Modest to Modern : A Sarasota Bay Condo Revival

When the seasonal owners of this downtown Sarasota condo decided it was time for a whole-home makeover, they contacted Liliana Allen whose work they’d admired in a previous issue of Home & Design.

The couple already had a particular vision that would transform their 2,800 square feet overlooking Sarasota Bay from modest to modern.

“They bought their home eight years ago when the building was finished and they hadn’t changed anything whatsoever – not even the paint,” notes Allen, the co-founder of Oracle Design Group in Sarasota. “The interior was very basic and they wanted a full upgrade and a serene atmosphere.”

“They loved the Four Seasons in Toronto, the palette of colors and how it makes them feel very comfortable,” Allen explains. “The idea was a sense of openness and spaciousness and a natural flow between rooms with subtle changes in texture and lighting.”

The designer started with the backgrounds, making floor to ceiling selections to introduce texture, like the smoky brown wood flooring. Light-casting crystal, metal chandeliers and pendants are coupled with dropped ceiling heights to incorporate cove lighting.

Walls are painted various shades of gray-taupe and gray. Touches of shimmer dazzle the eye in pearlescent and pewter tones, chrome, and stainless steel. Bolder colors are interjected in artwork, accent furniture, and accessories. The latter are mindfully scaled back to keep the look simple. There’s also an underlying nod to modern Italian design. “They wanted a fresh clean look. I didn’t want to overdo things,” Allen notes.

The space is purposely devoid of window treatments. “They love the view – the city lights and the bay,” Allen says. “They’re here to get away from long winters and want to enjoy the sunshine.”


Mirage wood flooring with an old maple surface and rock cliff finish adds textural depth and plays up the wood’s individual characteristics. Ornamentation in the living room is minimal. Clean linear shapes express themselves in the vanilla crème leather Savino sectional sofa by American Leather, the gray marble plinth coffee table, and the two gray armchairs with metallic frames. A trio of oversized turquoise ceramic vases and petrified-wood tables “lend a sense of rusticity,” Allen explains. An area rug anchors the seating group while also fading into the background. The only challenge in the redesign, says Allen, was finding statement art. “I browsed online a lot and finally found a painter in California who we commissioned for the artwork in the living room and sitting area.”


Allen crafts an intimate sitting area for conversation with a quartet of chairs clustered around Oggetti’s Eden cocktail table with a glass top. Its base mixes shades of gray wood with gray faux shagreen pieces. Metals are more predominant here, appearing in the chairs’ splayed legs, in accents, and the frame of a console. The rug ties in the main hues with its abstract gray chevrons.


A dramatic white-on-white theme is on display in the kitchen. Cristallo quartzite countertops, and an arctic white 1-by-2-inch subway tile backsplash add bling to the flatpanel cabinetry. A cantilevered island top adds visual impact. Schonbek’s 16-light stainless steel and crystal Plaza pendant from LyteWorks in the tray ceiling, and the undulating white-lacquered, Italian-made, FontanaArte Serpentine fixture, also from LyteWorks, suspended above the island. Wolf stainless steel appliances from Mullet’s Appliances, a Native Trails Cucina single bowl Hammered Nickel undermount sink introduce glimmer. Aquabrass Wizard pull-down faucet, and Waterstone Hunley hot/cold filter faucet are from The Plumbing Place.


“The glass table is very modern,” says Allen. Featuring glass panel legs and a glass top, a futuristic-looking chrome synchronized mechanism is used to extend and lift its surface. Glass and chrome repeat in accents and lighting: Schonbek’s cascading six-light pendant, and table settings featuring handmade Industria Vetraria Valdarnese clear glass dinner plates and chrome-decorated bowls from Malbi Décor. The flatware, also from Malbi Décor, is Linea Q stainless steel made by Sambonet, “the most important company in this field in Italy,” according to Maria Alberta Borri, proprietress of Malbi Décor.


Allen wanted each bedroom to stand on its own. “They have a different feeling,” she points out. “The master is classic for a grown-up couple. The others reflect different things: fresh and young, and a second master for visiting children.”


Calacatta gold marble with a white background and striations of gray continues the condo’s main palette into the bathroom as does a tufted ottoman positioned under a crystal chandelier in the octagonal tray ceiling. His and hers vanity cabinets and a built-in makeup table feature a glazed finish. Faucets are Hansgrohe Metris 100 from The Plumbing Place. The Max Release whirlpool tub from The Plumbing Place is highlighted with horizontal tiles in a mosaic of whites and grays on the wall and skirt.


The white room, as Allen calls it, features white bedding with a contrasting dark, upholstered headboard and faux-fur throw. Contemporary-styled, highgloss night tables are also white. Light glows from the architectural ceiling detail and bedside lamps in stainless steel. The 3-D artwork above the bed introduces color and interest to the otherwise understated space.


Taking its cues from the bedroom, the guest bath has a clean-lined vanity with silver hardware and legs. The backsplash features a harlequin-inspired patterned tile in earthy tones of gray, brown, and off-white. The glass-enclosed shower is clad in Contempo marble with a mosaic tile floor.


Pewter and gray-brown benefit from pops of indigo and turquoise in the second master bedroom furnished with Durham’s Front Street. “The bedding has a reflection to it that makes it pearlescent,” Allen notes. The three mirrored drawers of each nightstand also add to the light factor. A casual chair features modern Danish design and black steel legs.


A Native Trails Cuzco vanity features a trough sink and two faucets from The Plumbing Place. The textural surface of the stacked stone backsplash complements the 12-by-24-inch contempo marble floor.

Written by Nanci Theoret
Photography by Jimmy White

816 Manatee Avenue East
Bradenton, FL 34208

Malbi Décor
127 South Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

Mullet’s Appliances
4233 Clark Road
Sarasota, FL 34233

Oracle Design Group, Inc.
514 Central Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

Oracle Surfaces
514 Central Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232

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