Designer At Home : Loft Living In Sarasota

Set in the heart of downtown Sarasota, this 40-unit condo is on the cutting edge of an architectural change in Sarasota. “The developer and I felt the city needed more truly modern homes without introducing a cheap or kitschy feel. This building, while powerful, is still quiet and fits into the community,” explains Kurt Lucas, President of JKL Design Group, Inc. “I also wanted to create something that was totally different from my last project which had a Gothic feel that was overly opulent.” The inspiration of this building was created by JKL Design Groups’ lead architectural designer, Boyan Guran, “one of the best architectural designers in the city” claims Lucas. With the help of his partner, Ron Butine, Lucas created a personal residence that shows his versatility and depth.

In the great room, Lucas’ design skills make the space feel warm, modern and definitely memorable. Large windows not only let in light, they are a key design feature throughout the home. Above, a locally sourced and restored iron and wood chandelier hangs over a custom live edge coffee table. Linen covered sofas in cream with grey accent pillows are perfectly scaled for the space. Elements like brick and exposed duct work enhance the modern loft feel. Lucas chose the elements in the great room to maximize the usability of the space. “This room is adjacent to the kitchen making it great for entertaining. Everyone congregates in the kitchen so we wanted this seating area to be close by.”

A hand painted mural by Sarasota artist Michelle Held is the focal point of the kitchen. “I am extremely patriotic and I love the American flag,” says Lucas. “I wanted her to create something with an abstract vibe and great movement and she absolutely exceeded my expectations!” Working with Kerrie Miley at LUBÉ of Sarasota, sleek cabinets were installed in the functional kitchen. “We choose a set of upper and lower cabinets with a flat panel that continued the modern look of the home,” says Miley. “The uppers, a LUBÉ Martina Acrylic flat panel cabinet in Bianco Neve White, are juxtaposed with the warm tones of the base and column cabinets. They are LUBÉ Pamela Tranché Veneer flat panel cabinets in Visone, and look beautiful with the white uppers.” The industrial style bar stools, pendent lights, and exposed duct work further the modern loft feel of the home. The DuChateau wood floors are new, but allowed Lucas to capture the feel of reclaimed wood. “They have the character of old wood floors, but can stand up to the local humidity.” Thermador appliances from Monark Appliances and Caesarstone quartz countertops finish the kitchen.

In the dining room the custom light fixture features Edison bulbs and is hung over a table blending glass and metals. Custom artwork from a favorite artist, Tom Stephens, hangs by a desk area flooded with natural light from another large window. The glass tubular elevator servicing all three floors can be seen in the dining room adding another interesting visual element. Here Lucas’ attention to scale is apparent – nothing feels too small in the space, yet the open loft vibe is still preserved.

In the third floor master retreat, brick and reclaimed barn wood are split by the glass elevator. The imaginative clock hanging above the bed is a combination of custom and store-bought pieces. “We sourced the clock from one of my favorite companies, then created the cogs and metal details to give it a custom feel,” explains Lucas. End tables were then made to match the cogs in the clock. Because of the room’s design, hanging a TV was impossible so Lucas got creative, cutting out the number twelve in the clock to make room for a projector. The felt area rug is on trend for its durability and beauty.

In the master bath, the graffiti style art by Sarasota artist Richard Brasil pops against a background of grey and black. Lucas was more than happy with the results “I told him to do what he does best and the finished product is amazing.” A claw foot tub in gun metal grey matches the shine of the black enamel vanities. The mirrors above the sinks are working medicine cabinets with a nautical feel. Two metal cabinets provide storage – the one on the left is actually an old dentist’s cabinet repurposed for toiletries and linens. The white Carrera marble floors with black marble inlays were honed once in place to create a more bathroom friendly finish.

Through the master bath lies the fantastic closet. Lucas worked with Heidi Perrigo of Contemporary Cabinetry & Closet Concepts to create this wonderful room. “Kurt has an amazing eye so working with him was so much fun,” says Perrigo. “This is the perfect example of a more than basic closet that has been styled and accessorized to create a dramatic look.” The melamine material in an En Vouge finish has the look and feel of exotic woods but is more durable and able to withstand years of wardrobe changes. Personal touches like oil rubbed bronze hardware and painted back wall add elegance to the finishing touches. “Kurt also made some smart space decisions with the closet and, by allowing me to add a second shelf above the rods, we were able to create more storage,” explains Perrigo.

In the guest bedroom, the bold colors on the repurposed and chalk painted dresser blend with the new mirror. The end tables also received a new look thanks to Julie Lautermilch at Rustic Rooster. “We were able to use two older side tables from one of Kurt’s previous homes, give them a pop of color with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, decoupage the top with vintage newspaper and they become gorgeous accents to the guest bedroom.”

Lucas credits his success in interior design and this project to his “just go for it” attitude. “We are always trying to do the uncommon in design. I tell my clients they shouldn’t let fear hold them back from creating something they love.” Channeling that fearless attitude and combining the beauty and feel of fine art, warm textures, and modern pieces, Lucas and Butine have created a unique home that is both trend setting and timeless.


Written by Channing Spano

Photography by Jimmy White


Contemporary Cabinetry & Closet Concepts
1312 North Lime Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34237


Gorman’s Bath Gallery
5355 McIntosh Road, Suite B
Sarasota, FL 34233


JKL Design Group, Inc.
1839 61st Street
Sarasota, FL 34243


LUBÈ of Sarasota Cabinetry
53 South Palm Avenue #A
Sarasota, FL 34236


Monark Premium Appliance Co.
5670 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232


Rustic Rooster
602 South Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

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