One might expect to meet James Bond—shaken, not stirred martini in hand—in this jaw-dropping penthouse condominium high above Sarasota Bay. Creating an alluring mix of sophisticated finishes and high technology, the 6,211-square-foot space is a showpiece made for entertaining.
The owners engaged Los Angeles-based interior designer Troy Adams when they decided to buy the upper floor of MK Equity’s Sansara building. Their goal was to totally redesign the space to accommodate two master suites and a central area, full of smart home gadgets worthy of Bond’s “Q.” Wicked Smart Homes installed hidden panels, mechanized lifts, and a kitchen controlled via iPhone.
“As a designer, I know how rare it is for a client to be so open to doing such creative things as we were able to do with this project,” says Adams. The “we” he references is Rein Dunselman, a Dutch interior decorator, who has worked with the owners on several previous homes and who accompanied them on all the shopping expeditions that resulted in the condo holding only European furnishings.
“The window treatments are from Italy. The doorknobs are from Belgium. Some of the furniture is from Thailand. The art collection is largely from Holland,” says Rein. “Troy and I spoke every day and I flew into LA to meet often, as all of our decisions were joint decisions between the two of us and the owners. It was absolutely fun and the result is brilliant.”
Matt Kihnke of MK Equity, developer of the Sansara tower, agrees. “In my opinion there is not a more dramatic and inspirationally designed condominium on Florida’s West Coast,” says Kihnke, who believes that the Sansara, has set a standard for downtown, boutique living in Sarasota. Kihnke declares, “Sansara offers the finest and most unique of luxury residences.”
Translating Kihnke’s vision for the building was architect Gary Hoyt. “The owners and their designers created a very unique space, and one that made use of the elements of fire and water we referenced in the design of the whole building,” says Hoyt, who has spent a quarter of a century in mixed-use planning, experience that came in handy with this project. “From the penthouse’s balconies to the active pedestrian level, Sansara has been very well received. It makes a strong statement and is a good neighbor for the community.”
This enormous living room features 12-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the stunning view over Sarasota Bay. Formality gives way to a family room ambience. Wicked Smart Homes installed an 80-inch plasma television in the custom-built credenza, concealed behind retractable panels and revealed with the touch of a button. The stained oak flooring, set in a herringbone pattern, was manufactured in Italy. Overhead trimless LED lighting by Delta, with speakers created in the shame shape and size, plus linear AC diffusers allow only clean ceiling lines. Farrow and Ball Joa’s White paint brings a warm glow to this and all other rooms in the condo.
An iPad app controls the CES (concealed elevation system), raising the panel in the island containing cooking utensils in this gourmet kitchen. The small shepherd’s crook fixture next to the stainless Julien sink is a $12,000 “Top Brewer” system, controlled via iPhone app, capable of producing top-of-the-line lattes and cappuccinos—a must for the owner who roasts his own coffee beans. The waterfall countertop is Corian, a material shared by the custom-built cylindrical range hood. The cabinetry throughout the home, including panels concealing the refrigerator and freezer, is custom-made by the German company, Studio Becker. Two Miele microwaves—one steam and one convection—are set above two full-size Miele steam ovens from Monark Premium Appliances. On an adjacent wall, a linear gas fireplace and backlit bookcase add soft lighting to the room.
Dunselman provided the drop crystal pendant lights which hang from hidden escutcheons over the farmhouse table. The table, as well as the deep armchairs and all the home’s furnishings, were picked up during countless European shopping expeditions. To the right, paprika nubby cotton brings a pop of color to the casual dining area, behind which is a full bar. An integrated lift rises to reveal bottles, glasses and bar implements for creating craft cocktails for guests.
A stainless and glass door opens into the fantastic climate-controlled wine room; there the Wine Guardian system protects against the three dangers to wine: movement, light, and extreme temperature change. UV-LED lights back-light the acrylic shelves, which hold more than 1,000 bottles of wine. A stainless steel sliding ladder makes it easy to reach a favorite vintage.
A soft tomato shade is used on the custom upholstered bed in this first of two master suites. The color is picked up in the printed lampshades, the twin slipper chairs, in a stripe across the organic cotton bedding, and on the bed’s throw pillows. A contrasting print was used on the custom draperies, made in Italy. Above the bed hangs a black and white drawing by Dutch artist, Cathalijn Wouters, one of several art pieces from the owner’s collection.
Above the Caesarstone-topped, high-gloss lacquered cabinetry by Studio Becker, this master bath’s mirror is pulled away from the wall, allowing back-lit hidden panels for holding toiletries, to retract out of sight when not in use. The luxury Samuel Heath fixtures marry the best of European antiques with modern design. Porcelanosa tiles Dover Acero lead down the hall, past the private water closet and a vintage mirror, to the rest of the master bath suite.
A fixed glass wall and sloping floor with a linear drain prevents splashes in the doorless shower in the master bath, which occupies the space next to the custom-designed walk-in closet. The same Porcelanosa tiles on the floor also line the shower, which hosts a two-tiered Fantini shower-head and sheet flow fixture. Set in a niche opposite the Victoria & Albert freestanding tub is a glass sculpture by Hungarian artis t, Mari Meszaros.
Hand-painted wallpaper does double duty in this spectacular powder bath. Samples were sent to Germany for tests on how best to cover the wallpaper for use on the vanity, while maintaining a sanitary environment. After much experimentation, a special polyurethane was used to create a high-gloss effect on the wallpaper which was applied to a block of Corian and set on stainless steel legs. A Fantini faucet and custom hidden slot drain service the Corian sink.
Adam’s design cut through the structural wall of the two adjoining lanais, creating an open feel, accentuated by the skylight fitted for a retractable panel. A Seura outdoor television is built into the wall adjoining the two sections, and a Restoration Hardware basalt stone gas fireplace is plumbed in. At the far end, back-lit stacked stone adds texture to one of the walls on the home’s expansive lanai. A water feature pours into a trough made of polished lava stone and adds gentle audio ambience. Painted metal and glass panels allow a delightful view of the Bay.
Written by Kitt Walsh
Photography by Dana Hoff
Michael Saunders & Company
5100 Ocean Blvd
Sarasota, FL 34242
MK Equity Corporation
300 South Pineapple Ave. #901
Sarasota, FL 34236
Monark Premium Appliance Co.
5670 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232
Wicked Smart Homes
527 South Pineapple Avenue, Suite A
Sarasota, FL 34236