The story of how this home came into existence is not new — the client on several occasions over many years came close to pulling the trigger on a total rebuild, choosing instead to endure a few rounds of remodeling. Then one day the owners were ready to break ground on their dream home.
For Fleischman Garcia Architecture in Tampa, Fla., the relationship with the clients began in 1984 and continued until two years ago when the existing home on the property was torn down to make room for the Wright-inspired masterpiece that sits in its place. The owners wanted a one-story home that maximizes ocean views on one side and canal views on the other. Fitting the home onto a pie-shaped lot was challenging, but Sol Fleischman Jr., AIA, was prepared.
“There are only two rooms in the house that don’t have a bay view; the study in the front which has a view of the landscaped courtyard, and one of the guest bedrooms in the front. All the other rooms have water views. It was a priority to have as many rooms with views as possible, but in a one-story house that’s always a challenge,” Fleischman says.
The owners’ appreciation for Frank Lloyd Wright’s work lent itself nicely to a home in Tampa, Fla., with deep overhangs to shade windows, for example, where the late afternoon sun can be brutal and overhangs help keep it cool inside.
“The style of this home is a hybrid of prairie, Craftsman and some rustic California with horizontal lines, deep overhangs, a low hip roof, stacked stone, iron work and more,” Fleischman explains. “It also has a contemporary influence with stainless steel cable railings, which are used to maximize the views of the water from the house; it’s minimal and doesn’t interfere with the views or conflict with the architecture.”
A main feature of the home is the clients’ art collection, so Fleischman and his team designed plenty of places throughout the home to display it in style. “We created art niches wherever we could. We used concealed lighting to highlight it, which makes the kitchen a gallery of its own,” he says.
The extensive Western art collection is dominated by several large bronze sculptures displayed in the large gallery designed into the front of the home (above). As one enters the house and looks right, the gallery room resides where traditionally a formal living room would be. Gallery-style adjustable ceiling lighting in the main gallery and throughout the house highlights the art.
Once the builder was brought onto the project, the design/build process worked its magic, Fleischman says. The builder, Tim Stroyne, president/owner of Monogram Builders, Clearwater, Fla., provided input on materials and buildability in a collaborative effort which included the owner. “[The owner] wanted to be involved with every decision; he wanted to be part of the solution. I’ve worked with plenty of clients, and this one was as involved as any other we’ve worked with,” Fleischman adds.
Stroyne was brought in during the design development phase when the schematic was completed but far from working drawings. “Most architects prefer the owner bring the builder in early for cost control, material advice and input on design details. They’ll pick our minds during the design phase. It’s my belief that ultimately it’s an architect’s job to educate the client on real costs, not the lowest costs.”
On-the-fly redesign was not necessary on this job, Stroyne says, because everyone knew the challenges going in, including how his team would pull off many details. “But it doesn’t mean it was easy,” he says.
Details included elements such as no casings around doors. “Those details might look simplistic in approach, but they are far from it. Those interior doors must be hung in three stages, and it’s complicated. We self-perform all our framing and rough-in and painting. Our guys are put to the test,” Stroyne says.