This house has so many interesting things going for it that it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, it’s a very early design by prominent architect Guy Peterson and it shows him not letting his imagination run wild but rather working under the constraints of a strict building code in the Harbor section of Longboat Key. In spite of the restrictions—no flat roof, etc.—he came up with a house that is part Greek temple, part Palladian villa, yet at the same time very modern and blends seamlessly with its more traditional neighbors.
And it’s the home of Ina Schnell. She’s the well-known arts patron who serves on many boards (including the Ringling Museum) and is famous for her taste. I’ve worked with Ina on many projects over the years and she’s a rare commodity in Sarasota—an intellectual bohemian who likes things elegant, so elegant that they even have a hint of austerity.
The home she and Guy came up with is, not surprisingly, highly sophisticated. The façade is symmetrical –almost—with a big cube on the left side which contains the garage and several bedrooms above. The cube balances out the symmetry of the middle section. It was a risky choice but it’s also the master stroke that makes the house significant architecture.
It’s a medium-sized home, just over 3,000 square feet. The unornamented interior was doubtlessly designed with art in mind, though when Peterson has to chose between a window looking out on the tropical setting or a blank wall for a painting, he always choses the window. So all the rooms are light and airy and have beautiful views.
For all its style, the home is very well-adapted to the way people live on Longboat. There’s a pool, of course, and part of it flows under a covered area creating a great area for entertaining. There’s also a dock. One of the things I like best about the house is that it doesn’t make a big deal about the kitchen. It’s there and it’s elegant and it’s frankly rather smallish. Ina is not the kind of hostess who toils in the kitchen when she has guests in the living room.
The home has a couple of unexpected flourishes, like a purple front door and some Art Deco style grill work. But its design is as sharp today as when it was built in 1994—proof that Longboat can be as elegantly modern as it is lush and tropical.
1530 Harbor Sound Drive is priced at $2.8 million. For more information call Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker at 941-387-1820.