Howard and Janice Tibbals’ 2015 condo renovation was as lively and daring as you’d expect from the man who built the 44,000-piece Howard Bros. model circus and funded the Circus Museum Tibbals Learning Center where it resides at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “Ornate” is a word that comes to mind. “Lavish” is another. It had hand-painted gold leaf ceilings and a leopard-patterned rug strewn with roses. In short, a flow of patterns, colors and textures which John Ringling would have approved. We certainly did, and wrote about it here—you can see pics, too!

The Tibbals' original vibrant decor

The Tibbals' original vibrant decor

From the age of 19, Tibbals spent much of his life building the detailed 1/16th-scale Howard Bros. Circus, and he and Janice initially donated $6.5 million to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art—which was matched by the state—to ensure it would be properly cared for in perpetuity in the Tibbals Learning Center. Just one among other subsequent significant gifts to the museum.

Tibbals passed away in March this year. He was 85 years old.

The biggest circus fan on Earth ​was the retired president of a flooring company based in Oneida, Tenn., and at the time, the couple had combined two apartments at L’Ambiance condominiums more than 20 years ago to create the 5,185-square-foot Longboat Key residence, with its own private staircase to the beach. Situated within the gated Longboat Key Club, they sold the condo to Maurice and Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe in 2017 for $4.8 million. Other than a cheery yellow kitchen, the Cunniffe’s turned the decor’s volume down several notches to match the coastal craze that seems to have an indelible grip on all living spaces near the water. Its design bears no resemblance to the Tibbals’ brand of “ornate,” but it’s still pretty lavish.

Located at 435 L’Ambiance Drive, #J204 and K205, it’s the highest-priced listing in the 136 condominium complex. Each bedroom boasts a wall of windows and access to the patio, and two master en suites offer sitting areas that capture scenes of the Gulf and beach. The five-bedroom, four-bath (and-two-half-bath) residence also comes with 24-hour concierge service and security, a fitness center, Har-Tru tennis courts, an Olympic pool, spa, guest suites, club room and a wine cellar, plus an underground garage with two spaces. Residents can also join the Longboat Key Club for access to its amenities, including fine dining, golf course and marina access.

Interested? Contact Laura Pearson at (941) 993-5167 or Carmen Baskind at (941) 724-1854, both of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

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