Historic Remodel: Part 1

The Home

This award-winning historic remodel was built in the late 1880’s in Sanford, FL. The original home was only about 1,000 sq feet and has seen several additions over the past 120 years. By summer of 2017, the home sat empty and nearly condemnable.

In the summer of 2017, the Sanford Heritage Revolving Fund (SHRF) put the home on the market. As with any home in the downtown historic district, the home could not be torn down, even in its state of nearly complete disrepair. So, the SHRF was seeking a buyer that would restore and modernize the home and plan to live in the home for a length of time, as opposed to using the property for investment.

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The major challenge was the structural limitations of the space. Because it had undergone multiple additions we needed to create a space plan that was as open as possible, but we also needed to consider the structural support of the interior/exterior walls where old house met new house.

The other challenge was space in general. The family moving into the space were downsizing from around 2500 sq ft to around 1800 sq ft. The goals for the space were to:

  • Create a space plan that was as open as possible
  • Have an office space that could double as a guest bedroom
  • Master bedroom with walk in closet and en suite bath
  • Two additional bedrooms with study are and closet storage
  • Half bath downstairs
  • Full bath upstairs with tub and shower
First floor floor plan Historic remodel
Floor Plan

Then, there was the general challenge that the house was in terrible condition. See images below.


From the moment I stepped into the space I could see the potential!

The original structure of this historic remodel was a t-shaped 2-story Florida Cracker style home with clapboard siding. The first addition to the home extended the first floor behind the left side of the original structure and a shed roof style porch to the right. Eventually the porch was enclosed and the wall between the porch and addition removed. However, this resulted in a 7′-0″ ceiling on the outside wall.

The first step was to raise the ceiling of the porch to create a higher ceiling. This required the involvement of a structural engineer. This area became the kitchen and dining area.

We also extended the addition another 10 feet, which gave us enough space for the laundry room, master bedroom, and en suite master bath.

The Concept

I started to call the concept “Cracker Coastal” because I spent a lot of time researching Florida Cracker vernacular architecture.

That’s a mouthful.

So, what is Florida Cracker vernacular architecture? When Florida became a territory in the early 1800’s, settlers built simple homes themselves. Typical materials of the period were pine and oak and the exteriors were clapboard or board and batten. The floor plans were simple, often with high ceilings and transom windows to help air circulation in the sweltering Florida summers.

The client had found an old buffet that had been painted navy blue, so I used that as a jumping off point for the color palette. We brought in soft, muted colors for the walls and used the navy blue as an accent in different spaced throughout the home.

Because of the style and location of the home, it was easy to bring in the farmhouse style elements that the client wanted.

Kitchen concept board Historic remodel

Next week I will show you some of the after pictures of the home and tell you more about the process of the project!

If you want to learn more about how to create a classic and cohesive look in your home, make sure to download our Cohesive Style Guide and join our mailing list.

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