Location: Key West, Florida
The design for this seasonal residence for a Houston family derived from the owner's preference for using porches to extend the living spaces outside and shade the home from the strong daylight of the Keys. The total area of 11,600 SF includes over 4,000 SF of porch. The plan is based on two bedroom wings connected by a great room that has formal dining and living areas on one side and areas for informal dining and a family media room on the other side of an open kitchen. Because the residence is used intermittently throughout the year, the owner also required materials that would minimize maintenance and a design that would facilitate non-heroic procedures for closing up the house after weekend use or in preparation for hurricanes. The exterior windows and doors are custom made of solid mahogany. The two-inch thick operable porch shutters are designed to be closed by a single person without any special tools or hardware and are capable of withstanding hurricane winds of up to 200 mph. The exterior porches and all interior floors are marble. The porch soffits are cypress. The residence is sited at the edge of the water to create the visual illusion from the public living spaces that the house is floating in the Gulf of Mexico.