Luxury Homefront

By Ilene Denton January 1, 2009

GREAT VALUE Aficionados of Low Country design, take note: The Magnolia Golf Cottage at the Founders Club, originally listed at $2.79 million, is now offered for sale at $1.69 million.

"Cottage" may be a misnomer; the roomy 3,998-square-foot home is filled with such top-quality features as bead-board ceilings, custom wood bookcases that flank the fireplace, wide-plank wood floors and stunning open kitchen with white bead-board cabinets, black granite countertops and top-of-the-line Wolf, Sub-Zero and Bosch appliances.

"It’s a true custom home designed by one of Florida’s greatest architectural firms, Cooper Johnson Smith; the overall design and finishes are some of the best in Sarasota," says developer Steve Brown. Set on the 10th fairway, it is just steps from the Founders Club’s elegant Low Country clubhouse. A social membership is included in the sale price.


MARKET WATCH A longtime Sarasota couple’s visit to a spa in the Pacific Northwest was the design inspiration behind their magnificent 17,000-square-foot stone-and-wood-beam-clad estate on nearly two lakefront acres in Osprey, just south of Pine View School. The five-bedroom home with adjacent three-bedroom guesthouse, named the Lodge at Osprey Woods, is listed for $6.3 million.

Innovative listing agents Marcia Salkin and Pauline Soublis hosted a recent "realtor retreat" complete with massages, makeovers, short game golf instruction by the Ritz-Carlton Members Club staff, a Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show, and wine and vodka tastings. Their aim was to show off the estate’s spalike splendors: a regulation racquetball court and separate exercise room, three-tier swimming pool (the hot tub seats 10), double-level home theater, four bar areas and 750-bottle wine cellar, and 1,200-square-foot master suite complete with sauna and steam shower. With RV parking and a six-plus-car garage, there’s plenty of room for visitors.

The target buyer: "Someone who enjoys the finer things in life, craves privacy and serenity and is looking for a one-of-a-kind property never before seen in our area," says Soublis.

Top of the Market

A four-bedroom home on more than a half-acre of beachfront at 113 N. Polk Drive that sold for $3.3 million after an original list price of $4.95 million captured the top spot in residential sales in October. The gated two-story Lido Beach residence, built in 1995 and extensively renovated in 2001, has 4,300 square feet of living space. Almost every room has open beach views, and large balconies on both floors make sunrise and sunset gazing a pleasure. The shops and restaurants of St. Armands Circle are a short stroll away. Michael Duvall of Re/Max Excellence was the listing agent; Milford Desenberg of Milford M. Desenberg Realty was the selling agent. Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

Green Report

Traffic-stopping recycled glass

Countertops and table tops made from the glass from decommissioned traffic lights? Yes, and from old automotive windshields, glass jars and bottles gleaned from curbside recycling programs, and waste from glass manufacturers and building demolition as well. California-based Vetrazzo won the national 2008 Green Log Home & Lifestyles Award for its innovative and uniquely colorful eco-products. When you choose your new countertops, they actually provide a "certificate of transformation" that tells you exactly where the glass came from.

Neighborhood Watch

Friendly Long Beach Village.

Perched on the northern edge of Longboat Key, away from the hustle and bustle of the island’s more touristy southern end, Long Beach Village is a tropical foliage-filled slice of Old Florida lined with charming Cracker cottages, Key West contemporaries and traditional ranches, many of them canal-front or set directly on Sarasota Bay. A family of peacocks roams the village, where a movement to save and renovate the oldest homes is ongoing. Bobbie Banan of Michael Saunders & Company has lived a mile away from Long Beach Village for decades and owns a retirement cottage there that was originally part of a five-cottage beach colony dating back to the 1940s. "This is a true neighborhood," she says. "People know each other; they talk together and walk their dogs together. It has old-fashioned values."


Total number of property owners: 350 Total number of sales from 10/2007 to 10/2008: 7 Range of sale prices: $261,000 to $2,215,000 Range of square footage: 1,104 to 3,514

SAMPLE LISTING A Cracker cottage at 7119 Longboat Court built in 1930 as part of a resort called the Long Beach Cottages is listed for sale at $389,900 by Kelly Belisle of Wagner Realty. Just 930 square feet, the two-bedroom, one-bath cottage has hardwood floors, a front porch made for sitting and an updated kitchen with French doors leading out to a private patio. It is across the street from Sarasota Bay.


RECENT SALE A 1964 home at 690 Hibiscus Way sold recently for $2,215,000 following an original list price of $3,595,000. Its most unusual feature: a historic wooden boathouse. ("Many a boater has taken refuge during a storm in this boathouse," says selling agent Bobbie Banan of Michael Saunders & Company.) The buyers, a couple from Connecticut, plan to renovate the home rather than tear it down. Cathy Meldahl of Wagner Realty was the listing agent. Previous sale: $1 in June 1994. (The house has been owned by the same family since 1931.)

MLS statistics courtesy of Bobbie Banan of Michael Saunders & Company. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

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