When Nook Sales Experts match a buyer with their dream home, the only thing as important as architectural style is the neighborhood. That’s why we’re bringing you the #NookNeighborhoods series, where every Wednesday you’ll find cool history and culture to make sure you don’t overlook an area that could have the best nook for you.
We have a number of Nook Neighborhoods whose architectural cultures were formed because of World War II: Haight-Ashbury, Coral Gables in Miami, as well as most Eichler Modern Mid Century homes, to name a few.
It is the First World War, however that made Floral Park into the incredibly picture perfect neighborhood we know and love today. Watch out if you take the Floral Park Neighborhood Association tour, though; home sales go up after visitors fall in love while walking around the homes and gardens, according to the home tour director. Take a look at these beautiful photos to see why. Are you touring homes, museums, or art pieces? It’s hard to tell.
The neighborhood isn’t a stodgy place to live, though; far from it. You have these living, breathing historic homes just minutes from vibrant downtown Santa Ana, that boasts an ArtWalk, Farmer’s Market and brand new boutiques next to high-end restaurants. Floral Park even holds strong with over 100 homes on the Santa Ana Register of Historic Properties. Considering the entire neighborhood only has 650 homes on 1-mile-by-half-mile plot, this is quite the feat!
Post World War I, residents returned to Floral Park with visions of the architecture they’d seen around the globe. Their experiences flavored the neighborhood’s culture, and the economic prosperity of the 1920s meant they were able to build their own dream castles. The styles included Italianate homes, cottages in the sweet French Norman and English Tudor cottages, and of course the Spanish Colonial Revival villas, now a symbol of Southern California living. Floral Park, in fact, holds the record for two story Spanish revival homes still standing in Orange County.
Variations on the European designs became a signature mark in the small neighborhood, adding to the initial character that residents found appealing. They included Georgian, Federal and Cape Cod elements to make an English Tudor Revival home design their own. It isn’t uncommon to blend two architectural styles, and Floral Park represents a wonderful merge of the Western World’s design ideals.
Most of the houses still standing in Floral Park were built between the 1920s-1950s, changing its scenery from orange, avocado and walnut groves between farm houses to the quaint and single story designs you see today. The times changed post World War II, as most things did, with families needing more garage space and ultimately wanting more homes with natural light, and so the newer buildings followed the recent style of ranch homes. Here is where you find less of the European influence and more open ground plans, natural light and “letting the outside in” as was popular during the time. The neighborhoods lost many of its groves but retained beautiful greenery, keeping landscaping a high priority for the community as well.
Ever since Floral Park received the 2005 Neighborhood of the Year Award and ranked as Orange County Register’s Number One Neighborhood in 2007, residents do everything they can to nurture growth and keep the great community vibe. For instance, at least 15 percent of profit from the annual Home and Garden Tour go directly to Santa Ana students and nonprofits, helping them fund scholarships and grants. This is not a new endeavor, either; The Floral Park Neighborhood Association wrote the funding into its by-laws.
You find all sorts of community-based initiatives, big and small, like that in Floral Park. It isn’t just a history lesson in homes, but a truly great example of modernizing without sacrificing the heart of a neighborhood.