Sunshine Mid-Century : A Winter Refuge on Longboat Key

Before owners Will and Betsy built their vacation home in Longboat Key, they visited the canal side homesite on Sarasota Bay in all four seasons to see the positioning of the sun. “We live in an old stone farmhouse in Pennsylvania, so creating a refuge from winter with plenty of sunlight was our top priority,” says Will. The couple worked with custom builder Murray Homes and interior design firm Apex-Studio Santa Maria to create their 3,300-square-foot dream house. “Style-wise, we made the home as different from our farmhouse as possible, with a completely modern vibe,” explains Will.

Interior designer Ana Santa Maria from Apex-Studio Santa Maria was brought in early on the project. “The goal was to create a cohesive design inside and out,” she explains. “The result is a sleek residence that, in true mid-century style, integrates the outside environment with interior living spaces beautifully. And while the home is typical of the architecture of that era, it has all the latest technology.”

Although the home’s elevation appears to be two stories, its split interior is three levels with a guest suite on the second level and two additional bedrooms on the third floor. Barrier island living is brought to life with the use of native stone, exotic woods, and ample windows to take advantage of waterfront views.

The owners leaned heavily on Steve Murray, President, of Murray Homes, and and Michael Tuttle, his Project Manager as the two helped them bridge the 1,200-mile gap between their northern farmhouse and their new winter home. “We were able to use our computer program which creates customizable renderings, allowing changes to be made in real time with the client,” explains Murray. This program became especially important when trying to decide between terrazzo and wood flooring. “There is a dramatic difference between the structural engineering needed for wood versus terrazzo. This program allowed the owners to feel comfortable with their choice.” Ultimately, what Will and Betsy visualized is a place where they, along with their children and grandchildren, could come together in one big open living space. This welcoming home is a destination sure to be appreciated for generations.

 The mid-century modern exterior makes a striking statement in the neighborhood, but did create a dilemma for the clients. “While they wanted a modern home, they were worried it wouldn’t fit in the neighborhood. We were able to create the architectural feel they were after while building a home that didn’t look out of place,” says Murray. The horizontal lines of the roof repeat across the front elevation from the inset trim and narrow clerestory windows on the left to the balcony railings on the right. The mahogany front door also features horizontal planks. The door, chosen for its large scale to match the volume of the structure, has a custom stain. The geometric landscaping is simple, yet inviting.

A major focal point of the home and favorite feature of the owners is the great room fireplace. Coral Keystone brings a feeling of the ocean inside. Blocks were custom cut to align with the Fry Reglet stainless steel bands that run through the made-to-order wenge wood panels. The same design is carried throughout the home’s Milano interior doors, which feature silver detail and an espresso finish. A floating bench of Caesarstone raven quartz completes the horizontal composition, offering space for accessories and an inviting place to sit. Terrazzo floors throughout the first level bring an Old-Florida feel to the house while keeping the flow and openness of the mid-century style. They are also a low maintenance material. The glass tables and contemporary furnishings from Home Resource provide a neutral backdrop for colorful paintings from the Grace Howl Art Gallery.

The same finishes found in the kitchen are used in the martini bar. Color LED lighting shines through the glassware. Deep horizontal drawers house a Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. Upper cupboard doors continue the sleek lines and open with a slight push. The glass tabletop and sculptural base and chairs from Home Resource add to the feeling of spaciousness. With an emphasis on entertainment and the outdoors, the entire back of the house opens up with doors to the lanai and the canal beyond. Sliders open fully and the dining room and covered lanai become one living area that displays the interior’s integration with the environment.

The kitchen merges into the living area without any barriers. “Coming from a tiny farmhouse kitchen, we wanted a large space where everyone could be cooking and preparing together,” explains the owners. The pure white Caesarstone quartz island allows for ample prep space. The glass induction cooktop emphasizes the clean lines and is placed away from the island to allow maximum workspace for family and guests. All outlets are hidden from view, and small appliances are stored in cabinets to keep the kitchen uncluttered. The richness of exotic sapele wood adds texture to the minimalist kitchen. With little ornamentation, the beauty in the details shine. Custom cabinets by Campbell Cabinetry Designs contrast the Atlas Concorde porcelain tile backsplash. The smooth finishes of leather and chrome bar stools add vintage charm. White pendant lamps are Rhythm Suspension Lights from LBL Lighting.

The second level of the residence features a serene guest suite with a private bath. Soothing, light colors are contrasted by the pops of aqua and rust in the art by Grace Howl. The quilted chair is an elegant accent piece that provides visual texture while maintaining the neutral palette. The contemporary furniture here, as in the rest of the home, was sourced through Home Resource. Celestory windows preserve privacy yet let sunlight in.

Ocean blues and organic furnishings were chosen for the exterior spaces. A built-in grill, ample storage, and a small sink add convenient functionality. The design features large picture-window style openings that frame the tropical views, yet offer privacy from neighbors. Electric roll-down screens can enclose the terrace with the push of a button.

Thanks to the homeowners’ scouting trips and careful planning by the team, the pool is bathed by the sun during the winter. The deep blue pool has a sun shelf for lounging and wading. The stairs were run across the entire width of the pool, offering even more space for cooling off and relaxing. Angular landscaping beds add hints of green yet require minimum maintenance. The pool terrace is concrete cast with shells for yet another touch of nature.


Written by Richy Sharshan

Photography by Mark Borosch Photography


Campbell Cabinetry Designs, Inc.
1531 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236


Home Resource
741 Central Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236


Murray Homes
25 South Osprey Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236


Wicked Smart Homes
527 South Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

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