Winter Wonderland : A Northern Couple’s Cold Weather Retreat

When a couple decided to winter regularly in sunny Sarasota, they purchased a 4,200- square-foot luxury condominium on the Gulf of Mexico. While the views were spectacular, the unit was not, so they decided a total overhaul was needed. To help them create their vision they brought in Bonnie Lancaster of Lancaster Interior Design.

The homeowners wanted a quiet and restful place, keeping the focus on the outside. The condo’s palette combines the classic seaside grays picked up on a rainy day contrasted by the aqua sea glass hues seen when the sun is shining along the coast.

First and foremost, the wall separating the kitchen from the great room came down, opening up the floor plan. Next, the ‘skip trowel’ concrete ceilings had to be re-done to achieve the smooth finish desired by the new homeowners. “We had to remove the crown moldings and flatten the ceilings until they were perfectly smooth. We call it a level 5 finish,” explains builder Tim Macksey of Macksey Construction.

The kitchen came next. Because it was now an open concept, finishes and fixtures had to complement the rest of the home. Patterned wallpaper on a silver foil background and dressy bar chairs with polished nickel nailhead trim help the kitchen blend into the adjacent family room. One feature which makes the kitchen special is the Calcutta marble waterfall island. “It took us 90 days to find the right piece of marble with artful veining, rather than use a homogenous piece. It looks like a giant cube of marble, with mitered edges that are book-matched,” explains Macksey.

The condo’s overall design continued to evolve, with dated tile and standard wood floors replaced with wide-plank Kährs Oak. The main living area floors are primarily a driftwood-hued stain, with a contrasting four-inch perimeter border in taupe. Throughout the home, choice furnishings blend comfort and elegance to create the perfect seaside retreat for a couple escaping the harsh northern cold.

In the great room, a large linen-upholstered sectional by Century Furniture sits on top of a neutral tone-on-tone area rug by JF Fabrics. Pops of orange — one of the homeowners’ favorite colors — enliven the space in the vibrant artwork, as well as in a mix of leather and glass-beaded throw pillows. Armchairs in a silver leaf finish, with Zimmer + Rohde silk upholstery and contrast piping from Kravet Couture, add a touch of elegance as casual and formal elements mix in the same space.

In the kitchen, the tray ceiling works with the shape of the new waterfall island featuring cabinets finished in Benjamin Moore’s ‘Rockport Gray’. Existing cabinet boxes received new fronts and were reconfigured for improved storage, and hardware was switched from bronze to polished nickel. Subway tiles from Tile Market of Sarasota blends with the gray cabinets. The waterfall island also has deep drawers, offering extra storage. The bar chairs, from Century Furniture, are upholstered in a resilient indoor-outdoor acrylic fabric to withstand day-to-day usage and the lively times associated with their grandchildren’s visits.

The family room sits open to and opposite of the kitchen’s bar chairs, looking out to the Gulf of Mexico. Furnishings here are more casual to accommodate the family’s desire to watch football games and relax in this room. The sofa is by Highland House Furniture while the pair of swivel armchairs is by Century Furniture. The custom area rug sits beneath the glass-topped coffee table from Decorative Crafts.


The homeowners wanted a quiet respite in the master bedroom, along with a place to watch television. The custom console at the base of the bed holds a TV on a hydraulic lift and was designed to match the mahogany bed and chest from Century Furniture. The homeowner loves blue hydrangeas so a delicate blue was chosen as an accent color. The accent pillows are made from printed voile from Osborne & Little. Nightstands in a painted cream finish from Highland House Furniture contrast with the darker wood hues.


In the master bathroom, the periphery didn’t change much, as the homeowners wanted to keep the marble counters and marble shower stone. Two white marbles — honed Calcutta with Thassos inserts — were used to blend the flooring with existing slabs. The white-on-white wallpaper by Thibaut also adds fresh interest to the space, as does the spectacular hand-blown Venetian glass light fixture from Decorative Crafts.


The bold decision to wallpaper the guest bath in leopard print wallpaper by Schumacher creates a sophisticated yet hip vibe. Charcoal drawings, 24-by-24 inch Crema Marfil marble and fixtures by The Plumbing Place complete the bath.

One of the condo’s two guest bedrooms is painted in Benjamin Moore’s ‘Prescott Green’. Schumacher fabric is used in the motorized curtains and pillow shams. An Oly chair, with an organic raffia woven back and sides, adds textural interest in the serene space. The art is set in floating frames.


Written by Charlotte Safavi

Photography by Jimmy White Photography


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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