Palaces on postage stamps

The proportion of a house to the lot is the first place to start when designing a beautiful new home.

My neighborhood was one of the last to be spared from the current barrage of new homebuilding. What many love about the neighborhood is that it is quiet, hidden away, lined with brick streets and protectively shaded by towering old oaks. Of the Winter Park neighborhoods this one is relatively modest. Most of the homes are small making them the perfect target for a bulldozer. Even if the lot is small, a palace will be built.

One sees a variety of architectural styles in Winter Park, but the common denominator is a nice proportion between the house and the lot.

A stately 1925 Tudor overlooking Lake Sue. Winter Park, Florida.

A stately 1925 Tudor overlooking Lake Sue.

Thoughtful additions were made to this lovely 1925 Tudor staying true to the original architecture.

Lovely Spanish-style home overlooking Lake Sue. Winter Park, Florida.

Lovely Spanish-style home overlooking Lake Sue.

This modest lakefront house proudly sits back on its lot with its majestic oak towering overhead.

Fairytale cottage in Winter Park.

Fairytale cottage in Winter Park.

Many refer to this house as the fairy tale house as it looks fit for a princess.

Lake Chelton beauty. Winter Park, Florida.

Lake Chelton beauty.

This 1926 Spanish beauty overlooks Lake Chelton. It is really a pond, rumored to be a former sinkhole, where the neighborhood Christmas tree floats.

Lesson in proportion.

Lesson in proportion.

Although this house was built in 2002, the proportion of the house to the lot makes it feel older. When this lot was vacant it was difficult to imagine a house of this size fitting onto the site. It is successful because of the stepping back of the facade. Low steps lead to the open porch. The breakfast and living rooms are stepped back further. This cracker-style home perfectly suits this locale.

The newly built homes have less consideration for their surroundings preferring to stand out rather than blend in to their surroundings.

Touch of New England in Florida.

Touch of New England in Florida.

The architect of this house is the same as the cracker-inspired white one pictured above. The courtyard wall and setback soften the proportion of this large house to the lot. The local builder, Z Properties, has a good eye as evidenced by his clever new signage.

Glimpse of the past.

Glimpse of the past.

I love these vintage iron house signs. As the current owner saved it from the property, I assume, and hope, it will be put to use once the house is complete.

Bold house dominating an unusually large lot.

Bold house dominating an unusually large lot.

Every other house on this street now looks minuscule since this residence was added.

Big white boxes are the popular choice of certain builders.

Big white boxes are the popular choice of certain builders.

The builder of this house has built five houses in our small neighborhood that are basically the same white box with the same front door.

Unbalanced proportion of house to land.

Unbalanced proportion of house to land.

Same builder of a similar white box with the same front door, in red this time.

A graceful curved wall welcomed friends and neighbors.

A graceful curved wall welcomed friends and neighbors.

The most recent heartbreak is this destruction. The house that sat on this lot was over 5,000 square feet yet it looked like a small cottage. It sat back from the street underneath a canopy of graceful live oak branches.  You can get a glimpse of the future house from the sign above. It has no correlation to the neighborhood or its neighboring houses. People are drawn to Winter Park because of its trees. They are the great pride of the city adding shade, charm and a feeling of age to this state where everything feels new. Sadly, many builders and new residents don’t want the hassle so they take them all down leaving the effect of living in a new subdivision.

A great example of building a new house to suit an existing neighborhood is seen here. To learn tips to building a new house to seem old look to Russell Versaci’s wonderful book.

If you would like to build a new home to look old contact Casa V Interiors.