One Great Room

By staff July 1, 2006

Before Dianne Belk and her husband, Larry Calder, retired, they searched the country for active arts communities. In Sarasota they found a varied cultural bill of fare and a warm welcome from groups they now champion (the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Ringling School and the Sarasota County Arts Council among them). But few homes seemed architecturally compatible with their eclectic and sometimes radical collection of contemporary art.

Undeterred, the pair bought a place in University Park, then immediately stripped it of almost every arch and Mediterranean column. "Our goal was to create a completely open home that was clean, bright, sparse and comfortable, with an easy flow from room to room," Belk says.

An industrial engineer by trade, Belk did all renovation drawings, chose neutral colors punctuated with bold sweeps of tomato red, and selected furnishings for comfort and efficiency. The result is a free-flowing space where art is displayed gallery-style on walls unencumbered with furniture.

Columns of beige linen draperies and upholstered valance, both from Decorating Resources, are color matched to dining room walls for visual continuity.

Instead of traditional barstools, the couple perches on ergonomic Haworth conference chairs from Unisource with reclining backs and gliding castors.

Belk says her square dining table by Elite Woodwork promotes conversation and equality because there is no head of table. Home Resource chairs repeat the wenge wood. The Italian chandelier is from the Lamplighter Shop.

Original contemporary art is by Australian aboriginal artist Janet Forrester Ngala, Picasso, Syd Solomon and Sarasota's George Pappas and Kevin Dean, to name a few.

Belk custom designed the sculptural, professional-grade Vinotheque wine cellar. The stainless steel exterior and door pulls coordinate with cabinetry and other appliances.

The great room bar repeats the kitchen's custom cabinetry of wenge with frosted glass and stainless steel trim by Elite Woodwork and antique brown granite from European Marble.

In an extreme makeover of the bar's overhead architecture, Belk replaced a closed-in Mediterranean structure, bound by four columns and several arches, with contemporary lines and airy negative space.

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