I love color, but if an interior designer proposed a room with lavender, green, blue, orange and gray cabinets, I’d probably say, "Nay." 

However, seeing it in action in this Lido Shores home made me say, "Yay!"

It’s the kitchen at 150 Morningside Drive on Pansy Bayou, in a home that looks downright joyful among the comparatively plain midcentury modern homes and Med Rev mansions on coveted Lido Shores.

Although the color scheme wasn't the homeowners’ idea, they are credited with picking up the torch. Bob and Susan Lifeso, both 78, found the kitchen's original paint cans were left behind when they moved in. Instead of throwing them away, they faithfully had the colors reproduced, freshening up what late architect Dan Chapell had always intended for his dream home when he designed it in the '80s.

A fantasy of colors and curves, Chapell designed the 6,800-square-foot home on almost half an acre for his family, but died during construction in 1999. His widow, Heather, finished the house in 2001 with the help of contractor Pat Ball and interior designer Wilson Stiles.

The Lifesos, who are originally from Toronto, bought the home from Heather Chapell in 2005 for $3.8 million. Bob, a former orthopedic and spinal surgeon, remembers it being a tougher sell at the time. “Now, modern is all over, but that wasn't happening 20 years ago. It was too avant-garde at the time, but that’s what we loved about it,” he says.

The couple had previously lived in Mendocino, California, Buffalo, New York, and in Saudi Arabia for 10 years—but never in this style of house, they admit.

The exterior is a compilation of receding and advancing boxes, painted in a range of ice-cream colors, that Chapell used to mimic an Italian hill village, jutting in and out the side of a mountainside. (Picture tourist hotspot Cinque Terre, if you will.)

Chapell had also owned the two homes next door and lived in one of them at 1070 Westway Drive while he designed this one. True to his love of drama, that home was locally known as the “pink house.” He chose pink for the inside and outside to harmonize with the sunlight at a certain time of day. In fact, we wrote about it here all the way back in 2002.

During Chapell’s time at the pink house, he was able to measure the light and apply that to the Lifesos' home. “Don made it so we face the southeast. In the summer, the sun is north of us and we're in the shade. We realized what the man had done thanks to living next door for 15 years," Bob says.

The Lifesos' home, now on the market for $10 million, has six bedrooms and six-and-two-half-bathrooms. (One of the bathrooms has a urinal that Bob remarks is a little high, but that’s on purpose, since "Chapell was a taller man at 6"4," he says.)

It’s just one of the many custom touches the Lifesos maintained that makes this house such a show stopper, from original poured terrazzo floors with imported Murano glass accents to multi-hued surfaces. Sarasota custom woodworker Dale Rieke spent a year doing all the build-ins, along with a ceiling over the sitting room done in woven cypress, adding warmth and texture.

Another fun element to entertain the eye are varied ceiling elevations.

“The kitchen is probably 7 feet high, and the main kitchen is 8 to 9 feet high. The dining room is 8 feet and the bedroom is 11 feet, while the sitting room is 17 feet,” says Susan. There's also lots of glass to capture the landscape and open views to the bayou.

The home also has a separate guest suite, working studio, game room, children’s wing and office, and a catwalk bridges the second stories of the adjacent wings. The primary owners’ suite has balconies and there's garage space for three vehicles. There's also lots of steel and concrete. “That’s how Chapell got the curved walls. They’re made of board-formed concrete and were poured on-site,” Bob says.

Outside, there’s a lap pool, an expansive deck and deeded private beach access. One thing Susan says she’ll miss most is sitting by the bayou every day. “ It’s so quiet and peaceful. Pansy Bayou doesn't allow motor boats due to protected manatee habitat,” she says.

The one thing the couple did do is add custom metal sculptures to the grounds, which look right at home—in fact, the red one is fashioned after Bob himself. It's by Sarasota artist Jorge Blanco, who created Smile at Tamiami Trail and Boulevard of the Arts in front of Hotel Indigo, and those yellow runners on North Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota, among others.

As for the furniture, “we bought a lot of it from Don and his widow. It fits so well, it’s negotiable. We’ll take some pieces with us, though,” Susan says. Some of the art is also negotiable, but the illustration of them in front of the house, by John Pirman, is definitely relocating with the couple.

They imagine the new homeowner to be someone who loves art and hope it's someone who sees Chapell’s vision and keeps it.

They admit they’re unhappy to be leaving. “But now that our children have children, the two of us don't need 6,800 square feet to wander around in," Bob says. "We love the place and the children are upset, but there comes a time and a place [when it's time to move]."

They’re not going far, though, with plans to move to Plymouth Harbor just a mile away. As for when the kids and grandkids visit? “They'll have to come one at a time next time,” says Susan. 

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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