atlantic beach homes
Last week I went to visit my godmother and her boyfriend in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The area is a little gem: It’s got a quaint little downtown area with delicious restaurants, it’s along a beautiful white sand beach with dunes, there’s a natural reserve with plants and alligators next door, and gorgeous ocean-front homes to gawk at. We rode our bikes along the beach-adjacent road, and I was consistently amazed at the wide variety of architecturally beautiful homes lining the street, many of which seemed as though they had been custom designed and built for their owners.
Several were made of wood, and sported wooden tiles on their façades, which I so often associate to beach homes in the U.S.
Quite a few were triangular in shape, and made creative use of the slant for their garages.
Others seemed like ‘mini’ suburban mansions mixing modern and traditional.
And some of these mini mansions appeared to have architectural influences from other parts of the world. This one seemed to have a slight link to Eastern Asian architecture (though perhaps the picture doesn’t do it justice).
I really liked how this house turned wooden beams into decorative, pattern-creating elements.
Others were outright modern. At times I often wondered if they were secretly store fronts or hotels. I mean, who puts a plaque saying ‘Andrews’ in the front of their house? It’s gotta be a store that people just happen to live in!
And then there are those homes that did their own thing entirely. Meet spaceship home:
And hobbit-cave-home, which was by far my favourite, as it is built underground, inside a little hill:
It wasn’t always big mansions that made the bike ride so intriguing: Little details also stood out, like this row of balconies, door frames and walls all painted in pastel colors.
Or these wheels, used to decorate the entrance of a community garden.
Or this door, which seems so perfectly surrounded by greenery that it belongs in a suburban utopia.
We drove down to St.Augustine for a day – a historic town which is said to be the first settlement by Spanish colonists in the United States. The town itself feels like a historic hub, but one whose downtown areas has been transformed into a tourist town.
By far my favourite building in the town was Flagler College: Built between 1885 and 1887, it was originally a hotel and railroad magnet. Its architectural style resembles that of Spanish Renaissance, with an incredible amount of intricate, ornamental detail. It is by far the most beautiful college campus I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t believe that students actually came here everyday to go to class. Do you think they ever got used to it?
The frog fountain in the centre of the courtyard made me think of Gaudi’s lizard fountain in Park Guell – minus the colors and mosaics, or course.
Other buildings also referenced a Spanish Renaissance style:
There were other beautiful architectural elements hiding (in plain sight) around the city. This hotel, for example, boasts a beautiful entrance, lovely detailed mosaics and ornamental balcony fences.
Other elements such as doors, tiles on the pavement, clocks and signs also added a unique charm to the city.