Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Spicer Cottage, located in Bokeelia, Florida, has been restored to replicate the beauty it had when constructed in the 1920’s. The home was originally built by Neil Miller using heart of pine that was salvaged from the wreckage of the Collier Inn on Useppa Island following a hurricane. The house was constructed for Jean Garden, a local resident and owner of the fish camp that is now Jug Creek Cottages. The home was one of the last vestiges of the early development on the island.
After sitting vacant throughout the 1990’s, the home’s current owners, wanted to preserve a part of Old Bokeelia and undertook the task of renovation. Chris-Tel Construction accepted the challenge of restoring the little cottage through meticulous planning and forethought needed to complete the project.
Working in conjunction with Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, the 650 square foot cottage underwent a myriad of renovations to include raising the home twelve feet in the air to construct a new stem wall foundation in place of the original concrete slab. This raised foundation will provide protection from minor storms. Other prominent features of the home include restoration of the ceilings and exposed rafters, introducing ceiling joists, an outdoor shower and reinforced hurricane rated windows. The original stone chimney was preserved and the Florida room was removed to restore the original historic footprint that included the front porch entry. During the demolition, original siding was found in the ceiling of the Florida room which was reintroduced as restored siding to historically match. The original garage door and track were maintained in what is now the studio adding an eclectic conversation piece on which to hang artwork. The floorplan was reconfigured to include a full bathroom and enlarged kitchen, which was paramount to the owners, who utilize the home as their vacation retreat. The kitchen cabinets were acquired by the team during renovation and our craftsman meticulously rebuilt them to fit into the space while preserving the historical appearance and integrity of the period. Continued work will include refurbishing the outdoor cistern with new plumbing and a pump.
Being located on the northern tip of Bokeelia, one can see both sunrise and sunset in magnificent glory. The cottage incorporates the charm and coziness of a beachside cottage with the historic, architectural and cultural significance associated with the island.
The Spicer Cottage project was a 2016 recipient of a Pinnacle Award from the Lee County Building Industry Association for Best Historic Preservation and an Associated Builders and Contractors 2017 Excellence in Construction Merit Award Recipient.
We were extremely impressed with the performance of Chris-Tel Construction in facilitating the rehabilitation and restoration of Spicer Cottage. From the very onset, it seemed to us that they were fully invested in a positive outcome as we were, particularly Bob Morgan (Project Manager) and Dan Good (Manager of Special Projects).
It was a creative collaboration in which our participation was encouraged, and great care was taken to keep us fully informed of all developments and challenges. The end result, our beautiful cottage, is a reflection of the quality work that went into it, and we are very grateful to Chris-Tel Construction.
Richard and Sue Clarendon
Owners, Spicer Cottage