Agility On The Home

Masterful in design, an Ocala Residence Built To Observe staid thoroughbred traditions is far from conventional in form and style

Story Credits

Interior Design: Nancy Short and Saidia KanE, Ansana Interior Design, Winter Park, FL
Architecture: Tim Miller, Ervin Lovett Miller Architects, Jacksonville, FL
Builder: Chris Luetgert, Luetgert Development Corp., Ocala, FL
Landscape Architecture: John Olters, Michael Pape & Associates, Ocala, FL
Text: Saxon Henry
Photography: Stephen Allen, Winter Park, FL
(View full image and details by clicking on picture)

Set within a serene equestrian enclave in Ocala, a new home for Bob and Sue Martin does more than simply reflect the bucolic views of the rolling hills, it serves as the perfect backdrop for the entertaining this Michigan couple enjoys while they are in town. This is the second Florida residence interior designers Nancy Short and Saidia Kane have completed for the couple. The span of nearly a decade between the two projects ushered in a refreshed stylistic direction for the couple on this 11,107-square-foot home. “The first house was quite traditional,” Kane says. “This one, though not extremely modern, is more contemporary by far, which was great fun for us.”

The Martins asked the design duo and lead architect Tim Miller to provide them with a home that would seamlessly connect the indoors and outdoors. Because they like to entertain, it was important to give their soirées an equestrian feel that showcases their passion for equine activities. Miller notes the Martins brought ample savvy to the table on this point. “To their credit, they knew what they wanted and they did a good job of expressing it,” he says. “The focus for the design of the house was to situate the home so it could overlook the arena where equestrian events would be taking place. I’m very pleased that Ervin Lovett Miller could make this happen while also saving the majestic oaks on the property.”

The scale of the interior spaces with the high dramatic ceilings also left the views unencumbered. “We kept the main living spaces serene by not filling every inch of space,” Short says. “What we chose to introduce included the exceptional work of local artists, who are so important to us that we always try to introduce them early on in the design process.” This included artwork and custom fabrications within the home. From the entry to the dining and living areas, and through to the kitchen, earthy elements clad walls and floors to further a seamlessness with nature. “Natural materials were important for us — an abundance of stones, rift-cut white oak and the steel on the fireplace with its wonderful patina,” Kane explains. “When you walk into the home from the outside, it’s not a complete left turn. The materials reflect the trees and grasses and fences.”

With its grand surround as a focal point, the fireplace creates such a segue as stonework runs along each side and wraps around to the screened lanai. This ease of transition makes the home an exemplary backdrop for when the Martins host their fellow equestrian enthusiasts, which can be as often as weekly when they are in town. “We tend to choose organic styles, mix high and low elements, and intermingle textures,” Short says. And this holds true in the home’s private spaces, including the guest room suite with its adjacent sitting area where Ansana’s talent for mixing styles shines.

“One of the most beautiful aspects of the house is how the designers created such a kinship between the large great room and the outdoors,” Miller says. “It is stunning when you walk into the house on a beautiful day — it’s difficult to immediately feel where the inside ends and the outside begins.”