Jewel in the Sky : Penthouse on Longboat Key

Ronna Romney wanted her newly purchased penthouse at Longboat Key Club Bayside to sparkle. And sparkle it does — in the day when the sun shines in and at night, thanks to spectacular lighting choices. “Lighting, for me, is very important,” she says. “I love to walk out on the terrace and see the rooms lit up. It’s like a jewel in the sky. The chandeliers look like stars falling from heaven.”

Romney and her husband, Bruce Kulp, bought the 4,600-square-foot condominium in late 2015. The 20-year-old unit needed major updating and they turned to interior designer Deeia Topp, who had worked with them on a previous Florida home. “Deeia pulled in the builder, architectural designer, and fine custom cabinet maker, and we had an outstanding team.”

The couple’s goal was to create a haven. “We’ve led busy lives and I wanted to walk in and see it as a soft, comforting refuge,” Romney notes. The color palette is designed to be warm and inviting, but a neutral backdrop for their extensive collection of art. “I didn’t want any colors in the house to compete with the natural colors of the grand view.”

Architectural designer Rick Arieno, owner of Arieno Custom Home Design, says condos are always a design challenge. “There are things you can’t change, but it’s always fun to explore, push the limits, and see what we can do to really make it feel fresh,” he points out. “We ended up removing a couple of walls and reconfiguring some of the spaces. We’re all proud of the transformation. As beautiful as it is in the daytime with the views, it really stands out at night.”

Builder Dan Najjar of Najjar Construction agrees that condo renovation has a unique set of demands. “We worked closely with the building management and they were great. We removed all of the old floor coverings, cabinetry, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and started from scratch,” he explains.

Najjar encouraged Romney to visit Finecraft Custom Cabinetry’s Sarasota showroom for inspiration. “We were able to use three exceptional products, Irpinia, Miele, and Cambria which independently have very defining looks. We infused them into a stunning finished product,” notes Finecraft designer and owner Paul Martinelli. “It made the overall design process and execution effortless.”

Najjar says each of the elements, from the custom built-ins, the thoughtful use of indirect lighting and the quality at every level make this home really shine.


Floor-to-ceiling windows in this 10th-floor penthouse offer magnificent views of Sarasota Bay all the way to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa. The terrace provides 5,000-square-feet of outdoor living. Because the main living area is so large, designer Topp created several intimate seating areas. The TV area to the right features Lexington Home Mirage Marilyn ottomans, Ondine tables with silver-leaf finish, and Kravet Denham Lounge Swivel Chairs; at left is cocktail seating. Both areas are anchored by Lee Jofa rugs. The CTH-Sherrill console table near the windows is a favorite spot of the homeowners, where they can snack and watch TV or face the spectacular water view. Design Master swivel bar stools are from Angela Fine Furnishings in Naples. Two Fine Art Diamantina Collection handpolished quartz and crystal pendant lights twinkle overhead.


Art from the clients’ previous home takes center stage against the rugged, Ledgestone wall. Custom columns and ceiling are by Finecraft Custom Cabinetry in LPL Rift Koto finish. A true conversation starter, the Golden Lighting faceted crystal beaded chandelier in Mystic Silver features organic branches cascading with crystals to create a canopy of diffused light over the table. The AXIS glass top dining table is from Clive Daniel Home. Costantini Pietro chairs have a Zulu high-gloss finish. The Kravet bar cart can be rolled to any of the entertaining areas.


“The original kitchen was almost comical — it didn’t even have base cabinets,” says Topp. Finecraft designer Robin Trinkala helped Romney select Irpinia cabinets in Polyluxe Biano and LPL Rift Koto finishes, Cambria quartz countertops in White Cliff, and Miele appliances. A bold, black and white tile backsplash by Design Works is a dynamic part of the design. The adjustable tilting Elan Crushed Ice collection pendant light and modern floating range hood add “bling” to the space.


To the left of the refrigerator, behind glass paneled doors in LPL Rift Koto finish is a walk-in pantry. Beyond that is the service hallway, which has an industrial metal door that was covered with the matching cabinetry material by Finecraft Custom Cabinetry. The kitchen bar area in Cambria Galloway quartz houses a flat-screen TV and includes Casa Italia White Escopelle swivel bar stools imported from Italy.


Warm neutrals were chosen for the master bedroom to serve as a restful background for the owners’ colorful works of art. The centerpiece of the suite is the custom tufted Emerson Bentley bed upholstered in Kravet fabric with built-in reading lights in aged silver-leaf. Floating night stands by Irpinia are finished in Old Silver gloss. Verpan Fun mother-of-pearl pendants add a touch of glamour over each nightstand. The Minka Aire Symbio Collection ceiling fan has walnut blades and a brushed nickel finish. The Roxwell Ottoman, Michael Berman Modern Aero Chairs, and Luva Rug in sea mist are all from Kravet. Out of view are a built-in armoire, dressing table, desk area, and large television.


We tried to be mindful and reuse and repurpose what we could,” explains designer Topp, “so we kept the original marble floors in the bathrooms.” The small shower space was expanded to run the entire length of the tub. The frameless glass door allows plenty of natural light from the large window. The Irpinia polyluxe taupe vanity with White Cliff Cambria countertops are all from Finecraft Custom Cabinetry. The Silbilla pendant lights are blown glass with a crackled effect. Reflected in the mirror is a George Kovacs 3-light drum pendant.


This fun, yet sophisticated guest room was designed for visiting grandchildren. Of course, the room wouldn’t be complete without more glittering stars in the Starfire Beveled Crystal Glass chandelier in polished chrome from Maxim.


Every detail of this memorable powder room was meant to shine, reflect, and serve as a fitting background for the original Picasso. “I asked for everything to be off the floor … no legs,” Romney explains of the floating Irpinia vanity in polyluxe lacquered honey. “It’s lit underneath adding a beautiful glow at night.” Mirrored wall tiles from Design Works and foil wallpaper provide even more sheen. The Kurley wall sconces in satin nickel and dramatic faux-finishing on the ceiling finish the room.


Guests enjoy the ultimate comfort of an upholstered king bed in driftwood finish and pewter fabric. The upholstered bench in a java finish features two-tone fabric in Starlite Pearl and Starlite Pewter. Bed and bench Cox Manufacturing pieces sourced from Angela Fine Furnishings. Flanking the bed are Lexington Home Brands Graysby night tables with a travertine insert. Adding beauty to the vignette day and night is the Galaxy 7 light chandelier in midnight chrome from Crystorama.


Custom cubbies by Irpinia in LPL Weathered Teak in the husband’s study display the couple’s priceless collection of minerals, rocks, vases and artifacts. A panel on the Walnut Pecan finish wall designed by Finecraft Custom Cabinetry leads into what was previously a full bathroom and now serves as a space to keep office equipment out of sight. The Crestaire Collection Vincennes writing desk in a porter finish is paired with a Herman Miller Eames executive desk chair featuring a polished aluminum base. The bronze-finish Rock Candy 8-light chandelier from LBL Lighting contains smoke outer glass and opal inner glass.

Written by Richy Sharshan
Photography by Jimmy White

Angela Fine Furnishings
14700 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 3
Naples, FL 34110

Arieno Custom Home Design
Bradenton, FL 34209

Cambria / FineCraft Custom Cabinetry, Inc.
4333 South Tamiami Trail, Suite C
Sarasota, FL 34231

Casa Italia
10800 Corkscrew Road, #296
Estero, FL 33928

Clive Daniel Home
2777 Tamiami Trail North
Naples, FL 34103

Design Works
4500 Carmichael Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34234

FineCraft Custom Cabinetry, Inc.
4333 South Tamiami Trail, Suite C
Sarasota, FL 34231

Irpinia / FineCraft Custom Cabinetry, Inc.
4333 South Tamiami Trail, Suite C
Sarasota, FL 34231

Miele / FineCraft Custom Cabinetry, Inc.
4333 South Tamiami Trail, Suite C
Sarasota, FL 34231

The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232

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