Design Yearbook

By saratemporary February 1, 2004

In the last decade or so, as more and more people with means and imagination have decide to build the home of their dreams here, Southwest Florida has gained a reputation as a design hotspot. Architects, builders and designers are redefining contemporary luxury living with homes that show off a host of new ideas and innovations. We invited Sarasota and Manatee design professionals to send us their best new work this year, and from those selections we chose the winners on these pages. Whether the spaces they created are classic or cutting-edge, they’re all infused with vitality, glamour and imagination, and they represent some of the best new trends in luxury living.

It’s a jungle in here: The trend, of course, is employing faux fur and animal skins to achieve Out of Africa romance, exotic elegance and comfort. Designer JoAnn Calleia pushed this room to the limit using a vast array of textiles, prints and art, effectively layering all the elements for a welcoming, plush ambience. She unifies the room with color repetition and both neutral walls and floor, so that while there’s a lot going on here, the scheme avoids visual confusion or intimidation. Textural richness is key.

JoAnn Calleia, Inc., 446 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. 954-0331.

Headboard heaven:

Carlson Design Group, 1251 Fourth St., Sarasota. 365-6996.

Ana Santa Maria, Robb & Stucky, 7575 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 923-2454.

Cooking good and looking good: The kitchen has emerged as the place where technology and "theme" design statements forge a marriage of practicality and beauty. It’s an idea to embrace, because everybody wants a spectacular kitchen. Ron Cook designed this Provence-inspired French workspace with enough "eye candy" to appeal to the most well-traveled Francophile while incorporating all the modern conveniences a family could want, from a gas range with a warming drawer to double ovens, refrigerator drawers, eating peninsular, and counter heights at different levels. This is truly a fantasy kitchen, brought to satisfying reality.

Cook’s Custom Cabinetry Design Studio, 1191 Palmer Wood Court, Sarasota. 366-6112.

When less really is more: A pared-down style requires haute design sophistication, and in this minimalist living room designer Suzanne Sultana proves that she’s terrifically accomplished. The key to a successful minimal look (and it’s a growing trend) is that the few pieces the designer selects must be spot-on perfect and must reinforce the impact of every other element. The resulting ambience should be one of freedom and lightness, with an emphasis on superior materials. This room expresses pure form, and every object echoes the rectilinear nature of the space. It’s sleek, refined and inviting, from the cushy lime-green revolving chairs to the crisp European sofa.

Sultana + Associates, Inc. Interiors, 1830 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. 955-5651.

Raymond Boorstein, Kanes, 5252 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 923-0045.

In the cozy breakfast nook, designer Missi Cooper-Youngblood optimizes detail to realize a relaxed setting that defers to the outside view. Her neutral scheme incorporates glass, hard-surface floor and playful two-tone chairs, which make a bold statement while staying within her restricted color range.

Suzanne Sultana’s black and white eating area is a piece of functional art. Limiting her color options allows for the architecture or bones of the space to become paramount. This neutral space is young, hip, and oh, so smart.

Sally Trout created a neutral palette den that’s both lively and serene. She focused on texture, subtle pattern and the play of dark against light for a small room that’s huge when it comes to contemporary sophistication and comfort.

Missi Cooper-Youngblood, 40 Old Englewood Road, Englewood. 475-5115.

Sultana + Associates, Inc. Interiors, 1830 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. 955-5651.

Sally Trout Interior Design, 1272 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 953-4418.

Nice niche: Grand niches meant to frame a bed or other important furniture or small niches specially designed to highlight a piece of art or a floral arrangement are very much in vogue now, and they’re tricky spaces that designers must deal with. In this Country French home on Longboat Key, designer Nancy Ebel chose to set a sideboard in the niche and install a piece of art above it. Anything in a niche takes on heightened importance, so the quality (or sentimental value) of the object should be impeccable. Designer Anne Folsom Smith used a niche in a long, narrow powder room to tuck in an opulent day bed and a dramatic drape which can be lowered. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book and just take a catnap in this winning space?

Nancy Ebel Interior Design, 5588 Eastwind Drive, Sarasota. 927-3668.

Anne Folsom Smith, 330 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. 957-0434.

Anything but bland:It’s an art: As collecting becomes more and more popular, interior designers are being challenged to propose a scheme around an art collection so that the home furnishings harmonize but do not compete with art glass, fine paintings, sculpture and ancient artifacts. These two rooms by designer Raymond Boorstein are similar in that the savvy professional has kept the walls and floors neutral, and he’s paid particular attention to lighting. The style, colors and even the texture of the furniture comfortably play off the artwork, so that each space is a seamless whole, avoiding any aspect of a museum or gallery environment. These clients are truly at home with their art. Neutrals used to be associated with an absence of taste or lack of design self-confidence. But a move toward a soft, earthy palette transformed that view a few years ago as residential designers began experimenting with limited ranges of hues from snow to ecru, from cream to camel, from tan to taupe. Suddenly neutrals became eloquent, and so they remain today. As you can see, these three spaces are inspirational. The super-soft, high headboard trend came to the residential design world through boutique hotels in Europe and America. Soon the thickly padded headboard became a bedroom focal point, combining superior pampering with sophisticated style. Waves is what designer Gail Carlson calls her serene room. Curvilinear furniture and soft color help express the restful nature of this embracing space. In her European traditional bedroom, designer Ana Santa Maria retained the ornate headboard carving but incorporated a padded section, giving her client both stylistic grandeur and lavish comfort.

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