It’s rare to find an unaltered circa-1926 house in Florida anymore. And this isn’t your typical construction. It was built by a wealthy merchant, Benjamin McCall, who had also worked as a carpentry foreman in the construction of the Panama Canal. He designed his new home himself, choosing a foursquare shape and mostly Craftsman design and construction techniques, which were popular in Florida at the time. He customized the house with a low-pitched hip roof, large square porch supports, and Colonial Revival fanlight and sidelights in front. McCall had sprung for the best, because when I started stripping off some of the rotted 1-by-10-inch clapboards I could see they were redwood, stamped “Humboldt County, California.”
The house had only had two owners after McCall’s wife passed away in 1960. And her 83-year-old daughter-in-law was still living behind us when we moved in. She had old black-and-whites of our house and plenty of memories of what it used to look like, which helped us return it to its original condition.
Shown: Reusing the home's original windows helped the 600-square-foot back addition blend with the old house.