Tropical Oasis : An Ideal Island Retreat

This magnificent British West Indies style estate on Longboat Key’s eleven mile barrier island was designed by award winning architect, Mark Sultana of DSDG Architects and Voigt Brothers Construction, to take full advantage of the owner’s coveted 151 feet of beach frontage. With the beach view in mind, Charles Buky, realtor with Coldwell Banker Previews explains, “the house is built with floor to ceiling windows and there are no stacked rooms. Between the Bay and the Gulf, every room in the house faces the beach.”

The tropical oasis of the entry was skillfully created by Steve Nielsen of Critter Ridge Landscaping using existing coconut palms with the addition of heavy Clusia leaves and a variety of weaving palms. A tumbled concrete paver driveway leads to the home, where the entire base is covered in custom concrete Florida shell pavers. Those stone details are echoed in the trim of the front facing windows. An arch with stone cladding encases a fountain that illuminates remotely with stunning shadow effects. Above the arch, double stairs converge to the custom built mahogany framed glass doors beneath an exposed tongue and groove cypress ceiling with embedded lights.

The grand entrance opens to the foyer which encompasses the elevator and staircase, and then continues into the house’s twenty two foot tall living room. As the architect, this is Sultana’s favorite room in the home. “It opens up to all the other rooms and island views. It’s a seamless space between indoor and outdoor living.” A wall of glass with a single horizontal beam in the center gives a virtually uninterrupted view of the Gulf.

The staggered set Antiqued Turkish Travertine tiles flow into the living area. A see-through, metal lined linear ventless gas fireplace is shared by the adjoining study. The angled ceiling is covered in a white washed cypress, studded with four inch recessed LED can lights which can be adjusted by mood and color. The interior and exterior lights, along with the shades, climate, alarm, fireplaces, pool, and video and sound system are fully and remotely automated by Crestron.

The white painted shaker style kitchen cabinetry designed by Lori Fountain of F.T. Design, Inc., has a coastal feel and is topped with black granite counters that line the perimeter areas and the breakfast bar. The kitchen island is accented in a grayed taupe glaze with a patterned quartz countertop. Top shelf appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Wolf double wall oven, gas range, dishwasher, and microwave drawer. Matthew Jones, Showroom Manager of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Sarasota provided the kitchen appliances, as well as the bath and plumbing fixtures for the house, and believes in the benefits of having a local brick and mortar shop be the one point of contact for lighting, plumbing and appliances. “Customers may have it in their heads that they want one brand, but then they physically see and touch another and change their minds. It’s handy to have one local place that provides a wide range of products to help you make multiple selections at a single showroom.”

Between the kitchen and the living room are a variety of open areas; a dining room, family area, breakfast nook, and a granite covered bar behind which is a redwood door leading to the walk-in climate controlled wine room which can hold over 400 bottles. The breakfast area in front of the bar has corner slider doors that open at a 90 degree angle to capture the morning sea breeze.

Interior Designer Susan Hritz of SHS Design discusses the important role that interior design plays in furnishing a home with large open spaces. “This house is very comfortable for a family of all ages and also for entertaining. The idea is to create lots of functional conversational areas, as well as intimate gatherings places to make this larger home feel intimate. And, of course, enjoy the views.”

The main floor Master Suite is outfitted in eight inch hand scraped European oak floors and has it’s own ventless fireplace. Its glass wall opens onto a private covered balcony, and his and her walk in closets rest on either side of the room. Extra closet amenities include a private laundry room with Electrolux washer and dryer, and an fully equipped granite topped breakfast bar with custom cabinetry. The walls and floor in the ensuite bathroom with separate water closet are tiled with classic Carrera marble. His and her marble topped Alder vanities sit on opposite sides of the room. The large Roman shower has bay facing picture windows and a variety of shower heads. The Kohler Sunstruck Oval freestanding bath has a floor mounted Brizo Siderna tub filler and sits below a sculptural chandelier hanging from the tongue and groove tray ceiling.

The third floor houses four extra guest bedrooms with wool carpeting. The rooms are placed with two on either side of the bridged loft area overlooking the living room, and each guest room has its own ensuite bathroom and ten foot floor to ceiling glass walls with doors that open onto a shaded balcony.

The ground floor of the estate showcases the master engineering of Sultana and Voigt Brothers Construction.  “The entire shell of the residence had to be engineered to handle a direct hit from a category three hurricane,” states Michael Voigt of Voigt Brothers Construction. The house sits on 88 pilings that are buried almost forty feet into the ground. In the event of a direct hit from a higher category hurricane, the ground floor is built to “break away” and leave the rest of the house standing safely on stilts.

The fifteen meter saltwater pool is large enough for morning laps and has a built in hot tub jacuzzi spilling into the pool over fountains that light up in an array of colors using the Crestron system. Stairs beside the house lead to an outdoor kitchen area with a fridge, ice maker, Wolf grill, teak doors, and custom granite counters.

Even with all the luxurious amenities and exquisite attention to every detail, the biggest draw in the house is still the beach. The house’s access to 151 feet of private beach frontage does not disappoint, with natural lower growth native vegetation and a walkover grandfathered in from the original cottage home.


Written by Brooke Parker

Photography by Jimmy White


Charles Buky, Coldwell Banker
201 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Longboat Key, FL 34228


DSDG Architects
1348 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34236


Melange Home
64 South Palm Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236


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


SHS Design
1833 Morrill Street
Sarasota, FL 34236


Voigt Brothers Construction
2015 Rose Street
Sarasota, FL 34239

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