Historic may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of Florida homes. Up until the last 80 years, the sunshine state was still virtually an untouched jungle with predominantly dirt roads and little in the way of notable architecture like that found in other southern states such as Georgia and South Carolina. And compared to areas north of the Mason Dixon line like New York and Massachusetts, Florida might as well be considered an uninhabited island. But St. Augustine aside, Florida still has some hidden history tucked away in the palm trees that adds to its coastal character.
Just north of St. Augustine is a small suburb of downtown Jacksonville called Avondale with a population of slightly over 5,000 people. First developed in 1920 and listed on the National Register of Historic Districts, the riverside district is known for its diverse architecture, neighborhoods and historic preservation.
When it came time for designer duo Whitney and John Spinks of 27 South Home and HGTV’s Flipping The Block to undertake a historic remodel of a 1934 brick residence they took into account the local demographic and trends happening in town. “Avondale is an eclectic and trendy area with a lot of people looking for repurposed and recycled products for their homes,” Whitney said. "With local stores like Eco Relics nearby, homeowners can find vintage furniture, unique home décor and other reclaimed building products. People appreciate the character in the older homes in the area.”
Eco Relics, Avondale
To channel this aesthetic, the decision was made to respect the historical integrity while incorporating modern amenities. This was definitely the case with the kitchen design, were Vetrazzo's Martini Flint recycled glass countertops were installed. Glass countertops may be considered the farthest thing from historic but they are actually reminiscent of the classic terrazzo floors found hidden away underneath shag carpets in old Florida homes, a favorite feature coveted by house hunters. Instead of a stone aggregate in the mix like terrazzo, Vetrazzo uses shards of recycled glass sourced from domestic curbside post-consumer and some post-industrial sources. The final effect is somewhat similar, but much easier to fabricate and install, especially for countertops (and in this case the tile backsplash as well). “People love that the tile backsplash and counters match each other,” said Whitney. “People are always commenting on the Vetrazzo mosaic tile and how it really finishes off the space.”
One of Vetrazzo’s newest products, these mosaic tiles come in a variety of sizes and formats and are mesh-backed for easy installation. Made using the same materials as the glass counters, except thinner at only 3/8” thickness, they allow for greater design possibilities. “The cool grey tone of the clear glass in the Martini Flint paired really well with the light grey cabinetry,” she said. Painted in a color called Limestone, the light taupey-grey shade of the Aristorcraft cabinets compliment the white background of the glass countertops for a clean, neutral effect.
When it came down to the finishes in the kitchen, Spinks opted for stainless steel appliances and cabinet hardware to round out the tonal palette. “We went more modern since the kitchen is the most important part of the house,” she said. Again, the visual texture of the clear recycled glass sourced from jars and bottles worked well with the brushed stainless effect, giving it a warm contemporary feel. She even used a seamless stainless steel sink made by Top Zero for a sleek transition from the countertop surface to the sink wall. The overall design combines the best of both worlds, seamlessly integrating traditional design to match the home's history with modern features.
If you’re looking to add sustainable surfaces to your remodel, click below to order samples on our eboutique...