The Riverhouse Project

We’ve all seen it on television, but what does it actually take to build a custom home from scratch? For the next several months, B-Metro will follow local couple Bill and Lisa Bright as they build their dream home in Trussville Springs with Harris Doyle Homes. Join us as we undertake #TheRiverhouseProject.

Follow B-Metro on Facebook to get a new update every Tuesday at 3:00 PM!

Week 1: May 13, 2014

Meet the Brights

Meet our Birmingham couple, Bill and Lisa Bright. The couple, who have been married for 32 years, see building a peaceful home on the Trussville Springs riverfront as a fresh start after a family tragedy.

“We thought at our age, we shouldn’t be moving; we should just stay where we are,” says Lisa. That all changed, however, when their son Will, who struggled with drug addiction, passed away from a drug overdose.

“There are a lot of memories in our current house,” explains Bill. “We don’t want to lose those memories, but we felt like we needed a clean start.”

And that’s exactly what the Riverhouse Project is for this kind couple—a new chapter that embraces time spent with loved ones. Bill and Lisa cannot wait to share the home with friends and family, which includes daughters Ashley and Amy and three grandchildren.

From watching football games, to dinner parties around the farmhouse table, to playing in the river, the Riverhouse Project is more than just a new house for Bill and Lisa: it is a dream coming true.


Week 2: May 20, 2014
Feeling Floored


This week’s design meeting starts from the ground up. In their new home in Trussville Springs, each of Bill and Lisa Bright’s rooms will have a unique function, so functional flooring is key.

Who has a mud or utility room in their home? The Brights anticipate plenty of little muddy footprints trailing into their utility room when their three grandchildren come back in from the riverside, so durable flooring is a must for this room. This dark, variegated “Melton” tile from WEBB flooring will conceal dirt easily, and when done in long, 12” x 24” tiles, it will still have a clean, modern feel.

That brings us to the carpet conundrum: When choosing carpeting for the guest bedrooms and Lisa’s drapery workroom, the Brights are facing the classic “Price vs. Style” dilemma.

“We want our home to be unique,” says Lisa. “But unique has a price.”

Designer Alice Allen shows Bill and Lisa the standard carpet by Shaw in “Sand Dollar.” While it is the most budget-friendly option, it lacks the plushness and stain-resistant aspect of a higher-grade carpet.

What do you think? Should the Brights go with the standard carpet and spend the money elsewhere or splurge on higher-grade carpeting? Let us know below if you vote #splurge or #save.

Week 3: May 27, 2014

Taking it Outdoors

The exterior of a home is its first impression, and Bill and Lisa Bright want a contemporary look with a rustic edge for the exterior of their riverfront home in Trussville Springs. This week, it’s all about designing their home from the outside in.This home is on a river, so siding is the ideal choice for a coastal feel. The Brights want a warm, light gray as the main exterior color, but selecting one with undertones that aren’t too green, too pink, or too purple can be a challenge.With help from designer Alice Allen, the couple settles on “Intellectual Gray” by Sherwin Williams. By viewing paint samples outside, the team gets a more accurate idea of what the color will look like in natural lighting.

For a fresh, modern look, consider painting trim in a dark color, as opposed to traditional white. Lisa fell in love with this gray-black color called “Sealskin” for the front door and windows. Alice recommends putting a dark color like this on the exterior skirt boards as well, which camouflages dirt and helps visually ground the house.

“If gray ever goes out of style, I’m in a world of hurt,” jokes Lisa, who has selected a monochromatic gray color story for the home’s exterior for its classic, yet contemporary feel.

Adding those finishing touches to the home’s exterior are a steely gray metal roof—a requirement for river lots—and stacked stone walls along the lower sides and back of the house. Alabama Stone Company’s “Alabama Bluestack” stacked stones are a popular choice among Birmingham families, and they will certainly add another rustic element to this riverhouse.

Do you think the Brights have accomplished their goal of “modern meets rustic” for their home’s exterior? Let us know in the comments below!


Week 4: June 3, 2014
Big changes!

Not even the rain could keep us away from heading to Trussville Springs to check out the actual lot where Bill and Lisa Bright’s dream home will be built.The couple’s favorite part about their future home is that the beautiful Cahaba River flows right through their backyard. The rushing water, canopied trees, and mile-long walking path are sure to provide the rest and relaxation the Brights are looking for with their new home.

Remember a few weeks ago when we asked if you think the Brights should #splurge or #save on their interior carpeting? A decision has been made, and Bill and Lisa decided to SPLURGE, selecting an upgraded stain-resistant carpet by Shaw in “Bare Mineral” (pale gray) for the bedrooms.

However, this choice to splurge on the carpets means compromising on other design aspects. Though they originally selected the Alabama Bluestack stacked stone for a portion of their exterior walls, the Brights have decided to save some money by opting for a textured brick over the stacked stone—pictured is their choice, the gray-brown Mt. Rushmore brick by Boral.

“There are more things we want to showcase on the inside, so we’re choosing to save some money on the exterior,” explains Bill.

What do you think about the changes Bill and Lisa have made? What are your design tricks for getting a great look on a budget?


Which fireplace gets your vote? Rustic (top) or Modern (bottom)? Photos courtesy of

Week 5: June 10, 2014

Finding the Perfect Fireplace

Nothing makes a house feel more like home than a cozy fireplace to warm up to. The question is… which style of fireplace is perfect for Bill and Lisa’s “rustic modern” home?

Option #1: “Rustic”
A traditional gas or wood-burning fireplace, something the Brights are already familiar with. The surround would be in a gray-brown stacked stone, offering a homey, rustic feel to the living room.

Option #2: “Modern”
A linear, electric fireplace with a sleek and modern look. Instead of traditional gas, this option would burn using the new trend of fireplace crystals. The surround would also be very clean—perhaps a solid sheet of light-colored granite or limestone.

Bill and Lisa will be hanging a flat screen television above the fireplace, and they want the fireplace to be a WOW factor–so much so that you don’t even notice the TV above it!

Which design do you think should take center stage in the Brights’ living room? Let us know if you vote ‪#‎rusticfireplace‬ or ‪#‎modernfireplace‬ in the comments below!


Sample photos from

Week 6: June 17, 2014

Seeing the Light

Remember last week when Bill and Lisa Bright were deciding between a ‪#‎rustic‬ or a ‪#‎modern‬ fireplace for their “rustic modern” riverhouse? Well, the verdict is in, and the Brights have decided on…


The living room will have a modern electric fireplace, featuring a clean slab of white granite, simple mantle, and fireplace crystals. The Brights will also install a wood-burning fireplace on their back porch, which will be treated with a rustic stacked stone.

“It’s all about doing something totally different,” says Lisa. “So actually, I will have rustic on the back deck overlooking the river and modern inside!”

What does Bill think about the final fireplace decision?

“As long as Lisa is happy, I’m happy,” he laughs.

Bill and Lisa have also selected two of the main light fixtures for the living room and dining room.

Dining room fixture“I have gone back and forth on light fixtures and have finally decided to go with my love of Restoration Hardware chandeliers” explains Lisa. “I have always loved their look, and I think they mix modern and rustic so well.”

Because these rooms are conjoined, it’s important that the fixtures complement each other. A modern, star-like fixture will bring a “wow” factor to the living room’s vaulted ceilings, while a rustic halo chandelier (pictured here) will add a great ambience to the dining room.

What do you think of Bill and Lisa’s latest picks? Are they bringing their “rustic modern” vision to life?


Cabinets - Shaker-style by Integrity in "fog" painted finish Backsplash- White porcelain subway tiles with taupe grout Countertops- Iced white man-made quartz by MSI

Cabinets – Shaker-style by Integrity in “fog” painted finish
Backsplash- White porcelain subway tiles with taupe grout
Countertops- Iced white man-made quartz by MSI

Week 7: June 24, 2014

Let’s Get Cooking!

We know, we know… amidst all this planning you’re all wondering one thing: What about the heart of the home, the kitchen?

Well, we met with Harris Doyle designer Alice Allen, who is working with the Brights in designing their dream home, to discuss cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and more. It’s the room you’ve been waiting for, and we’ve got the inside scoop!

“The kitchen is where people congregate in the home,” Alice explains. “So it’s worth spending a little more on some elements—make room for a few splurges!”

For a modern kitchen (with a bit of a rustic touch), the Brights have selected clean, shaker-style cabinets by Integrity that will be painted in “fog,” a pale gray color. They will be saving money on the backsplash with a standard white porcelain subway tile with taupe grout so they can splurge on a show-stopping iced white quartz countertop.

“Quartz is in right now,” says Alice. “It’s more durable, more stain-resistant, and more scratch-resistant than granite.”

Alice explains that while the kitchen’s overall look is quite crisp and modern, subtle details—like gray cabinetry instead of white and darker grout in the backsplash—add natural elements that will soften the clean lines.

The room will also boast rustic hard surface flooring and ultra-modern cabinet pulls, further mixing rustic and modern design together.

The Brights are meeting with the cabinet company today to finalize the kitchen layout and cabinet details—be sure to check back in to our page in the coming wee

ks to learn more about the final kitchen design! What do you think about their kitchen selections so far?

The sleek handle (upper left) will add a modern detail to the cabinets

The sleek handle (upper left) will add a modern detail to the cabinets

Designer Alice Allen of Harris Doyle Homes

Harris Doyle Homes designer Alice Allen looks over samples














Week 8: July 1, 2014

Have you met Alice?

“Go with your gut—it is usually right.”

This piece advice is one that Harris Doyle’s lead designer Alice Allen says to each of her home building clients, and Lisa and Bill Bright are no different. Alice is working closely with the Brights to bring their rustic modern vision to life.

“We’re used to traditional design,” says Lisa. “And Alice is helping pull us out of our traditional comfort zone and into something more modern.”

While she works in all design styles, Alice admits that her favorite is rustic design.

“When Lisa told me she wanted a rustic look in gray-beige tones, she was speaking my language,” Alice laughs.

With rustic design being so close to her heart, we asked Alice to give us three ideas for incorporating rustic touches into your own home. Here’s what she had to say:

1) Set the tone with earth-tone paint colors. Shades of gray-browns and greens add a layer of subtle warmth; avoid harsh white walls.

2) Bring in earthy, natural accessories—Alice recommends accessorizing with natural fibers like jute rugs and linen pillows for a cozy feel.

3) Consider incorporating reclaimed wood into the surfaces of your home (“We’re big on wall and ceiling treatments at Harris Doyle!” says Alice). For a big punch, Alice recommends covering walls, a ceiling, or a backsplash with reclaimed wood—she often gets her barnwood from Evolutia.

We love chatting with Alice because she knows her stuff and makes the often daunting design process simple and enjoyable. We can’t wait to see the rustic elements she is bringing into the Brights’ home come to life!

Do you like rustic design? What natural elements have you incorporated into your home to give it a cozy, rustic feel?


photo 1(12)Week 9: July 8, 2014

A Birthday and Breaking Ground

Okay everyone, we’ve all got to start out by all wishing Bill Bright a happy birthday! According to Bill, he is turning the ripe young age of 39 years old 😉

Besides a birthday celebration, the Brights are thrilled to announce that they have officially broken ground on their home! Check out their video announcement here.
As you’re reading this, the Harris Doyle Homes builders are hard at work setting the groundwork for the Brights’ dream home in Trussville Springs.

As the foundation gets laid on their own home, Bill and Lisa Bright can’t help but think about another, different home that they are invested in. As you may remember from when we first met the Brights, the couple’s son Will, who suffered from a drug addiction, recently passed away from a drug overdose.

“We have plans to open a transitional house for recovering drug addicts in Will’s name,” explains Bill. The house, which will be called The Brighthouse, is currently in the fundraising stages through World Exit Ministries, a non-profit incorporated by the Brights.

“The home will house 6-8 people, and you won’t have to pay to live there,” adds Lisa. “We’re hoping that while at The Brighthouse, residents will learn skills like how to get a job and how to balance a checkbook.”

“When Will was suffering, we sent him to a rehab facility across the country; we didn’t know about all the great local facilities that offer help here in Birmingham,” says Bill. “We hope that we can use our own struggle to help other people deal with addiction and grief through The Brighthouse.”

Needless to say, right now is a big time in Bill and Lisa’s lives, and we are looking forward to what’s next for this sweet couple.

If you would like to make a donation to World Exit Ministries, please visit its PayPal donation page here.


Week 10 foundation upWeek 10: July 15, 2014

A Trip to Atlanta Market


The Harris Doyle team put it best: once a house starts being built, it quickly takes shape right before your eyes. What was mostly a pile of dirt a little over a week ago is now a solid foundation for the Brights’ home on the river!

“We’re excited about the progress,” says Bill. “We have concrete and blocks and should start framing Wednesday.”

While the home starts shaping up on the exterior, Lisa took a trip this weekend to Market, a huge multi-day shopping event in Atlanta for decorators, to source unique finds for their interior. Since she is a custom drapery designer, Lisa was able to get a first look at the hottest home design trends and décor items to get ideas for the Riverhouse.

“We’ll be bringing a lot of our furniture from our current house into the Riverhouse,” Lisa told us before leaving for Atlanta. “But I’m hoping to find a few accent pieces—like lamps, pillows, and a couple chests—to finish off the home.”

After a day at Market, Lisa sent us some photos along with this email updating us on her fun day of shopping around:

“Had a fun day walking for miles and miles at Atlanta Market on Sunday! I’m tired today for sure. I did find my kitchen nook chandelier and some possible chests for either side of the den fireplace. Loved these barstools because you can adjust the height. The overall theme in most showrooms was the rustic modern look, so needless to say I loved everything!”

What do you think about Lisa’s picks for decorating the Riverhouse? What items would you pick for your home if you were decorating it with a rustic modern theme?

Kitchen nookFireplace chestBarstool












photo(63)Week 11: July 22, 2014

Creating a peaceful retreat

“The master bath is where people tend to get stuck,” says Alice Allen, head designer for Harris Doyle Homes who is bringing the Brights’ design vision to life. “There are so many elements in the master bath—the shower, tub, vanities—that is so easy to get overwhelmed.”

Lisa and Bill Bright are hoping Alice can help bring a peaceful, calming atmosphere to their master bathroom that is still on track with current design trends. So what are the popular master bath trends happening right now?

“I’m seeing a lot of clean lines, and shades of white and gray–very spa-like influences,” explains Alice. “For the Brights’ master bathroom, we’re going for a very linear look by using elongated tiles on the floors and shower walls, soft greys, and painted cabinets.”

The Brights are bringing the spa to their own master bath by painting their cabinets in the color “fog” (a warm gray tone) as well as installing large 12”x24” travertine tile flooring and Ferro Gold granite by Vitromex, the biggest splurge item in the room.

So what about the wall color?

The Brights have selected “Accessible Beige” by Sherwin Williams, a light neutral color that will set the soft, relaxing tone for the master bath. Here’s an interesting insider design fact Alice shared with us about the wall color:

photo 5“About 75% of my clients choose their wall color off this single paint strip,” she explains. “So, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect neutral wall color, look for the strip with ‘Accessible Beige’ on it!”

Fresh cabinet knobs, modern tilt mirrors, and under-mount double sinks will help bring a modern edge to the master bathroom. Lisa has also come up with the idea to add a linen cabinet atop the vanity between the sinks for extra storage and interest.

We think the Brights have tackled the challenge of designing a master bath successfully, and we know they are glad to have this project planned out, too.

“Master baths are tricky, and Alice was great to keep us in line,” laughs Lisa. “We think the end result will be so relaxing and spa-like.”


2 WEEKS AGOWeek 12: July 29, 2014

We’ve been framed!

Can you believe that just two weeks ago, this lot was a pile of dirt and support piers? The Harris Doyle Homes team has begun framing, and the Riverhouse is coming to life before our eyes. Homeowners Bill and Lisa Bright couldn’t be happier with the house’s progress.

“The beginning seemed slow because there are a lot of decisions to be made on the design end,” says Lisa. “Now that they are framing, it is going pretty fast, and it’s exciting!”

Today betterDesigner Alice Allen, who has been with the Brights every step of the way, couldn’t agree more. The ‘planning’ stage seems slower, because you are not seeing the physical progress,” she explains. “Once the piers are in place, it always amazes me how fast the house goes up.”

As their dream home on the river starts to take shape, the Brights can’t help but think back on when they built the home they’re currently living in a few decades ago.

“We built a custom home in 1994,” says Bill. “Back then, you chose your lighting, cabinets, etc. as it went along. Now with Harris Doyle, you do all that up front.”

“Also, our house did not come with a designer back in 1994,” Lisa adds. “It was all up to us, and I made a lot of costly mistakes.” She continues, “I prefer designing it ahead of time for the sake of the budget, and it seems to be a more organized way to pull it all together.”

Designing a home can be a very overwhelming experience, but Harris Doyle Homes aim to make the process a simplified, fun experience for each of their clients, including the Brights.

While there are still several more months of construction left, Bill and Lisa Bright are loving every minute of their home building process.

“We go by every day after the workers are gone to see what’s been done!” Lisa grins.


Week 13: August 5, 2014

A Bump in the Road

All of this progress can’t happen without a few hiccups along the way, right? Last week, Bill and Lisa Bright were walking through the lot with Harris Doyle Homes project manager Teb Baker, when Lisa spotted something in the kitchen.

“Teb,” she noticed. “The windows aren’t centered.”

As it turns out, the original plans showed the wall of windows in the great room being skewed right. Since then, the plans had been changed to center the windows on the wall. But when head designer Alice Allen met with Teb to figure out the problem, she found that the team had been working off the old plans!

“Luckily, we caught it early, and we were able to fix it,” says head designer Alice Allen.

Speaking of windows, the Brights recently ran into another bump in the road with the windows in their master bathroom.

“I realized that the window is right across from our neighbor’s bathroom window,” says Lisa. “We’d like more privacy for the master bathroom, but we don’t want to lose the sunlight.” When an open window would have no privacy, and window treatments would lose the light, what is a homeowner to do?

Leave it to Alice to come up with the perfect solution: “I recommend we order frosted windows for the master bath,” she says. “It will offer the perfect balance of privacy and sunlight.”

While we’re on the subject of the master bath, the Brights have made one more change to the room. Concerned that the striated tile on the floor and shower might be too busy, Lisa met with Alice to select a new shower tile. After much deliberation, she chose WEBB ceramic tile in “Chocolate” for the shower walls.

“I think this look will be simpler and more sophisticated,” says Lisa.

What does Bill think of the change? “I like that it won’t show dirt!” he laughs.

Take a look at the final material selections for the master bath in the photo below—what do you think about the changes the Brights have made this week?

8-12 progress exteriorWeek 14: August 12, 2014

Dreaming of a rustic retreat

Little by little, the Brights’ dream home on the river is coming to life. Since last week, the siding and outdoor fireplace have gone in, and plumbing is getting started.

As it all begins to take form around them, Bill and Lisa are starting to envision what their finished house will look like. And in Lisa’s case, she is picturing it with a touch of rustic, reclaimed wood.

“I can’t get the idea of reclaimed wood out of my head,” she says.
While the Brights had originally nixed the use of reclaimed wood due to the high pricetag, seeing the home come together has them rethinking that decision.

“We originally considered covering one of the dining room walls with reclaimed wood, but then we realized it was out of our budget,” explains Bill.

Now, with the help of designer Alice, they may have come up with the perfect solution.

Instead of covering an entire wall, Alice suggests they incorporate rustic wood pieces on a column post located in the middle of the great room. Another lower cost option the Brights are considering is to use reclaimed wood on the headers above the room’s open doorways.

“These ideas are much more budget-friendly, so I may be able to get my dream of reclaimed wood after all!” says Lisa.

What do you think about these ideas for incorporating reclaimed wood into the Riverhouse in a more affordable way? Is it worth spending a little extra to get that rustic look?

8-26 1Week 15: August 19, 2014

For Sale by Owner

What’s new this week with the Riverhouse? The back porch is up, and the metal roof is being installed as we speak. Did you know that all lots on the river are required to have metal roofing? Lisa is a tad nervous about this installation, seeing as the Brights have never had a metal roof before, but Bill is looking forward to hearing the sound of rain on the roof once they move in. What do you think?

In addition to a metal roof, the Harris Doyle Homes team has taken several steps unique to building a riverfront house. For example, the main floor will be covered in hard surface flooring instead of real hardwood, because the moist river environment tends to warp hardwood over time.

Additionally, the process of building piers for the back porch has been an interesting challenge for the team.

“It isn’t a standard procedure,” explains Harris Doyle Homes president Russ Doyle. “Building around water isn’t something Birmingham construction teams do every day.”

Now that the piers are built and the porch is installed, Lisa is especially excited to begin enjoying the river: “The back porch has a nook that juts out, so it is surrounded by river views on three sides,” she explains.

As their new dream home gets built, the Brights are also working to sell their current house in Trussville.

“It is somewhat stressful building one and selling one,” says Bill. “We put all of this in God’s hands; we can only put it out there to see if the right person comes along.”

The Brights are now playing not one, but TWO waiting games as they work to sell their current house while watching their new home take shape before them. In the meantime, Bill is doing what he can to move the process along.

“I have gotten pretty good at going to the Dollar Store for balloons to put out in front for an open house,” he laughs.


photo 2Week 16: August 26, 2014

A Field Trip to Evolutia

If you haven’t visited the Evolutia warehouse in Birmingham’s Northside, you’re missing out on one incredible experience.

Upon the Brights’ decision to add reclaimed wood elements to their home’s interior, the team at Evolutia—who will be providing the material—invited us to tour the warehouse to learn more about their work in providing unique, sustainable building materials to Birmingham homes.

“We get most of our wood from old factories and industrial buildings that are pre-20th century,” explains Alan, who runs the warehouse (“He can just look at a piece of wood and tell you what type it is and where it’s from,” describes a fellow team member).

Alan explains that Evolutia focuses on longleaf heart pine for their warehouse. “We’ve gone as far as New Hampshire to get it,” he says. “But we find the best wood here in the Southeast.”

Evolutia sources and preps all the wood themselves, which they then sell to consumers to be used as fireplace mantles, hardwood flooring, and even reclaimed furniture they build by hand. The company’s focus is sustainability, which in part means using all parts of the wood pieces that come into their warehouse.

“One of our processes is shaving off the top layer of a piece of wood, which leaves us with a thin oak skin that can then be used as a wall treatment,” says Alan. “It used to be something we threw away, and now it’s one of our best sellers.”

So which pieces will Bill and Lisa be installing in their home? They’ve selected reclaimed oak skins to cover the walls in their kitchen nook as well as gorgeous beams to function as headers between rooms on the main floor. These pieces from Evolutia are sure to add that rustic element they’ve been looking for.

Click the photos below to learn more about our trip to Evolutia, and be sure to check out their website at!

photo 1Week 17: September 2, 2014

Sheetrock ‘n Roll

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for… the sheetrock is up! “The sheetrock makes it look like a real house,” says Bill. It’s the first time I have felt like the home was livable.”

We caught up with Harris Doyle Homes project manager Teb Berryhill to see how the process went for the building team.

“Sheetrock finishing is tricky to judge depending on the weather and humidity,” he explains, telling us that the whole sheetrocking process is ideally completed in one week. “The Brights’ house is a little bigger than our sheetrock crew normally does, so it took about 10 days to hang and finish.”

Now that the basic walls are up, does the home’s interior look as Lisa and Bill were picturing?

“At first we thought it made some the bedrooms look smaller, only because you could see through the walls with just framing,” Lisa says. “But the den looks bigger than we imagined.”

The den boasts an open, airy feel thanks to an expanse of vaulted ceilings throughout the great room, a look that the Brights adore.

Says Lisa, “We both love high ceilings and have had them in our past homes. Once you get used to that height, it’s hard to not have it.” She explains that Harris Doyle Homes designed the main room to have variation in the ceiling heights to help distinguish the open den from the kitchen. “Now, it won’t be one large, flat ceiling,” she says.

As for Bill, he has his own reasons for favoring a vaulted ceiling look. “I am so short, and vaulted ceilings make me feel like I am in a cavern!” he laughs.

What do you think about the home’s progress this week?

Bill Fabric storeWeek 18: September 9, 2014

Fabric & Furniture Finds

Bill Bright stopped by our office on Friday and told us that he and Lisa were leaving in a few hours for Atlanta to hopefully find some furnishings for the Riverhouse. Of course, we asked them to document their trip and share photos of their finds!

On Day 1, the Brights visited Lewis & Sheron Textile Co. for a little fabric inspiration. As you may remember, Lisa owns a custom drapery business, so needless to say, she felt right at home in the fabric store.

“I found a few fabrics and trims that I liked,” says Lisa. “But until the reclaimed oak skins from Evolutia get put up in the nook, I can’t pick that out yet. I don’t want it to look too busy.”

Lisa shares that she did find the perfect fabric for the den curtains: a sheer textile featuring muted stripes in shades of gray and cream. The den features a full wall of windows that will be dressed in this selected fabric. “I better get busy sewing!” laughs Lisa.

What did Bill think about spending all day shopping for fabric? We think the photo below says it all!

On Day 2, Bill perked up when the couple stopped by Scott Antique Markets, a huge monthly market known for having one of the best collections of treasures in the region. The Brights shared with us that their trip was very successful; they ended up finding three tables that will each find a new home in the Riverhouse.

“We found an outdoor dining table made from reclaimed metal barn roof shingles by Tony McCray Rust in Peace,” explains Lisa. “We also found a cypress coffee table to go in front of the outdoor fireplace and a walnut farmhouse table for the kitchen nook.”

Adds Bill, “We had a fun time and didn’t spend too much money!”

Take a look at pics from Bill and Lisa’s Atlanta trip below, and let us know what you think of their new finds!

IMG_0656Week 19:  September 16, 2014

Family Handprints

When we first met Bill and Lisa Bright nearly 5 months ago, they told us that one of their main priorities for the Riverhouse was to build a home that welcomed their entire family, including their two daughters, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

“We chose to build in Trussville Springs because of its family atmosphere, walking trails, and of course, the river,” explains Lisa. “I’m thinking our grandchildren–Olivia, Anna Kayt and Trip–will enjoy looking for turtles and fish in the river.”

Bill is also looking forward to having a home where he can spend time with the grandkids. “They call me ‘Grumps,’” he chuckles, “And they’ll enjoy sitting out by the river with me and listening to my great stories.”

Because family is so important to them, the Brights asked project manager Teb with Harris Doyle Homes to give them a head’s up when they would be pouring the concrete driveway. A few days ago, the Brights met Brandy McCarty of Absolute Concrete at the house to leave a few special handprints in the newly-poured concrete.

“We took a few photos of our handprint attempts with a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and a 5-month-old,” says Lisa. “It turned out pretty good, but the baby wasn’t too happy about it,” she laughs.

In addition to the new handprints that will add a personal touch to the Riverhouse, Absolute Concrete is doing something very special for the Brights.

“Brandy is going to go to our old house where we did this with our children in 1994 and cut out the concrete so we can use it in our garden,” explains Lisa. Now, when they move into the Riverhouse, they’ll have a piece of their old house to remind them of their past.

Check out photos of the handprint project below.

Lemonade standWeek 20: September 23, 2014

Kitchen Progress

Lots of progress has been made in Bill and Lisa Bright’s dream home, and we’re excited to share the latest updates with you. The Brights were thrilled when the Evolutia reclaimed wood was delivered and installed last week—they now have a kitchen nook covered in reclaimed oak skins and big, rustic beams over the doorways.

“When I first saw the beams I was surprised just how reclaimed they were!” laughs Lisa. “But after hearing their story and where they came from, I fell in love with them.”

Adds Bill, “The reclaimed wood is a great look. It is different than we have ever had in previous homes, but it is a riverfront house, so the rustic look fits perfectly.”

More kitchen progress has been made with the cabinet installation. If you remember, the Brights selected a shaker-style cabinet in the color “fog,” a muted gray-brown color, for the kitchen cabinets.

“Lisa wanted to see the grain in the wood on the cabinets, so she picked the stain over painting,” explains Bill. “Hey, I’m no designer, so that’s the best answer I can give.”

Bill explains further that because their kitchen has no side walls, every inch of the space had to be utilized for function. Harris Doyle and Jerry Smith of Kitchen Accents expertly designed the cabinets to fit these unique needs.

But that’s not all that’s been happening with the Brights… As they work to sell their current home, Bill and Lisa held a moving sale this past weekend to sell a few items they won’t need for the Riverhouse.

“The moving sale was a hit,” says Bill. “We sold everything but a table and seating that was in our kitchen. Lisa won’t tell me what we are going to use the money for,” he chuckles.

The Brights were able to bring in a few extra customers and money with one particularly cute addition to their moving sale: “Our granddaughter Olivia had a lemonade stand,” says Lisa.

“It was crowded the whole time,” says Bill. “At 25 cents a glass she made about $15.00.” Sounds like there is a mini businesswoman in the family!

What do you think about the latest progress with ‪#‎TheRiverhouseProject? Let us know in the comments below!

SkirtingWeek 21: September 30, 2014

Decking the Walls

This week is all about new surfaces from the inside out of Bill and Lisa Bright’s home on the river. On the outside, the wood skirting has been installed on the lower levels of the home’s exterior. This sided look will add a coastal feel perfect for a waterfront home.

“The Harris Doyle Homes team will paint the skirting in the color ‘Sealskin’ from Sherwin Williams,” explains Lisa. “It is also the exterior color for the trim on the windows and doors.” As you may remember, the Brights selected this deep charcoal gray-brown color to add a warm, modern edge to the home’s exterior.

The Brights are happy with home’s exterior additions, though Bill is ready for one outside feature to be taken away.

“I can’t wait for them to cut down that tree down by the back deck—you know, the one I’m not supposed to talk about,” chuckles Bill. “It’s blocking the view of the river.”

As the exterior walls get decked in new surfaces, so do the interior walls. The Harris Doyle team has been hard at work bringing Lisa’s dream for a spa-like master bath to life with tile installation.

“The tile went in well,” says Lisa. “While I love the spa look in shades of white, I chose to go a little darker and warmer in the master bath.”

“Plus, the darker the color, the more forgiving it is as far as cleaning goes,” adds Bill.

Along with a darker tile in the shower, the Brights achieved a “rustic modern” aesthetic by combining clean, crisp lines—like in the rectangular floor tiles—with warmer touches—like the gorgeous Ferro Gold granite. Even without the typical all-white look, the Brights’ master bath feels clean, relaxing, and luxurious.

We shared with you the Brights’ master bath selections a few months ago; what do you think of the room now that it is all being installed?


Bright family photo

Bright family photo

Week 22: October 7, 2014

The reality behind the dream house

The Riverhouse is truly the Brights’ dream home—not because of size, amenities, or designer features—but because it represents a new chapter, a fresh start, for this sweet couple. The Brights have faced struggles in their past, and this new home in Trussville Springs has them looking towards a hopeful future.

We couldn’t think of a better time to share the reality behind Bill and Lisa’s dream home and what this house really means to them.

The journey started in 2012 when the Brights, who were looking to downsize to a smaller house, connected with mortgage consultant Pam Koehler of MortgageBanc – Fairway Independent Mortgage

“From the first time I spoke with Bill on the phone, knew the Brights were special people,” explains Pam. “Bill was very open and shared the story of their son Will, a heroin addict who lost his life tragically at the age of 25. Bill talked about the struggles and hardships of Will’s addiction and the toll it took on his life as well as the family.”

“Lisa and I were at the end of our rope,” says Bill. “We spent most of what we had on rehabs for our son. Fast forward a few years, and Will didn’t make it.”

“We would have spent everything we had trying to help him no matter what,” adds Lisa.

“We doubted we could buy another house under the circumstances we were facing,” says Bill. “We were able to get financing only because of Pam’s efforts. She made us feel like we were important to her; she actually cared if we made it through all our problems and found a home.”

Pam shares how important it was to her to help the Brights find the light at the end of the tunnel: “As a mother, I can’t image losing a child. But I know without a doubt, I would have done everything possible just like Bill and Lisa did to provide financial, emotional and physical support for Will,” she says.

“Because of the financial hardships the Brights incurred, we had some challenges to work through during their mortgage process. But, in just a few weeks, their loan was approved and they moved into a beautiful new home.”

A year after their son’s death, the Brights discovered the river lots in Trussville Springs and fell in love. They were looking for a fresh start and knew this was the place to make it happen. What did they do when it came time to review their mortgage?

Pam Kohler 10-14

Pam Koehler

“The thought never crossed our minds to go to anyone else but Pam,” says Bill. “The process has been smooth and enjoyable. Not many people can say that about their mortgage experience.”

For the Brights, Pam Koehler has been one of their biggest supports during their times of need, and they express their gratitude for all she has given them.

Says Lisa, “I can’t help but reflect on how God places people in your life when and where you need them. We have been blessed.”

As for Pam, the feeling is completely mutual.

“I’m a firm believer that God puts people together for a reason,” she says. “Getting to know the Brights even more over the last few months has only deepened that belief.”

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the story behind the home with this week’s update.



Inside fireplaceWeek 23: October 14, 2014

As seen on TV

Do you ever watch those home design shows on TV where there always seems to be a problem that arises?

Just like on television, our own homebuilding story with Bill and Lisa Bright isn’t without a hiccup here and there. The latest obstacle deals with the sleek, modern fireplace the Brights selected for the living room.

“Lisa had wanted a seamless piece of marble around the fireplace,” explains Bill. When the marble surround arrived to the home, the couple was surprised to find it was in fact marble tiles instead of one large piece. “They said to get a seamless piece would cost more, but we had already paid for an upgraded fireplace.”

Harris Doyle Homes designer Alice Allen explains the situation from her perspective. “We had a miscommunication between what the Brights had intended for their fireplace to look like versus what we had specified and planned for,” she says.

And when a miscommunication arises, the Harris Doyle team makes it their mission to correct the issue at hand.

“We worked with the Brights to make sure that their design intention was carried through,” explains Alice. “It took a little creative problem solving and some tweaking, but I believe we got the end result originally intended.”

As for the Brights, they know that a snafu or two is inevitable, but they can count on Harris Doyle Homes to handle it all.

“Bottom line, they decided to provide us with the seamless piece with no extra cost,” says Bill. “I think you call it integrity. They have it.”


Lisa and Bill BrightWeek 24: October 21, 2014

Ask Bill & Lisa

This week, lighting fixtures were installed on the main floor, which gave us a bright idea of our own… we’ve gathered some of the most popular reader FAQs we get about the Brights, and we’re asking them for their honest answers.

Scroll down to see all questions, a bonus question for designer Alice Allen, and pics of the light installations.


What has been the most fun part of building your home with Harris Doyle Homes?

Lisa: The selection process was the most exciting.

Bill: Watching Lisa and Alice pick out all the “stuff” knowing I didn’t have to do anything. And then watching Lisa second guess every decision. Thank goodness I didn’t make any of those decisions.


What has been the most frustrating part?

Lisa: When you stop by and see that no one has been working that day. But as Teb (project manager) says, things are being done even though it’s not visible from the outside.


What has been the biggest surprise pleasure—something you love and weren’t expecting?

Lisa: Most definitely the stone steps and stone retaining wall. We didn’t expect that at all, and it looks amazing!

Bill: I agree—the rock wall around the bottom of the back of the house. One day we went out to the house, and this great stone wall had appeared at no cost.

If you started over, is there anything you would change/do differently?

Lisa: My cabinets. The stain has not been perfected yet and I’m thinking I should have chosen painted ones. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

Bill: There are always some things you might go back and change, but as a whole I’m pretty satisfied.

PLUS, we’ve got a bonus question for designer Alice Allen!

What are some design elements that you put into the Brights’ house that someone could transition to update their existing home?

Alice: The element that stands out to me that we incorporated into the Brights’ home is the quartz counters in the kitchen. Choosing a white countertop like Lisa and Bill did allows you to have good design “bones” in your kitchen. Then, you can incorporate color through window treatments, accessories, and furniture. This allows you to incorporate things within your budget as time goes on.


Hard surface floors and fireplaceWeek 25: October 28, 2014

The Checklist

Wow, the Harris Doyle Homes team must have been burning the midnight oil, because so much progress has been made since last week! Let’s break it down:

1) Flooring installed: check!

If you remember from a few months ago, Bill and Lisa Bright selected hard surface wood-like flooring over actual hardwood flooring. Because of the moist environment of a riverfront property, hardwood tends to warp over time.

“Harris Doyle recommended we use hard surface/laminate flooring,” explains Lisa. “I was skeptical at first, but I love it! Like a lot of others things we have picked out, it will hold up with all the grandkids.”

To save money, the Brights selected neutral carpeting for the bedrooms and Lisa’s workroom. Lisa admits that while she likes the look of the carpet, she wishes she had carried the hard surface flooring upstairs.

“Oh well, that a project for down the road!” she laughs.Exterior being painted


2) Exterior walls painted: check!

Goodbye unfinished exterior and hello gorgeous gray paint! The Harris Doyle team is currently painting up a storm with Sherwin Williams “Amazing Gray” on the exterior walls and “Sealskin” on the exterior trim.

“We left the paint colors pretty much up to Alice,” says Lisa. “I told her the basic colors I liked, and she refined them.”


Alice new cabinets3) Kitchen cabinets: check! Well… not quite…

Last week, Bill and Lisa confessed that they weren’t exactly happy with how the kitchen cabinet stain turned out.

“The dark stain came out spotty, and we couldn’t rectify it,” Lisa explains. “Harris Doyle stepped in and are working with the manufacturer to get them painted–and possibly glazed–to give us the look we’ve envisioned.”

This morning, Lisa met with Harris Doyle designer Alice Allen to pick out a new finish for the cabinets—we’ll keep you updated on the progress.

What do you think off all the progress that’s been made this week? It looks like ‪#‎TheRiverhouseProject is really coming together! Join us at 3 PM next Tuesday as we follow the Brights’ homebuilding journey.



Jacinda AndersonWeek 26: November 4, 2014


Bill and Lisa Bright are thrilled to share that they have sold their current home, which has made them all the more eager to complete their Riverhouse in Trussville Springs.

“In the real estate market as it is today, we feel relieved and blessed to have sold our home,” explains Bill.

Not only is the home sold, but the Brights are excited that the new homeowner is a good friend.

“Jacinda (Cindy) is a Birmingham city attorney and a friend of ours,” says Bill, who himself is a lawyer.

Cindy first took interest in the Brights’ home several years ago when she helped alleviate a neighborhood disturbance.

“When we first bought this home, there was a bar right behind us. It stayed open until 3 AM and played music so loud that the headboard on our bed rattled,” Bill explains. “We had to put our granddaughters in the bathroom to sleep because it was so loud.”

When the Brights brought their concern to Cindy, the city lawyer quickly stepped in to help get the bar shut down and bring peace back to the neighborhood.

“Cindy sat on our back porch and listened to the bar noise,” says Bill. “She also told us if we ever sold the house to let her know–she wanted it.”

Four years later, that conversation had slipped out of the Brights’ minds when they decided to put their house on the market and build their new home on the river with Harris Doyle Homes. They were, however, quickly reminded of the memory when they received a call from Cindy a few weeks ago.

“She called and asked why we were selling ‘her’ house,” Bill laughs. “We prayed that she would get our house, and now it will be her home.”

Lisa agrees: “It feels great to have our home sold to someone who we know will enjoy it like we have.”

With their house sold and the Riverhouse is nearing the final stages, Bill and Lisa are packing up their house and getting ready for a new beginning.


Master bathroom drawerWeek 27: November 11, 2014

The Walkthrough

Can you believe that we’re nearly to the finish line? The Brights are set to close on their home this Friday, which means it is time for the pre-closing walkthrough with Teb and Jeff of Harris Doyle Homes.

Starting at the front door and working their way through the entire home, the team walks through the home noting areas that need fixing or touching up. All noted areas receive a piece of blue tape and a logbook entry to be repaired.

Check out Teb’s handy tape stick—it helps him reach those high air vents and crown moldings that need a piece of blue tape.

Remember how Lisa wasn’t happy with the smoky stain on the kitchen cabinets? The cabinets have since been repainted in a warm gray hue.

“I left the new cabinet color completely up to Alice,” says Lisa. “And she did a great job.”

A few areas the team notes for repair are caulking on all windows, fixing the disposer, adding door stops to hinges, and repairing a wonky drawer in the master bathroom. Though there are some minor fixes to be made, the Brights already feel at home in the Riverhouse. “It feels like an old home, even though it’s new,” says Lisa, pointing out details like the tall, paneled doors and thick crown molding that give the home character.

A trip upstairs leads you to the bonus room, which will function as the workroom for Lisa’s drapery business.

“I’m so excited to finally have a real workspace,” she smiles.

Speaking of drapery, Lisa shares that the tweed-textured fabric she has ordered for the kitchen roman shades is arriving this week. We can’t wait to see the custom shades she creates for the home.

The walkthrough ends outside, where a cool new feature has been added to the backyard.

“Harris Doyle put in this gravel path in case we decide to get a golf cart,” explains Bill. The path leads right up to the storage shed in back, so the cart can easily be pulled up and parked inside.

The Brights are making big plans for their life in the Riverhouse, which means they’ll be moving in before we know it.

Bill and Lisa homeownersWeek 28: November 18, 2014

Home at last

Bill and Lisa Bright can officially call the Riverhouse their home; as of Friday, they have closed on their dream home in Trussville Springs.

“Closing went great,” says Lisa. “Our friend Larry Woods of Townes & Woods was the closing attorney. He’s also a Harris Doyle homeowner and now one of our neighbors.”

Woods, who has been closing real estate for more than 35 years, is thrilled to have been part of the Brights’ homebuilding journey.

“My wife and I have been friends with the Brights for a long time, so I was happy to assist them in closing on their dream home,” he explains.

Woods is ready to welcome the Brights to Trussville Springs, where he and his family built their own home with Harris Doyle Homes one year ago.

“We could not be happier, and we love our home and our experience building with Harris Doyle,” he says. “Not only is our house beautiful, but the experience was wonderful, too.”

KeysNow that the closing is officially done, the Brights have already begun moving items into their new home.

“We did a soft move this weekend,” says Lisa. “We got the kitchen organized, and Bill put his garage workspace together. We love it so far–can’t wait to sleep there!”

As for Bill, he is just as excited as Lisa to be settled into their new home on the river.

“It feels great to have closed and know we can move in; it’s been a long road,” he says. “I would have carried Lisa over the threshold, but even though she doesn’t weigh much, I’m so old I would have blown out both knees.”

We’re nearing the end of the Bright’s homebuilding adventure with Harris Doyle Homes.


BL2Week 29: November 25, 2014

The Final Chapter

Seven months ago, we met Bill and Lisa Bright, who were ready to start a new chapter in their lives by building a home on the river with Harris Doyle Homes. 29 weeks later, we cannot believe we have made it to the end of the journey. The Brights have moved in to their new home, and they couldn’t be happier.

As we conclude ‪#‎TheRiverhouseProject, we thought we’d chat with all involved about their experiences with this special project.


Bill and Lisa Bright:

What has this homebuilding journey meant to you?

Lisa: Hard to believe this is coming to an end. It’s actually been a lot of fun watching the posts every Tuesday. The best part will be that this whole building process will be documented and we will have it to keep and look back on.

Bill: It has been a ride on a roller coaster. One day we were thinking everything was great, and the next we were second guessing everything from tile color to window placement. And when I say we, you know I mean Lisa. Would I do it again? Absolutely!


Which #TheRiverhouseProject post has been your favorite?

Lisa: I guess it’s between the handprints of our grandchildren and the one of our son. Brandy from Bama Concrete went back to our old house and cut out the concrete handprints from 1994 of our three children—I placed it right next to the grands’ prints. The post on our son and our mission spoke to my heart and hopefully touched and/or saved someone’s life.

Bill: My favorite posts were the one that had a video of us and the one about the Will Bright House. I think I will take up acting; I looked so good on camera (laughs).


Designer Alice Allen and founder Brooks Harris of Harris Doyle Homes:

How was it working with the Brights to build their home from the ground up?

Alice: This entire experience has been fantastic! I feel like Lisa and Bill’s journey is a great insight for anyone wanting to build a home. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that many people often don’t realize happens. The Brights have been so much fun to work with, and I have enjoyed getting to know them and be a part of this new adventure.

Brooks: The Brights were so well suited for this project because they genuinely had a great time with it. Not only were they were enthusiastic, candid, and humorous, but they had a compelling story to tell. When you combine those qualities with Lisa’s great taste, it really created a fun project to watch that culminated with a beautiful home.


Bill and Lisa Bright:

What does the future hold for you in this new chapter of your lives?

Lisa: Our future plans include peaceful walks along the river, entertaining on the back porch, and teaching the grandbabies how to fish (I need to learn first, though!).

Bill: The future here? One day at a time–enjoying the scenery God has provided and walks along the river with Lisa. It doesn’t get any better than this.


And that’s it—with this final post we bring #TheRiverhouseProject to an end.  If you’re interested in building your home dream home with Harris Doyle Homes, visit their website at

Want more? Look for more photos of the Brights’ finished home in the March 2015 issue of B-Metro Magazine!

2 Responses to “The Riverhouse Project”

  1. It’s impressive that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph as well as from our discussion made here.

  2. Alliana says:

    While my heart goes out to them in their loss, I am still left feeling confused as to why a couple this age would build a big home to upkeep. Sure grandkids but it isn’t as though the grandkids live there. It seems like an odd decision and one that will leave them with a lot of cleaning to do…for a whole lot of nobody other than them most of the year. Never understood that. Why couldn’t they have a townhouse or modest sized home and still had family gatherings? Not necessarily this couple but see a lot of empty nesters trying to fill voids by thinking “if we build it they will come” mentality and dont understand their children are no longer first and foremost committed to their parents and now want these things for their new families.

    Hope she saved room in the budget for a whole lot of cleaning supplies…on the bright side that house will keep her busy maintaining it.

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