Real Estate Junkie: The Way We Were

This month, a Sarasota real estate gem: Bob Plunket's Home of the Month is a beautiful gated mansion on Siesta Key.

By Bob Plunket September 30, 2012

Our Real Estate Junkie's home of the month.

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3336 Old Oak Drive, Sarasota

No other home epitomizes the style of Old Sarasota as well as this gated mansion set on two acres of mainland waterfront near Siesta Key. Owned by several prominent families over the years, including the Robartses and the late Paulette Crabtree Schindler Blair, it was designed back in the 1950s by Ralph Zimmerman. It's been updated and expanded, and today it contains almost 6,000 square feet of understated luxury.

With five bedrooms and 4 ½ baths, it's perfect for a large family—in fact, the original owners, the Robartses, had nine kids. Many rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay, and there are several fireplaces, Mexican tile floors, an elevator and a large family-style kitchen. The living room, more than 40 feet long, is traditional in feeling, yet modern touches are everywhere. Note the beautifully proportional panes in the dining room windows that slide back to allow access to the terrace.

The grounds are just as impressive as the house. Yes, there are old oaks, more than 50 in fact, providing a canopy of shade for the entire property. There's a heated pool, an enormous lawn, a motor court and two garages for four cars.

The house in its present incarnation is very much the creation of Paulette Blair, long one of the most stylish women in town. Active in a variety of causes, from the arts and education to Republican politics, her most famous legacy may well be Pique-nique sur la Baie, an annual luncheon for New College Library Association that is attended by all the ladies in town, each in her chic-est outfit and most elaborate hat. That spirit of elegant living permeates every corner of this one-of-a-kind Sarasota treasure.

3336 Old Oak Drive, Sarasota


Contact Kim Ogilvie, (941) 376-1717, or Michelle Crabtree (Paulette's daughter), (941) 907-9595, at Michael Saunders & Co.


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