Ohana Private Family Retreat

By staff March 17, 2014

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Ohana Private Family Retreat, Longboat Key

Guy Peterson | OFA, Inc.


The setting for this family vacation house is a 2.56 acre slice of paradise on the north end of Longboat Key, on the Gulf of Mexico. This unique site meets the Gulf with a hardened seawall that preserves its private nature, as well as protects from natural erosion. The site contains an existing one-story residence located toward the seaward portion of the site.

Due to the challenging permitting requirements for coastal construction, the ability to have a new house on grade this close to the Gulf is not possible. The homeowners have chosen to redevelop the existing house into a new family “lodge": a place for entertaining, dining and relaxing. This is to be the principal living space of the retreat. A large family, with the need to accommodate members of both sides of the family, sets up a duality that has helped shape the architectural solution. In addition to the redevelopment of the existing residence, the program calls for approximately 7,000 square feet of new space for private family spaces, primarily bedrooms, entertainment spaces, a wine room and terraces. Due to coastal regulations, the new addition is located landward of the existing house and is essentially a “broken bar,” rotated to allow views past the sides of the existing house and not directly over it. The central pavilion, or “iconic” form, becomes the transitional space, allowing guests to move through to the “lodge” or for family members to move up within it to their sleeping spaces. The upper level of the “iconic” pavilion is an open rooftop space, covered with a tropical vine-covered trellis with panoramic views to the Gulf and, to the east, the bay separating Longboat Key from the mainland. The space between the existing and new proposal is being developed as a tropical courtyard containing pools, a private spa and tropical gardens. A new tennis court is proposed, with terrace viewing. The materials are primarily shell stone and a variety of species of wood. The architecture will be modern, while at the same time based upon the primitive spirit of African domestic architecture.

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