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  • Writer's pictureKeith

Timeless Appeal

The term "traditional" can paint a picture in someone's head, so it might be best to avoid its use. There are numerous traditional styles, from Mediterranean to Modern to Colonial. We like to refer to regionally historic designs as being "timeless". A home with timeless design, maintains its appeal long after the current trend has gone out of style.

Vernacular design is found throughout established communities across the United States. Most regionally specific designs were developed as a result of climate conditions, but some were brought along by the immigrants that settled there. Within Florida, the Florida Cracker and Mizner Mediterranean styles are the most recognized. Winter Park and Downtown Orlando actually have a few styles that help to tell a little story about the history of the area.

After all these years, this is still one of my favorite homes. It fits so well into the neighborhood. It looks like it could have been built many years ago and should continue to remain appealing for many years in the future.

Joe and Alberta Justice had seen a traditional plantation-style home that we designed and built not far from them, and contacted us to discuss building a home for them on their property in Winter Park. The first time we met was on a Saturday morning before a Florida Gator football game. I was already dressed in my orange and blue when they answered the door. To my pleasant surprise, they were both dressed in orange and blue. I felt like I was off to a good start.

Because of size restrictions posed by Winter Park, the home was limited in size to a little more than 2200 square feet of air-conditioned space. Based on what I learned from our first meeting, a few days later I presented them with a preliminary budget and happily received a design retainer. My goal would be to design a home that could be built for the budget that I had presented them.

I sketched a preliminary design while vacationing at my wife's uncle's cabin in the North Carolina mountains. When our children were younger, we used to make the trip in mid-October to catch the leaves changing. I have to admit that the design of the home is influenced by the region. As I designed I made up a story to present to the Justices along with drawings. Since the home would be built in an area of Winter Park surrounded by older homes, I wanted theirs to come with a pre-packaged history.

When I presented the plan, I explained how the house and the garage might have been built originally. They had steep shingle roofs and were separated by about twenty feet. Then at a later date, the two structures were connected by an addition, and porches were added. The addition and porches have metal V-crimp roofs with a flatter pitch. They studied the preliminary plans for a little while and responded with an "okay". At first I was a bit confused but came to realize that I had heard correctly. The only change we made to the plan I had presented was the addition of a fireplace in the Keeping Room. Since the fireplace would be under a part of the house with the tin roof, we left the metal flue exposed, a detail that adds to the charm of the home.

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