Perched on a picturesque, wedge-shaped lot located on a barrier island bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the intracoastal waterway, the single-story cottage is just steps from the shoreline. Despite a setting that afforded panoramic views of the vast body of water from the backyard deck, vantage points from inside the home were not nearly so dramatic, due to the constraints and restraints of walls and windows. A local architect, charged with eliminating visual barriers and expanding the outlook to extend the entire width of the home from the master bedroom, through the main living and dining areas and on to the kitchen, transformed the original staid design into a more contemporary space defined by clean lines, lots of light and naturally, admirable views.
“It was meant to be a remodel but ended up being a total demolition,” said Scott Holmes of Holmes Architects.
What began as a house featuring a pitched roof, lattice fencing and a wooden pool deck, morphed from a traditional beach getaway into a modern gateway to the area’s natural beauty, based on a design that blurs the lines between where the interior begins and the exterior ends.
Since purchasing the 2,651-square-foot residence nearly two decades ago, the owners had finally decided it was time to redesign their Florida vacation home. They wanted to enjoy a more European-inspired space and better integrate it with the inland waterway. Their timing fortuitously coincided with the launch of a new, locally based architectural firm, Holmes Architects.
Scott Holmes, AIA, co-founding partner of the Indian Shores firm, had recently opened the business with his father, noted architect Dwight E. Holmes, FAIA. While both have designed for years and garnered individual honors throughout their careers (more than 150 to date), the residential project identified as “Intercoastal Retreat,” represented their first client as partners and one that would earn their new joint venture its first award, a 2016 Merit Award from AIA Tampa Bay.
Immediately after the initial meeting, the couple hired Holmes and the process of updating and enhancing their Indian Rocks Beach home began.
“They had a few specific requests including a wall of sliders, low maintenance materials and to eliminate the wasted spaces that were the result of the wedge-shaped lot,” said Scott Holmes.
The couple also rejected the idea of raising and resting the home on stilts to avoid flooding, so Holmes devised a foundation built on a subtle slope that adds elevation, but keeps the structure safely perched on higher ground.
Incorporating atypical elements challenged contractors, faced with installing some for the first time. Shower drains were designed so water would flow out of the side wall instead of the center of the shower floor. Doors and walls were separated by slender strips of clear glass that allowed the natural light, found in Florida year round, to filter into rooms more easily, but greatly complicated construction of door frames.
With four bedrooms and four bathrooms under the same roof, noise was also a concern; so what were wood floors supported by creaky wood joists, are now secured on solid concrete slabs. To ensure upkeep would be easy, exterior walls that encase the two sections housing the bedrooms were wrapped in split-face concrete masonry, made from travertine blocks. These same materials extend into a section of the main living area, where their light color and rough texture contrast with the room’s otherwise all white walls and smooth surfaces. The third taller, box-like structure boasts a stucco exterior.
The split level roof atop the three box-like sections adds dimension and depth to the structure, while incorporating an innovative access point for sunlight.
“The intersection of the voids between these masses creates a means to bring in light,” Holmes explained. Rectangular panes of glass fill in those gaps and create a clear band that wraps around the circumference of the raised roof. “They (the homeowners) wanted all glass, few columns and no color,” Holmes said. “When you listen to the vision of your client, the beauty of their home comes out. We knew what they wanted and we stayed true to their needs.” M
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Holmes Architects | 18395 Gulf Blvd., Suite 103, Indian Shores, FL | www.holmes-architects.com
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