It seems miles away from the city, but Mike and Kim Fritz's home is less than five minutes away from busy Popp's Ferry Road and the interstate. Their home, at Destiny Plantation in Biloxi, is in a quiet circle that borders Biloxi's Back Bay.
The view of the bay is the star here, and a glimpse of that vista is framed by the dramatic iron and glass front door of the Fritzes' Mediterranean-style residence. The foyer features Italian handpainted tiles surrounded by black slate, and its ceiling got a gilded finish.
"It's faux finished to resemble a jewelry box," Kim Fritz said, and the capiz shell chandelier that hangs from it does look like a dramatic piece of jewelry.
In fact, "I look at light fixtures as being like jewelry for a room," she said.
The same artist gave the dining room's ceiling a special treatment, this time "to look like billowing curtains," she said.
Nearby is the wine room, a glass wall offering a glimpse of the rows of wooden shelving and the bottles they hold. A smaller iron and glass door with the Fritzes' monogram leads into the temperature- and humidity-controlled room.
Even the kitchen gets its bit of bling, with a contemporary chandelier inspired by nature. Crystal leaves hang from brass branches over the breakfast table next to the island.
As appealing as the indoor kitchen is, it's the outdoor kitchen, just outside the sliding glass walls, that Mike Fritz really enjoys.
"We've made many a pizza in the wood-fired oven," he said. Near the small oven rests its long-handled pizza peel, the flat shovel-like utensil used to remove the pizza from the oven.
"The oven is great year round," he said. "In the winter, it provides heat and in the summer, it's ideal for cooking."
Across the way, past the pool, is an outdoor seating area, protected from the elements, with an outdoor fireplace. Its tumbled, distressed travertine floors have chiseled edges.
"Oh, we love being out here in the winter," Kim said.
The pool features an infinity hot tub and gas-fueled fire pits that wrap the corners. Glass "rocks" add drama and pick up the firelight at night.
Poolside living is especially easy for the lush surrounding plants.
"All the garden here is irrigated," Kim said. "All the pots have an irrigation system."
The guest suite is just off the outdoor kitchen, and the master suite has access to the outdoor living area. The master suite's exterior wall is glass and also opens.
The master bath is an inviting retreat highlighted by cultured ledge stone similar to that used on the
house's exterior. Mother of pearl shell tiles are used in the vanity area and capiz shell tiles are seen in the shower.
The Fritzes designed the house themselves.
"We came up with the concept for the house," Mike said. "We had tucked bits and pieces of what we wanted away, and we actually drew it on a napkin. Of course, it got transferred to paper later."
The Fritzes moved into the house about a year and a half ago after enjoying their home just across the bridge in the same neighborhood for several years.
"Somebody made us an offer on it, and we couldn't say no, as much as we loved living there," Kim said. The couple had become empty nesters, and their new home has three bedrooms instead of four and has one floor instead of two.