Luxury Home & Design

By staff November 1, 2008


Teeing Off at The Founders Club

One of a handful of ultra-luxurious golf courses that debuted here in this decade, The Founders Club is nestled into 700 oak-filled acres on Fruitville Road, three miles east of I-75. The very private gated community boasts multimillion-dollar estates around a signature 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The magnificent clubhouse, Golf Hall, is the center of social life. “Everyone who comes into The Founders Club for the first time has the same reaction,” says Greg Sheller of Re/Max Alliance Group. “They all say, ‘Wow! I did not realize that such a fantastic private golfing community existed in Sarasota.’”

Total number of property owners: 262 Total number of sales from 8/2007 to 8/2008: 9 Range of sale prices: $815,000 to $2.96 million Range of square footage: 3,264 to 6,578

Sample Listing

A luxurious new four-bedroom, four-bath home at 3603 N. Founders Club Drive is offered for sale at $1.2 million. It has 3,868 square feet of interior space plus an expansive outdoor living area with fireplace, saltwater pool and spa overlooking wooded grounds and greenbelt. Stone counters, wood cabinets in kitchen and baths, crown molding, vaulted ceilings and French doors are among the many upgrades. Community features include golf course, clubhouse, tennis courts, volleyball lawn, basketball courts and playground. The listing agent is Greg Sheller of Re/Max Alliance Group.

Recent Sale

A Lee Wetherington model home set on a preserve lot with fine finishes and numerous upgrades sold recently for $815,000 following an original list price of $849,000. The 3,264-square-foot Carrera II model at 3513 Founders Club Drive has four bedrooms and three baths, a family room open to the kitchen, living room, separate breakfast room, formal dining room and library. Tray ceilings, crown moldings, cherry cabinetry with step detailing, granite counters, custom backsplash, beautiful tiled floors and three-sided fireplace imbue the interior with originality and comfort. There’s also a custom-designed pool with spa. Tammy Garner of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing agent; Rob Fergusson of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate was the selling agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Greg Sheller of Re/Max Alliance Group. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market

A custom-designed Casey Key home that sold for $4.85 million after an original list price of $5,495,000 captured the top spot in residential sales in August. It also represents the highest sale on Casey Key since March 2007 and the largest sale on record for a bayfront home on the island. The newly constructed Colonial-style home at 434 N. Casey Key Road has more than 5,400 square feet of living space. Five bedrooms and six baths, separate breakfast room, eat-in kitchen, formal dining room and large living and family rooms all enjoy water views. A 48-foot porch off the master suite and a 72-foot porch downstairs overlook pool and spa on the bay and a dock with davits and boat hoist. There is also a private beach access.

“My buyers wanted a feeling of being on vacation all year long,” says selling agent Robin DiSabatino of Michael Saunders & Company. Annette and Albert Ayers of Michael Saunders & Company were the listing agents.

Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

Great Value

A custom Craftsman-style home originally listed at nearly $1 million is now offered for sale at $749,000. Located at 5903 River Forest Circle in Bradenton, the residence features 3,492 square feet of living space.

Reclaimed oak floors, brick work, custom windows and doors, gorgeous two-story fireplace and a state-of-the-art kitchen with built-ins galore make the interior of this home original and charming. The master suite has its own private library, while each of the four bedrooms and three baths is spacious and beautifully appointed. Situated in a park-like setting beneath majestic oaks and overlooking a creek that flows to the Braden River, the home is accented by a paved and bricked entry.

Wraparound porches provide shaded outdoor living areas amidst manicured gardens. “This is a beautiful two-story home on nearly an acre of property, and it’s being offered at a significant $200,000 price reduction,” says listing agent Tierney Foster of Re/Max Alliance Group. “It’s an incredible buy.”

Record Setters

Hannerle Moore recently closed a sale totaling $3.625 million, the highest recorded sales price this year for a single-family home on St. Armands. Moore, who was with Sky Sotheby’s International Realty’s Longboat Key office at the time of closing and is now with Michael Saunders & Company, represented the buyer of 84 N. Washington Drive

The five-bedroom luxury residence is situated on a large double lot within walking distance of St. Armands Circle

“My buyers had been coming to Lido Key for 13 years and staying in condominiums,” says Moore. “They enjoyed walking to the restaurants and stores of St. Armands and to the beach. Now that they’re able to spend more time here, a house seemed preferable, and location was key.” Moore reports they’re now shopping for a boat.

And Kim Tritschler of Re/Max Effort Realty in Nokomis sold a $3.5 million waterfront home in the Sorrento Shores subdivision in Osprey in August, racking up the highest sale in Sorrento Shores since 2005. The newly constructed Mediterranean home has a chef’s kitchen, an elevator and beautifully finished interior. Outdoor entertaining is easy with a state-of the art outdoor kitchen and resort-style swimming pool that is lighted, heated and cooled and features a beach entry and disappearing edge. The views of Casey Key from the deep-water dock are extraordinary.

“My buyers are from South Dakota, and this is their getaway from those severe winters,” says Tritschler. “They loved everything about the house, but the fantastic swimming pool might be their favorite.”


Zebrawood without guilt.

Love the look of exotic wood veneers for your kitchen cabinets, but feeling uncomfortable about sacking the forests? The German-based luxury kitchen designer and manufacturer Alno has introduced its Alnoart Woodglas collection. A patented ink-jet technology prints a continuous wood grain directly onto aluminum-framed glass doors. The result is a high-shine veneer that you’d swear was zebrawood. It won the 2008 Kitchen Innovation of the Year award from the German government. 

Designing Mind

Interior designer Kurt Lucas of JKL Design Group made headlines a few years ago with the design of his own outrageously opulent “castle”—complete with moat—off Mound Street just south of downtown Sarasota.

My favorite residential project: My favorites are the ones I do for myself—the castle, [my apartment in] the Orange Blossom—so I have to say my next one. For my next house I’m going to design and build a great contemporary. Everybody thinks I only do gothic or baroque, and that’s so far from me. The smartest way to spruce up your home on a budget: Paint. It’s so cheap and if you don’t like it or if you get bored with it, you can change your house weekly if you want to. Put some color and life on your walls, or if your furniture is the dominating color, make your walls light and crisp. The trend: Is toward intense color—dominant pinks and great darker lime—balanced with rich chocolate. It’s contemporary, it’s traditional, it’s transitional, it’s happy. If money were no object: I’d do a combination of [Sarasota modernist architect] Carl Abbott and Versace—all in whites with silver and punches of orange and aquamarine, and things that are just outrageous. Carl’s sense of space is incredible. I’d do Carl Abbott with crystal chandeliers so it has grandeur and simplicity. My favorite way to entertain: Easy, and that’s another reason why we’re going to a contemporary mode. There are so many issues with politics, economy, gas—I need it to be an escape. What’s new: I’m working on a new restaurant on St. Armands Circle, and DaRuMa [Japanese steakhouse] is getting ready for a third restaurant in Tampa, which is exciting because that’s a restaurant I designed from the ground up from being a computer store. On trends: I always try to set my own trend. I tell people, “Don’t run with everybody else; go with what makes your heart happy. Be yourself.” —Ilene Denton


The Great Outdoors

Leave it to the showstopping French design king, Philippe Starck, to come up with this fresh take on outdoor furniture. His RobinWood collection for Sutherland Furniture features 25 pieces of aluminum-and-slatted-teak outdoor furniture in modern, geometric shapes. You’ll lounge in style.

One Great Room

A couple’s home makeover inspires a new business.

By Carol Tisch

When Jim and Sharon Butler built their new 7,000-foot home in the Oaks Clubside last year, the idea of Extreme Remodelers of Sarasota was born. Their experience convinced Jim that our town needed a one-stop company to help consumers manage the trials and tribulations of home makeovers.

“I realized people in Sarasota had to go to as many as 19 different places—from appliance stores to cabinet, lighting, plumbing and tile showrooms—just to figure out how to put their remodeling project together,” says Butler. “The number of choices and the prospect of coordinating the various craftspeople are daunting,” adds the 30-year veteran of the kitchen and bath business (the past 10 years as owner of CCS Cabinetry in Venice).

Real Estate Junkie

Blogger Robert Plunket checks out the market for listings of interest; here a few of his recent postings.

It’s starting to amaze me what we have in SiestaVillage. It’s like a tiny, fabulous downtown with only the good stuff—great restaurants and bars, plenty of shopping, great condos and houses, and the town’s best laundromat. When you think about it, it’s got virtually everything our real downtown has, with the third-best beach in the country thrown in as an afterthought. 

There are no chain restaurants (except for Subway), and the bars are Florida classics, from the racy Daiquiri Deck, where the bad boys hang out, to the Beach Club, an integral part of Sarasota nightlife. Like Margaritaville, it has tourists covered in oil, who provide great people-watching, but there is also a strong local presence to give you a sense of community.

Here’s a sampling of what’s available. I am being very strict geographically. If it wasn’t within a block or two of Big Olaf’s Ice Cream—a landmark if there ever was one—it isn’t included.

The high-rises above anchor one end of the Village. One is the Terrace, and the other is the Terrace East. Prices start at $500,000 for the smaller units (and some are quite small) and go up to a couple of million for premium units on high floors. These buildings are dated but will never go out of style. They have among the best views in town.

Typical of the Village’s new construction are the villa-type homes on Calle Miramar. They’re big, they have every luxury finish, and there seem to be a lot of them on the market. Some have much better views than others, but at the moment you can pick and choose. They usually start around a million and half and go up to $3 million.

The Village’s architecture is eclectic and placed in charming randomness. A 60-year-old beach cottage will be next to a multimillion dollar home. (Not that the beach cottage doesn’t cost a million dollars, believe me.) Above is a perfect Old

Florida duplex a half a block to the beach, priced at $849,000. It’s at 91 Avenida Veneccia, and the listing agent is Bill Geller at (941) 374-4530.

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.

The answer lies in the sensational Glen Oaks Manor layout. From the outside the villas are nondescript and lacking in personality. But inside all hell breaks loose. 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.

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.


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.

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 10 examples all at the same time. What a master class that would be.

Braden Castle is unique. It’s a perfectly preserved and functioning bungalow colony from the 1920s, the sort of place your grandparents used to vacation in. Little houses stand on tiny plots of land, just feet from each other, everything within walking distance—exactly what Seaside and the New Urbanism are trying to recapture. Only this is the real thing.

It’s built on what may be the best piece of land in ManateeCounty— the point where the BradenRiver meets the ManateeRiver. And right in the center of its 34 acres, set on a rise overlooking the water, are the ruins of the area’s first home, the castle itself. It was an imposing two-story home, owned by Dr. John Braden and built by slaves in the 1840s. Today it’s a pile of picturesque debris. Poor Dr. Braden—he  defaulted on his mortgage and had to go back to Tallahassee. The first house, the first foreclosure—some things never change.

Today BradenCastle is an over-55 community, and its residents are mostly retired Midwesterners who drive down for the winter. But some locals live there year round; I met a guy who works for the Sheriff’s office. I would live there in a heartbeat except that they don’t take pets.

The price is certainly right. You can easily get something for under $100,000. The house below is listed at $65,900.

But keep in mind it’s less than 600 square feet. Braden Castle homes are tiny vacation homes from the 1920s, don’t forget—charming but very small in scale. Even the amenities are in keeping with the place’s character. There are a clubhouse, a great old fishing pier, shuffleboard courts, and my favorite, the library. 

Debuting this month, Extreme Remodelers offers luxury makeovers from start to finish, including kitchens like his and Sharon’s with high-end cabinets, Viking appliances and designer details. But gourmet test kitchens need great cooks as well as great equipment, so Butler is offering the region’s first VikingCulinarySchool with chef-taught classes to begin at the Osprey Avenue

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