This home is a match made in heaven between location and property. The sea views and beachside location are front and center and serve as the guiding design motif both inside and out.
Erik Abrahamson, the owner, basks in the satisfaction of having realized his vision for his home. “I wanted a home with clean white Mediterranean style, a touch of British West Indies on the outside, and an Old World European feel on the inside.”
He was attracted to the site for its vistas across Tampa Bay that take in the panoramic span of the Skyway Bridge, downtown St. Pete, Egmont Key, and the busy water traffic that runs the gamut from small boats to large cruise ships.
Abrahamson, a longtime local and a senior partner in the law firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, has been practicing in the Clearwater and Tampa area for over 30 years. His interest in real estate development, most recently on Anna Maria Island, was instrumental in his decision to build in this idyllic spot.
Intimately involved from the outset with Mason Martin Builders and Beacon Design, Abrahamson made selections consistent with the Old World Europe theme. The overall result is a dramatic white-on-white classic style incorporating eclectic antiques and new, rustic-feel furniture and décor.
The three-storied 4,500-square-foot home commands the beach front plot. Expansive rooms in a monochromatic color palate are enlivened by a staggering collection of Persian rugs in jewel-like colors and designs that Abrahamson has been collecting over decades. Solid furniture and accessories in wood, leather, chrome, glass, and mirror enhance a bright and pristine atmosphere with every attention to detail and comfort.
In keeping with the beach location, the driveway is paved with a sand-like material that tamps down into a firm walkable surface. The driveway leads to garages that accommodate two cars each. The custom front door with a multipoint locking system is flanked by two slim windows. Multiple balconies with ornate iron balustrades illustrate the way Mediterranean touches have been given a Caribbean theme in this house. The artful, freeform landscaping appears independent of human intervention and includes mature variegated palms, tropical and native plantings, interspersed with brilliant bromeliads, and natural rocks and moss.
The furnishings are a deft mix of leather couches, solid wood glass-topped and metal embellished end tables, giant pillows, plush throws, and genuine Italian Renaissance antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries. Of special note is the oval Venetian-style mirror that tops an antique walnut credenza circa 1790 to the left of the entry. Vibrant color is provided by the anchoring ruby-red Persian carpet, part of the owner’s extensive antique collection from different regions of Iran. Artful accessories — candlesticks, lamps, busts, masks, and flower arrangements — tie the whole room together, with ambient lighting provided by recessed lights and floor and table lamps.
Right-angled louvered picture windows form two walls of this ambient-lit eating room which seems to float over the waters of Tampa Bay. Reminiscent of the captain’s quarters on a ship, the nautical flair is strengthened by the natural plank flooring, chunky benches, and corner tallboys. Coordinating bar-height upholstered dining chairs surround an artisan-crafted kitchen island constructed from 100-year-old salvaged wood from Great Britain that serves as the dining table. Color in this room is again provided by an Persian carpet, illuminated by another wine barrel chandelier and recessed lighting.
Abrahamson confesses, “I am somewhat obsessed with symmetry, which is reflected in the design of the kitchen.” The emphasis on whites and neutrals is highlighted by Neptune Bordeaux granite countertops on all surfaces and the backsplash. The 13-foot island seats five comfortably on tufted velvet stools that tuck away neatly under the overhang. The light, airy look is seen in white-surfaced cabinetry, drawers and display cupboards, provided by Campbell Cabinetry Designs. The six-burner gas cooker incorporates a griddle and grill. Stainless steel appliances including Sub-Zero, Perlick, Asko, and Wolf provide ultra efficiency and convenience. Old Dutch and European Oak flooring from Oracle Surfaces, supplied by DuChateau Collection, flows throughout the home. Three traditional Persian runners in coordinating colors of ivory and garnet accented by blue and green lend warmth and softness.
The 1,400-square-foot master retreat on the third level has its own elevator access. A panoramic picture window frames the bay while two other shuttered windows and matching nightstands flank the bed. The natural wood floor is contrasted by the tongue-and-groove vaulted ceiling. The mid-19th century French Empire style king-sized bed made of carved and kiln-dried solid hardwoods is an impressive focal point in the room. Throw pillows in red and white geometrics echo the carpet to bring color to the monochromatic bed linens. A tan leather loveseat softened by pillow and throw is placed at an angle at the foot of the bed. Two French-inspired oyster gray chaise lounges bracket an antique walnut wood circular table, circa 1800. A smaller coordinating table sits beneath the central window. A crystal chandelier with silk shade is centered over the bed. Abrahamson describes the master bedroom as being the biggest challenge of this massive project saying “The initial design was remarkably different than the end result.”
Natural plank flooring from Oracle Surfaces, rope trim molding, and the white tongue-and-groove ceiling carry over into the master bathroom. A freestanding tub is the ultimate in luxurious indulgence. Sitting beneath three long windows, this Bain Ultra model features a spa, heated backrest, air bubbles, and aromatherapy. Beyond the adjacent glass-paneled half-wall is a large shower with three showerheads, paneled porcelain walls, and a marble floor. Metal and glass étagères hold towels, toiletries and buffet lamps. The floor is covered by an intricately patterned plush Heriz rug, augmenting the air of luxury. The pièce de résistance is a crystal chandelier, directly over the bathtub, mate to the one in the bedroom.
Keystone pavers in a geometric arrangement interspersed with artificial AlternaScapes turf makes for a unique pool deck that is a work of art in itself. The eye is immediately attracted to the contrast of dark green and the chalky white that frames the vivid bright blue pool with arching fountain and the distant Bay waters. Comfortable navy-cushioned loungers sit on the sunning aprons on either side of the intricately tiled blue mosaic spa. The pool is lined with natural native vegetation of palms, flowering bushes, succulents and bromeliads. A white fence separates the beach fitted with a fire pit and loungers, a cozy spot to relax and warm up on those chilly evenings.
The landing is dominated one of several wine barrel chandeliers found in the home. A step up leads into the neutral ambience sparkling with light.
Each level of the home has a balcony overlooking the pool and beach. The second level balcony flows from the living and dining rooms while the third floor master opens onto another expansive outdoor space. Each is lit by the starry effect of concealed lighting. The lanai seamlessly separates into areas for relaxing, eating or sunbathing. Natural native plantings that edge the backyard are magnified into the foreground with planters and urns in earthy tones that strategically anchor the area.
Written by Bina Joseph
Photography by Jimmy White Photography
Campbell Cabinetry Designs, Inc.
1531 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236
Mason Martin Builders
6000 Marina Drive, Suite 105
Holmes Beach, FL 34207
514 Central Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236