Key West is a haven for architecture and design fans, with plenty of quirky character and beautiful old homes rich with history. As mentioned in our previous post, principal designer Michelle Nettles recently traveled to the southernmost city in the continental United States, where she was able to snap some fantastic photos and gather plenty of home design inspiration.

There are lots of modern marvels that we take for granted these days, from indoor plumbing and air conditioning to pest control and electric lights. But before these admittedly wonderful inventions became de rigueur, clever home design was able to make life a little more comfortable. There are so many thoughtful details incorporated into old homes, showing a design awareness that new homes often lack.

One of these ingenious tricks is still seen on display in historic homes throughout Key West (and in homes and open air buildings throughout the South). Many of the old homes boast gracious porches- an obvious necessity in the days before air conditioning. But upon closer inspection, they share another similar trait- sky blue ceilings. What at first seems like a lovely, if pointless, design choice is actually a practical solution to a common problem- nesting wasps and bees! For some reason, a pale blue color on the ceilings of these structures seems to discourage unwanted visitors from building nests there, preserving the blessed peace of a cool, shady porch.

Another interesting design idea that is unique to Key West is the “eyebrow” style house. These two-story homes feature a roof that slopes down over the second story windows, supported by classic porch columns. Functioning like an awning, this extended roof not only shades the home, but also allows the windows to remain open even during storms, providing much-needed air flow. Design ideas like this may date back to the pre-air conditioning days, but are still timely considering the current trend towards more energy efficient, environmentally friendly homes.

At MJN & Associates Interiors, we believe in home design that is not only beautiful, but also clever, functional, and perfectly suited to making the most of your space, for your lifestyle. Whether that means using time-tested home design ideas or re-imagining a traditional space for contemporary living, we can help you transform your home! Contact us today to find out more about our interior design services for homeowners in Atlanta, Duluth, John’s Creek, and beyond.