Relationship Building : The Foundation of a Sarasota Masterpiece

The peninsula of Manasota Key stretches for 11 miles along the Sarasota coast. Its beaches are often referred to as hidden gems, its mansions a string of pearls. Like those lustrous orbs, this Florida Mediterranean style compound on the Gulf of Mexico took years to form.

A pleased former client referred the new homeowners to builder Rod Jacobson, of The Island Building Company. Jacobson assembled a team that included architect Mark Beebe of Beebe Design Studio Architects, and interior designer Bonnie Lancaster, ASID, of Lancaster Interior Design, with whom Jacobson has collaborated on homes for more than 20 years.

The team embarked on a demolition, construction, and interior design project that ultimately took nearly five years to complete. Two older homes on the gulf- front site were razed. Jacobson first constructed the three-bedroom, four-bath, 3,200-square-foot guest home that the owners occupied during the design and construction of their 7,300-square-foot main residence.

Architect Beebe says the owner’s desire for their Italian villa by the sea was to capture the incredible vistas of the waterfront property. “We embarked to unify the guest house and the main house by creating a vibrant community space between the two buildings. We sited the main house forward, closer to the beach so the views are unencumbered,” notes Beebe. The design includes five bedrooms, eight baths, and other living areas as well as 4,400 square feet of lanai, garage and other outdoor living space.

Lancaster crafted an interior design style she calls Southern European. “It’s a chic, but casual look,” she notes. Lancaster called upon the expertise of art consultant Juan Perez of the Wally Findlay Gallery to enliven the home with an exquisite art collection. She also relied on the talents of her daughter Keffie Lancaster, Associate ASID, to fill the space with carefully chosen furnishings and accessories.

With years invested in the project, everyone involved agrees that the foundation of its success was built upon the relationships of the team. “Construction is a personal process wherein we must trust others. You must have good chemistry with all the people involved,” says Jacobson. “I really enjoyed working with Mark (Beebe),” he continues. “Like me, he focuses on the client. With us, the client’s desires drive the project, not the dictates of the architect or builder.”

Jacobson also credits construction manager Bob Briggs, “Bob builds great relationships with our sub-contractors, treating them with honesty and transparency. The quality of the house is a direct reflection on Bob,” says Jacobson proudly, adding, “… and the beautiful interiors Bonnie created tie it all together.”


The walled and gated compound is served by a driveway and motor court that ties the two homes together. Its brick pavers were imported from Central America. Pristine, neatly manicured landscape design by ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design completes the impressive entryway. Powder-coated aluminum balcony railings resemble the wrought iron counterparts found on balconies across the Mediterranean. Builder Rob Jacobson followed the old world Mediterranean method of laying the clay tile roof. Despite an old-world feel, the house is fully automated. Every aspect of connectivity to mechanical, surveillance, and in-house technology systems can be controlled remotely from a mobile device according to architect Mark Beebe.


The signature piece in the upstairs entertainment room is an upholstered sectional covered in linen and embellished with two-thousand polished nickel nail heads. The tufted custom ottoman with Lucite legs is from Century. Motorized Lutron blinds and draperies control natural light in the space. One end of the room houses a custom-built bar, illuminated by an oversized Regina Andrews Capiz shell chandelier with a curved silk shade. The wood frame leather-covered bar stools are from Century. The bar includes a Scotsman icemaker, under counter wine cooler, and under counter refrigerator from Monark Premium Appliances. The Palladian style doors with seeded-glass inserts open to a hallway gallery.


Muted shades of the sea in aqua tones flow softly though the symmetry of the great room. A Century Devon sofa covered in a tightly woven fabric with light texture and subtle chevron weave opposite a pair of Century Colson chairs in Quicksilver Black with leaf-patterned silk fabric. Chelsea House Opus round ceramic lamps top a duo of identical Chelsea House Lisette end tables in silver. A marble-topped iron coffee table from Century anchors the seating group, which rests on a custom dyed La Vie En Rose Barbara Barry rug atop 18-by-18-inch French limestone tile from Tile Market of Sarasota. The built-in cabinets flanking the fireplace are reproductions. The cabinet on the left houses the TV on a lift. The room is illuminated by twin, crystal wall sconces and a crystal chandelier from Halo Styles.


Rich in architectural detail and finish, the formal dining room is a nod to classic elegance. Overhead concentric oval soffits delineate the space. The floor is 18-by-18-inch French limestone tile with mosaic insets of laser cut marble from Tile Market of Sarasota. A glass-top table custom designed by Lancaster with etched detail sits atop a Chelsea House wrought iron base. Warwick side chairs and Antoinette arm chairs are from Currey & Co., as is the Mayfair Chandelier overhead. The Eglomise console is from John Richard Collection.


Elegant in its simple black-and-white color scheme, the kitchen features cabinetry by Cabinet Design Studio and statuary marble countertops with a backsplash of marble, circles designed and handmade in place. The casement edge, fireclay farm sink and Rohl faucet are from The Plumbing Place. Black marble, honed and brushed for a subtle gleam, tops the island. The Doma bar stools are custom-embroidered with Italian phrases. A pair of oversized Chelsea House Calla Tole pendant lanterns in black wrought iron hangs from a crossbeam in the tray ceiling, which is inset with tongue-and-groove panels. Emtek geometric knobs and pulls are from The Plumbing Place. Stainless appliances are from Monark Premium Appliances, as is the integrated Sub-Zzero refrigerator.


An antiqued mirror backsplash separates the upper and lower cabinets in a butler’s pantry crafted by Cabinet Design Studio. Seeded-glass in the upper cabinets lends an air of antiquity, as do door and drawer knobs by MacKenzie-Childs. A Chelsea House crystal chandelier throws beams of light onto glossy black cabinetry, which provides ample storage, and hide modern conveniences like the Scotsman icemaker from Monark Premium Appliances. French limestone from Tile Market of Sarasota in 18-by-18- inch squares is laid in a checkerboard pattern alternated with black honed marble squares.


The family crest etched in the glass door welcomes guests into the wine room. The crest is repeated on the back wall in a tile mosaic designed by The Tile Market. The rich beige and golden tones of the Napolina honed limestone floor sparkle with naturally-occurring crystal. The stone base moulding gives the room an Old World feeling, owed to an abrasive brushing and edge-distressing process used. The custom wine racks lining the semi-circular room are from Cabinet Design Studio. A Century wood gathering table and swivel leather bar stools are illuminated by a dramatic chandelier from Visual Comfort.


Two-toned cream and lavender silk damask is layered with textured linen fabrics on the silver leaf four-poster bed from Habersham and at the bay window where motorized blinds and sheers control the natural light. A pair of Century mirrored side dressers placed in front of concentric circle mirrors magnifies the silvery tones in the furnishings. Walls are painted Stormy Monday by Benjamin Moore. Osbourne & Little fabric covers the Eloquence Grande Boudoir bench. Twin Highview chairs and an ottoman from Century offer a cozy place to enjoy the water view. Lancaster sourced various fabrics in the home from International Design Source.


Polished Crema Marfil marble tile floors the master bath. Exquisite tile work designed by Lancaster and painstakingly handcrafted by Jacobson’s master tile cutter serves as an example of the meticulous attention to detail in the home. The scroll design was overlaid on the tile in front of the Victoria & Albert Marlborough freestanding tub from The Plumbing Place. The stone was cut and replaced with hand-clipped lavender marble tile to create the mosaic design. The process was repeated in the shower. A six-arm crystal chandelier from the John Richard Collection sparkles above the inset. Lancaster designed the custom-built cabinets with antique mirror drawer fronts. Sumptuous Austrian shades in the Osbourne & Little fabric coordinate the bed and bath spaces.


One of Beebe’s favorite features of this residence is the resort-like outdoor recreation space. “This space unifies the two houses, and embraces what we consider a truly Floridian outdoor living environment,” says Beebe. Copper gutters and downspouts were used around the exterior, in keeping with the quality of the house and architecture. The soffit, underside of the eaves, and the pergola near the pool are faux wood, impervious to rot. An array of luxury outdoor furnishings from JANUS et cie, Brown Jordan, Lane Venture, and Artifacts Cast Stone ensure hours of enjoyment by the pool. A custom concrete outdoor dining table was created by Jake Brady Concrete by Design. Underlayment for the umbrellas was custom made to bring the lavender tones of the interior outdoors.

Written by Ginny Cooper
Photography by Jimmy White

ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design
160 Pond Cypress Road, Suite B
Venice, FL 34292

Beebe Design Studio Architects
825 South Tamiami Trail
Venice, FL 34285

Cabinet Design Studio, Inc.
825 South Tamiami Trail, Unit 2
Venice, FL 34285

Design Works
4500 Carmichael Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34234

International Design Source
1785 Northgate Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34234

The Island Building Company
510 Colonia Lane East
Nokomis, FL 34275

Jake Brady Concrete by Design
1314 10th Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

Lancaster Interior Design
Sarasota, FL

Malbi Décor
127 South Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

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

The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232

Tile Market of Sarasota
1962 Main Street, Suite 120
Sarasota, FL 34236

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