Plain But Fancy This Florida home combines traditional 1920s design with a modern appreciation for simplicity.
Camille Pyatte Photography Plain But Fancy This Florida home combines traditional 1920s design with a modern appreciation for simplicity.

Historical Reference

Line Up Contemporary details, though subtle, include 1 ¾-inch molding, large windows and doors, and white interiors with dark floors.
Camille Pyatte Photography Line Up Contemporary details, though subtle, include 1 ¾-inch molding, large windows and doors, and white interiors with dark floors.

This Florida home exudes 1920s charm and 21st-century design.

It’s difficult to tell if this 4,450-square-foot home was built in the 20th century or the 21st, and the ambiguity is intentional. Located in one of the oldest, most established neighborhoods in Sarasota, Fla., the home blends a “traditional 1920s scheme with a modern appreciation for simplicity, precision, and geometry,” says Jonathan Parks Architect, the Sarasota firm responsible for the design.

The broad strokes of a traditional home are there—stucco exterior, white roof, iron work—but the home is absolutely contemporary, says firm principal Jonathan Parks. In fact, the contemporary elements, though subtle, are carried inside and out.

Sited on a narrow lot, the home’s interior balances the clients’ spatial needs with their desire for privacy. Parks and company designed a long, horizontal, open floor plan with a fully separated master suite. Large windows and glass doors bring in abundant light, while restrained elements such as 1¾-inch molding and white interiors with dark floors add to the spaces’ modern flavor. “The metal is always dark oil-rubbed bronze, the gutters are almost invisible, and the molding more or less disappears,” Parks says.

Camille Pyatte Photography

The house is clearly the focal point of the project, but the landscaping also plays a big role. The firm extended the interior architecture outdoors by creating a series of intimate, exterior spaces. “Just as the courtyard architecture of this home brings the outdoors in, the landscape design extends and mimics the interior architecture in both style and function,” the firm says.

Parks turned to Sarasota-based landscape architecture firm Michael A. Gilkey Inc., to create those outdoor spaces. Using cream rose and white–colored shell pavers, the team created a series of gardens that serve as outdoor rooms for the home. Parks says, “The rear outdoor area is comprised of six unique spaces that have been articulated using architectural and landscape elements: a moon garden, a swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen, a courtyard, a master bedroom garden, and a formal lawn.”

With its open plan and large glass openings, the home is designed to take advantage of the outdoors, but it’s also laid out for the way people live today. “It’s designed for the breezes and for natural light, but it’s done in a contemporary way,” Parks explains. “It’s not huge, but it lives like a great house because of how it feels inside.”