A tour of Florida's Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beach communities served as a springboard for the design of HGTV Smart Home 2013. House planner Jack Thomasson, architect Mike Stauffer, developer Lon Walton and builder Glenn Layton were drawn to the area’s shingle-style cottages, many constructed during the early 1900s.
“In Atlantic Beach, in particular, the railroad was the impetus for development,” says Mike. Easy access to the beach via railroad brought tourists and the construction of large hotels to accommodate vacationers. Many affluent visitors remained as full-time residents, bringing with them a distinctively New England form of architecture: the shingle-clad vacation home.
According to Mike, the earliest homes were most likely not insulated, heated with one brick fireplace or potbelly stove, wood-framed and placed atop a brick or possibly cement pier foundation. Locally sourced cedar shingles and cypress siding — naturally weather-, rot- and insect-resistant — clad exteriors. A deviation from classic New England style, rafters were extended and overhangs widened to protect homes against sun exposure and harsh weather conditions. And wraparound porches, which provided shade from the brutal midday sun and coastal storms, took on added importance as this home style took root in the deep South.
Although HGTV Smart Home 2013 will borrow many of the key features of the classic shingle style, a modern application will ensure the home’s energy efficiency, low maintenance and durability. Fiber cement siding and trim and a metal roof, wind-load rated and heat reflective, replace cedar and cypress building materials. And double-paned, insulated low-E glass windows and 12-foot telescoping French door panels replace large single-paned windows, which provided cross ventilation in the earliest Florida vacation homes. The design and build team even paid homage to a quintessential New England architectural feature — the widow’s walk — with light and ventilation shafts, one placed above the home’s main entrance and one located above the garage.
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