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The Devil is in the Details!
By Quail Bell Travel Bug
While everyone in the DMV area has been dealing with the unseasonal snow and bitterly cold weather, I have been scoping out the architecture of Key West, Florida.
As a carpenter, and the kid of a carpenter, I have an eye for woodwork. I love old houses, and I love Victorian style houses. So while riding my bike around and going for sunny strolls I stopped to take some pictures to share with the rest of the fledglings!
I'm particularly enamored of the gingerbread detailing on many of the porches. From the railings, to corbels, to brackets, to trim, many of the houses in Key West feature the sort of details that put a smile on your face if you take the time to look for them.
Custom Sea Horse brackets and the beautiful cut-out railings make this porch stand out as a cheerful welcome to the home.
I found out that the style of houses in Key West is called Conch houses, and while the bones of the houses are very simple, the paint schemes and whimsical trim make them stand out. These basic houses are wooden, balloon framed, up on pillars, and have wooden siding. Conch houses also feature porches across the entire front, and upper floor as well in two story homes. Many of these old homes still feature my favorite, double hung windows. Complimentary to functioning double hung windows are functional wooden shutters, practical for both shade and storms.
The photo above features a house which exemplifies three features I love. The beautifully carved wooden door is fitting for the tropical surrounding. The shutters are both wooden and functional—my two requirements for any acceptable shutters. And the little gingerbread trim in the upper corners of the porch columns, called brackets, is simply adorable.
Some of the types of woodwork exemplified in these Key West houses is the result of highly skilled tradespeople, and old school carpentry skills. Much of it is worth preserving and replicating for historic value. Modern technology makes the reproduction of similar features easier in some instances. CNC routers, giant computerized machines, make short work of some designs. Modern materials such as PVC allow for the recreation of decorative flat panel railings which will stand up against rot. Other modern materials though, simply do not have the durability of their predecessors. Modern lumber is often warped, wet, cupped, and knot riddled. Older woods that were more common were harder, denser, and of varieties that do better in outdoor settings.Often one will have difficulty in finding solid pieces as wood as big as the old ones at affordable prices, or at all. Then reproducing becomes a matter of gluing, clamping, biscuit joints, and patience.
I think it is well worth the time and investment it takes to preserve and recreate these whimsical and functional house features. We spend a lot of time and money in our houses, why not make them pleasurable and personal? With a little bit of research, you are sure to find an affordable way to make your house have a positive visual impact and put a smile on peoples' faces. And you do not have to be in Key West to do so.
The pineapples are fineapples for a fence!
#KeyWest #Florida #Vacations #Fun #Architecture #Home