|Architectural Style of Lakeland Home Still Stands Out After Decades|
|The house at 2208 Woodbine Ave. is both a time machine and, in its day, an example of cutting-edge architecture. The 1,885-square-foot home was built in 1957 for Rayburn Perry and Fleenor Sutherland Perry. Designed by architect Mark Hampton, the house has remained in the same family all this time but will soon be on the market. In 1958, the home was featured in The New York Times Magazine and The Tampa Tribune.
Kay Foster, granddaughter of the original owners, is in charge of the estate, along with her two brothers. Foster, a vice president and associate broker for Halstead Property in New York, N.Y., said the asking price is $425,000.
Despite the decades that have passed since the home was finished, it remains virtually unchanged since the day the Perrys moved in. The same chrome X-chairs sit in the living room and the same marble ash tray rests on the coffee table.
From the shady, quiet street off Beacon, visitors see what is basically a large box. The flat-roofed structure sits on a lot and a half, and has a circular driveway covered in river rock.
Cars park under an overhang at the front of the home. From the outside, even this close, the home is still a mystery. It's simple construction of steel, cinder block and cement may not be instantly appreciated to the architecturally unaware visitor.
But step inside the front door and, regardless of personal preference, one can't deny the interior's remarkable style.
Terrazzo flooring is used throughout the entire one-level home, a great feature, Foster said, because the floor is incredibly easy to maintain.
The front door opens directly into the living room. Fifty-two feet of glass make up the back wall of not only this room but the entire home.
There's a wood-burning fireplace in the living room and a special cabinet, built into the wall and easily concealed with a removable panel, for the television.
The living room is separated from the dining room by a divider of stained glass. The partition, about seven feet tall, was once mounted to the ceiling and the floor with stainless steel rods. It's since been removed and attached to wheels, allowing it to be rolled into any location one desires.
The dining room opens up to the kitchen, which is done completely in walnut veneer cabinets, which are also used in the bathrooms and living room. The original appliances are still in place, including a refrigerator and freezer unit, about five feet long, that hangs lengthwise over the kitchen counter.
Rather than taking up floor space, the refrigerator resembles a set of cabinets and is at eye-level for most -- thus eliminating the need to crouch and reach, as is the case with most modern appliances.
It's when discussing this feature that Foster hits upon one of the most important aspects of the home.
"It's all one level and the doorways are wide," making it perfect for the elderly or someone in a wheelchair, Foster said. The house was, in fact, the retirement haven for the Perrys and Foster's mother, Leah Perry Sloman, who occupied the home until her death in September.
At the north end of the home is the master bedroom, bathroom and guest room or den.
The master and guest rooms separated by a pair of sliding doors that disappear into the walls.
The same sliding doors were used to conceal three different closets, one after another along the northernmost wall.
It's the sliding doors, and the storage cabinets built around the master bed, that give the room the feeling that something is waiting to be discovered. In every part of both the rooms, there's some door that slides, some cabinet door to pop open, so many little hiding places.
The sliding doors and built-in cabinets, for instance those that frame the master bed, also give the room an an incredibly airy feel, what with no visible clutter to weigh it down.
There are two bathrooms in the house, both of which feature an interesting shower and bathtub combination.
The shower floor is sunken by 14 inches. A single step in the shower makes a perfect place for sitting or leaning.
The master shower is done in green tiles, no more than an inch wide by an inch tall. The other bathroom is done in exquisite marble.
Both the bathrooms are done with the same walnut veneer cabinetry and both feature a pull-out hamper covered in grass cloth, allowing air to circulate through the hamper, preventing clothes from becoming musty.
Hampton, the architect who designed the house, also designed several houses in Lake Wales at around the same time the Perry's house was built. At 80, Hampton, who received a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology, now lives in Coconut Grove but is still designing. He completed a house in Dade City just a couple of years ago.
His style, Hampton said, always depends on what his clients want, but all his work shares a few similar characteristics.
"It's opened up more," Hampton, said. "There's more windows, more glass, and the details cleaner."
December 8th, 2003
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