An iconic, rarely-seen South Florida home has been added to the Morningside Historic Home Tour, which this weekend offers visitors access to the private interiors of some of Miami’s important architectural gems.
The “Jetson House’’ — so named for its futuristic look — was actually built in 1949 by Rufus Nims, a highly-awarded modernist architect of the midcentury period. The homeowner, Charles Roman, helped Nims build the home as no other builder could understand it. It was Nims’ first tropical modern house.
The home has an open air design accentuated by many large, expansive windows and glass doors capturing the light throughout. It is meant to be a sort of subtropical modernism that embraces an architecture suitable to the climate in a modernist form. Its sleek futuristic lines define the modernist style. The design of the staircase, leading to the elevated front door, gives the home a space age feel.
Several other private residences in Morningside, Miami’s first historic district, will be opened to public on April 17, featuring varying architectural periods and styles, including Mediterranean, Revival & Art Deco. Guests will discover the stories behind these magnificent residences and some of the people who have lived in them since the 1920s.
The self-guided tour features two new additions in its 27th year, including “Flavors of Morningside” and “Art of Morningside.” Guests can enjoy food trucks, bites from Upper East Side eateries and exhibits by area artists, including several from The Fountainhead Studios.
“Many of us moved into the neighborhood after going to the Home Tour and falling in love with the architecture,’’ said Dan Vazquez, 2016 Home Tour Chair. “This year, we are integrating food and arts into the event to reflect those exciting aspects of the MIMO district and attract the foodies and art lovers of South Florida.’’
He added that this year’s tour features several homes that have never before been on the tour.
The event runs from Noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Parking will be provided at the Boulevard 57 Sales Gallery at 5700 Biscayne Boulevard, with complimentary trolley service into the neighborhood, where the tour begins at 56th Street and 6th Avenue.
Tickets can be purchased at morningsidehometour.com/tickets for $25 (pre-event) and $35 (day of event).
Home Tour visitors may enjoy a discounted weekend rate of $149 a night at the nearby Vagabond Hotel, an iconic American Motel transformed into an uber-chic, 21st century retro-luxe boutique at 7301 Biscayne Boulevard.
More about Rufus Nims:
Mr. Nims moved to Miami in 1943, started his firm in 1945, and lived there the rest of his life. He is best known for designing the Howard Johnson motel template from which many were built. He was one of a handful of architects who defined the modern tropical house following World War II before the widespread use of central air-conditioning. Throughout his career, Nims received more than 18 national and international awards for architecture including the AIA Florida Silver Medal. Nims’ work, especially houses in Florida and the Caribbean, is archived at the University of Florida.