You may notice the impeccable pairing of color, artwork, light fixtures and furniture in this waterfront condo. The whole home sings "good taste" and "attention to detail."

That's because interior designer Ellen Hanson, the owner of Pansy Bayou, a boutique she calls “a designer’s secret supply for goods not yet found in Sarasota,” has lived there since 2017. Her secret is balancing curated vintage finds with custom-made pieces. Originally from Manhattan, her sensitivity to style led her to stage the interior of the Cocoon House, a midcentury modern jewel, and before moving to Sarasota, she and her husband Richard Perlman's 19th-century Greek Revival Home in Sag Harbor had been profiled by Martha Stewart. For 25 years, Hanson was also an interior designer with offices on Madison Avenue.

So naturally, we’re tickled we get to peek inside her two-story condominium at 280 Golden Gate Point, #400, in the Guy Peterson-designed Aqua building. The couple bought the 8,000 square-foot space for $7.79 million in early 2017 and joined two floors together during the pre-construction phase. Built in 2016, it has four bedrooms and five-and-two-half baths.

Beyond the knock-out views of the bay, the Ringling Bridge and the sparkly Sarasota skyline, specific touches we love include a bed frame headboard Hanson salvaged. Get this: it’s a repurposed landscape art piece from a police station in Rochester, New York. Made of anodized aluminum, it was cut down to fit its current use and “has a patina of age,” Hanson says.

Contrary to how many of the latest condos are outfitted, a vintage wooden rocking chair her husband found in East Hampton Village adds a human touch that looks suspiciously right at home among the otherwise modern esthetic. “Too often, when people have space in a new high rise, they feel the need for chrome and leather. There’s something about this rocking chair that feels animated,” Hanson says. “I have my morning tea there and he sits there in the evening, while our dog eats a treat nearby.”

Take note of how to pull off this interior design layout–the condo just hit the market but the furniture and art aren’t included in the $13.77 million price tag. 

What is included is a sculptural staircase that feels like an ocean wave. With the help of local architect David Lowe, “it has a nautilus shape, so there’s a reference to sea life,” Hanson says. It’s made of concrete and marine-grade steel used to build boats. The staircase was fabricated on the Gowanus Canal, right off of Manhattan, and cut into three pieces, then transported and reassembled here, she explains.

The light fixtures, each a distinct, custom-made statement piece, are also included in the sale. Each is made by “young American makers,” she says, who she works with through Pansy Bayou. The new condo owner also inherits a custom-built 1,200-bottle wine cellar. And upstairs there's a spa bath, dual offices, fireplace and a yoga-exercise studio, with en-suite guest rooms with access to the terrace. The condo also comes with access to two boat docks and two private two-car garages.

Why leave such a gem of a space?

In addition to downsizing–"it's an enormous square footage for just the two of us," she says—the couple wants to be closer to their adult kids, who both live in Miami. But fear not: Pansy Bayou and Hanson's interior design services aren't going anywhere.

As it did for many, "Covid had us reshuffling priorities. We spent most of the pandemic in Boca Grande and thought, 'Wow, you can still operate a business on Zoom,'" Hanson says.

They've already bought a 1924 clapboard house, built by one of the Duponts, in Boca Grande, but they'll probably find a smaller place in Sarasota, too. "We love it here," Hanson says.

What she'll miss most are the spectacular sunsets she calls "Mother Nature's crazy abstract paintings," and the close-knit neighborhood on Golden Gate Point that "feels like its own small town where everyone knows each other's dog's name."

Interested? Contact Lisa Rooks Morris at (941) 544-3332 or Amy Drake at (941) 376-9346, both of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

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