Checking back in with Meghan Ford Taylor of Seabreeze Building

Meet Meghan Ford Taylor, Architect and Project Manager of esteemed Scout Guide client and friend, Seabreeze Building.

Seabreeze, based in West Palm Beach with projects around South Florida, provides an emphasis on quality construction with distinctive craftsmanship; and has a number of projects that have been recognized on a national scale.

In case you missed it, we interviewed Meghan last year after spearheading the restoration of the second-oldest residential structure on the island, The Duck’s Nest.

The project went on to win the prestigious Ballinger Award given by the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation for architectural restoration!

Meghan herself has a great story, so we were excited to catch up with her again this year for updates in life and work.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Meghan left Palm Beach for an education at Vanderbilt University followed by a number of years in other cities (New York, Atlanta) before returning for a career close to home – in more ways than one!

Not only did she come back to South Florida and join the world of construction, but partnered directly with her dad – Seabreeze Co-Founder, George L. Ford III – in doing so.

We love a business that keeps it in the family, passing down generational knowledge and a sense of pride truly unique unto itself.

More on that below, in our conversation with Meghan.

TSG: You offer a mix of new constructions + renovations – is there one that you’re personally more drawn to and why? 

MF: I love both but I think renovations are more challenging and, thus, often more rewarding.  I love a good puzzle, so I think I am particularly suited to renovations because you must be creative and good at problem-solving.  There is nothing better than looking at the before and after pictures and seeing the transformation. 

TSG: Seabreeze has been in business for over 30 years – what’s changed and what’s stayed the same?

what about in the time you’ve been with the organization? 

MF: Leeds Custom Design, our cabinetry and millwork shop has been in business for over 30 years and Seabreeze has been in business for 10 years.  I have pretty much been with Seabreeze since its inception, going on 9 years now.  A lot has remained the same in terms of construction, materials, technology and our practices but the architectural styles have evolved over the past 10 years, especially on the island.  In the beginning most of the homes were traditional but now a lot of our projects are either transitional or lean toward contemporary. I think some of that has to do with the clientele and influx of younger people moving to the area.

TSG: Your dad and Pete have been building this business for a long time – what have you learned from them? 

MF: I have learned a lot from my dad and Pete. Pete knows the construction side of the industry better than anyone and he is the go-to for all construction questions.  Pete’s immeasurable knowledge in all aspects of the construction industry was generated through personal hands-on field experience so he really understands the process and how to help manage the project.  I really respect my dad’s work ethic and he has been such an inspiration throughout the years.  He is a true entrepreneur and I’ve learned so much about the business and how to properly manage projects, specifically workflow, scheduling, and budgeting. 

TSG: What do you think they would say you’ve brought to the business? 

MF: As a licensed architect I think I bring a unique skillset to the project. I can help facilitate the design and I have a good grasp on all the building components.  Having an in-house design and architecture department gives Seabreeze a competitive advantage and allows us to push the schedule like no other contractor.

TSG: How have you noticed the market evolve?  

MF: As you know, the real estate market has boomed in the last couple of years, and this has directly correlated to more projects. Unfortunately, with more demand, supply has declined and everyone in the industry can feel the effects of the supply chain issues, both in the schedule and the budget.

TSG: What does your dream project look like? 

MF: I feel like I have been fortunate to work on some great projects and I just hope that luck continues.

TSG: Seabreeze puts a lot of emphasis on bringing clients ideas to life – how do you guide them through that process? 

MF: Clients always come first and listening to their needs is really important.   It is also important to manage expectations and to be honest about the budget and schedule.  We try and facilitate the client’s wishes and guide them on how to achieve their dream home within budget and on schedule.

TSG: Where are most of your projects occurring? all local? 

MF: Yes, right now we have a lot of projects on the island and a couple in West Palm Beach and Jupiter.

TSG: Between design and millwork, how do you match clients with the right partners? 

MF: Having Leeds Custom Design as a sister company makes the millwork and design process effortless.  Joseph Tralongo, the head designer at Leeds, meets with clients early in the project and therefore, the cabinetry and millwork design become a big part of the project from the beginning.  This is crucial to the schedule, budget, and most importantly, making sure all the client’s design needs are covered.

TSG: Looking back on the Duck’s Nest, what was your favorite part of the project?

MF: I just loved how the project turned out.  It was a huge challenge but was so rewarding seeing it all come together.  The Duck’s Nest is such an important feature of Palm Beach’s history and it’s so special that we were a part of making sure it remains in the Palm Beach landscape for years to come.

TSG: Any current project highlights? 

MF: Right now, we have a great mix of projects from landmarked renovations, new construction, and condo renovations. 

TSG: What’s next for Seabreeze? Anything on the horizon in terms of expansion etc?

MF: Seabreeze focuses on continuous improvement, and we are always trying to grow responsibly.

TSG: Why is it meaningful to work with The Scout Guide?

MF: The Scout Guide is a great resource for small businesses and the community outreach is fantastic.

TSG: Any words of wisdom to people embarking on a new build or reno? 

MF: Always trust your gut and don’t be afraid to speak up.  Also, get involved from the very beginning.  Designers and contractors can’t read minds, and everyone has different preferences so make sure to make yours known from the beginning.

Written by TSG Contributing Editor, Kate Rowan