Suncoast : Home Tour : Peaceful Retreat


This four-bedroom retreat sits on three acres, surrounded by woods and overlooking a small lake at The Forest of Hi Hat Ranch in Sarasota. It’s one of the few homes by Emerald Homes that offers a spectacular unobstructed view of a lake tucked away beyond the trees.

A paver-brick driveway leads from a private street to rich mahogany front doors, a path pausing briefly for a small roundabout highlighted by flowers and plants and a courtyard flanked by dual 2-car garages opens to a few steps.

Creating that path was challenging because it demanded cutting into a pristine conservation area. So to maintain the natural environment as much as possible, while still being functional, was a job that had at one point had 100 people working on-site in harmony.

But the result, a 300-foot journey, leads to builder David Hunihan’s favorite part of the home, the grand foyer. “The thing I like most about the house is that walking in is almost like exhaling, just being at peace,” describes Hunihan of Emerald Homes.

From the neutral colors to hardwood floors and stained wooden beams -— the immediate feeling is ease.

“You walk in and right away the colors and the setting is just soothing,” he said. The home just invites you in, and wants you to relax.”

This is a model home in the neighborhood, so the features can be recreated or customized based on what the homeowner wants.

The home features four bedrooms — three are ensuites and one is on the second floor with a hall bathroom. One of the ensuites doubles as the pool bathroom. They all feature spacious walk-in closets with custom wood shelves, providing ample storage.

The interior design concept was accomplished by the incomparable team at Design Environments of Marietta, Georgia. According to project manager, Kristen Holloway, “Old world elegance combine with today’s classic finishes in this richly appointed home. Natural elements including tumbled stone, glass tile, and estate marbles are essential in creating the canvas for this exceptional space.”

Textured washed woods, glazes and crisp accents perfectly balance the old and new. Furniture lines include refined reclaimed and washed woods perfectly compliment the softness of linen and woven fabrics and vintage rugs.

Most fascinating about the home, especially being a model home, is the ability for a potential homeowner to come in, see, touch and feel all the elements. For example, the walls have grasscloth wallpaper in neutral hues in the family room, it’s in a hand-laid stud pattern with inset in the wall. Throughout the home, there are gallery lighting and textured walls – all of which lend to the inviting and rich atmosphere.

“We want homeowners to come in and experience what it would be like to live here,” says Hunihan. “Walk in, sit on the furniture, take in the different views and touch the materials.”

Prior to construction, Hunihan said Emerald Homes meets with the decorators and develops a ‘personality’ for the project, representative of the potential homeowner, and builds and designs in accordance to that vision.

The kitchen, a striking, stunning serene space in the home also features Schrock pull-out cabinets, GE Appliances and the same neutral, sparkling grey hues from the master bedroom, giving that comfortable yet luxurious feeling. It has a large walk-in pantry with plenty of storage and a large Carrera marble rectangular island that has a breakfast bar that can comfortably seat four people.

Gathering and entertaining spaces would be a must for someone interested in a home of this caliber. “The oversized kitchen is both practical and functional, as it includes all the necessities ‘of home’ but still has room for family members or friends to visit as food is being prepared,” describes Holloway.

The oversized dining room comfortably seats at least eight family members and friends and the large scaled table and chairs allows you to envision festive holiday meals and parties extending late into the night.

Every family needs an area to relax and play! The recreation room provides such an area. Put your feet up and enjoy a movie or grab a drink, and catch up with friends over a game of cards in this comfortable space.

The master bedroom, which is on the main floor, has two walk-in closets (his and hers) that have built-in shelving. Also the master bedroom has a sitting area by the windows that opens to the pool and the preserve in the backyard. The colors are neutral greys accented with dark, rich hardwood floors and a chandelier.

“Every master bedroom should feel like an escape space away from the troubles of the day and provide an environment to truly relax and rejuvenate,” according to Holloway. This master suite includes such comforts. The upholstered headboard and overstuffed bedding feels like you have landed in a luxury hotel for the evening.

Need a quick trip to the spa? Spend a bit of time in this master bath, and you will feel like you have! The crisp balance of the countertops, accent tiles and dramatic lighting gives the room an energizing vibe to start or end the day.

The pool features a spa and a fountain and is set on an angle. The purpose is to draw the eye from the home toward the setting – the lake and forest behind the homesite. It sits in a lanai that has the same paver brick pattern as the front of the home. A wet bar with a full stovetop grill and exhaust system is highlighted with rustic yellow color paint, cultured stone and cabinets built by Schrock.

But a lake, a pool, and a forest aren’t the only unique elements to the grounds -— the home also has a rain garden outside, using reverse osmosis to filter water from the well. The home then has a holding tank in the garage and uses all Culligan water filtration systems.

“We are very picky about our water quality,” Hunihan said. “So we make sure the homeowner gets the best water quality possible.”

The primarily goal is to build luxury that is at a fair market price. And this home hits all those notes — comfort, luxury, and affordability. “I’ve built many homes, and I am most proud of this one,” concludes Hunihan.


Written by Sabina Bhasin
Photography by Joni Dusek Photography

Emerald Homes
12602 Telecom Drive
Tampa, FL 33637

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