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6 Reasons Why A Florida Mid-Century Home Is Better Than A New Build

Florida, like many states, experienced a building boom in the 1950s and 60s. Many home owners who live here own a Florida-style “Mid-Century Modest” home built between 1940 and 1980. These ranch style homes made of concrete block abound in the state, but nowadays some home buyers want new builds. There are good reasons to buy an older Florida house instead of a new build.

Why You Should Buy A Florida Mid-Century Style Home:

1. Mid-Century Florida Homes Are Built With Better Materials

Homes built in the 20th century were built with higher quality materials than their modern day counterparts. From the quality of the concrete to the age of the wood harvested, many of the materials are of higher quality or a more natural or long-lasting nature (ceramic tile, wood cabinets). Much of the reason for this is that these types of materials are no longer available. Whether it’s due to new environmental regulations in concrete production or much less old-growth wood being harvested, you can count on higher quality materials in a Florida mid-century home.

2. Mid-Century Homes in Florida Have Better Ventilation

Many homes in Florida built after World War II were built without air conditioning. Therefore passive cooling had to play a role in the comfort of the inhabitants.  Older homes built without air conditioning had to have good air flow in order to provide a continuous breeze throughout the house. The Florida heat necessitated good passive cooling design, and first and foremost that meant air flow.

Features such as louvered doors, window awnings, and deep porches are present in many mid-century homes in Florida. These were instrumental in keeping the houses cooler in the days before air conditioning and will help to keep your home cooler today.

When you open the windows or doors in a mid-century Florida ranch home, you’ll feel a lovely breeze pass over you. That’s because the house is designed to cool naturally. All winter I enjoy cool air passing through my home when I open my windows or doors. Good luck with that in a modern-day build.

3. Mid-Century Florida Homes Have Mature Landscaping

Stroll down any street built during the middle of the last century in Florida and you’ll see beautiful Live Oaks with Spanish Moss (North and Central Florida), huge Staghorn Ferns, lush Bougainvilleas and a host of other mature vegetation.

Mature trees are very valuable, not only for their shade’s ability to keep the house cooler, but for their beauty and strength in storms. They’ve stood the test of time, and will help you save money on electric bills as well as  provide you with a more aesthetic environment.

Mature landscaping provides a home to insects and animals such as lizards, squirrels, rabbits and birds. It adds a sense of calm by bringing nature to your door. There is no amount of money that can bring a mature Live Oak or flowering vine into your garden. Those things only come with time. Mature landscaping is of great value and generally is only found in neighborhoods built decades ago.

4. Mid-Century Homes Are In Better Locations in Florida

Older homes are in more prime locations in Florida. If you purchase a home built more than 40 years ago, chances are it’s closer to the city center and to more amenities than its newer counterparts. 

Being in a more centralized location means less sitting in Florida traffic. It means saving not only driving time but money on gas. It means being closer to things like grocery stores, parks, bicycle trails, libraries, and other amenities.

If you want to be closer to town and enjoy more conveniences in Florida, a mid-century home is a better bet than a newly built one.

5. Mid-Century Florida Homes Have Larger Lots

There are so many reasons to purchase a home with a larger lot, such as the fact that you’ll have more space, peace and quiet, a view of nature, gardening opportunities, a chance to grow your own food, better light in your home, no neighbors looking in, etc. etc. The list goes on.

In the US, homes have gotten larger while lots have gotten smaller. Even though there are some advantages to having a smaller lot (maintenance), in general having a larger lot will lead to better quality of life for the reasons listed above.

Older homes in Florida generally have larger lots, averaging over 10,000 square feet. This gives mid-century home owners a chance to take advantage of the beautiful weather in winter by enjoying their gardens, patios, lanais and pools. Often lots for newly built homes are too small to have a pool, a must have for many of us!

6. Florida Mid-Century Homes Have Architectural Character and Details

True to the Florida lifestyle, many mid-century homes have whimsical, geometric, or vernacular (locally inspired) details that can’t be found in today’s “built-for-the-masses” housing. In current times, one often can’t distinguish between a new home built in Nevada, for example, and one built across the country in a completely different place. This homogenization is mostly due to an attempt to deliver housing more cheaply, but it robs towns and cities of their local character, charm, and unique personality.

With a mid-century modern or mid-century “modest” home in Florida, you will often inherit architectural features that just can’t be duplicated in modern times. Along with that you’ll get the opportunity to personalize your exterior to your liking, using a wide range of colors, tropical and decorative plants, and hardscaping materials. Your mid-century home’s exterior will make it easier for you to capture the “Florida lifestyle” look for yourself!

Although there are some advantages to buying newly built homes, the advantages to purchasing an older mid-century home in Florida are often overlooked. Those who’ve lived in a mid-century home often will not purchase any other style, as they’ve experienced the subtle (and not-so subtle!) advantages that come with a home designed for the climate, culture, and attitude that embody the Florida lifestyle.


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Rebecca Bossa

Helping those who live in warm weather climates design colorful living spaces that improve quality of life while having fun!



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