Apart from the Ca d’ Zan, no other home is town has quite the historic cachet of the Van Wezel estate on St Armands. It was built back in 1936 by architect Thomas Reed Martin, possibly the master architect of Sarasota’s golden age, and was the pride and joy of the famous Van Wezels, Lewis and Eugenia—prominent philanthropists and major donors of the performing arts hall that bears their name.
The home is a classic one-story Mediterranean revival, and was one of the first homes built on Lido Key. It’s large (3,864 square feet) with three bedrooms, three baths and two partial baths. The view is eastward, toward a peaceful mangrove island, and the lot is a generous .61 acres. There is a dock with two boat slips.
The interior has been renovated and updated but many original details remain. The enormous living room/dining room has a vaulted and beamed ceiling and is paneled in cypress. It looks out onto a covered veranda and swimming pool. The kitchen is new and state of the art, with marble countertops and premium appliances.
Architect Martin came to Sarasota in 1911 to remodel Bertha Palmer’s home, The Oaks. He stayed for 40 years and designed more than 500 buildings in the area, mostly Spanish in style (like the Burns Court bungalows) but a few in the art deco style, like the Municipal Auditorium. John Ringling tried to get him to design the Ca d’Zan but he couldn’t –or wouldn’t—meet Martin’s fee, so he hired Dwight Baum instead.
And as for the Van Wezels, Lewis was in the diamond business when he and Eugenia retired here. Though they’ve been dead more than 50 years, they remain one of the most famous names in town, which just goes to show—pay for a big important building and maybe they’ll remember you, too.
P.S.—if you want to get a look at the house in person there’s an Open House on Sunday March 17.
535 S. Blvd. of the Presidents is priced at $3,695,000. For more information call Joel Schemmel of Premier Sotheby’s at (941) 308-6497.