Spanish Gem

By Robert Plunket July 8, 2009

A historic Sarasota home near the Ringling Museum is full of beautiful original features and updates that stay true to its spirit.


By Robert Plunket


Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discussing this Spanish Gem on ABC7.


Back during Sarasota’s first boom in the 1920s, a group of Spanish houses was built in the Ringling Museum area, and those houses are still among the city’s most desirable. Most have been altered over the years, but one of the purest and most authentic is now on the market : 5110 Brywill Circle.



It is thought – but not yet proven – that it was designed by the famous architect of the Ca’d Zan, Dwight James Baum. It has the same roof tiles that the Ringling mansion has and the same attention to detail, but on a much smaller and more manageable scale. The present owners have updated it a way that retains as many original touches as possible. There are beamed ceilings, colored glass windows, original tile in the bathrooms, and the yard contains some wonderful and ancient Cuban laurels.



The layout is somewhat eccentric but can work for a variety of purposes. The main house has a living room – with a magnificent fireplace – a sun room/den, two bedrooms, two baths, an updated kitchen, and a formal dinning room with an amazing mural of an all-girl orchestra serenading you during dinner. (BTW, it was painted by one of the owners, whose mother actually led the orchestra.)


There’s also a wonderful heated pool in an enclosed garden – it was added about 10 years ago but blends perfectly.


Out back is a guest cottage or office, with two rooms, a little kitchen and another bath.



The house is full of hand-painted motifs over the windows, French doors, wrought iron balconies, old wooden gates and doors. I’ve never seen a house in Sarasota that had so many original features still intact and beautifully maintained, or either added later but so well done you can’t tell that they aren’t original.



This really is a piece of Sarasota history. It’s also a great house for entertaining – you can have 75 or more for cocktails, or just host 10 for dinner. (The owners may throw in the dining room table, made from a spectacular old door from India.) The asking price is $998,500. Call Carl Meyer at 941-302-1777.


And don’t forget: this Friday, July 10, has been proclaimed Decorator Appreciation Day by the City of Sarasota, and among the events planned is a talk at the Asolo Theater by Eames Demetrios, the grandson of design legends Charles and Rae Eames, the couple who designed the Eames chair. He’s going to talk about modern design and his family’s legacy. It’s at 3 p.m. and costs $15. I personally am planning to bring my Eames chair and get him to sign it.


And then, if that isn’t enough, we’re having the Decorating Can Be Murder party at Home Resource, 741 Central Ave., from 6 to 8. It’s got a funny video about the mystery series starring John Scalzi, Cliff Roles, Matt Orr, and Marsha Fottler, plus Motown medlieys from the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, and a chance to win a luxury weekend getaway at the Colony and – hold on to your socks – a pie from Yoder’s. A few – very few – tickets left at $15. Call Beth Boyce at 941-358-7737.
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