One Great Room

By staff March 1, 2008

Although Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf had been renting in Sarasota since he founded Medical Education Technologies (METI) here in 1996, they maintained their primary residence in Greenwich, Conn. “We spent a great deal of time here, but knew we wouldn’t really feel tied to the community until we reversed the situation and made Sarasota our home,” Rosemary explains.

Falling in love with a Bay Plaza condo sped up the process. “The building has good bones and a lot of character,” Rosemary says. But what sold the pair on their new apartment was its layout and 1,000-foot wraparound terrace that give the feeling of a private home in the heart of the city. “We love the integration of outdoor and indoor spaces; that’s what Florida living is all about,” she says.

To make it truly their own, the art lovers gutted, reconfigured and remodeled the entire condo. Rosemary supervised the renovation and designed the space to accommodate favorite paintings and antiques from the pair’s Northern home. The result is a sophisticated yet comfortable setting that blends the best of their Connecticut and Florida worlds.

Contemporary lighting from Light Up Your Life enhances the couple’s fine art collection, pinpoints favorite antiques and provides a modern decorative aesthetic.

The great room and terrace are punctuated with exotic orchids hand-picked by favorite source and family friend Eve Howes, whose new Pineapple Avenue shop is called Awesome Orchids.

Italian porcelain tiles from Manasota Tile in Bradenton are strikingly contemporary in charcoal gray with a linen textured finish, providing a gallery-like setting and neutral foil to colorful art.

Still discovering the treasures of the Sarasota art scene, the pair could not resist Sonnet Gallery’s exuberant Ivan Rojas painting, or the subtly toned Alberto Mancini work at Imperial Art.

Art deco club chairs, a walnut queridon pedestal table, and a vintage French poster were purchased in Connecticut from a beloved friend, the renowned late French antiques dealer Judy Hornby.

The sculptural dining table is a work of art in itself, in solid teak with scalloped edge and a top of contrasting wooden squares that resemble cookie cutters.

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