Seaworthy Sanctuary : A Family Waterfront Retreat

This stunning British West Indies-style house on Harbor Drive in Sarasota Bay is everything the homeowners—a pair of empty-nesters with grown children and grandkids—wished for and more.

Interior designer Gail Carlson of Studio G Home collaborated with builder Steve Murray of Murray Homes and architect John Potvin to build the clients’ forever home. With this tried-and-true team, the odds of creating something special were very good.

“It all started with finding them the right acreage,” says Murray, who specializes in finding just such land. “This lot is in a great central location. It’s close to downtown, near good schools, and has navigable water and stunning views.”

The half-acre pie-shaped lot is smaller on the street side but opens up laterally on the bayside, allowing for great indoor-outdoor connectivity at the rear of the home.

“Because we’re in the flood zone, we had to raise the home’s elevation,” says Potvin. “What’s special about the architecture is that we brought the feel and spirit of water inside, starting in the foyer, where you see the infinity pool, also raised, straight out the glass pocket sliding doors in the back. The pool is literally 12 feet away.”

Once inside the 5,100-square-foot home, waterfront views are paramount from glass doors and covered balconies. The home is divided into two wings—one with the main living spaces, the other with the master suite. Upstairs are three guest rooms, including a bunkroom with play area on the open landing.

“The décor is transitional in style,” says Carlson. “I wanted it to feel sophisticated. There are subtle references to coastal elements throughout the home, but nothing is stereotypical.”

Whether in pops of blue, or in the cypress paneled and beamed ceilings, or the weathered pine floors, a refined coastal look prevails, but the selected mix of materials and furnishings are timeless for any location.

“I like to juxtapose the dark against the light, the textured against the smooth, the coastal against the refined,” notes Carlson. “I find it creates an interesting space when you combine contrasting and different materials and elements.”

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“This family home on Sarasota Bay features a standing seam metal roof, painted shutters, and bungalow rafter-tail details,” states Murray. “The contrast in light colors and darker woods and how the overall mass is broken down into a more human-scale, with breaks in walls, roof lines, and porches give it that distinct British West Indies architectural style.” This is a fully integrated smart home which includes Crestron controlled audio, video, lighting, shading, thermostats, and more, provided by Wicked Smart Homes.

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In the great room living area, which opens onto a furnished and covered porch, furnishings are both comfortable and elegant. A pair of velvet sofas—one in cocoa brown and one in French blue—creates an L-shaped area capable of seating many when the homeowners are entertaining. A custom cabinet with television sits to the far right. The trapezoidal coffee table is by Hickory Chair, and the cocktail ottoman in white cowhide is from Studio G Home. The fireplace is stacked ledger- stone from La Casa Tile.

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Custom cabinets in the kitchen are a simple raised panel style. The darker cabinets are painted and finished in a brushed glaze in Sherwin-Williams Porpoise. The island’s lighter based cabinets are similarly treated in Worldly Grey. “We wanted to create a strong focal point,” says Carlson of the dramatic chevron-patterned marble feature wall, with open wood shelving on iron brackets. The kitchen features an integrated paneled Sub-Zero refrigerator, and Wolf oven-stovetop range.

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Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring European white oak from the Dolce Vita Collection in a Vienna finish is shown here and throughout the home. The focal point of the dining space is a spectacular, custom-designed, glass-enclosed, climate-controlled wine cellar that visually separates the open kitchen and dining spaces without blocking light. Studio G Home supplied the concrete-topped and iron-based dining table. The slipcovered dining chairs in user-friendly oyster hued Sunbrella fabric and the velvet host-and-hostess chairs are from Lee Industries. Tone-on-tone sheer curtain panels fabricated by Beginning to End Interiors add a touch of warmth and another texture to the space.

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Shiplap walls in the master bedroom are painted in Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray. The extra-long upholstered headboard in a wool blend was custom fabricated by Beginning to End Interiors and adds another horizontal element, as does the triptych above the bed. “There is power in repetition,” says Carlson. The blue velvet side chairs and nightstands are Thomas O’Brien for Century Furniture. The armchair and ottoman in taupe chenille with lighter contrast piping is from Studio G Home, as are the Italian bed linens and the wool carpet underfoot. Carlson acquired the antique, hand-painted botanical prints in silver-leaf frames at the High Point Market.

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The master bathroom is a symphony of 12-by-24-inch Silver Shadow marble from La Casa Tile, laid on the floor in a large-scale herringbone pattern and in a staggered brick pattern on the shower wall. The glassed-in shower also has flooring of tumbled pebbles. The counters are honed black granite and the freestanding bathtub is by Maxx. The bath features Rohl faucets in polished chrome.

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Barn doors lead from the bunkroom to the flex-room on the open upper landing. This comfy space is furnished with a linen slipcovered sectional sofa from Studio G Home, accented with cut-velvet trellis-patterned pillows. A pair of cotton rag Annie Selke ottomans provide extra seating. The walls are painted Sherwin-Williams Useful Grey. Glass sliders open to a large porch with Century Furniture outdoors faux wicker furnishings and white Sunbrella cushions.

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The bunkroom was custom-designed by Studio G Home and built by Murray Homes craftsmen. There are twin beds on top and queen beds below, comfortably sleeping up to six visiting grandkids. “When the kids and grandkids come, they have the upstairs bunkroom and playroom,” adds Carlson. “Just as the master suite is a retreat for the homeowners, this is a retreat for the kids and grandkids.” The bunk bedding is casual easy-to-launder cotton and linen. The wall sconces are by Visual Comfort.

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The spectacular infinity edge pool at the rear of the house was raised to better integrate with the living space. “The pool is usually down in the yard in these elevated homes,” says Potvin. “We brought it up and made it part of the home. The wings of the house reinforce lateral views and serve to embrace the pool, as well as encourage views bayside,” he adds.


Written by Charlotte Safavi

Photography by Mark Borosch

Fabrication by
Beginning to End Interiors
4453-C Ashton Road
Sarasota, FL 34233

La Casa Tile
1777 Northgate Blvd., Unit A-3
Sarasota, FL 34234

Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring
2684 Horseshoe Drive South
Naples, FL 34104

Murray Homes
25 South Osprey Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

Studio G Home
1530 State Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

Wicked Smart Homes
527 South Pineapple Avenue, Suite A
Sarasota, FL 34236

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