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About Our Caribbean House Plans & Cottages ……
Listed below are some designs we have built based on the traditions and styles of the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. The designs were developed over many years during our work and sailing adventures in the Tropics. The styles often mix 17th and 18th century British, French and Dutch Colonial architecture with that of 19th century Victorian. The influence of both Native and African cultures is also evident. The blending of these architectures has formed a unique blend, both classical and casual, wind blown and sun-drenched.
Caribbean House Plans from the tropics are usually a mix of shaded verandahs, bright colored walls and fanciful gingerbread that reflect the verdant environment they are evolved in. But with our plans this light hearted and happy style is now being built throughout North America on hill tops and lakes, in fields, forests and cities for both vacation and permanent homes.
Everyone’s tastes differ, so we provide a variety of Caribbean house plans and smaller cottage plans as well. The architecture is old but our expert designer knows what matters to people in a home and have created designs that contain all the features you need for modern living. Find a local contractor or build it yourself with our estimates, details and guidance. You’ll be surprised to see how easy it can be to have a historic, uniquely designed Caribbean style home.
Search through our Caribbean house plans to find a style that suits you and your family. To learn more about Caribbean and Gulf Coast Architecture see our History of the Caribbean Style Section.
For additional information about each house follow the links below where you will find floor plans, photos and plan purchasing details.
A list of our Caribbean House Plans
The Maison Martinique….
Although originally a style associated with New Orleans and the French Caribbean, examples of this type of home exist throughout the Gulf Coast. Our home reflects the styles of the West Indies with influences of classical European, French Creole and Island Cultures. Walk around shuttered verandas, heavy carved gingerbread and ageless entablatures give this home an old and comfortable feel. The Martinique contains 2700sf, 4BR, 3 Bath & Den,
Click here for more details on the Martinique Caribbean House Plans
“Rose Gable House”
The Rose Gable House combines French Colonial massing with classical Victorian moldings and gingerbread porch trim. The style is often seen in Cajun Louisiana as a wetland plantation house but lends itself well to a mountain side or beachfront settings. With long rambling covered porches and ornamental gazebos providing shaded havens from the sun and rain, the home provides many possibilities for indoor-outdoor living. Our Plan contains 3 Bedrooms plus Den, 3 Bath, 1 Powder, 3200sf enclosed and over 7000sf of total floor area.
Click here for more details of the Rose Gable Caribbean House Plans
“The Maison Monserrat”
In the French Planters style of the 17th and 18th Century, the home was built to reflect the architecture of a 350 year old Plantation on the Island of Monserrat. Heavily detailed, trimmed in oak, and graced by flowing hardwood staircases, a Great Room with 23′ ceilings provides a spectacular vista of any site. The plans are not yet available for sale.
“In the Tidewater Style”
A classically built neo-classic Greek style home with a very gracious plan and conservative Tidewater look of the “Old South”. A large vaulted Living Room, wrap around 8′ French Doors and huge eat-in kitchen make the home very convenient for formal entertaining. The Master Bedroom and large Family Room/Den are located on the First Floor with two additional Bedrooms and Baths on the Second Floor. The plans are not yet available for sale.
“The Planters Cottage”
Built to reflect a Dutch/French Planter’s home located in Falmouth, Jamaica and dating from the 17th Century, the home is filled with the gingerbread and detailing of the early Caribbean settlers. High vaulting rooms and painted wood ceilings are typical of the style. Custom doors, shutters, winding hardwood stairs and iron roof cresting are included. The plans are not yet available for sale.
An “Old Town Cottage”
Typical of the worker’s housing of “Old Town” Key West and generally referred to as a “Cigar Maker’s House”, this cottage style makes up the heart of the Old City. Sawn gingerbread trim, large front balconies, and romantic attic bedrooms are a signature of the style. Our version of the cottage has 1749sf, 3 BR, 2.5 Baths and an optional garage with loft/office.
A small West Indian style cottage with large wrapping verandahs and traditional multiple sloping roof. Caribbean details combined with the many nocks and crannies of porches and ceilings create a very real tropical feel. The Antigua features three bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, a large open plan with modern island Kitchen. The home contains 1800 sf of interior enclosed area. The gross finished area, including porches, totals 2532 sf. Click here for details about the Antigua Caribbean House Plans
“The Hopetown Cottage”
A The HopeTown Cottage is a small, Island style home more in keeping with the style of the Bahamas and the British Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Intentionally small in scale and complexity the home is inexpensive to construct while maintaining the charm of a real Caribbean home. The HopeTown offers 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths in 1569 sf of enclosed area with 1905 sf of gross area including porches.
Click here for details about the Hopetown Caribbean House Plans.
Caribbean – Island Style a Brief History …..
The architectural definition of these homes is a bit more difficult than the Victorians or Mediterranean because roots of the style are vague and the definition is so blurred by
over use in modern advertizing. Spanish_Wells_Caribbean_House_PlansFor our purposes we are describing an architecture that began shortly after Columbus discovered the West Indies and evolved in the Caribbean and along the Southern Coast of the U.S. until the Civil War. It is perhaps most accurately described as Caribbean Colonial, since it is the architecture that was constructed, thrived and evolved for three centuries under the hands of the European colonists. Its look is natural and highly adapted to life in the tropics. Its profile is defined by long shaded porches and low pitched roofs, roofs that were once made of thatch or palm fronds but are now of galvanized metal. Its shape and functionality are more than likely based on the dwellings originally built by the native people of the islands. The details however are a mixture of classical Dutch, French, British and Spanish with the color and artistic touch of the Africans, who joined the Colonists through no choice of their own.
We break the Caribbean styles down into two distinct groups that we call “Island Style” and “Coastal Style”. The former is more often seen in a rural, plantation setting, the latter being a home more often found in the old cities and villages of the Caribbean and Coast. These definitions are not absolute and homes of either type can be found in the other environment.
The Planter’s House, Caribbean Colonial, French Creole and the Tidewater ….
Planters1_Caribbean_House_plansIsland style, as it is applied today, has become something of an ephemeral term in the modern vernacular. The term has come to mean most anything that is built in the Caribbean or along the Southern coast of the U.S. But, if there is a true definition of a historic style from which the term evolved, it has to be that created by the European settler’s who colonized the Caribbean from the 16th to 19th century. In the islands it’s called a Planter’s House. The name derives from the people who built and lived in them.
For hundreds of years, after Columbus discovered the new world, the Islands were a means for a European Gentleman or hard working commoner to accumulate wealth. If he was brave enough and strong enough to endure the disease, the slave revolts, pirates and lack of culture, he could carve out a piece of the tropical forest, plant it in nuts, fruit or spice and get wealthy. The life was crude, hot and sweaty. Moral issues aside, the colonists were tough and inventive and in developing their farms, they developed a home style that fit its environment and used the natural assets of the tropics to provide as “civilized” a live as possible.
The actual origin of the style is lost in history but by the end of the 16th century Planter’s Houses were being built by the Dutch, French, British and Spanish all over the islands. For the most part they had the same characteristics, starting with a rectangular floor plan and hipped roof. The roof always extended out over a porch that encircled the home with a balcony or gallery. The galleries were framed with numerous columns and a continuous wooden rail. Planters_Caribbean_House_plansEvery room was connected to the porches via large fully opening french doors. The homes could be two stories or one but were always elevated above the ground. The nationalities added their own distinct details to these buildings that allowed one to indentify who lived there. The Dutch added half round dormers to the roofs, the French added the shutter or jalousie, the British the “Union Jack” rail and the Spanish, clay tile and iron railings. The decoration could be simple or elaborate but many of these homes expressed classical European details such as column capitols, bases, entablatures, arches and plinths.
The usefulness of the design was impressive. The hip design and slope of the roof was the perfect angle and shape for deflecting hurricane force winds and for collecting fresh water in a continuous gutter. The shape created a venturi effect under the porches to naturally force the wind through the house via the large French doors. Interior walls stopped just above the doors and the lofted interior space was left completely open allowing the entire house to ventilate freely completely across the building. The shaded porches provided relief somewhere on the galleries at all times of the day and allowed the Planter to survey his property in all directions without leaving the house. Continuous walls of shutters were often arranged on the outside of the porch rails to provide outside privacy or to provide an extension of the interior living space. The space under the raised floor Martinique_Caribbean_House_Planswas originally used to house livestock at night to keep such free of thieves and predators. The space eventually evolved into a safe storage space for dry goods and other valuable commodities and often was built with a fresh water cistern to collect rainwater from the roof.
For those familiar with the characteristics of the New Orleans Creole style or the Carolina Tidewater, the description and image of the Planter’s house should seem familiar, for in fact both these styles are Planter’s houses. The New Orleans style reflects a bit more of the Spanish influence, the Tidewater more English but, none the less, these styles were erected by the same people and for the same reasons as their Caribbean cousins. Both American versions of the Planter’s house owe their heritage to the European immigrants who brought the style to us via the West Indies where it was being built a century or more before our coastal cities were created.
Southern Coastal Style….
New Orleans, Key West and the Colonial Port Cities
Coastal Style has come to include such a wide array of architecture in America that we hesitated to include the term in our definitions of historical styles. The term can imply anything from beach huts to condominiums. However after living in the Florida Keys, Key West and the Caribbean for the better part of my life, I thought it would be remise not to include a particular style that really has no name but “Southern Coastal” sums it up quite well. The style is prolifically expressed in Key West, New Orleans and Mobile. It is also familiar in the more urban areas of the Caribbean and the colonial port cities of the American South-East. The style has been around from pre-revolutionary days to the end of the Victorian. In New Orleans its called a “Double Gallery” in the two story version and a “Cottage” when its only one story. If you put an adjective in front of these two terms such as Creole, Greek, Italianate, 2nd Empire, Eastlake or Queen Anne you still have basically the same house, only the trim on the front façade has changed.
We believe this charming form will be instantly recognizable to all who have walked through a historic coastal city. The style is an Island Style that was adapted for use in an urban setting. When the primary means of transportation was walking or rowing a boat, city property was at a premium. Because of that fact, the custom was to stack houses close together and place them close to the street. This practice meant ones front yard was mostly a front porch. And the front porch is the defining feature of the style. The porch extends across the entire length of the house, whether two story or one. To a Northerner the porch might not be important but to the inhabitant of a city in the tropics, the poMcClung_Caribbean_House_Plansrch was a respite from the heat and the center of social life. An evening stroll meant conversing with your neighbors, who were sitting just a few feet off the walk, and, more often than not, an invitation to sit a spell and have a mint julep. Being the only part of your house visible to the public, the porch was a
signature to the community of who you were. The ornamentation of the porch was important for your social standing and your social life. Because of the importance of the porch, adding elaborate details appropriate to the period was the norm, hence the application of the proper architectural adjective.
This historic style has much to recommend it. In addition to the functions of the first floor porch, the second floor balconies offer
walk out access to upper floor bedrooms and flow through ventilation throughout the house. The fact that only the front elevation is ornamented means the expense of historic detailing is limited to one elevation. And no matter what architectural period you choose to emulate the versatile “double gallery home” or “cottage” can accommodate it with few alterations. The illustrated version shown here is typical of mid 1980s Key West and reflects the Queen Anne-East Lake detailing associated with that period.
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