When an active family of four in Tampa’s historic Hyde Park outgrew their bungalow, they opted to expand their existing residence instead of sacrificing the neighborhood they loved. The single-level abode, just under 2,000 square feet, had been home for five years, and the family knew it was finally time to put remodel plans into motion.
The clients, a professional couple with two young kids, engaged Studio MM to reimagine their home. They wanted open, dynamic spaces for themselves and relatives visiting from Venezuela, as well as private nooks and generous outdoor spaces. Keeping the original footprint, the team planned an extensive remodel of the existing first floor and an additional second living level. However, as they combed over design plans, they discovered that it would actually be more cost effective to start from scratch and build an entirely new residence.
Because the home was classified as historically "non-contributing" by the city, the team was, indeed, allowed to raze the property and start fresh. Despite this creative freedom, they were still restricted by the stringent guidelines of the city’s architectural review commission. The clients boldly voiced their wish for a modern home—no small request given the historic context of the established neighborhood.
The Studio MM team proposed a contemporary, gray stucco design which would incorporate only accents of wood on the facade—dictated by commission feedback. With careful attention to scale and context, the horizontally stretched articulation would complement the massing of other homes in the historic neighborhood. Eventually, the project was overwhelmingly supported and embraced, with the city seeking to encourage quality and thoughtful architecture, rather than replicas of past times.
On the site itself, the corner lot had two prominent frontages which had to be considered when laying out the home. Furthermore, there were seven influencing oak trees on, or very near to, the lot—one being a statuesque "grand oak" that was fiercely protected by the city. Preserving and celebrating these mature trees would also be central to site planning.
Because of the corner lot’s dual frontages, there was a unique opportunity to make an impact from two vantage points. The southern facade welcomes visitors with the simple warmth of a recessed cedar entryway. Around the corner, the eastern facade, facing a prominent public park, offers a bolder presence with dramatic glazing and an expansive Ipe deck, which would become a cornerstone of the home.
Family togetherness was a key influencer of design. The new, open gathering space features 10-foot ceilings and a functional connection of kitchen, living, and dining rooms. Adjacent to the living space, the large Ipe deck enables fluidity with the outdoors. The dramatic sliding glass doors to the deck are kept open as many as 10 months out of the year, substantially increasing usable living space.
Together with the clients, the Studio MM team carved out dedicated nooks, which would offer privacy in the midst of the otherwise public living level. The dining room, although not completely separate, is tucked away in one corner of the main living level. Other private spaces include stadium-like seating at the base of the stairs where the kids can sit, read, or play. The office and media rooms, also tucked away on the first floor, give the family breathing room to work, do homework, and watch soccer matches.
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The dramatic scale and positioning of the open staircase creates an impactful moment in the home’s interior volume. A towering vertical picture window seemingly follows the stairs upward, perfectly framing a mature oak tree outside.
The clients decided to simplify the three-bed, three-bath second living level in order to prioritize the first floor. A balcony off the master bedroom, a late-stage design idea that came about after construction was already underway, proved to be an invaluable addition. The family bedrooms upstairs are spatially removed from the guest suite downstairs, giving visiting family members more privacy.
The family residence breathes new life into the fabric of the established Hyde Park neighborhood. Emphasizing and prioritizing social spaces through thoughtful design, the comfortable family home encourages togetherness of loved ones near and far.
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