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Florida Mid-Century Modern by Robert Wielage


Florida’ Gulf Coast was home to an active modernist movement in the middle of the last century.  Architects like Paul Rudolph, Nils M. Schweizer, Fred Lopatka and others shaped the mid-century modern identity in Florida with works that range from beautiful to bizarre to world class.  Amongst these mid-century classics is a home designed by Robert Wielage on a small island in the Hillsborough Bay.  41 Bering St. on Tampa’s Davis Island is a large two-level contemporary home with an emphasis on outdoor living and the visual environment of sub-tropical Florida.

From the street, 41 Bering is largely hidden behind a privacy wall that skirts its landscape.  The clay-textured fascia peers over the outer walls to expose a bit of its character to passers by.  Inside the entry gate, a pond fountain bubbles next to the approach to the front door.  This provides a glimpse into the outdoor living at 41 Bering St., where grassy pathways and inset seating areas are tucked into much of its exterior.  There is plenty of space between the home and the privacy walls that surround it for personal relaxation, entertaining guests, a dip in the pool or a bit of gardening in the back yard orchid house.

Much of this outdoor experience is centered around the large L-shaped rear yard.  The pool and orchid house point toward a covered patio for dining and relaxing.  A nearby entryway opens into another large seating area, shown above, which is visually connected to the interior through two stories of windows.  Each section of the back yard has its own purpose and emotion, a continuation of the emphasis on outdoor living at the estate.

Inside, 20-foot ceilings and second-story catwalks provide a grand sensibility in the home’s common areas.  A guest section with a den, bedroom and private bath are located to the east, while a dining room, kitchen and wet bar occupy the west.  The large central living room takes in the palms and assorted greenery through windows that reach to the ceiling.  Upstairs, a master suite, guest bedroom and a private in-law’s quarters stretch from one end to the other.  Combined, over 4,200 square feet of living space is shared between four bedrooms, five baths and the large living areas in between.

While the interior is remarkable, a prime example of mid-century design, it is the common and private outdoor areas that best represent this architecture.  The quiet seating area to the front, overlooking the bubbling pond and the entryway is a stand-out of this design.  The large back yard — with a stone patio, lap pool, orchid house and terrace — provides the perfect connection to the climate and environment Florida is known for.  In total, it’s a great work of mid-century architecture by Robert Wielage, one of the Tampa Bay’s most celebrated.  This home at 41 Bering St. went on sale this week for $1.5 million.

[architect: Robert Wielage photography: Mike Payne for TheCoolist]

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41 Bering by Robert Wielage | Gallery