- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Stylish beach cottages are on the comeback along the Gulf Coast when a Gulfport couple took a chance when they incorporated Tidewater Homes in 2011.

Michelle and Jeff Stanfill believed they could make their business work because enough buyers would care as much as they do about authentic architecture.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1mzu19l) the Stanfills said their home-construction business was up 50 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Their most popular home is the beach cottage.

They are finishing a beach cottage just off U.S. 90 in Gulfport and have started on a second in the small subdivision, which has a total of 12 lots. The cottage is a heartening sight on beachfront property that had been barren since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Lots fronting the highway are commercial. The Blind Tiger, a popular restaurant and bar in Bay St. Louis, is building at the foot of Phillips.

“We’re glad to see some renewal all along the beach area,” Michelle Stanfill said. “Katrina was devastating and we hated to see so many beautiful, historic homes lost. If we can bring a style of architecture back to create that feel before Katrina, that’s what our hope is.”

Jeff Stanfill went to work for a home-construction company in 2002 when he left the Air Force, where he received his construction education. In 2010, he signed on as construction manager for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he became well-versed in building energy-efficient homes fortified against hurricane damage.

He uses those same techniques at Tidewater Homes, where Michelle serves as design consultant and real estate agent. The extra attention to elevation, roof covering, nailing patterns and tie-downs are a boon because of insurance discounts for fortified construction, plus the decreased likelihood of major storm damage.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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