Room with the Views

By staff October 1, 2001

Tom and Nancy Stout loved the layout and location of the spacious condominium they saw at Longboat Key Club's Regent Place, and they were swept away by the breathtaking views. East balconies overlooked the golf course to Sarasota Bay. A sparkling city skyline lit up the night sky. And their backyard was the gently rolling Gulf of Mexico. This was the one.

But silver lamé draperies and glossy white tile? Decor so metallic and reflective you instinctively reached for sunglasses? Interior designer Paula Prewitt helped the Stouts look beyond what they saw to visualize what the condo could become. Then she led them into the kitchen.

White tile, white cabinets, white appliances and high-gloss paint on the walls, in harsh and glaring white. The effect was Arctic. It rated sub-zero on appeal. "The kitchen just glistened," Prewitt ruefully recalls. To make matters worse, a large wall between the kitchen and dining area separated the kitchen from other living space and blocked the condominium's finest feature-those water views. Design decision No. 1: The wall must go.

Removing the wall created a sweeping expanse of connected living space with water views spanning Gulf to Bay. Now Nancy could envision starting her mornings sipping coffee at the breakfast bar and glancing over her newspaper at the horizon. Taking down the wall also turned the kitchen into a gathering place where friends and family could watch as Tom prepared his specialty-fresh grouper.

Once the wall disappeared, Prewitt warmed up the Winter Wonderland motif. The old white tile was painstakingly chipped away and replaced with sand-colored squares of saturnia travertine tile. Gleaming cabinetry was custom-designed with raised-panel doors in glazed fruitwood. Dark-green granite countertops provided a striking contrast and rich, finished look.

Smart stainless steel appliances, including baking and convection wall ovens by Decor and handsome twin sinks, replaced outdated equipment. Kitchen chairs and barstools were special-ordered from California in woven rattan and leather with red upholstery. The designer kept window treatments purposefully spare, selecting Roman shades woven of natural grass and reeds. The kitchen's neutral wall tones are washed in sunlight admitted through glass doors and windows.

Their new home's rich colors and sophisticated styling delighted the Stouts. They say they live in the new kitchen, basking in its handsome finishes and beautiful design. The space that was once so icy and isolated is now the warm and lively centerpiece of the entire apartment. Best of all, they can stand anywhere in the kitchen and see turquoise water and palm trees. "This," says Tom Stout with satisfaction, "is why people come to Longboat Key."

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