Spectacular sunsets and luxurious living are two enduring qualities at L’Ambiance on Longboat Key. Units at the popular condominium community don’t come on the market often, but when they do, they generally sell swiftly. New owners are likely to embark on remodeling the 1990s-era residences, from modest updating to total gut-and-remodel projects.
Such was the case for this three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath 3,220 square-foot unit on the eighth floor. On the market for less than two weeks, the new homeowners wasted no time initiating a transformation of the unit, leaving naught but the view untouched. But the process for this remodel was a little different, according to April Balliette, interior designer for DSDG Architects. “The client owns a textile company, and she did most of her own shopping. She would mail samples to me at the office, then fly in, and together we would narrow down the choices during marathon meetings.”
Emails flew back and forth between the pair as well. “The owner would send me a photo of an element she liked, saying ‘Let’s replicate this!’ Then I would come up with a way to do it!” laughs Balliette. “Parts of this project pushed me outside my design comfort zone, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out.”
Dan Lane of Markley Construction points to the level of customization, particularly of the finish materials, as an indicator of the challenges the renovation presented. “The insanely beautiful cabinetry on the bookshelves is a good example of the amount of pre-scheduling and pre-thinking required,” notes Lane. The unit had to accommodate fire sprinkler placement, HVAC, plumbing, and electric, as well as specific placement of the owners’ sound system.
With the home’s focus on the glorious Gulf, other elements of the master bedroom design take a subtle back seat. Elevated in order to be seen from the bed, a modest linear electric fireplace glows amidst a wall of Vetro Metallico glass-filled tile in Venus White Bronze, interspersed with strips of Beach Grass accent tile in White Bronze. The custom furniture piece at the foot of the bed houses a television which rises for relaxed viewing. The walls are quietly clad in Phillip Jeffries’ Como Silk II wallcovering in Coast.
Located in the interior of the unit, the master bath offered DSDG architect Mark Sultana a challenge. “The owner wanted a view of the Gulf from the freestanding tub. We couldn’t access the original plumbing, so we elevated the floor to install new plumbing where we needed it,” explains Sultana. The glass wall changes to a frosty privacy screen at the touch of a button.
The remodel retained the original bathroom count, which included his-and-hers bathrooms with a combined-use shower, but the bland beiges and browns of the 90s era bathrooms gave way to new neutrals, glimmering tiles, and furniture-quality fixtures and accessories. Custom mirror and glass pieces throughout the unit add sparkle.
Feature cover image: Roller shades are tucked away behind narrow wood valances papered to match the kitchen soffit and great room walls. The rectangular structural columns, once circular, were boxed in and tiled in an overlapping pattern adding texture to the room of glass. The original sliding glass doors and windows were replaced with impact resistant glass by Mullet’s Aluminum.
The bar area nestled into one corner of the great room can be hidden by the brass-accented barn door covered to match the surrounding walls in horsehair wallcovering that Balliette selected with the homeowner. The same tile used on the columns in the great room is laid flat here for the backsplash.
Once relegated to a corner darkened with plantation shutters, the dining area now spans two walls of near floor-to-ceiling windows, offering expansive views of the Gulf across velvet-covered tufted-back banquettes. When combined with the adjacent counter stools, a subtle blending of five different fabrics in soft, watercolor hues cover the furnishings. The dining table, created by Designer Marble & Granite, features an inset of Caesarstone in Frosty Carrina with wide, mitered borders of quartz in Berwyn.
Exchanging a dated, cramped, stark kitchen for this spacious culinary center opened the view while dramatically expanding the prep area and adding a dining counter option in the waterfall island by Designer Marble & Granite. Topped with Vadara quartz in Laneve from the Santorini collection, the island cabinetry is crafted of natural rift-cut dark pecan. Fabricated high gloss white cabinets hang above the cooktop.
Using a mix of Calacatta Gold, Grey Foussana, and Dolomiti, Balliette designed an inlaid “rug” in front of the tub, replicating the pattern in front of the shower, the vanity, and in the master bedroom closet which is accessed through this bath. Installed horizontally on the walls, fluted Pinnacle Calacatta Gold honed tile produces a linear effect, drawing the eye outward to the captivating Gulf view.
The angled walls of the powder bath proved perfect for shimmering Lucian Metallics chevron tiles in Pewter and Bronze. The floating vanity cabinet fabricated with Oneskin panels in Alentejo Elm is topped with Bianco Dolomite. The off-center placement of the sink, fixtures, and circular mirror is balanced by a trio of glass pendants.
The headboard wall takes center stage in this guest bedroom. Fashioned from tile left over from the owners’ primary home, it is a design masterpiece, accomplished by Balliette in AutoCAD. “The homeowner sent me the quantities and sizes of the tile she had on hand and I pieced it together, taking into account mounting the wall sconces.” Splashes of red accent the teal linens and upholstery, in one of the few explosions of color in the unit.The unobstructed views of the Gulf are all the embellishment this unit actually needs. Unified by the porcelain tile, stone selections, and the soft colors and textures of the furnishings, the spaces ebb and flow into each other.
Written by Ginny Peterson
Photography by Ryan Gamma
Architect & Interior Designer
1348 Fruitville Road, Suite 204
Sarasota, FL 34236
Luxury Home Builder
6111 Porter Way
Sarasota, FL 34232
Designer Marble & Granite
1227 Mango Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34237
6345 McIntosh Road
Sarasota, FL 34238
The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232