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Dylan Eastman of DIY Network Shares Blog Cabin 2016 Insider View - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Quicken Loans is proud to be a part of the DIY Network Blog Cabin™ 2016, where one lucky winner will take home a grand-prize package worth more than $900,000.

That’s right, you can enter for a chance to win a beautiful home on Florida’s Gulf Coast, a $50,000 cash prize provided by Quicken Loans and a 2016 Mazda CX-5. The best part is you can enter twice daily, once at DIYNetwork.com/BlogCabin and once at HGTV.com.

Want to know more about the transformation that turned a house into the future home of this year’s winner? Dylan Eastman is the Project Manager for Blog Cabin 2016, and he’s giving Zing readers some insight into the development of this stunning waterfront home.

How did the external environment and original layout of the house play a role in the new design?

The original house was built to the then-FEMA-required flood height. The home was also nestled amongst tall pines, live oaks and native palms. The original cedar siding and shingle roof made the house disappear into its surroundings.

 Because the flood zone requirements had changed since 1992, we had to lift the house. The most economical solution using the original pilings was a galvanized bracket system I custom designed. In the new exterior aesthetic, I wanted to not only play materials off those but also to showcase the look of the original architecture. We used a combination of Boothbay blue siding, a galvanized roof, stainless cables in the handrails and an exotic tigerwood top cap to set the house off from its surroundings.

To accentuate the elevated nature of the main house, the sky cabin was constructed with the same architectural features. A sloped walkway brings you by nestling palms and the original pines while a wrap around porch allows you to enjoy the view even during a Florida thunderstorm.

Are there rooms that now have a completely different use than what the original house design intended?

Because the original house had such a good layout, we retained the floor plan unlike some previous years where farm homes had compartmentalized spaces. The open first floor optimized the beautiful bay views and created a sense of community in the common areas. We enclosed one office, creating a first floor suite. Since the common bathroom was now private, a powder room was built under the stair slope.

With your background in environmental science, were there things you were particularly excited about implementing in this house?


Every year, I attempt to know and understand the local climate, materials and culture before transforming the house. This home should be a reflection of its location and story. We also have a strong upcycling focus at Blog Cabin that means little goes to waste.

This year, I really wanted to stress the height of the house and its relationship to the existing landscape and trees. The sky cabin is a great escape that captures every reason why someone would want to escape to Panacea, Fla. On the inside, I also wanted to bring a feel of the Florida life into the house with a two-sided saltwater fish tank, air plants and a terrazzo-style kitchen island top that features sea glass I collected for Blog Cabin 2013. We also upcycled a mahogany boat into 8 different projects throughout the space.

What types of challenges did your team face during the makeover?

Every year, our challenges are different. For Blog Cabin 2016, the house was our youngest remodel ever. So we made the mistake of assuming we would not face some of the structural issues of the past. During the remodel, we found floor joists compromised by mechanical work, beams cut for stairs and other mistakes made.

Building out the house for five shows in 21 days is also a challenge. This means everything has to work to plan to achieve an amazing house in such a short period of time. Our team of local contractors, show hosts and carpenters worked wonderfully together for a product that DIY Network, our sponsors and America can be proud of.

What is your favorite room in the house, and what are the elements that make it so special?

DIY Network Blog Cabin 2016 in Panacea, FL

It’s so hard to choose just one space. If I have to pick one, I would say the common area of the house. The openness combined with how all the materials play off each [other] creates a serene atmosphere. The way the Spanish cedar beams, cable lighting, air plants, boat elements, concrete counters, bamboo flooring and two-sided fish tank complement the beauty outside is not expressed well enough in photo.

What aspects of the inside and outside do you hope the winner of the Blog Cabin will enjoy most?

I hope the winner can feel the soul that we created in this home. Each piece of cabinetry, furniture and product is hand touched and crafted with thought. Inside, I hope they enjoy the ability to achieve privacy through the various zones while still maintaining the ability to connect with each other. The house is well suited for a family throughout the year while hosting many [people] during the holidays or special events. Outside, they may feel a sense of how this home fits the landscape. Large porches allow you to take in the view, wildlife and Gulf breeze. The upper-, mid- and lower-level porches all have different things to offer.

What are some ways homeowners can update their homes, especially a vacation property, in a budget-friendly way to make it more modern?

DIY Network Blog Cabin 2016 in Panacea, FL

While people craft their homes as a reflection of themselves, it can be hard to create a home that is classic and ages well. A vacation home should be even more universal to let the visitor get away from the stresses of daily life. One of the biggest impacts per dollar is paint. Consider a neutral color palette. Use lighter colors in small or dark spaces to make them feel larger and more lively. In larger spaces, consider an accent wall to draw the eye and ground the space. Even cabinets are easily painted. White or gray can be a modern transformation for honey oak that was popular in the 1980s.

Don’t forget to enter twice daily, once at DIYNetwork.com/BlogCabin and once at HGTV.com. Good luck!

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Beautiful home. What is the base of the kitchen island…. the turquoise shiny metallic look? It’s great!

    1. Hi Shelli:

      This home promotion ended three years ago, but DIY still has the home tour available online. With that said, they don’t have that particular material labeled is something you can buy, so I’m guessing that was some custom carpentry or stonework.

  2. Have to ask …are we near announcing the winner? Let the magic happen, bless those who stand on the decks and look out to the bay and beyond, soaking in God’s majesty.

    1. Hi Nancy:

      According to the rules, a winner has already been selected at this point. They’ll be posting the winner on the DIY network website on or around November 7. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  3. I love seeing Dylan’s (and everyone else’s) creativity when it comes to these projects. As his mom, I’m mighty proud of him! Love all the cabins and it’s a wonder to watch each new season and to see how each one is created to represent the locale.

  4. Loved watching this house come together on TV. It’s so beautiful and this article showcases it well. I would have never known it had to be lifted or that something like that was even possible! I am afraid of heights, but I think I could learn to live with it for a chance to live in this sky cabin. Thanks for sharing your insights and the beautiful photos!

  5. Great people doing great things! Another gorgeous Blog Cabin home Dylan & crew, keep up the amazing work. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to call one of these beautiful properties home.

  6. Great article! All of we die hard DIY fans know Dylan is the brains behind the makeovers and does an outstanding job! This article really brings forward his knowledge and experience doing not only Blog Cabin, but all his other great work. If I have one complaint, it’s that he should have his own show, or at least more FaceTime on the shows he’s already on!

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