A Master Plan

By staff October 1, 2003

Good design is often like a math equation. There's a time to figure out all the variables, a time to add and subtract, and a time for creative thinking to achieve original results.

Fortunately, Gary Roberts, owner of Bamboo Development, has a head for numbers and a penchant for perplexity. Plus, he and Marilee Kline, his significant other, had already fallen in love with a particular house in The Oaks on the bayside-just perfect for all their entertaining-so they had to find ways to make it all work.

"Malvern Oaks is a 10,000-square-foot beauty, situated on more than an acre in The Oaks and overlooking a vast sweep of Sarasota Bay," explains Roberts. "The pool looks like a Hollywood movie set, there are dozens of swaying palms, garage space for my car collection, everything." So he accepted the challenge of completely restructuring the house, beginning with the bedroom. The goal: to create a lavish and lovely master suite from two small bedrooms and two tiny bathrooms connected by narrow hallways. The stumbling block: accomplishing this task without removing, repositioning or reconfiguring a single exterior window or roofline. The solution: thinking outside the box.

Immediately, the entire space was gutted to see what he had to work with, says Roberts. He mentally formulated an interior floor plan, which was later transferred to paper. Roberts could always envision his remodeling scheme, but without the dark hallways and dozens of doors, the construction crew at last could see and believe. Next, closets and bathroom were configured. Existing windows were incorporated into the design, even utilized as decorative accents. Symmetry was created through clever placement of mirrors, cabinetry, furniture and accessories. What seemed unworkable is now delightful whimsy. So what if the immense walk-in closet enjoys an elegant water view? Probably the clothes are happier that way.

Slowly, the bedroom took shape with gorgeous Palladian windows showcasing water views and access to an expansive veranda. Colors of copper and Anjou pear warm the space; and painted wainscoting gives the room an elegant, traditional feel. The recessed tray ceiling is coated in a reflective copper paint to diffuse and reflect indirect lighting and bathe the room in a soft glow. A dark wood plantation-style four-poster bed was hand-crafted in Natchez, Mississippi, and mixes easily with antique pieces, art glass, handsome bronze lamps and pieces discovered by Roberts and Kline during their travels. A velvet chenille sofa and low coffee table provide an excellent spot for reading and relaxing or coffee and conversation. Floors are covered in luxurious deep-pile wool carpet in honey beige and artwork on walls and tables indicates Roberts' preference for strong, bold colors and classic lines.

Just around the corner awaits a breathtaking master bath, featuring $15,000 worth of rich Italian marble on countertops, floors and tiled surfaces. Roberts refers to the minuscule mosaic squares as "chiclets" and utilizes them for dramatic aesthetic appeal in sporadic splashes across acres of polished marble flooring. An oversized open shower features six spray jets along with the overhead sunflower rain head and wall-mounted flexible shower nozzle. Polished wood columns, framed mirrors, detailed trim and polished cabinetry imbue the bath with an opulent old world charm.

"We wanted our bedroom and bath to feel elegant and inviting," says Roberts. "Also there is warmth, due to the different textures and color combinations. While it was difficult to make these rooms work with such restrictions in place, I am pleased with the result. And nobody can believe the before pictures." 


Design by Gary Roberts and Marilee Kline 

Construction by Bamboo Homes 

Woodwork by Elite Cabinets 

Furniture and accessories by Robb & Stucky 

Accessories also by Lee Younger of Classic Imports

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