Lido Shores is a home gawker’s dream, dotted with modern homes in both today’s style and the iconic midcentury style of the Sarasota School of Architecture. In fact, the neighborhood continues to be a main destination for Architecture Sarasota’s three-day annual MOD Weekend, coming up this weekend, where design lovers can stroll through iconic homes such as the Zigzag, Umbrella and Hiss Studio houses.
These classic gems are interspersed among other styles, like this palatial address that fetched $11.5 million earlier this year. But the Sarasota School tradition continues with a new generation of spectacular homes, like Zephyr House. It’s currently under construction and is on the market for $12.5 million–a little more of a deal than the home next door, also being built, that's listed for $14 million. Two more luxury homes in the neighborhood are also in the works.
While the homes of the Sarasota School will be preserved for their history and role in the post-World War II style, the new crop being built might prove that memories of Hurricane Ian evacuation zones are quickly blurring. The Zephyr House—yep, when they cost more than $10 million, they get a name—will encompass some of the same elements of the Sarasota School, like seamless transitions between indoors and out, clean horizontal lines, a flat roof, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and broad overhangs for providing shade. Unlike the original Sarasota School homes built before today’s hurricane safety codes, though, Zephyr House will be able to withstand storm surges with built-in generators, solar energy and backup systems that can be repaired remotely.
As for the look, “The owner's vision for the home was to have a warm, tropical, feeling with organic touches in a monochromatic scheme to keep it light, airy and bright. That’s our typical aesthetic,” says local architect Steffani Drass, founder of TROP Architecture.
The challenge was the skinnier lot size. “It’s eastern facing so we had to get the overhangs right to catch the sun and sculpt the spaces around the natural light and bring it in,” Drass says, which according to the renderings, was a success.
Owners Pam and Chris Ontiveros bought the previous home at 448 Bowdoin Circle, which was midcentury modern in style, for $3.4 million in 2021 but tore it down after some consideration.
“We debated because we like the midcentury style and wondered if we should renovate, but there were so many things that it needed—like all new plumbing, electrical and roof structures,” says Pam. “It needed to start over. But we used a lot of the flow the original house had and incorporated a similar footprint with the new build.”
It’s not an uncommon conclusion homebuyers come to. The majority of the Sarasota School of Architecture homes in Lido Shores are on the interior roads; many on the water have been demolished over the years to make way for larger homes—especially since waterfront land is rarely a humble location, and most of the original homes were barely over 2,000 square feet. Zephyr House will span almost 5,000 square feet and have six bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus an almost 1,000-square-foot guest house. Since accessory dwelling units were recently OK’d by the City of Sarasota, they’ve picked up in popularity, says the home’s builder, Steve Murray of Murray Homes.
The Ontiveros, who split their time between Illinois, where they own a tennis club and Sarasota, had renovated homes before but never built a $10 million-plus home—or even built from scratch.
“We’ve traveled a lot and thought of hotels we liked. In Europe, we saw many modern homes since they’re so far ahead of us when it comes to that look," Chris says. "Being in Sarasota and Longboat Key, a lot of the architecture is from the 1990s or before. It’s nice but dated. But we also wanted to keep the Sarasota style in mind as we incorporated the new features.
What older homes also lacked, he says, was a city skyline view. “In the '50s you couldn't see the Ringling Bridge or the cityscape," he says. "Now the view has an urban flair.” The massive cantilever off the main bedroom of Zephyr House is the perfect perch from which to contemplate it.
Zephyr House has organic touches like knotwood gates, imported from Australia, and shellcrete floors—which offer a smooth, matte finish concrete with shells that span both inside and out, creating seamless transitions. The floor was inspired by terrazzo, often used in Sarasota School homes. The wood inside the home is white oak for a beachy feeling, reminiscent of the color of sand. A Zen garden will mark the entrance. But one of Pam’s favorite places is outside the home on the dock, "where I can just watch nature–dolphins, manatees and jumping fish. It’s really peaceful there,” she says.
Bev Murray, the real estate agent representing the couple in the sale, is seeing inquiries come in from people who were at first looking toward Naples. Those inquiries “were scuppered by Ian,” she says. Otherwise, it’s been “a good mix of interest from people in and out of town.”
Murray Homes, the builder also spearheading two more nearby luxury homes on Lido Shores, expects the Zephyr Home to be done by the spring of 2024.
One added bonus for the homebuyer is that they'll be able to rent the Ontiveros’ three-bedroom Longboat Key condo at the Longboat Key Club while Zephyr House is being finished. “Even though they have to wait for the house to be built, the buyers don’t have to wait to be down here enjoying the sunshine,” says Bev.
But that’s if the Ontiveros can let go of such a dreamy home.
Interested? Contact Bev Murray of Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Florida Realty, at (941) 225-7355.