Sophisticated Lady

By Robert Plunket March 5, 2007

By Robert Plunket

This West of the Trail beauty is brand-new—and thank God, it isn’t Spanish Med.



Guess what? My blog’s a hit! So many people have “logged on” that it overloaded our system and we had to turn on the back-up generators. And now I’ve been given the go-ahead to sell advertising, right here on my blog! So if you’re interested, “hit” me back.

            But enough about me. Let’s talk real estate. This weekend I decided to check out the Alliance for Historic Preservation home tour. It seems everybody else did, too. You couldn’t even get on the blocks the houses were on, much less inside the houses. So it turns out there was a whole group of people in my shoes, and we all got the same idea at the same time—we’ll go to open houses instead. But in the cute little remodels that dot the West-of-the-Trail area near the hospital and Southside Village there were so many panicky flippers that it became depressing. So I decided to focus instead on upscale new “infill” houses. 

If you have $800,000 to $1,600,000, you can get a very nice new house in this neighborhood (which, in case you don’t know, has become the place to live for the more stylish young professionals.) Chances are it will be Spanish Med, have 4 bedrooms, a lavish master bath, a two-story living room, often a pool, and so many granite counter tops that you wonder if there’s any granite left in the ground. Chances are also that the lot will be small, the subsidiary bedrooms and bathrooms will be bland, there may be more traffic noise than you want, and that your house with its Spanish Med look will appear slightly dated and just like everything else in its price range.

            Then I discovered 1918 Orchid St. It looks like a house up in Seaside. Florida vernacular, tin roof, with an old time cottage-y feeling. It’s cute from the outside but you have to see the interior to really appreciate what makes it special. The ceilings are 11’6” and much of the work was done by Amish guys and it has a solid, simple design, almost Shaker-like in its detailing. Highlights: a very hip black and white kitchen, a master bath with a new claw club from France and herringbone marble floors and great big windows. Also marble: the gorgeous fireplace surround, rescued from an old house. The master bedroom is especially large and lavish, but what makes this house so special is the attention given to the other bedrooms, each with special details, ceilings, wainscoting, etc. Most of all, the house has something all those Spanish Meds don’t: sophistication. It’s an all too rare quality in Sarasota building. That Spanish Med stuff is too corny for me. Who want to live on the set of Carmen?

            P.S. This is not the kind of advertising you can buy on my site. This is unbiased critical opinion. The advertising will, of course, be much more effusive.


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