I think you will agree with me when I say that there are a lot of styles to choose from when buying a home. Popular choices in the St. Pete-Clearwater area of Tampa Bay include beach bungalows, Craftsman style homes, single-story block construction ranches, and the Mediterranean Revival home.
Wait...a Mediterranean home in Florida? Yes! It's quite common to see homes in Tampa Bay that you would also find along the coast of Italy, Spain, and France. Read these five facts about this style, and I think you'll agree that a Mediterranean Revival home is a smart choice for this region.
1. If you like this home, you're most likely to find it along the coast
This style of home became very popular in the 1920's and 1930's when Americans were obsessed with leisure and the lifestyles of the wealthy. If you've read The Great Gatsby or seen the film, you'll know exactly what I mean. Seaside resorts in coastal regions became popular during this time, but Americans were also expanding their horizons. For the first time, people had cars, and Florida, which was once viewed as nothing more than a large swamp, was now viewed as an opportunity to make money in real estate. Investors came down, bought land, and created seaside enclaves in the style of those over in Europe.
2. Originally, Mediterranean architecture was popular for public structures
One famous local example is the Don CeSar, also known as The Pink Palace, in St. Pete Beach. It opened in 1928 and became a playground for the rich and famous. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, was a distinguished guest. Another example, and another pink one at that, is the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, which opened in 1925 as the Vinoy Park Hotel. At one point, the Vinoy was THE place to be, but then it saw a decline. One reason? In its later years, the owners were reluctant to install air conditioning at a time when AC was no longer viewed as a luxury but a necessity for wealthy vacationers. The hotel was eventually closed and became a dilapidated shelter for the homeless. Thankfully, residents banded together and voted to save the hotel from the wrecking ball, and it has since returned to its former glory.
3. Architects eventually designed homes in the Mediterranean style
The features, which I describe below, that made this such a popular style for resorts along the beach eventually made their way to single family homes. If you're driving through Tampa Bay, you'll see examples everywhere of Mediterranean Revival homes but especially in the Old Northeast and Allendale Terrace in St. Pete, up and down Gulf Blvd. in Pinellas county, and Palma Ceia in Tampa.
4. Exterior features
From the outside, you'll notice these homes are stucco with tiled roofs. Many of the homes have courtyards and gardens. You'll see wrought iron accents on gates, rails, and window grates, as well as arched windows and doors.
5. Interior features
Mediterranean style homes have high ceilings. It's common for them to have tiled floor, although some have wood floors, and the tile floors, as well as accents, are often intricately patterned.
Those interior and exterior features make it easy to see why this style became so popular in seaside resorts and, especially, in Florida. High ceilings allow cooler air to circulate while tiled roofs, a stucco exterior, and tile inside the house keep the temperatures down. While we certainly won't be returning to the old-time Vinoy practice of eschewing air conditioning all together, it's nice when we get to turn it off and let the fresh air in. A Mediterranean home allows you to do so comfortably.
OK, now it's your turn. What do you think about Mediterranean style homes? Do you like them? Would you want to live in one? Let us know your opinion.