Why Build an "Old Florida" Style Home?

Florida Heritage Architecture

At J. F. Smith we know that the "Old Florida" style home is more than a basic 1950s style stucco structure with a metal roof added, because our childhood homes, the homes of our grandparents and great-grandparents, were truly genuine Florida homes.

J. F. Smith is a fifth generation Floridian, whose family has been in the building and building materials business in Florida for over 120 years. Both sides of his family owned lumber and hardware supply companies in central Florida prior to World War I, and his heritage taught him the value of a well-designed, properly built home. Beyond that, a lifetime of living in and studying Florida homes has given him a tremendous appreciation and love for the classic "Old Florida" style.

The Heart of Florida

Usually, true “Old Florida” style buildings are found in the heart of the state, in towns that are not often discovered by our newer residents. Places like Madison, Micanopy, Wauchula, and Arcadia are not busy by the standards of coastal Florida, but they are generally full of beautiful examples of our vernacular architectural heritage. That heritage, that did not include air-conditioning, forced our houses to respond to, and belong in, the environment rather than fight against it.

Spanish Influenced Architecture

"Old Florida" construction can also include the Spanish influence of Florida's early settlers. A style often referred to as "Spanish Colonial Revival" displays the colors and building styles of the Mediterranean adapted to Florida. This sturdy construction lends itself well to Florida's climate, and contributes to a low maintenance home which is easily cooled and well insulated from our sub-tropics heat.

These simple, utilitarian designs from our state’s past, that incorporated high ceilings, expansive porches, and tall windows often created dignified forms bred from the traditions of building handed down from grandfathers to fathers to sons.

J. F. Smith: The Right Choice

Joe Smith, Jr. graduated from the University of Florida where he received a degree in Building Construction from the College of Architecture. He then began a home-building business with the intention of constructing homes suited to Florida’s history and environment. Joe began a focus on Florida vernacular architecture through self-study and classes given by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. This has led him to an improved understanding of the influences inherent in the design of this style home, and allows him to incorporate his knowledge of leading edge materials and building techniques to create modern day examples of our rich Florida heritage.