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FRENCH CITY VILLAGE IN FLORIDA

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

I do often fantasize about owning a tropical villa, and with so many design opportunities popping up for me in Florida, it’s hard not to want to think of a home there for myself!

I’ve loved Palm Beach Regency style homes for some time—like Maurice Fatio’s “Villa Today” and the houses designed by Clarence Mack—consequently in my Palm Beach and Miami exploration, it seemed natural that I should begin by visiting the fabulous “French City Village” in Coral Gables designed by legendary architect Mott B. Schmidt.

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

Built in 1925, “French City Village” became part of George Merrick’s master plan for the development of Coral Gables. Merrick’s stylistically integrated community brought together a really superb selection of architects. Marion Syms Wyeth created the Dutch South African Village, which is terribly chic and rather perfect for Southern Florida, but I have to say I’m more drawn to Schmidt’s Neo-Classical small-villa-like houses, executed in a somewhat 18th century French style with walled courtyards and gardens.

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

It should be evident by the images I’m including here that many of these estates are in need of rescue (which of course brings out the romantic in me!).

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

I am looking forward to seeing how these thoughts unfold as I continue to explore other enclaves that might be perfect for indulging my tropical villa fantasies. In the meantime I am having so much fun with all of this and I hope you are too.

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8 Comments

  1. I have been fascinated be this development for many years, and a great fan of Mott Schmidt. I am rather shocked to see the poor repair of many of these properties. Shall we band together and rescue them?

  2. James,

    It is sublime, and a little run down- our mutual friend, John Tackett, of The Devoted Classicist, has posted about FCV also- check out his take on this most interesting enclave….

    Dean

  3. James Andrew says:

    My Darling Reggie,

    I am forever fascinated with ruins and houses in need of rescue. I adore Mott Schmidt as well- certainly one of my favorite architects. Wouldn’t it be sublime to restore one of these beauties as a tropical villa?

    Cheers

    JA

  4. James Andrew says:

    Darling Dean,

    Yes I saw that in doing a bit of research on French City Village!

    Cheers

    JA

  5. That vacant shell of a house is still for sale, $900,000 as is.

  6. James Andrew says:

    Hello The Devoted Classicist,

    Oh really – is that the one on the corner ? Which number is it?

    Have you seen the inside?

    I am fascinated by these- not sure I would want to live in Coral Gables but would love a little tropical villa like this!

    Cheers

    JA

  7. 1032 Cotorro is the derelict house on the corner. When I was there, I could see in from the sidewalk that it had been gutted, with windows and doors, etc., missing. You can look up the real estate listing; it’s been on the market about 3 years, since the bubble burst (although the area has survived better than most).

    This block, which I first saw in 1993, has been very inspirational. I have designed several houses of a similar ilk, one of which may be published before too much longer.

  8. James Andrew says:

    Hello The Devoted Classicist,

    Amazing!

    I am forever falling in love with ruins and wrecks!

    Would love to see the houses you designed that were inspired by these little villas!

    Cheers

    JA

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