In Tampa’s historic Hyde Park, a family of four had been living in their unassuming single-level bungalow for five years when the nagging need for more space became impossible to ignore. They had always loved the neighborhood, but not the house – they had purchased it with the intention of one day renovating or expanding to better fit their family, and accommodate extended-stay relatives who would often visit from their native Venezuela.
When the clients engaged Studio MM to redesign the family home, the collective strategy was to preserve the existing first floor, reconfigure the interior, and add a new second story to increase valuable living space.
During the evolving design process, however, it became clear that it would be more cost-effective to take the house down completely and start fresh. Luckily, the original home was classified as non-contributing per the city’s stringent historical standards, so a full demolition was appropriately permitted.
With a now blank canvas, careful consideration had to be given to the site, the clients’ needs, as well as neighborhood context. The clients were unwavering in their insistence on a modern home – a challenge, considering it would be the first of its kind in the historic enclave. After carefully navigating the city’s Architectural Review Commission, a collaborative discussion led to compromise on massing and materials.
The proposed contemporary residence would be a muted grey stucco with only minimal wood accents, while the overall scale and horizontal articulation would have cohesive dialogue with the established homes of the neighborhood.
Upon entering the residence, the living room, kitchen, and adjoining deck all come together to create a fluid and inviting family space – the unequivocal heart of the home. With soaring ten-foot ceilings, polished concrete floors, and light flooding in from all directions, the space immediately feels open, airy, and welcoming.
The expansive Ipe deck, accessed through gracious sliding doors spanning a sixteen-foot opening, becomes a seamless extension of the living room. Embracing indoor-outdoor living, the family is able to use the space for cooking in the kitchen, grilling outside, and socializing in between.
Although openness and togetherness was the clients’ biggest objective, there is also a strategic inclusion of “nook” spaces, which add quieter and cozier opportunities for respite. The dining room, located where the old sunroom stood, is tucked away off of the living room. With cozy built-in bench seating flanked by rows of windows, the sunny space feels special and private, without being completely closed off from the adjoining public space. The office and media room, similarly nestled in opposing corners of the main living level, offer dedicated space for doing work and homework, and watching all-important soccer matches.
The open staircase, a focal point of the home, leads to the more private sleeping quarters upstairs. Traveling up to the second level, the stair’s landing is accented by a dramatic vertical picture window, beautifully framing one of the many mature oak trees which surround the property. At the base of the staircase, deep “stadium stairs” provide a clever place for the kids to sit, read, or play, while the integrated under-stair cubbies (a welcome suggestion by the client) add functional storage.
Upstairs, three bedrooms and three full bathrooms complete the home’s programming. The clients, who were involved in selecting many of the interior finishes, had the idea of incorporating a balcony off the master bedroom, which quickly proved to be a design-enhancing addition. The horizontal wood-slatted railing echoes the wood railing detail on the lower deck, while a cedar soffit above thoughtfully adds warmth and texture to the private outdoor space. Above the bed in the master bedroom hangs original artwork by the clients’ own children, making their kids’ creation a celebrated focal point. The family bedrooms upstairs enjoy functional separation from the guest suite on the first floor, where visiting relatives are able to stay comfortably for weeks at a time.
Giving a young family much-needed breathing room, and boldly adding a fresh perspective to the fabric of the historic neighborhood, the home is a space to enjoy as a family, together, for years to come.