Step Inside a Glammed-Up Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Penthouse

A Ritz-Carlton penthouse gets an elegant uptown update.

By Ilene Denton October 1, 2014 Published in the October 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Images by Daniel Newcomb Architectural Photography

When the longtime owners of a Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota penthouse retired from their high-powered international careers, they decided it was time to retire their home’s design as well. They called on interior designer Sally Trout to take it from country mouse—think overscaled furniture, faux French doors flanking a Colonial fireplace, and a color palette of yellows, greens, blacks and burgundies—to serene city sophisticate.

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The couple had purchased the apartment pre-construction more than 10 years ago and used it as a pied-a-terre, knowing that someday they wanted to settle in Sarasota. That meant consolidating homes in Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and San Francisco into one. They happened upon Trout’s work while attending the annual Ritz homeowners’ progressive dinner; neighbors hosting one of the dinner courses had recently had their apartment remodeled by the interior designer.

“I knew that I wanted an eclectic look, a backdrop for the art and collectibles [everything from contemporary paintings to Asian antiques],” says the wife.

The wife’s design mandate, says Trout of her latest project in the Ritz Tower Residences, was clear: “The homeowner had a really clear idea of what she wanted: very neutral, classic and elegant without being too stuffy. We didn’t do a whole lot of structural work to the apartment but we really transformed it.”

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Now their home sparkles with fabrics and wallcoverings that have a bit of metallic sheen, and lots of interesting textures. The point of departure for the chic color palette was the taupe that swirls through the existing travertine flooring. Together, the designer and homeowners chose a beautiful taupe, Balboa Mist from Benjamin Moore, for the wall color throughout the apartment.

The new living room—“very grown-up,” as Trout describes it—incorporates shades of smoke, silver, deep gray, light gray and topaz. The couches and Deco side chairs are more appropriately scaled for the room than the originals, serving to open up the apartment and let in a lot more light. A geometric silver-leaf Baker table adds luster, as do the silver-leaf chests beside the fireplace and its newly clean-lined cast-stone surround. And, instead of a standard ceiling fan, Trout installed a dramatic chandelier from the Venice, Italy, Murano lighting company Barovier & Toso, “the oldest company in the world,” she says. “It’s kind of fabulous.”

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The dining room chairs and sideboard were the homeowners’ from before the renovation. Trout had the dining table base built out of wood stained to resemble slate. The glittery modern ceiling fixture is from an Italian company called Luceplan.

In the media room (the former dining room), Trout kept the existing hand-painted Paul Montgomery Studio mural commissioned by the homeowners. (Montgomery, whose well- known studio is in Churchville, Va., is a Ringling College of Art and Design grad.) On the floor is a custom, hand-knotted rug by a company called Niba, so soft that “you want to wear it,” says Trout. Local artist Pamela Marwede hand painted the animal print pillows. The set of hand-carved wooden doors to the bar was already there; “I liked it, so I kept it,” the designer says.


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The kitchen is all new, designed by Eurotech Cabinetry, with pale-quartz colored high-gloss lacquered cabinets. More metallic sheen comes from the glass backsplash.

In the adjoining breakfast area, comfy barrel leather chairs on casters surround a Swaim table with a deep bronze base—bringing more textures and metal finishes into the mix. “The homeowners were very specific about how they used that room,” says Trout, and no wonder—the view of the Ringling Causeway from the big window is nothing short of spectacular.

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Wallpaper encrusted with flakes of real mica provides the glam factor in the ultra-elegant powder room. There’s more interesting wallpaper in the master bath, too—molded and textured tissue that’s been painted with metallic paint. Trout kept the master bath footprint, but refaced the cabinets, added framed mirrors and installed a big custom ottoman made of “lifestyle fabric” with a velvety texture. (That’s what indoor-outdoor fabric is called these days.)

The project took six months, and the homeowners and their designer are delighted with the results. “It is comfortable, livable, welcoming,” says the wife. “Sally allowed not only the artwork but the very special views to be the focal point.”


Design Team


Sally Trout

Designer, Project Manager

Abigail Nunn

Custom Cabinetry

Eurotech Cabinetry


Anthony W. Girard Specialties

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