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The Mod-Mediterranean Home: Tips for Modernizing Old World Architecture

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design, Kitchen Design | 3 Comments

Ideas for Blending Old World and Modern Design

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

In warmer, sunny climates such as Florida and California, Mediterranean architecture remains a popular style. Mediterranean architecture has many incarnations influenced by Tuscan, Spanish and Old World styles, Lately, there’s a new twist to the Mediterranean home gaining traction in some parts of the country known as Mod-Mediterranean.

Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says the majority of his clients are asking for Old World architecture with a blend of rustic and contemporary interiors. “People want something new and fresh. They have style fatigue but won’t let go Mediterranean altogether. They don’t want the overdone, heavy- handed, embellished take on Mediterranean. Instead, clients are asking for a toned down version with rich, rustic materials balanced with sleek, clean contemporary elements,” explains Jorge.

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

The challenge is to seamlessly integrate these two distinct styles. “There must be a balance between rustic and contemporary elements so that one style doesn’t overpower the other. The two styles should not compete but rather complement each other,” Jorge explains. “The style often is referred to as eclectic but it’s not an accurate depiction of the Mod-Mediterranean. Eclectic can be chaotic design and décor, a mishmash of many styles, while Mod-Mediterranean is a very calculated, strategic design with key focal points.” Jorge suggests using contemporary elements in the details and rustic elements in large surface areas.

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Here are several key focal points for blending Old World and Modern Design elements in a Mod-Mediterranean Home.

Kitchen Cabinetry, Fixtures, and Hardware:

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Modern-Mediterranean kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

In the kitchen, infuse modern design elements with cabinetry, hardware and fixtures and integrate rustic materials in the flooring, beams and walls. Stainless steel appliances and stainless steel cabinet doors, flat panel cabinetry and indirect lighting give the room a contemporary edge. Rustic elements come in with travertine floors, wood kitchen beams, even a brick barrel tile ceiling provides an ideal canvas to showcase contemporary kitchen features.

Fireplaces Featuring Rustic and Modern Elements:

Modern-Mediterranean fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

A fireplace is a high profile opportunity to integrate modern and Old World design. Consider framing ledge stone and sleek wood panels around a stainless steel fireplace with glass rocks. The hearth niche can showcase a mix of glass mosaics and stone mosaics to merge two distinct styles.

Rustic Floors with Modern Medallions:

Modern-Mediterranean foyer designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean foyer designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Stone floors such as chiseled-edge travertine add the rustic tone to a home but carry a lot of visual weight. Rustic floors can dominate and overshadow contemporary elements, so it’s important to compliment stone floors with strong accents in furniture, fixtures, cabinetry and contemporary bright colors. Modern floor medallions with shiny stone or glass can pull in the contemporary elements around the home.

Indirect Lighting Throughout:

Indirect LED lighted hallway in a Modern-Mediterranean home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Indirect LED lighted hallway in a Modern-Mediterranean home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Indirect lighting is a defining feature of the Mod-Mediterranean home. A great way to add indirect lighting is with drop-down soffits that not only house the indirect lighting but also add contemporary lines to any room.

Water and Fire Elements:

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Water and fire features such as a fountain pot or water torches around the pool mix primal elements with modern design and give the home that Mod-Mediterranean edge outdoors.

Floating Features:

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Floating vanities and bathtubs and hanging cabinetry in bathrooms accented with indirect lighting underneath give any room a modern flair. Counterbalance with glass, stone and metal mosaics mixed in as design accents and perhaps rustic beams for a blended look.

 

For more design ideas and money-saving new construction tips, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

The Mod-Mediterranean Home

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments

 

Tips To Blend Old World and Contemporary Styles

Mediterranean architecture endures in Florida as a style perfectly in sync with its surroundings and history, but exterior curb appeal doesn’t have to dictate interior decor. Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri says most of his clients prefer some variation of Mediterranean architecture but their interior preferences often merge Old World and 21st Century styles.  “I have clients who want a home that looks from the outside like it has endured for generations, yet on the inside, the style is sleek and modern-a look commonly defined as contemporary.”

Jorge is building several homes featuring Tuscan architecture with contemporary interiors. It’s a trend that Wolfe-Rizor Interiors, based in Winter Park, Florida,  is seeing as well. Design Principals Hattie Wolfe and Abigail Rizor say clients no longer want heavy furniture, fabrics and decor. “There is a formality to that look and the younger generations are very informal. Mediterranean is here to stay but clients now want contemporary interiors,” explains Hattie, who co-founded the interior design firm with Abigail 17 years ago.   The mother-daughter design team of Wolfe-Rizor says interiors are becoming more casual in feel. “People want less fuss, a sleeker, easier look to match their lifestyle,” says Abigail.

This modern twist on the Mediterranean home eschews heavy, ornate detailing popular in the 90s and early 2000s in favor of sleeker, simple flourishes. Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri been in business for more than a decade and says the dominant style in Florida remains Mediterranean for practical reasons.  “There are many practical reasons for Mediterranean exteriors in Florida. Stucco finishes protect the walls of a home from rain, sunlight and Florida’s hot, humid climate,” explains Jorge. Many of his homes draw inspiration from the Haciendas Jorge grew up with in his native Mexico. “The tile roofs seen on many Florida homes actually help cool the home and protect it from water intrusion and fire,” says Jorge who points to the roof tile’s ancient engineering.  “Spanish and Mexican missions used tile made of out clay pots and bricks to shed water easily. The air pocket in the half tube helped to keep air cool.”

Wolfe-Rizor Interiors terms this style “Italian-Modern,” a popular twist on Old World architecture. “Americans have fallen in love with that Tuscan look, which used to mean heavy ornate detailing. But truthfully, Italians are known for great contemporary. Sleek cabinetry, terrazzo flooring, chrome state-of-the-art faucets, just to name a few elements,” says Abigail.

She cites the kitchen as an example. “Contemporary kitchens are big now and go well with Mediterranean architecture. Instead of heavy stained cabinetry with corbels and mosaics, cabinets are now flat paneled. Countertops are sleeker with contemporary hardware,” says Abigail.

Contemporary style kitchen seamlessly blends with its Old World architecture and exterior

The floor plan of today’s Mediterranean home also has evolved. Jorge says many clients are opting to forgo the formal living room.  “I’m building for two clients who both decided not to have formal living rooms to optimize their square footage. Most people today entertain in the kitchen and family room as a large open, connected social space,” says Jorge.

Contemporary kitchen with off white color palette seamlessly integrates rustic beams to blend modern and old world styles, photo courtesy of Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri, imyourbuilder.com

Wolfe-Rizor is seeing the same preferences with their clients. “For a while the ceilings couldn’t get high enough and rooms couldn’t get big enough. People didn’t know what to do with all that space. The trend now is to get cozier, more realistic about space and not have all this empty volume you have to fill up,” explains Hattie.

No matter what the architectural style, a home’s interior serves as the palette for self-expression. “It should tell the homeowner’s story, personify their tastes and lifestyle,” says Jorge. Therein lies the challenge of contemporary decor: creating a home that is warm and not cold and impersonal. “Ideally, contemporary decor is counter balanced with personal touches.”

Contemporary interior designed by Wolfe-Rizor Interiors that seamlessly integrates with Old World architecture. Photo courtesy of Wolfe-Rizor Interiors

At Wolfe-Rizor Interiors, the aim is to help clients create a home that looks lived in.  “When you go into a home and everything is new and contemporary, it looks like you don’t have a connection. A lived-in home showcases items that you’ve acquired over the years,” explains Hattie.

With tastes trending towards a mixture of the Old Word and 21st Century styles, how can a homeowner successfully integrate two different looks?

Here are a few tips:

Use color to bring the outside inside even though the styles are different. Abigail cites an example: “Use a strong color accent on the exterior such as painted shutters then integrate that color indoors with decorative accents such as pillows, printed fabrics or painted cabinetry.”

Choose contemporary light fixtures for the interior to mix rustic elements with modern design.

Furnish the room with monochromatic pieces and accent with color. Elements like a traditional velvet sofa and a contemporary coffee table relate to Mediterranean architecture but are more today.

Incorporate stainless steel kitchen appliances to give the kitchen a clean, utilitarian look and instant gourmet status while complimenting more rustic accents.

Accent with personal effects such as a great piece of art, family photos or a family heirloom. Use objects that represent where you have come from, where you have been, and adventures ahead. Those things make a house a home,” explains Abigail.

Contemporary interiors designed by Wolfe-Rizor Interiors that mixes personal effects with sleek furniture and decor to create a room that can successfully compliments the home’s Old World architecture

Mediterranean architecture remains the gold standard of Florida home design. Whether it’s Spanish Mission, Tuscan, Spanish Colonial, Italian Renaissance or another variation, successfully integrating Old World architecture with 21st Century interiors can create a signature style for the homeowner.

For more design tips and ideas to add affordable luxury to your living space, check out the series Trade Secrets by Jorge available on YouTube.