One Great Room

By staff April 1, 2008

When Ronda and Don Gallehue purchased their two-bedroom condo in the new Rivo at Ringling in downtown Sarasota, they knew their decorator, Alison Levin Bishop, would be tackling more than a few challenges. “It’s a cool building, but the floor plan was an interesting dilemma,” Ronda Gallehue says. “There is nothing square about those rooms.”

The owner of Living Walls Furniture and Design, Bishop concurs. “The dining room had no view, so we relocated it; we added an organic, triangular dropped ceiling to soften the angles and unify the space; and we chose a lively color palette to create an urban buzz,” she says. That buzz was important to the Gallehues because it defines their new downtown lifestyle.

Don, a professional tenor saxophonist and big-band arranger who’s also controller at DomRey Cigar in Bradenton, and Ronda, a vice president with Barrington Group, a real estate development company, moved to Longwood Run in Sarasota when her company relocated here in the 1990s. “Now our concept was to leave the ‘burbs for a downtown experience. Alison brought that vibe into our home, and made it a lively, happy place,” Ronda says.

An elegant space-saving replacement for standard swing doors, track-mounted frosted glass doors with anodized aluminum frame and crossbars by Tonin Casa of Italy allow easy access to the adjoining study.

Inspired by the Rivo's iconic D-shaped windows, Bishop's design scheme picks up organic round shapes in a Swarovski crystal raindrop chandelier by Lite Source and pyramid-based glass dining table by Elite.

The great room is sunny yet peaceful, anchored by brightly colored walls painted in Cork by Benjamin Moore to coordinate perfectly with bamboo floors set on the diagonal and oriented to patio and views.

Bar stools from the owners’ former home were recovered in the same lime-green leather as a new dining bench that provides low-profile seating for two to supplement four butterscotch leather chairs.

Avant-garde buffet by Axi Furniture is elegant yet informal, treated as a piece of sculpture that happens to provide storage in its custom-colored aniline-dyed maple cabinet and a glass shelf for serving space.

Easy-to-reconfigure sectional sofa by dellaRobbia is covered in the Gallahues’ favorite watery blue with back pillows in a Maharam fabric that picks up tones of lime and amber leather and kitchen accent wall.

Comfort was goal No. 1, says the designer, who placed sleek his-and-hers Lafer recliners where they could be swiveled to enjoy Sarasota’s views or the great room’s high-tech entertainment system.

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