Throughout the nation there are many types and styles of homes. Most of these styles have originated in some tradition of design, available materials or trends of the time. They have adapted to the specific climates and workmanship of the area; South Florida is no exception. There are many types of styles that surround us. As professionals, S.E.A. is frequently asked to design a house in this style or the other. “We like a contemporary house…”, I am really in love with the Old Florida Style…” or “Our ideas are to combine a Mediterranean revival with a more modern style look…” are just some of the suggestions and ideas I hear from clients.

So what does this all mean? Style appears more and more to be a matter of taste and in the age of an abundance of material choices, global import and accessibility to previously unavailable selections, this becomes the guiding factor for many projects. Style becomes a feature of the clients preference, rather than a place related issue. Marble from Italy, Cesar Stone from Vermont, Pitch Pine from British Columbia… building material can be delivered to taste.

This was not always the case. Most home styles are indeed rooted in the materials that were available at the site, the skill of the workforce that was used to build the homes and the functionality of the building as it responds to the elements. The cracker style home from the New England area features a chimney as centerpiece of the house. The same style transplanted to South Florida had this source of heat moved to the outside. The early buildings were elevated to allow for cross ventilation and to protect form the local wildlife. Large covered outside porches can still be found in the Old Florida style. Other remnants of this feature also survived in the Key style homes that elevate the living area to avoid frequent flooding due to storm surge.

Heat source moved to outside opposed to similar structures in New England.

Heat source moved to outside opposed to similar structures in New England.

Home styles are certainly an expression of taste, but with a growing consciousness of sustainable building practices, a closer look at the most common South Florida styles can help to decide which way to design or update your home as a greener building for our climate type.

Look for more posts on update on specific styles that are most common in the South Florida area and a little about their respective history, typical features, and of course sustainable pro’s and con’s for our climate.

Overhangs for shading, elevatoin for cross ventilation, etc...

Overhangs for shading, elevatoin for cross ventilation, etc…