Eight-inch-wide French white oak Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring runs the length of the living room, drawing the eye to the azure waters of the Gulf framed by the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Horizontal mirrors reflect the view, adding visual depth to the room. Custom shelves of rift-sawn white oak float in an alcove on the opposite wall. The Michael Weiss Collection by Vanguard Abington sectional is covered in a linen colored tweed, with white ribbon and polished nailhead trim. A three-tiered wooden Fenwick table is painted a glossy white.
Gordon and Mary Jo White’s love affair with coastal living began more than three decades ago, with the 1986 construction of his parents’ Longboat Key retirement residence. The Whites first enjoyed various vacation condos in the Sarasota area, then spent a dozen years in Naples. “We returned to Longboat Key because our sons bought vacation homes in this area,” explains Gordon White, founder and president of the G.A. White Companies. The Ohio-based family-owned residential and commercial construction and development firm includes sons Chad and Shawn.
“We came full circle,” adds Mary Jo. “It felt like coming home; many of the places and businesses we had visited years ago are still here.”
The couple purchased a 2,820-square-foot second floor Sabal model condo at L’Ambiance on Longboat Key. The luxury two-building Gulf front condominium also offers views of Sarasota Bay across the greens and fairways of Longboat Key Golf Club. The Whites then proceeded to gut the unit, “right down to the concrete,” says Gordon. The goal of their redesign was to bring the outside in.
Drawing on Gordon’s building expertise and Mary Jo’s design talents, the Whites created a stunning, open floorplan in which every room has a view of either the Gulf of Mexico or Sarasota Bay. “We wanted a seamless transition from the outside to the inside and drew upon the colors God gave us in nature,” explains Mary Jo. The result is a soothing combination of brilliant whites, soft sands, and sparkling blue accents complementing natural woods and coastal textures.
Nickel-gap shiplap siding from Metrie in Sherwin-Williams Pure White sheathes the walls, punctuated by millwork added to break up the depth of the area. Louvered closet doors sport Emtek square crystal knobs. Square LED recessed cans cast cool light on the walls. Rays of steel wire radiate from a molten corona in the mirrors, a contemporary take on the classic sunburst design.
Throughout the home, wall-hung shelves, vanities, cabinets, and mirrors free-up floor space and enhance the sensation of floating from one room to another. Decorative accents are kept to a minimum, emphasizing the streamlined design. Inventive use of highly efficient LED lighting eliminates the need for bulky table or floor lamps. From every angle, the eye is drawn to the natural view beyond.
Everything about the kitchen is sleek and streamlined. Polished nickel drawer pulls on the lower cabinets sparkle beneath quartz-look Polarstone countertops. Louvers of rift-sawn white oak back the upper cabinets, which feature stainless steel glass-fronted touch-latch doors and under-counter LED lighting. The bay-and-golf-course view is reflected in the wine cooler door. The unit and the adjacent SubZero refrigerator with refrigeration and freezer drawers from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery are flush-mounted.
Michael S. Smith Signature Field tile with beveled edges, from Kohler’s Ann Sacks collection at Tile Market of Sarasota, lines the kitchen walls. More under-lit rift-sawn white oak floating shelves provide storage and display options. A Wolf conduction cooktop and convection oven, complemented by a drawer microwave, and fixtures from Kohler’s Kallista collection, round out the top-shelf appointments from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. A striking original oil from Clive Daniel Home adds vibrant color to the space. “It’s fun!” exclaims White. “And it reminds me of my wife!”
The revitalization wasn’t just cosmetic. The Whites basically rebuilt the interior, adding a third bedroom, all new plumbing, new air conditioning and electrical wiring, and new exterior windows and doors. They created visual interest overhead with different ceiling drops and the addition of rift-sawn white oak beams in several rooms.
“This was a whole new look for the building,” beams Gordon. “The bay-to-Gulf exposure brightened up the entire space.”
Vanguard Piers metal frame bar stools in Porcelain White tuck under a waterfall island for extra seating in the open dining area. Vega polished stainless steel chairs surround a white wooden double-pedestal dining table. A pair of open frame Hudson Valley Lighting Colchester pendants with Edison bulbs illuminate the space. An accent wall in Sherwin-Williams Naval provides the perfect backdrop for glossy-white metal art pieces resembling fan coral.
Linens and accents of multiple blue and aqua hues stand up to the strong driftwood tones of the Epicenter Williamsburg platform storage bed and matching dresser positioned against a wall painted Sherwin-Williams Denim. Janette three-light pendant lamps in chestnut and polished-nickel hang above twin nightstands of similar variegated wood tones.
In the master bath a blue accent wall highlights the freestanding Kohler tub. Elsewhere, the walls are tiled with Porcelanosa White Wave tile available at Fisher Tile. The frameless glass shower features floating glass corner shelves. Teak accents and striped towels support the nautical theme. A floating mirror hangs above the floating vanity with Lucite-and-nickel drawer pulls. The trio of Mini-Hinsdale polished-nickel three-light sconces and matching chandelier are from Hudson Valley Lighting. A frosted glass door on a barn door slide provides privacy for the water closet.
The white oak ceiling beams add a touch of warmth to the cool composition of blues and white in the master bedroom. Frette linens shimmer on a Hickory White bed upholstered in linen tweed. The sculptured carpet undulates with a wave-like pattern. Hidden roller shades provide privacy by night and unobstructed views by day, through the nine-foot-tall fixed glass windows.
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
2451 17th Street
Sarasota, FL 34234
2337 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
G. A. White Homes
2440 Dayton Xenia Road Suite G
Beavercreek, OH 45434
Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring
2684 Horseshoe Drive South
Naples, FL 34104
Tile Market of Sarasota
1962 Main Street, Suite 120
Sarasota, FL 34236
Written by Ginny Cooper
Photography by Nicholas Ferris