S.E.A. awarded “Green Historic Preservation Award” by DHT for the Abbott Residence renovation & addition in Coconut Grove.

It is official:
S.E.A. was awarded the “Green Historic Preservation Award” by Dade Heritage Trust for the Abbott Residence renovation and addition in Coconut Grove.
Congratulations to the owner and the team. Thank you for this great honor!


Project Description:

The Abbott Residence is wonderful remodel and addition of a 1916 Grove house located in Coconut Grove. The original estate consisted of a two story residence with extension to kitchen, converted garage and maid’s quarter above, as well as a free standing guest house across the yard. The main building was erected with structural oolitc limestone. The building has a full basement with a concrete cistern that seemed to have been used for the adjacent grove.

The project addition includes a connecting covered breezeway to the guest house. The guest house was enlarged by converting a late addition to match the original roof line and finish. An outdoor BBQ area was also added to the guest house. Since the original garage was converted, a new 2 car trellis carport was added as well as an enlarged and improved entry to the main house. Finally a new outdoor eating area was added outside of the existing kitchen featuring a trellis cover.

The renovation included a full upgrade to the kitchen, new second floor layout including a master suite and 2 additional bedrooms with a jack and Jill bathroom and overall upgrade of the remaining spaces. The project received a full upgrade to the electrical system, improved efficiency HVAC systems and new gas lines.

The project combined a number of my key principles and passions. The historic building and its character were well recognized and maintained throughout design. The addition blends with the original structure to improve the overall feel of the house and site. The traditional building style and proportions are typical for that area in the Grove and South Florida. Coral rock, lots of natural features, including large windows for cross ventilation mark the direction for design.

Project Challenges:

A key challenge to this project was the integration of materials to comply with current code. Items included specifically were the upgrade of the doors and windows. The structure consists of 16” limestone without additional reinforcing and boasts oversized windows and openings to allow for natural light and cross ventilation. Finding a Miami Dade approved window to fit the required size was achieved only in combination with a minor reduction on the opening at the ground level. Further, the anchor into the limerock structure to allow for required anchoring was achieved only with the use of 12” anchor bolts.

As with many historic preservation project, matching the existing style and character of the house requires certain decisions that bring with them an increased price tag. Keeping the overall project in budget while also staying true to the original design and construction of the house was a major challenge.

During renovation, it was discovered that the roof had some damage. As a result, the entire roof was replaced with matching tiles to the original installation. Finding tiles that were compatible and within budget proved to be another challenge. The original chimney at the kitchen wing was structurally supported by the floor and as part of the redesign of the kitchen not feasible to be saved. A smaller version of the chimney was reinstalled to blend into the overall design.

The final challenge of the project was the site layout, landscaping and driveway. Being a rather large and very natural site, it was decided that the landscaping should blend as much as possible and that the driveway should be porous one rather than a solid material. The City of Miami did not initially approve a gravel driveway.


Green Features:

Beyond the green feature inherit by the project being a renovation and thus recycling the original building, there are a number of sustainable features that have been incorporated. The largest component and impact for energy savings was the replacement of all windows and doors. The original windows showed wear and leakage and were replaced with an impact energy savings option. Keeping the original size and location of the windows allow for maximum natural light as well as cross ventilation. This feature was especially welcome during the construction, before the installation of the new energy efficient HVAC units. Insulation was increased in the roof addict to improve the energy performance of the envelope. The interior features non toxic paint and adhesives. The existing wood floors were restored and refinished in the main house.

The site was predominately left undisturbed and native landscaping was installed to further enhance the beauty of the natural Coconut Grove site. The Driveway was lined with reclaimed brick pavers from a portion of the original driveway. Numerous outdoor living areas were added as part of the project scope, to include a new outside dining area at the main house and separate BBQ cover by the guest house. Car storage was designed as a trellis, rather than a garage to provide protection while reducing the amount of new material used as well as to integrate the new structure into the overall design and feel of the site.



One response to “S.E.A. awarded “Green Historic Preservation Award” by DHT for the Abbott Residence renovation & addition in Coconut Grove.”

  1. Carmen Carrillo Avatar
    Carmen Carrillo

    Hi all, During the last few years i have follow you and I admire your work. I finally have purchase my home and I would like to know what recommendations you can make to improve the house. Kind regards

    CP Carrillo

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