temperature settings.