One year to design
Two years to construct
A lifetime to enjoy

Architectural Detail

In 1999 the new owners of Gull Island chose local architect Neil Gordon to execute the design of their new home. Their requests were simple; the home Neil designed was not! The owners asked for a shingle-style home that would be esthetically pleasing but casual, comfortable and spacious enough for their large visiting family. They also wanted something timeless, not trendy. Neil "did his homework" and brought his lunch out to the property for many days as he figured out his design and the best way to site the home. The finished plans and construction exceeded expectation. In 1999 there were few, if any, shingle-style homes in the area and the design was complicated so it was important to find an experienced builder. The owners chose Stringer Construction who did an excellent job from the beginning, with an expert group of framers, to the end, with a team of craftsman who did the extensive finish carpentry work with precision, attention to detail and a real pride in their work. The interior design of the home was done by Denise Stringer of Plantation Interiors who listened carefully and incorporated the owner’s tastes and desire for a timeless look that would wear well -- and hold up to their large family gatherings.

The quintessential Gull Island shingle-style home was the winner of state and regional design awards (Aurora Awards for design at the 2003 Southeast Building Conference in Orlando) and was featured on an architectural design tourAward-Winning Architecture by Neil Gordon
Neil Gordon: Architectural Design
soon after construction. As you examine the home's exterior and wander through it, it will be apparent that the trio of creators -- architect, builder and interior designer -- executed a classic and enduring home to be enjoyed for years to come.

Perhaps it is important to note the characteristics of the early shingle style to appreciate what an outstanding job Neil Gordon did in his design as he included so many of the features of the early coastal shingle homes…..

The shingle-style that appeared in the late 1800s, shortly after the 1876 Centennial, is a uniquely American style of architecture. It is an adaptation of several earlier architectural traditions and the early shingle homes were built along coastal New England as vacation getaways. Because there is no singular style, architects of the time were inspired to be inventive in the design of these free-spirited summer homes.

Still there was some "rhyme and reason" to these rambling early creations and they had three things in common: 1) Wood shingles, of course. These shingles tied all the vertical surfaces together and, while sometimes painted, they were usually just allowed to weather from the effects of sun, wind, salt water, and the elements. 2) A sense of informality. These late 19th century homes -- whether grand or humble -- were totally at ease with their natural surroundings and encouraged personal interaction with nature as well as the ocean breezes and sunshine that came with seaside living. 3) Complex rooflines. Shingle-style homes featured steeply pitched, often almost free-form rooflines: gambrel, hipped and gabled roofs – front, side and cross-gabled.

These early coastal shingle homes also featured dormers of all types that made the rooflines even more complex. While the exteriors of these homes didn't include much in the way of decorative detailing, they did include chimneys, towers, turrets and dormers. Windows were an important feature, often in clusters of two or three. They were often double-hung and typically included divided-light sashes above and single-pane sashes below. Palladian windows and other large decorative windows in round, eyebrow or rectangular shapes added variety, as did large bay windows.

Spacious porches were an important element of these seaside homes, encouraging vacationers to relax and enjoy nature. Sometimes the porch supports were simply plain, painted columns but beefier classical columns were also popular.

By the late 19th century, builders were creating scaled-down versions of these rambling summer estates inland but their popularity began to fade by the early 1900s. A half century later, though, architects began to borrow from the classic style and design buildings with selected shingle-style characteristics. Today's architects -- like Neil Gordon -- continue to create elegantly casual shingle-style homes.