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Interview with Chris Burch of Grand Bay Construction on “Must Have” Features in Luxury Home Construction + More

With the rise in demand for new home construction, Chris Burch of Grand Bay Construction has become one of the most sought after builders throughout the Emerald Coast. Chris’s impressive portfolio includes residential and commercial construction while adding his name to a select few of preferred builders within the iconic waterfront community of Churchill Oaks. Just minutes away from the gorgeous white sand beaches of 30A, Churchill Oaks offers exclusivity and elegance in South Walton’s most coveted location. Grand Bay Construction brings quality craftsmanship along with unique and thoughtfully designed features like courtyards, outdoor kitchens, and gardens that have become expected within the exclusive neighborhood.

How did you get into the building industry and how was Grand Bay Construction established?

As a young kid, I was always messing around with tools and trying to build things. I began to get work doing construction (sometimes offering for free) so I could learn more. I wanted to strengthen my knowledge in construction, so I decided to study Building Science (at Auburn University) which was a blend of architecture, engineering, and business. After college I continued to seek knowledge and experience in the construction and business world by working for a large commercial general contractor in California and earning an MBA. I then partnered with a friend to establish Grand Bay Construction in 2005.

What makes Churchill Oaks homes unique to other homes you have built in the South Walton/30A area?

Churchill Oaks is a one-of-a-kind development. It is Bay living at its finest and has its own sense of style. Some have even tried to coin the look and feel of Churchill Oaks as “simple elegance.” Most of the homes we are building are white, two-story with a brick, stucco, and some lap siding combination. The look is quite different from most of the other Florida cottage-style homes that you see along 30A. The typical Churchill Oaks homes we have been building also have generous outdoor living spaces including outdoor kitchens, private courtyards, and large verandas with waterfront views.  

Are there any new building trends that stand out to you?

During the pandemic, people got used to spending more time at home. This has led to some notable trends including increased outdoor living and dining spaces with fire pits and resort-style pools + spas. There has also been more demand for home offices. Some owners even desire two home office spaces (one for each spouse). With more cooking being done at home as well, we have added large butler’s pantries right off the kitchen for additional food storage, wine coolers, prep sinks, and small appliances. This allows for the main kitchen to remain sleek, less cluttered, and let the messier food prep to be out of site and tucked away from the main kitchen.  

If you were building your dream home, what is a “must have” feature?

I’m a big fan of adding a carriage house to a property. When you live near the beach, you always get friends that you never knew you had who want to come visit! On a more inventive note, I hope to implement a built-in automatic water supply and dog food dispenser concealed within the kitchen cabinets on a future build. Another idea I love is building a living room wall with floor-to-ceiling windows with a great view. With a push of a button, a large TV would rise out of the floor & just as easily would disappear back into the slab when it’s not in use.

Do you have any tips for new home buyers?

Have your builder take 360 degree images of the home before installing insulation and drywall. Down the road if you decide to do a renovation, you will know what you are dealing with.  Also, if there is a leak or some other issue it is much easier to pin point exactly where all the wiring or piping is located. This is cheap insurance!

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