Shingle Style - Skinner Style - Ponte Vedra Beach Real Estate

The beauty of the “Shingle Style” home is captured in one word “timeless”.  Recently I met with Richard Skinner, Architect, to discuss my favorite “beach cottage” and notably one of the more popular designs along the coast line from New England south thru Florida.  Mr. Skinners’ insight comes from his years of experience building and renovating homes in the New England area of Boston. He returned to Jacksonville in 1990 to start his own firm, Richard Skinner & Associates, Architects

According to Mr. Skinner, “The shingle style was developed in New England out the readily available materials. Wood and particularly white cedar was easy to get to and was easy to work.  It proved to be a fairly durable material and became the "skin" of choice for the early settlers in Massachusetts.  Most of the early houses were built by boat builders because they were the only ones skilled in building, so the houses were usually built like an upside down boat with a timber frame and a wood skin.  Over time these single room houses were added on to and became the rambling asymmetrical cottage salt box cottages that are so endearing.

The shingle style came to the Beaches area from New England in the form of summer cottages when Jacksonville was at the end of the railroad.  It was referred to as the Winter Park of the north in the late 1800's when northerners were trying to get away from the brute winter cold.  The first railroad to the beach went to Neptune and Atlantic beach along what would now be Atlantic Blvd.  The first houses along the oceanfront were shingle houses built in Atlantic Beach.  They too used indigenous easy to find woods such as heart pine and cypress.  Both held up well in the humid Florida climate.”

Ponte Vedra Beach’s first oceanfront home was constructed in 1937 and others would soon follow.  Real Estate in Ponte Vedra then became the destination location. 

“The shingle style chose me” and it is just one of the variety of designs that Richard Skinner & Associates, Architects excel in.  But it is also one style that is highly sought and thought of to be the ultimate beach house.  Each one of Skinner’s houses is “one of a kind” and never duplicated.  

“My use of the shingle style hails back to a combination of how the early settlers of New England built homes along with the development of the shingle style over time. It ranged from simple salt box to more formal colonial, and just about everything in between.  I have incorporated the Florida climate into my thinking and usually use red cedar and Florida woods such as heart pine and live oak along with limestones and Florida compatible materials to create todays "shingle style". The range of styles available when using the shingle style frees up the designer to be more playful, and casual...which is why it works so well at the beach.  There is something about the shingle style when done well that seems friendly and welcoming. It is one of the many reasons it has become popular.”

When working with his clients, acknowledging they are now in Florida, he encourages them to bring their ideas, photos of their favorite homes from architectural magazines or houses they may have seen in other parts of the country and adapt them to their dreams. Skinner says the use of indigenous materials and a local color palette are important to the overall “curb appeal” and interior quality of construction.  

 Mr. Skinner first consults with all of his clients to find out what makes them happy, what suits their lifestyle, and “the design grows out of the floor plan”.  Highly detailed, the workmanship is closely monitored and the level of Skinner’s service translates into the quality of a home that is timeless.   


See more about Richard Skinner & Associates, Architects at their website.  

Photography credit to Glenn Hettinger, AIA. and Richard Skinner & Associates. 

Kathleen Floryan, Broker Associate