If you’re among the gajillion people who have made the drive out to Siesta Key, you’ve definitely seen this house. If you've gotten stuck in traffic, you may even have stared at it and snapped a phone pic to send to snowy places. That makes sense. The Siesta Key Bay House, as architect Damien Blumetti calls it, commands attention.
It’s unique and daring. It’s avant-garde. It's simple yet grand. It's also the first cast-in-place, board-formed concrete house in Sarasota. In fact, the home is comprised of three primary materials: board-formed concrete, cedar wood and impact glass.
Completed last year, the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom house is located at 830 Siesta Drive at the base of the north bridge. The 3,200 square-foot, single-family waterfront residence borders Siesta Drive to the north and Roberts Bay to the south.
The homeowners, Dr. Pedro Briceno and Dr. Matheus Tonantzin, both from Venezuela, wanted their new home to be constructed with raw materials. “In Venezuela, we have a lot of concrete," Briceno explains. "I always liked that style–something simple made with good, solid materials." They bought the waterfront lot in 2018 for $1,585,000.
The family previously lived in Lakewood Ranch, in what Briceno calls “a nice house.” “But it was a typical, deed-restricted neighborhood with cookie-cutter homes,” he says. “We just wanted something a little different.”
Blumetti delivered. As innovative as it is, the home also hearkens back to the Sarasota School of Architecture movement that gained traction after World War II. The Bay House's design is influenced by Paul Rudolph who, throughout the 1940s and '50s, introduced a new kind of architecture to the Gulf Coast that responded to its climate and used passive systems to cool and shade structures (think sliding glass doors and overhangs). Award-winning architect Guy Peterson also influenced Blumetti's style after working under him for 10 years, first as an intern and later as a project architect.
The Bay House offers a modern interpretation of these ideas, which remain relevant today. Case in point: the south facade of the home has a 14-foot overhang in the main living area, providing unobstructed views of the Sarasota Bay while also blocking out the most intense southern sunlight. The project uses thermally broken windows and insulated glass to reduce heat gain inside.
So what exactly happened when 830 Siesta Drive was “cast in place?”
The concrete pouring is the most intensive part. “It takes months to set up and prep each pour because once it's poured, there's no going back," Blumetti says.
A special compound added to the mixture made the exterior walls waterproof, and a subtle track of cables on the interior walls allows the homeowners to hang art without pulling out a concrete drill bit. Wood adds warm and texture.
The interior of the concrete forms was framed with rough-sawed cedar; the concrete took on the pattern of the wood grain as it dried. The cedar was then milled and repurposed throughout the home instead of being thrown out–a smart move amid a price spike that tripled the cost of wood overnight.
"We've been exploring the use of more honest materials in our work. For example, exposed concrete is honest, but when you cover it in stucco, you're covering the raw form of what can be a beautiful material," Blumetti says. "A material that isn't honest is manufactured to look like the real thing, such as tile that mimics wood."
Another element that adds warmth is a 20-foot-long, two-foot wide skylight in the kitchen that brings the outside in and floods the main living area with the pink and orange sunsets Siesta Key is known for. Each room has views of the water, and the homeowners cherish their outdoor spaces. The lot is almost 15,000 square feet, and the two-storied home takes up just 3,400 of them, allowing tons of room for outdoor terraces.
Unsurprisingly, the family doesn't plan on relocating anytime soon. Briceno, who helped build the skylight, feels bound by a dash of sweat equity. After all, "we didn't have it built to move," he says.