When Stanley Kane died in August, it was the end of an era. During his heyday—the early 2000s—Sarasota was still a small town socially, run by a group of extremely wealthy, mostly older people who controlled—in a good way—the town’s arts and culture. They entertained lavishly and without the corporate and foundation element of so many parties nowadays. Things started to fracture with the arrival of Lear jets full of even richer newcomers, and then politics and the pandemic ruined everything.

Janet and Stanley Kane

Janet and Stanley Kane

But while it lasted, the home of Stanley and Janet Kane was the epicenter of this gilded world. For such a landmark, the Kane house is unassuming from the outside. It used to be a hotel, people say, back in the earliest days of Siesta Key. But once you get inside it all becomes clear. There are many “best views” in Sarasota, but the Kanes had one of the top five: straight across the bay to the downtown skyline.

Janet Kane (she died in 2009) was famous for her clothes and jewels, and her house is the perfect setting for a grand dame. It was full of her signature orchids and packed with art, not just the expected landscapes but all sorts of whimsical things, like a full sized statue of Andy Warhol. Be sure and check out the painting over the piano. That’s Janet and her very spoiled pugs. At the Kane residence on Martha’s Vineyard (a local landmark) the pugs had their own separate house and a staff of two to take care of them. (I may be exaggerating a little but that’s the way the Kanes really lived.)

The bedrooms—there are six of them—are more formal and traditional. Janet knew how to run a house, and they make perfect guest rooms. The master bedroom is very luxurious and the master bath has a glass ceiling. Janet’s closet is the size of a small apartment.

Janet loved to entertain and had a gift for it. She and Stanley hosted an Oscar party every year, complete with prizes. And their 50th anniversary is still fondly remembered; tents were set up on the lawn that swept down to the bay and an orchestra played for dancing while Janet fluttered from table to table, wearing all her diamonds and basking in the glow of her best party ever.

539 Norsota Way is priced at $7.5 million. For more info, call Lenore Treiman of Michael Saunders at (941) 356-9642.

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