It was a typical weekday afternoon, and Matt and Brooke Wright found themselves standing in the middle of their brand-spanking-new custom home in southwest Florida. They had built their forever abode together, shimmying up to install every steel beam and drive in every nail, screw, and bolt throughout the 2,450 square-foot country-inspired property.
In a matter of roughly 16 months, the Naked And Afraid stars instantly redefined the term “sweat equity.”
“It was certainly a feat of ingenuity,” Matt said with a laugh. “We just needed something incredible to tie it all together.”
So there they stood, surrounded by their own hard work. They were floored by what they had just accomplished — as was every city and county inspector who came out to double-check every detail with a fine-tooth comb — and yet, their eyes were fixated on the 18 and a half foot ceilings that, while gorgeous, still left something to be desired.
Then it hit them — they needed a ceiling fan. But not just any ceiling fan.
“I don’t remember if my mom or Brooke said it, but one of them said, ‘We need a ceiling fan that looks like a windmill,’ Matt said. “After all, we had the lofts that resembled a barn look, and everything we had customized as we went fit our country lifestyle. A windmill ceiling fan would be perfect, but we didn’t know if something like that existed. At first, we found some inferior stuff. That’s when we stumbled across The Original Windmill Ceiling Fan Company. We all said, ‘Yep. This is it.”
“Every time you walk in the door now, you have this ahhhhh moment,” she said. “It’s a special thing to have in our home.”
Take one look at the photos included with this post, and you can see exactly what Matt and Brooke are talking about — an American-made, custom turquoise, and copper patina windmill ceiling fan. Just like every inch of their home, they got to customize every inch of their new fan — from the finish and color to the tips of the blades themselves.
“[The owner] Kelly just said, ‘What do you have in mind?’’ Brooke said. “I’m used to working with people and telling them that the sky is the limit, but this was so delightful experiencing it from the customer side of things. She made it so easy, and everything in this house took on a new life once the fan was finally in. It set the bar because those colors dictated the color scheme for the rest of the house and everything we bought after it.”
Matt agreed, adding that this isn’t your ordinary fan.
“In a normal fan, the light kit shines down and can take away from the fan because, well, you’re staring right into the light,” he said. “We needed the light to shine on all that tongue and groove ceiling work we put in, and this fan does that. I’m not kidding when I say that when you turn it on, it’s magical looking. It’s one of those features that some people don’t think about, but when you put it on, you can’t imagine what else you could possibly put there [that would be better].”
He added, “And out of everything we did getting this house put together, installing that fan was the easiest of it all.”
This adorable, fun, and outdoorsy duo was the first married couple to compete together on the famed reality show on the Discovery Channel. Matt is no stranger to roughing it pretty much anywhere on the globe and hit the jackpot when he married the quintessential farm girl, Brooke Benham, in 2016. After finishing the competition, the Wrights began a new journey toward building a new home off the grid.
Located near Fort Ogden, a rural part of southwest Florida that borders up to thousands of acres of state land, Matt and Brooke’s home was built from the ground up with red steel frame construction. It is hurricane resistant, ridiculously quiet and serene, and has an unmistakable barn feel with lofts on competing sides of the house.
“We literally went into designing this from a sticky note all the way to it being a house on a pad,” Matt said with a laugh. “We had planned to use more contractors, but COVID-19 hit. So not only was there a lack of contractors, but we didn’t really want to have a bunch of random people in the house. So we just looked at each other, rolled up our sleeves, and put in a little bit of sweat equity, as Brooke likes to say.”
He added, “We cleared the land; we removed every one of those trees to get this the way we wanted.”
The only thing Matt and Brooke couldn’t do was create a windmill ceiling fan.
They left that up to The Original Windmill Ceiling Fan Company, and the results are simply to die for.
“You can go buy your average fan in a store or online, but it’s not going to be anything special,” Brooke said. “I had a vision, and it came to life with this fan. It’s always going to be a focal point and something for everyone to look at and enjoy. We are so excited to have something like this in our home.”