Miami Shores Historic Beauty Is Leading Example of Mediterranean Revival

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Miami ShoresWhen we look for historical shelters every week, we always find some beautiful homes with interesting stories — and that’s true this week as well, with the Simmons Estate in Miami Shores, Florida.

It’s always fun to go back and look at 1920s architecture — the era embraced luxury in a way that was potentially over the top, but so well crafted that to this day newer construction often attempts to emulate the grandeur.

And that’s true with 257 NE 91 St., a gorgeous Mediterranean built in 1925 and designed by the nationally-acclaimed architects Kiehnel and Elliot, whose work includes the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Carlyle Hotel in Miami Beach, and the downtown Miami Post Office.

An early advertisement for a Kiehnel and Elliot project.

The venerated firm began in 1906 with Richard Kiehnel as its senior partner. Born in Germany, he began the firm in Pittsburgh before opening the Miami office in 1922. One of his earliest commissions there was El Jardin, the home of John Bindley, the president of the Pittsburgh Steel Company.

From there, he introduced Mediterranean Revival throughout Pinellas County before jumping into Art Deco design with the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on the Miami River.

The Simmons home was built several years before Miami Shores became a city, growing to eventually 3,000 homes (most of which are historic).

“Its story began in the years after the devastation of the Civil War,” Flashback Miami shared. “In the postwar era, William Gleason served as Florida’s lieutenant governor, and in the early 1870s, he settled in the area that would become Miami Shores. Gleason named the community Biscayne, and in those days the new community temporarily served as the home of the Dade County Court and County Commission.”

By the time this estate was built, developer Hugh Anderson had taken a good look at the community and deemed it the perfect spot for a planned community, and his Shoreland Co. advertised the area as “America’s Mediterranean,” selling 400 acres of land for $22 million.

So when Kiehnel designed this home for the Simmons family in 1925, he put his stamp on the Mediterranean Revival home, with lush grounds and spacious living spaces. And his work endures now, in part, because the home is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home is 3,427 square feet of living space, carefully maintained and thoughtfully updated where modern-day needs require.

“Authentic architectural design features are reflective of an original commitment to artistry and quality that has stood the test of time,” said listing agent Adriana Faerman with One Sotheby’s International Realty – Bay Harbor. “Historic architecture meticulously updated to meet modern luxury.”

Outside, native landscaping and trees mix with lush grass to create vignettes for outdoor entertaining. A beautiful pool sets a scene for poolside parties.

Inside, spacious living areas are anything but common, and generous bedrooms and bathrooms provide beautiful retreats.

The home is listed for $1.9 million.