Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty moves into the fast lane in Clearwater, Florida.
Remember the Henry Ford quote that you could have any colour car you wanted as long as it was black? Well the man who invented the ‘Japan Black’ colour that was used on the early Model T Fords was a chap called Robert Brown. And it was Brown who developed Century Oaks in Clearwater, Florida in 1922.
What is it about petrol heads and this house? Seventy years later Nigel Mansell the British F1 world champion bought the property – selling it on five years later to American powerboat racing champion, Hugh Fuller.
Petrol head or not, you can see the attraction – a green-roofed colonial style house with formal pool in an avenue of palms that leads the eye to Clearwater Bay. It is called Century Oaks after the five ancient trees that grace the gardens. They are estimated to be between four and five hundred years old. When these trees were saplings the Seminole Indians were the only inhabitants hereabouts. Later, the Florida tribe was uprooted to Oklahoma after the Seminole Wars that lasted from 1818 to 1858. In fact Century Oaks is built on the site of Fort Harrison, an outpost used during those wars.
Steeped in American early history and modern social history, Century Oaks is a reminder of the past and also of how magnificent American architecture can be – especially when it is inspired by the grandest of waterside locations. You could say that this house fires on all cylinders but that would be a bit obvious.