It has been over two years since my dear friend and “Miami Mom” Deirdre Critchlow passed away after a 10-year battle with breast cancer, and I still miss her every single day. Last year, I shared a sneak peek inside her beautiful and historic home, which was also featured in the March/April 2019 Southern Home. Today, I’m sharing a full tour with previously unpublished images, as captured by Carmel Brantley of Brantley Photography. Below is the delightful history of the home, along with captions I wrote with Deirdre before she passed. It is one of the prettiest homes I have ever seen!
Tucked amongst the hustle and bustle of Miami, Florida lies Coral Gables, a city within the city otherwise known as “The City Beautiful.” In the 1920s, Coral Gables founder George Merrick began “The Village Project” to showcase architectural styles from around the world to include the Chinese Village, the Italian Village, the Dutch South African Village, the French Provincial Village, the French Country Village, the French City Village, and the Florida Pioneer/Colonial Village. Sadly, only 80 of the 1,000 planned residences were built, as Merrick’s vision was devastated by the Hurricane of 1926 and the ensuing Great Depression. But fortunately, many of these homes remain today, and they are highly coveted, carefully guarded jewels within the Coral Gables community.
When homeowners Deirdre and Rick Critchlow discovered a home for sale in the Florida Pioneer/Colonial Village, they immediately knew they had found a gem. Built in 1925, the designated historic landmark was built the same year Coral Gables was incorporated. “It was originally green and in rough shape, but I see houses through rose-colored glasses,” said Deirdre Critchlow. “Maybe that’s why I painted it pink! I’m always looking at the potential.”
The couple lived in the house with their two daughters for several years before renovating so they had time to think about what they wanted it to be. The side-entrance and columned front reminded Deirdre of the Charleston houses that had so greatly influenced her passion for historic homes and architecture. “I fell in love with all the architectural detail in those homes and knew that this house wanted to be that fancy as well,” she said. Under the guidance of architect Jorge L. Hernandez and interior designer Marisel Diaz, an extensive renovation and expansion ensued. Some original moldings were matched and kept, and in some rooms more detailed moldings that were consistent with the period of the home were added.
After the couple’s children left for college, the empty nesters found they were spending more and more time out of town, and they decided to downsize to a condo. While they loved the carefree lifestyle, they realized their space limitations and started looking at houses again.
During an exhaustive and fruitless search, the couple learned that the owners of their old home wanted to sell. “We immediately went over and fell in love all over again. Everything was just the right size and it had all the architectural charm we had added to it. Within days we had a contract,” said Deirdre.
Deirdre brought in friend and interior designer Eileen Plasky of EPDesign Group to help fulfill her vision for the interiors with a keen attention to detail. The couple had a lot of antiques to work with, as they both enjoyed going to antique shops and shows. But they also love to incorporate new and custom pieces, creating an individual and personal look. “The decor now is a reflection of my love for detail, traditional furnishings, color, and antiques,” Deirdre said.
Photography by Carmel Brantley.
This is one of my all-time favorite homes, and it belonged to a very, very special lady with the most beautiful soul. I hope you enjoyed the tour. 🙂 Thank you Carmel Brantley for the wonderful photography.