Glitter Gulch

By Robert Plunket August 13, 2008

Glen Oaks Manor doesn’t look like much from the outside; but inside, the villas are sensational.


By Robert Plunket

(Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie on TV discussing Glen Oaks Manor.)


Glen Oaks Manor is built on the site of the former Winter Headquarters of the circus, at Beneva and 17th Street, which makes it one of the most historic locations in Sarasota. And even though today the typical residents of this 1970s- era villa community are nice retired couples, it also has the odd distinction of being home to many of the town’s most prominent decorators. “Glitter Gulch” they call it.


What’s the big attraction?


The answer lies in the sensational Glen Oaks Manor layout. From the outside the villas are non-descript and lacking in personality. But inside all hell breaks lose. They are built around a series of courtyards and atriums, so that they turn away from the world and become their own ultra-private spaces. The only window to the outside is in the guest bedroom.



The exterior template for Glen Oaks Manor homes.


You can do anything you want with a Glen Oaks villa, and believe me, the decorators have. None of the interior walls are load-bearing so you can tear down, rip out, enlarge, etc. You can turn it into Country French, formal English, Key West, or, in the case of the example below (currently on the market for $299,000) a sort of tropical Southwestern, complete with Mexican tile floors and Talavera tiles in the bathrooms.



A redone living room at 3804 Glen Oaks Manor Drive.


What you do with the courtyard is the key issue in a Glen Oak villa, and in this particular example (3804 Glen Oaks Manor Drive) it’s become a hideaway in Acapulco. The total privacy hints a fun, sophisticated lifestyle, and if you had this pool, would you ever wear a bathing suit? The size is 1,630 square feet, ideal for a couple. Susan Matteoli is the listing agent: (941) 356-1335.




The Glen Oaks courtyard at 3954 Glen Oaks Manor Drive, top; and the redone one at 3804 Glen Oaks Manor Drive, below.


In many ways, an un-gussied up unit is the real find in Glen Oaks Manor. That way you can do whatever you want and create your own private world. There’s one on the market now (3954 Glen Oaks Manor Drive) that’s perfect for a total makeover, and its very well priced at $198,000. Compare its courtyard with the one above to get an idea of the endless possibilities.


Javier Moret is the lister: (941) 587-0700.


My dream is that someday they’ll have a Glen Oaks Manor house tour, possibly to benefit the Old Decorators’ Home, and you’ll get to see eight or ten examples all at the same time. What a master class that would be.
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