Sweet Home Alabama

We’re happy to announce that Skiles Engineering, LLC is now open for business in Alabama.  In Florida we are still dba Envision Design + Engineering, so nothing has changed here. We’ve just added an Alabama office.  Why?

Two of our three children now live in Alabama, we have a farm property there, and we love to visit Birmingham, our old stomping grounds.  We’ve decided that it’s time to branch out and open an office in Birmingham.   Stay tuned for project updates, both in Florida and Alabama.

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In the two years since we’ve updated our website, many things have changed.  Most importantly, our middle child has graduated and gone to college. Sam is a freshman at the University of Alabama, majoring in mechanical engineering.  We’re learning to say “Roll Tide!”

Jacob, our oldest, is a junior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He’s majoring in piano performance with a minor in mathematics and is also in the SciTech Honors program.  He’s a busy kid!  We’re happy the boys are only a short drive from each other, though far from us.

We’ll be sure to post about projects before our last one leaves the nest!

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The Graduate

Jacob's Recital Invitation

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Create a look

Here is some inspiration on how to use NDI florals.   Most beautiful rooms have flowers or greenery to make them feel complete.   I’ve taken some web images from designers and shown how a look can be captured with NDI arrangements.  Enjoy!


Photo by Werner Straub Photography, interior by Khristi Zimmeth












In the above cottage family room, a Boston fern adds the perfect touch of green.   NDI’s fern will remain in pristine condition.


In this bathroom renovation by Joanna Gaines, allium provides color and a bit of nature without creating clutter.


 Get this look with NDI’s allium stems in these simple clear vases.

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I adore the combination of glamour, rustic, and quirky in this vignette in Bobby McApline’s lake home.


If I wanted to achieve a similar feel, I would use NDI’s Eremurus and a simple orchid.   If I had some golden talon candlesticks then jackpot!










Lastly, this room really speaks to me with the greenery in the filtered light.  Of course, if I had this beautiful window with bright light, I would attempt live plants.

Image via Greige  Design

Assuming that my neglect kills them (or perhaps it’s a vacation home and I am not there very often), I would replace them with either of these beauties from NDI.



Olive topiary tree

Olive topiary tree

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Faux Real

Envision Design  + Engineering is excited to be a source for Natural Decorations, Inc floral designs.


I have been a fan of NDI for many years because the flowers and greenery are so authentic looking. On several occasions I have crossed a room to examine a beautiful floral arrangement, trees, or greenery and been shocked to realize that the plants were faux.  I’ve even felt for soil in the pot to be sure!



While I love  fresh flowers and greenery, it just isn’t practical in many applications.  For several years I have unsuccessfully attempted to maintain plants at our office.   One day I decided to replace our pitiful looking live plants with silk plants and of course I knew I wanted NDI.  I could not find any local vendors for NDI so we decided to become one.


NDI has been in business for over 50 years and is an ARTS Award Hall of Fame recipient.  And bonus- they are handmade in Alabama.  Peruse the beautiful online store and contact Laura@envisionplusjax.com  if you would like to add NDI’s beautiful creations to your home or office.


We would love to help you find the perfect plants for your space.


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Beautifully Accessible

Accessibility is a word we hear a lot in the design and construction world.   The American with Disabilities Act was a great victory for those with disabilities, but the benefits reach far beyond helping those with physical disabilities.  Accessibility- making places usable for people with limited mobility- can be beautiful and convenient for everyone.

A beautiful barrier free shower that anyone would want.

A beautiful barrier free shower that anyone would want.

Initially accessible buildings had a sterile, hospital like look-



Or were just not pretty-


Things have certainly changed!


A traditional style bathroom with wheelchair accessible shower stall. Photo from Architectural Digest.

Another trend driving better design is the “Aging in place” movement.   Baby boomers want their homes to age with them- to meet future mobility needs but look beautiful now.  The design world has caught up to the law and current demand, so accessible places can now be as beautifully designed as any other.   Grab bars come in many finishes and styles, safer flooring choices now look like any other, and smart home technology allows hands free room controls.

In the upcoming months I want to highlight some options that anyone would want in their home.  Accessible, functional, beautiful.

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Butler’s Pantry/ Home Office Renovation

Butler's Pantry

The cabinetry is the same as in my kitchen but with a beautiful honed marble counter to lighten the space.   The mirrored cabinetry panels also add light and are actually glass panels to which I gave a distressed mirrored finish.  The shelves above the dishwasher drawer are removable since our electric panel occupies that wall.

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My desk is so much more organized now.    The shelf under the desk keeps important papers out of the way but within easy reach.  Lastly, the pantry area-

Chandler Mountain_2015_08_11_1456

Such an improvement.


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  We hope this year has been filled with blessings and may God bless you and your family in the coming year.

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Belgian Inspiration

We are getting back into the swing of things with another school year. Wow, the summer has flown by!  It was a great and inspirational summer, though, and Doug and I had a chance to visit Flanders for ten days.  As always we were inspired by the community design, the architecture, and the beautiful countryside.  We also learned that Belgians are delightful people with a wonderful sense of humor.  They embrace some of the best of French, German, and Dutch cultures, creating a relaxed but efficient culture with delectable food and tempting treats (beer and chocolate anyone?)

Our apartment on Jakobstraat

Our apartment on Jakobstraat

Our apartment in the heart of Brugge was a perfect haven from which to tour the sights or explore the backroads by bicycle.  We rode along the canal to Damme, a charming town 4 miles from Brugge, and to the train station where we had easy rail access to the rest of Belgium.     Along the route we encountered  Belgian draught horses and sheep, toured a working windmill, and marveled at the interesting architecture and landscapes.

The route to Damme

The route to Damme





Wooden gears in a working windmill.

The bell feature on this garage was enchanting.

The bell feature on this garage was enchanting.

Architecture in the Belgian countryside.

Architecture in the Belgian countryside.

Belgian country home.

Belgian country home

In Damme, we found a pottery shop which inspired.

The barefoot potter at Terra Flama in Damme, Belgium.  He work with such enthusiasm that we were inspired to create our own pieces.

The barefoot potter at Terra Flama in Damme, Belgium. He worked with such enthusiasm that we were inspired to create our own pieces.

This post is more about Damme than Bruges, so I will follow up with more Belgium pictures.  As always, travel renews us and gets us into the creative spirit- more on that to come also!



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Bioswale Update

The San Marco Library Bioswale, a Coca-Cola Company demonstration project with the St. Johns Riverkeeper, is both beautiful and effective two years after installation.   The Bald Cypress, Spartina Grass, Muhly Grass, and Dwarf Yaupon Holly drain and filter the runoff before sending it into the St. Johns River.  We’d love to see more of these projects around Jacksonville.  For more detailed information, visit the bioswale project page.

enVision- Bioswale_2014_04_07_0135

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