Historic Preservation in Miami Shores - Mediterranean Revival architecture

By
Real Estate Agent with Majestic Properties 3061802

A few years ago, while a board member of the Miami Shores Historic Preservation Board, I created, with the help of other board members, an educational brochure for our community.  The brochure included the image shown as well as a brief history of Miami Shores and its development back in the 1920's.

The style popular in South Florida in the 1920's is now called "Mediterranean Revival" which was influenced by the architecture of the countries bordering the Mediterranean coast, namely Spain, France, Italy and North Africa.  Historic architecture in Miami Shores is comprised of mostly Mediterranean Revival homes and we thought it would be valuable for home owners to be able to identify different elements, learn about them and hopefully inspire them into renovating and restoring our historic core.  This same style of architecture can be seen in other historic districts in South Florida like Morningside, Coral Gables, Miami Springs, Historic Bayside and Coconut Grove.

Miami Shores Mediterranean Revival architecture

The exterior identifying featuresof these fabulous old houses are shown in the illustration:   Historic Cuban Clay Barrel Tile, Cornice Details, Lime Based Paint, arched windows, decorative columns, wood casement windows, balustrated balconies, decorative or structural ornamental brackets, decorative ventilation grids, rough textured stucco walls, low pitched multiple gabled roofs, chimney, and awnings. 

Please understand that not all homes have all these features, but we picked a home in Miami Shores that displayed all of these.  It is also important to understand that proportion and the manner in which these elements were used is what makes these properties so breathtaking.

Interior floor plans are mostly informal and asymmetrical in arrangement.  Arched openings separate main rooms or areas.  Ceilings have exposed beams and rafters, some carved, and others painted.  Plaster walls have a rough texture. 

Over the years many of these homes have undergone alterations to both the exterior and the interior.  Yet, despite these changes their distinctive character makes them stand out from those of more recent construction.  These historic homes make our Miami Shores Village unique.

The restoration of a historic property should be done with a lot of care, patience as well as knowledge.  It takes some people years to restore their home to perfection, but the effort is well worth it.  Educating yourself about the features should be an important part of the process.  Restorations should be consistent with The Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.  Such standards include examples of correct and incorrect repairs and replacement of roofs, windows, materials and other features.


When restoring a historic home, some people start with windows- I urge all historic home owners to try to get the original floor plans of their home in order to study the proportion of the openings,  to see the type of windows originally installed, their vertical nature and the materials.  It would not be historically appropriate to install a colonial window in a Mediterranean Revival home.  One controversial topic is replacing wood windows with more modern, metal clad ones.  In my opinion, replacement with a better constructed, more durable insolated window is acceptable as long as the opening remains the same, as well as the type of window and proportion of lights and muntins.

The same applies to other features and basic knowledge is crucial.  For example, you should never install arched awnings over rectangular openings; never replace decorative ornamental metals with different materials like concrete balustrades, always repair decorative and structural columns with the same or similar order; exterior and interior plaster should be matched to look like original.   There are numerous details that should not be overlooked and minor details is what makes the final product.

Here are some sketches I did of historic homes in Miami Shores.

Sketch of Miami Shores Historic Home Sketch of Miami Shores Historic Home Sketch of Miami Shores Historic Home Sketch of Miami Shores Historic Home

After reading this article you may be wondering, How does this apply to buying or selling real estate?  The answer is simple.  When planning to buy or sell a historically relevant home, you should work with a real estate agent that is not only sensitive to historic preservation issues, but someone that understands historic architecture, from materials to features to minor details. 

For more information about Miami Shores, please contact RICK & INES at 305.758.2323 and visit our website at www.YourPropertyPros.com

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Rainmaker
894,912
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT
Ines, I want to frame this post!  It's gorgeous!  Have you taken any art courses? 
Apr 20, 2007 01:49 PM #15
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Monika - now I'm blushing - I just love to draw...that's all.

Ann - Maybe I should hang my Realtor license and start doing renderings for closing gifts!  And for clarification purposes....you are not my sutdents......we are learning together and from each other.

Gail - Frame the post!!!  Now THAT's a compliment!  I guess you can call studying architecture art courses....  : )

Apr 20, 2007 02:01 PM #16
Rainer
96,539
Karen Villa Schweinfurth
RE/MAX Northwest Realtors, Inc. 425-308-3669 - Everett, WA
ABR, CRS, SRES, CyberStar
Ines, thanks for sharing. These are breathtaking. How lucky for you to be able to sell these jewels of the past.
Apr 21, 2007 10:26 AM #17
Rainmaker
581,710
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
Totally awesome, come to Pueblo? Teach me more, I need to know more! Seriously, what do you think about Realtors getting a better (or any architecture) in classes.
Apr 21, 2007 03:16 PM #18
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Karen - I do think I'm lucky and that's why I appreciate these so much...thanks for your comment.

Dena - Of course I would recommend taking architecture classes to all Realtors - you can walk into a property and feel good about describing it and pointing features.....not to mention be able to scrutinize everything from structure or materials to design.  One warning is those Mickey Mouse courses that are too generic and superficial - it helps when architecture is taught by an architect.

Apr 21, 2007 03:38 PM #19
Rainmaker
613,535
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS

WOW! Ines, you outdid yourself in that one.

Great description of the style. That's inspiration for us all to do similar posts on styles specific to our area. Most of the Mediterranean Revival homes in our area were built with high ceilings, particularly on the first floor. That makes them particularly appealing to today's homebuyer who likes volume ceilings. With these, they can combine the "new" volume and openness and flow with the charm of that era.

Your sketches are fantastic. I'll stand in line behind the others who'd like them for closing gifts. A suggestion - do you use your sketches in marketing the property? A broker in Nashville that I knew about 20 years ago had pen and ink sketches done for all her listings, and had them framed on the walls of her reception area rather than photos - to differentiate herself. If you used them as your main photo in the MLS you'd have a signature there as well, and other agents and customers would IMHO choose your listings because they'd deal with such a font of knowledge and talent.

Sometimes you can find a local class or seminar taught by someone who is passionate about a particular style. That's so much better than having a contemporary architect talk about a Mediterranean Revival style - or the reverse. The passionate one may or may not be an architect or a builder, but passion is the key. 

Apr 22, 2007 01:16 AM #20
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Sharon - I stand corrected...you are so right about finding a class taught by someone that has PASSION about the subject - that's all it takes - it does not have to be an architect or builder - thanks for clearing that up!  The chairman of the board when I served was an attorney and his passion for historic homes was amazing - he lives now in one of the most spectacular homes in Miami Shores (my first sketch) which still has the original furniture and fixtures from the first owners!

I thank you for the time you took to comment here and I love the idea of the sketches for marketing.  I have used my pen and ink sketches to market historic homes (in print ads, MLS and on-line) - but they seem to loose interest when the house is not historic.  I will certainly try it out and will let you know how it goes.

Apr 22, 2007 02:14 AM #21
Rainmaker
168,175
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
Ines, Checking back to see what else has been posted in the way of comments. Thanks for clarifying for me about the lime paint and the roof tiles. Super interesting. I love architecture but know almost nothing about it....will have to watch your posts and get a great education!  Thanks again!
Apr 22, 2007 05:42 AM #22
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
Mary - I'm glad you came back to read my response - you gave me an idea to write about different elements from these homes like historic Cuban tile.  Have a great Week!
Apr 22, 2007 05:53 AM #23
Rainmaker
613,535
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS

Ines - I'll wait to hear your results.

I've heard of the Cuban roof tiles also being referred to as "lap tiles" basically because they were made on the maker's upper thigh - that's why, unlike "manufactured" roof tiles, they are larger at one end than the other. 

Apr 23, 2007 11:51 AM #24
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
Sharon -Woo hoo.... you know it all! - they were certainly made on the thigh, what's interesting about these roofs is that when they need to be redone (reroofed) - the Cuban tile must be removed carefully (obviously a lot of it breaks) and then they mix modern hand made tiles with the historic ones using the new tiles as pans (the u's) and the historic tile on top as caps (the tops).  I will definitely do a post on this and will add sketches.
Apr 23, 2007 01:20 PM #25
Anonymous
Ruthy Wilson
This is an inspiring site and love the sensitivity  to the original South Florida revival preservation.   Having grown up around and in a mediterranean revival home designed by Mizner in the Palm Beaches. My husband and I are trying to recreate the spirit in our Cocoa Beach home demolition and reconstruction has been painstakingly and lovingly done by  our own novice hands ( wishing we could have commisioned "This old house".  We purchased an 1100 sq ft 50's flat roof with beamed ceilings (heart of pine and tongue in groove).   We built around it a castle of modest proportions and so far We are challenged by trying to purchase interior lighting that is distinctive to these 20's homes.  I would love to have photos of interiors of homes from the era...I do not want lighting that is retro but common to the 2ist century lighting distributors including Lowes hardware....on the other hand we cannot pay thousands for each fixture, as we have an abundance of electrical boxes ie sconces and perimeter pendants....Any one with photos or suggestions? 

Warmly, Tim and Ruthy Wilson
Dec 29, 2007 09:38 AM #26
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Hello Tim and Ruthy,

I am so glad you found my article and would be glad to help you out with your lighting issue.  Unfortunately, I don't have any interior photos of Mediterranean Revival homes but can definitely guide you in the right direction. 

There is a architectural historian by the name of Dr. George who does regular historic tours with the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (www.historical-museum.org).  I would encourage for you to join him in a few of his tours where he takes you to historically relevant residences of the period and you can get a good idea for the type of lighting fixtures that were used.  You can also call 305-375-1621

As for where to buy these - that's not an easy answer but I'm afraid Lowes will not carry anything of the period unless it is a special order.  You can try Farrey's Hardware, which I know sounds expensive, but they do have yearly sales and may be able to work with you in bulk purchases.

I also encourage you to read my other "historical articles" that will also help with your home.

I removed your e-mail from  the comment section as to avoid you getting spammed - so I will e-mail you privately.

Thanks again for visiting and best wishes to you.

Dec 29, 2007 01:06 PM #27
Rainmaker
613,535
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
Ines - what a helpful comment. I'm still looking forward to meeting you so we can brainstorm on all kinds of things.
Dec 31, 2007 11:59 AM #28
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
Thanks Sharon - the feeling is mutual - we'll probably have to plan a very long meeting, because we will have so much to talk about!  Happy New Year to you!
Jan 01, 2008 03:20 AM #29
Rainmaker
613,535
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
Well, Ines - since we haven't had much luck in meeting here in Florida, you could sign up for the CLHMS class that Tami and I are teaching in Honolulu on January 24-25  and/or the CRS Sellabration in Honolulu in the same Hilton Hawaiian Village from January 28-30. We could spend the whole weekend in between checking our the Hawaiian architecture, talking, drinking, eating and having lots of fun.
Jan 03, 2008 11:51 AM #30
Rainmaker
830,467
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service
Outstanding!
Jan 03, 2008 12:12 PM #31
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Sharon - oh that sounds tempting!  only if I had someone to take care of my 3 kids - that would be awesome!   I can still imagine, can't I?

Nicholas - thank you!

Jan 03, 2008 12:46 PM #32
Rainer
60,005
Michael Greenslade
Better Homes & Gardens | Mason-McDuffie Real Estate - San Leandro, CA
Great sketches you did there.  Do you have more to share with us?
Feb 22, 2008 08:05 AM #33
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Michael,

Here is a Flikr set with some more of my renderings http://www.flickr.com/photos/miamism/sets/72157622977165524/

Nov 11, 2011 02:01 AM #35
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Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate

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