Jess and Jody Davis are often referred to as the Chip and Joanna Gaines of Florida. And the design of their farmhouse-inspired home is just the beginning. Jody, a St. Augustine native, met Jess just before his 30th birthday when she was helping a friend move into Flagler College. They say that luck had something to do with the fact that they knew pretty quickly that they wanted to be together. One decade, four children, and five homes later, they celebrate their 10th anniversary on April 13th.
“We met and began renting a house from my parents. I was a mortgage broker at the time and the housing market was going down,” said Jody. “So we bought two lots and built two houses while planning our wedding. The fact that we succeeded in getting married with all that going on gave us both a pretty good idea that we had what it takes to stay together.”
Jess, who grew up in New Jersey, loves the Floridian lifestyle and it shows – her Instagram page, @carcabaroad, draws more than forty three thousand followers who crave her light, airy aesthetic. Her page has been influential in building real life connections, including one with a well-known designer from Oregon who is helping her finish styling her new vacation rental.
“All in, we’ve built five homes as co-captains,” said Jess. “We started with a renovation of the first vacation home and grew from there.”
It’s one thing to know great design and another to effortlessly balance their growing family amid constant projects and vacation rentals maintenance, while managing to stay happy, inspiring others, and homeschooling their children.
Their dream home, though, is just that. An open and airy five-bedroom, three-bath home with a school room, poised atop a bulkhead, offers a generous backyard for the kids and an elevated view of the marsh from massive windows. One of the most intriguing elements about the space is its massively open floor plan that utilizes many reclaimed materials throughout. Jody, a contractor by trade and real estate agent by design, knew that in order to maximize space for his family, he needed to alleviate walls and hallways to save for special elements such as transom windows. Jess jokes that “it helps to see the kids from all angles.”
The couple is currently building their fourth vacation rental – all located within five blocks of each other. “We service all of them ourselves, with help from family,” says Jess.
“My motivation was to have a passive income,” says Jody. “I joke that I have a real fishing problem.”
But the truth is, they also happen to love what they do, and the fun extends to the whole family. “Our kids are very involved. We often take them to our job sites, and they witness firsthand our commitment and hard work,” says Jess. “Building our dream house and the rentals took great effort, time, investment, and sacrifice for all of us as a family. Tracking the process and sharing it with others has become our passion and the kids are learning a lot along the way.”
From the wormwood driftwood mantel procured by Jody’s uncle in the Bahamas to the Restoration Hardware furnishings scoured by Jess secondhand, the bright, light, clean space says “Welcome Home.” It is evident that not a detail – from the front doors to the gold birdcage pendant lamp positioned above the bed in the master suite – was overlooked.
“She wanted a fan and I wanted a light,” says Jody. “I tend to hand over the decision making. I can either fight it for a long or a short time, so it’s really my choice, as she usually wins,” he smirked.
Target is her preferred spot, particularly with Hearth and Hand availability. She also loves Marshalls/Home Goods for faux greenery, furniture, and pillows, Etsy, and small shops like Declaration & Co. for personalized items.
The upstairs ceilings were painted on the foggiest day of the year, resulting in a less than ideal finish. After two additional coats of paint were not enough to resolve the issue, Jess put his building expertise to the test and installed knotty pine across the upstairs ceilings with a generous molding.
With four kids, it seems almost impossible that the white design could really stay clean, and Jess admits that it isn’t always perfect.
“With endless options in design, I play it safe with neutrals and white because you can always add greenery or a pop of color with a rug, and it’s easy to switch up a space once you become bored with it,” she says. “Our house lives well and is most definitely lived in! We make slime, bake, build forts, and we are intentional about purchases. One refreshing thing about moving was simplifying and decluttering and now, instead of getting each kid a toy, we buy a board game, Legos, or a seasonal craft to do together.
With a nod to Chip and Jo, Jess says, “They are inspiring to me on all levels. They dream bigger and bigger, hustle harder and harder, everything they touch turns to gold, but they keep simplicity as their core lifestyle. They stay grounded, keeping family and marriage as their priority.”
In closing, Jess says, “We believe ‘to be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.’ Our homes are our platforms for being and doing our best in the world, and the places where we live out our most precious, private moments. We hope to instill that in our children and hope they follow their dreams to their logical conclusions where they almost all boil down to having a happy home, where we and our families can thrive and enjoy happy, secure, and sometimes messy lives.”