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Published: August 01, 2007 10:20 am

An Ideal Home
By Rebekah Davis
The Cullman Times

Check out the October issue of Coastal Living magazine, and you will see a house in Gulf Shores that showcases the latest and greatest in coastal home innovation and décor.

Look a little more closely, and you will find a Cullman influence tucked into every corner.

The 2007 Coastal Living Idea Cottage is one of the first homes to be finished in Bon Secour Village, a 945-acre traditional neighborhood development that is one of the latest projects in the works for Cullman developers and brothers Eddie and Josh Canaday of Midnight Management and Investments. Designed by Andres Duany, who also designed Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, Fla., Bon Secour Village is located along a mile of the Intracoastal Waterway.

The Idea Cottage is located in Azalea Park, the first residential neighborhood of the development. While homes ranging from 2,400 to 5,000 square feet, and priced upwards of $1.3 million, are still being built on some of the 83 homesites in Azalea Park, construction is ongoing for the rest of what developers say will be "a $500 million resort town."

Cottage is more of a poetic term than a descriptive one for the 3,500-square-foot Coastal Living Idea Cottage, which will be open for public tours through Halloween. In addition to celebrating coastal design, Coastal Living Idea Houses are built in coastal communities selected by the magazine for environmental consciousness and sensitivity to shoreline preservation.

"Our Idea Houses offer fresh, inspiring ideas," said the magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Kay A. Fuston. "We hope that this home, with its comfortable, coastal feel, will help our readers as they plan their own beach cottages."

Built in a New Orleans style with brick sidewalks and gas lanterns, the completed Village will include both houses and condominiums that surround a town center with restaurants and shops, parks, an open air amphitheater, a hotel and a 60-slip marina. A mile-long waterfront park will offer biking and jogging trails. Developers are also offering a relatively new option for ownership in the multi-million-dollar homes in Bon Secour Village: fractional ownership, in which a person can buy a one-eighth share of a home.

Planning on this project started four years ago for the Canadays, who along with fellow developers Rick Skelton and Clint Guthrie broke ground on Bon Secour Village Aug. 17, 2005. Eddie Canaday expects Bon Secour Village to be 90 percent complete within 10 years.

"I liked this property and thought this would be something special," he said. "It had a lot of potential."

Canaday said he would like to create a similar development on the shores of Smith Lake someday, with log cabins surrounding a community center.

Canaday said with his work on the coast, he often is asked why he doesn't live there full-time.

"I live in Cullman out of choice," said Canaday, whose wife Kim has worked for the Cullman city school system. "It's neat to be a part of both places."

Having developers in Cullman like the Canadays who can handle big projects is a positive thing for local development, said Cullman Economic Development Agency Assistant Director Dale Greer.

"The Bon Secour Village development is great for Alabama, but it also reflects extremely well on the Cullman community," Greer said. "Eddie serves on the Cullman Industrial Development Board and is a key negotiator in financing and structuring packages for industrial prospects. It gives industrial prospects a level of comfort to know they are dealing with an individual who understands development and finance and has pursued his own capital projects on the scale of the Bon Secour development.

"This development is shining a positive light on the Alabama coast, the state and our community. It is definitely a plus to have Cullman linked to such a quality project."

The Canadays aren't the only ones with Cullman ties to be involved in Bon Secour Village. While she didn't do the decorating for the Idea Cottage – Coastal Living does not use local companies for their Idea Cottages - Patti Waldrop of Posh Interiors in Orange Beach decorated two other houses in Azalea Park in time for the premier of the Idea Cottage. Waldrop and her husband Jimbo Waldrop, both originally from Cullman, live on the coast now, where Jimbo sells properties in Florida and Alabama for the Canadays.

Patti Waldrop, whose sister is married to Eddie Canaday, does most of the decorating for Canaday's properties on the Gulf coast, and Bon Secour Village gives owners incentives to use Posh Interiors. Waldrop only had two days to get one house decorated in time for the premiere, but she said she works better under pressure anyway.

"Everyone is always in a hurry in this market," she said. "As soon as they close they want furniture and renters in there before their first payment is due."

Waldrop's partnership with Canaday started when he gave her a year to renovate and furnish a house in Blount County. By the time she had finished that job, he had 20 condominium units for her to furnish on the coast.

"Eddie is such a humble person," Waldrop said. "You try to thank him for the opportunity, but he says, 'It's about you, what you did with it and how you took it and ran with it.' He tries to turn it around and make it about me, not him."

Waldrop spent about three years driving back and forth between Cullman and the coast to work on projects for Canaday before she and her husband packed up and moved south. Now her company furnishes hundreds of units at a time for investors who are familiar with her work for the Canadays.

"I have been spoiled and fortunate and blessed to be hooked up with these guys," she said. "I run and juggle all the time, but I love it."

Waldrop said now is the time to be involved with a project like Bon Secour Village, as the real estate market is picking up again.

"The real estate market is like the tide here, it ebbs and flows," she said. "It goes through cycles, and it has always. Now the tide's turning."

Waldrop said recent weeks have seen a major influx of new buyers, as well as current owners furnishing empty units.

"The storms made people skittish, but I'm definitely seeing that being down here with the fresh air, the Gulf and the sunshine makes people remember why everyone wants to be down here," she said.

The Idea Cottage is open for public tours through Oct. 31. Tours run Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $5 and proceeds will be donated to the Academy of Arts & Sciences, a non-denominational elementary school in Gulf Shores.



Click here to see photos taken on February 8, 2007

Coastal Living Idea House

July 29, 2005 Newspaper Report on Sales.



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