Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Castles of the Old Northeast

One of the older neighborhoods in St. Petersburg, Florida is the Old Northeast.
It has a mixture of architectural styles, including Mediterranean Revival. Below are nine of my favorite houses, which I like to call "Spanish Castles." They are all in approximately a six-block radius.


  1. Aren't they charming?

    This style of architecture is unknown in Canada. It looks especially good with the tropical plants, palms, and beautiful landscaping. I like that the homes are generous but not monstrous. Likewise with the architectural detail; they suggest the Spanish style without going overboard.

    Do American builders still do Spanish style residential homes? Anything I see in that style seems to be from previous decades, especially early 20th century. They're very romantic, and I admire such homes influenced by other cultures and eras, over cold, stark minimalism and modernism.

    I've often thought of photographing neighbourhood homes that I enjoy. Recently I was photographing one (from the street) as an example of bad architecture. The owner came out and threatened me in a most aggressive and confrontational way. Sometimes unpleasant people live in ugly homes.

  2. Have you noticed that things charming are never BIG? Your observation induced me to look up the definition of charming in two dictionaries, both of which defined the word as simply "attractive, pleasing or delightful." We might be impressed with very large buildings, but we are charmed by spaces that are to our own scale.

    There are indeed a lot of contemporary houses in Florida that are Mediterranean, but they tend to have their proportions wrong. They lack charm.

  3. I agree with you Mark. Charming things are never big. I recently marveled while waiting at the traffic lights as a little vintage racing green MG convertible pulled up beside a monstrous Lincoln Navigator. That in itself is a political statement.

    I sometimes look at new homes built in my neighbourhood (they demolish the old bungalows to build vulgar, Styrofoam stucco faux chateaux) and am astounded by the proportions of their "great halls" and useless large entrances with spiral (Scarlett O'Hara)staircases. Living in Toronto with a very long, cold winter, I cannot see the attraction of such drafty, pretentious spaces.

    It is appalling that the square footage of the average North American dwelling has more than doubled in the last 20 years. I just don't get it. I'm all for charming!

  4. I also agree that smaller sized houses are more charming! these are some great examples, what a cool neighborhood! I especially like that first house you show.

  5. Of course, none of the houses pictured here are small, either! But they still outclass any of the McMansions that dwarf them.

    Congratulations to Architect Design for being chosen by Fox News as one of the 10 Best Design Blogs of 2010! Bravo!