Coastal dream home marries modern and traditional elements in a high performance green design on Mobile Bay.
“Biophilia, our innate attraction to nature, definitely guides my work,” says Bryant. “Sometimes that’s literal, like using light and views to bring nature indoors or including great porches and terraces to invite people outdoors. And sometimes it’s more subtle, for instance, showcasing great wood floors, wood walls and brick — honest materials that clearly show their natural origin.”
This sustainably designed coastal dream house marries modern and traditional design elements. “Moonshine” was awarded FORTIFIED Gold™ certification for its resiliency against hurricane and strong winds and meets Zero Energy Ready standards for extreme energy efficiency.
Read the whole article from Mobile Bay Magazine to learn more about our energy efficient design and the homeowner’s family history, decorative collections, and modern and traditional design style.
KEY DESIGN MOVES THAT SET THIS HOME APART:
- Salvaged Materials, like the antique sinks, iron gate, brick, and galvanized pipe add visual character, and also conserve resources by recycling materials
- A Narrow Building Footprint means each room can receive daylight from 2 different directions which balances the quality of light, and connects people to the cycles of nature
- Insulated Zip Sheathing, doesn’t replace wall and roof insulation, but it seals off wall studs and roof rafters that interrupt the insulation every 16”, eliminating those pathways for radiant heat to travel into the house.
- Super Structure: An inspector from the Institute for Home and Business Safety confirmed that the structural design achieved Fortified Gold Certification at each step of construction. Designing for resilience against high winds, water infiltration, and hurricanes, is critical to this exposed water front location and earns a significant discount on the homeowners insurance.
- Prioritize Family Life: A conscious decision was made to prioritize the spaces that support family life on the bay, over a certain bedroom size, or an extra bath. The fish cleaning station, outdoor shower, mudroom, large pantry, bunk room, and a hidden playroom for the kids are where the memories are made.
See more images of the modern and traditional design of Moonshine in our project portfolio.
A known moonshiner in dry Washington County, the Dees matriarch spurred a post-Prohibition family move to Fairhope in the 1930s. With a new residence and an “e” tacked on to the end of their surname, her trade could continue away from the eagle-eyed purview of dry county officials.
Fast-forward to modern times when Jessica Deese and her husband, Dees’s great-grandson and Fairhope dentist Danny Deese, purchased a property beautifully nestled on Mobile Bay. The moonlight that shone on the water and Danny’s family history pointed to one inevitable name for the home they would build — Moonshine.
The details of their home are durably industrial and environmentally conscious. The architectural craftsmanship of Watershed’s Rebecca Bryant also produced a place that is nature-centric, both in orientation and implementation, in accordance with Watershed’s mission to conserve energy and foster natural connections with the world.
“Biophilia, our innate attraction to nature, definitely guides my work, ” says Bryant. “Sometimes that’s literal, like using light and views to bring nature indoors or including great porches and terraces to invite people outdoors. And sometimes it’s more subtle, for instance, showcasing great wood floors, wood walls and brick — honest materials that clearly show their natural origin.”
For owner Jessica, “One very clear reference point was old train stations. I knew I wanted a deep porch without railing, columns or anything to obstruct the view. The deep overhangs found on old train stations supported by oversized corbel-like supports were always so beautiful to me.”
The high ceilings, deep overhangs and metal ornamentation were implemented from the front of the home all the way through. The design mimics the welcoming nature of old train stations; the simplicity feels inviting rather than obtruding. It’s an approachable abode with nothing standing in the way. “Hop onboard, ” it almost whistles out, “and make yourself comfortable.”
Another detail essential to the design of the home was the plethora of salvaged sinks Jessica and Danny collected over years of scouting. Some rooms were created specifically to integrate the sinks while others utilized them as accents for other pieces or patterns.
“The first purchase was the vintage double drain board kitchen sink that is in my boys’ bathroom. We purchased it in Louisiana on our 10th wedding anniversary in April 2014, ” says Jessica. “Our triple trough sink in the bunk bath and the sink hanging on the wall in our powder room were bought online from someone on Etsy. These three sinks sat on a pallet in our yard until they were finally installed!”
“It was great fun to design kids’ baths around these huge industrial sinks and look for light fixtures that could hold their own with the sinks, ” Bryant says.
“We identified the light fixtures two years before we broke ground, ” Jessica adds. “I would purchase them one at a time and store them above my husband’s office.”
Some other elements of design were found so close to home, they were right under the Deeses’ feet.
“We lived in the mid-century ranch house that was originally on the property for five years before we started to build, ” Jessica says. “It was constructed of old Mobile brick, and we discovered a treasure trove of these bricks all over the property. My husband began the tedious and toilsome process of uncovering them, one by one. Now these beautiful bricks adorn our home, adding remarkable beauty. But it is the reminder of his hard work, and the home we started in, that make them so special to me.”
With four children ranging from ages 2 to 11, the Deeses required lots of fun and family-centric spaces. The bedrooms reflect each child’s personality along with the Deeses’ style and Rebecca’s conservation techniques. Pops of color and industrial vintage accents embellish kid-friendly atmospheres throughout the second floor. No room is more reflective of playful youth, though, than the family-favorite bunkroom.
“Jessica and Danny started talking about all these cousins who would visit, and we needed places for everyone to sleep, ” says Bryant. “I stopped by one day, and there was just a pack of kids in the bunkroom, reading, drawing, playing the piano, climbing up the ladders. It made me so happy to see that room just alive with children!”
Other favorite features of the home include the kitchen, the mudroom and the direct view of the Bay from the open center of the house. All of these elements were strategically planned and unhurriedly executed to bring the house from a dreamy vision to a tangible reality. Working slowly gave the family time to find the perfect pieces, establish the perfect structure and transform the space into the perfect dwelling.
“By going so slowly, we were able to mitigate a lot of the stress that can be involved in the building process. We took the long view the entire time and actually wanted to go slowly, in the planning and building, because it is our hope that this home will be our last, ” says Jessica. “To have a space that reflects your taste and preferences completely is incredible. I don’t think I will ever stop pinching myself.”
Interior Designer: Suzanne Winston suzannewinston.com; Builder: Scott Norman • 251-370-8109