Losing Winter Park

Historic homes are one of the main components of Winter Park’s charm yet more and more homeowners are tearing them down to build more updated larger homes with less individuality and far less architectural integrity.

Driving along a beautiful street in my neighborhood a few months ago I saw the above. This charming 1925 house is now gone. Winter Park had been a town of elegant winter homes shaded by large oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. The historic homes lend a feeling of age to this relatively newer town. When we first moved here, there was no dispute as to where to live. In the 27 years we have lived here, however, many of these old lovely homes have been demolished. I can’t understand it. They were graceful and properly proportioned to their lots.

Lakefront lots on the chain of lakes are especially desirable.

One of my main objections to the new homes is that they are oversized. They are designed to fully stretch to the setbacks leaving little landscaping. The scale is all wrong in my opinion. There is grace to a house that has a healthy amount of green space surrounding it. The house comes into view gradually rather than immediately with the current giants. Furthermore, these homes were built during a time when there was great pride in craftsmanship. Many workers now are less skilled and less proud of the outcome. Modern conveniences are valued over character and individuality.

Winter Park has been overrun with white box houses.

A sampling of houses currently for sale in Winter Park are below.

Winter Park is known for its tree canopy. There are strict rules with regard to cutting down trees. Builders seem to be exempt from these restrictions. They take out every tree when they build replacing them with small decorative trees that do not add to the canopy. Driving through new subdivisions that have little to no trees makes one appreciate the old oaks providing shade. In hot Florida, the canopy makes an enormous difference.

Some people still love Mediterranean-style architecture here. Understandably, people want modern sized closets and bathrooms. They could turn to the 1920’s facades at least as a model. The elegance was unparalleled. The architecture of that time was so careful and considered causing one to sigh when driving by one of those lovely historic homes. The white boxes do not elicit the same response, rather an “ugh”.

Fortunately there are still a few enduring historic beauties reminding us of how beautiful Winter Park was.

Casa V can help you restore your historic beauty if you are lucky enough to own one.