imagine sunning aboard a 44-foot sailing catamaran … on the water with the wind at your back, a pervasive silence filling the air while dolphins provide entertainment by diving beneath your boat. That’s a scenario few of us will ever experience. But the couple that owns this home on Longboat Key and, post retirement, has started a sailboat charter company, knows about life on the water. “I think that’s why we not only have water at our house but also in and around it,” says the wife and first mate. She is also the interior decorator of this over 6,000-square-foot home set on nearly an acre of land edging Sarasota Bay.
In search of a place to live year-round, she and her husband viewed almost 30 properties in the area, many of them set on canals. But when they saw this piece of land overlooking Jewfish Key and the Sister Keys, their canal budget quickly expanded to one that would allow for bayfront living. “When we saw this spot, we knew we wanted it,” the wife says.
The lot had a run-down 1930s frame house that was only standing because “the termites were holding hands,” says architect Mark Sultana, who the couple hired after seeing his other designs in the neighborhood. Drive through the gate just past a sign designating this home as “Enchanting Waters” and the first hint of why it’s so aptly named appears as the blue glow of water reflects on the stucco facade. The light show is from surface ripples and butterfly koi swimming in a 53-foot-long pond.
Glass doors announce entry as the eyes are immediately drawn to the great room’s 2,500-gallon Indo-Pacific reef aquarium — the husband’s boyhood fascination that has grown through the years to become a major attraction in this couple’s water world. The tank measures 15-by-4 feet and is almost 5-feet deep with 3-inch-thick glass walls. In fact, it’s so big that Sultana had to design a steel cage to support it, and he depressed the slab and added drains under it in case of leakage. “The view of the bay from the great room is very beautiful, but there’s something to be said about seeing all these fish and the coral up close,” the wife says.
In the home’s main living areas, “the goal is to maximize the view of the bay,” Sultana says. The sleek kitchen and dining space were designed to integrate with the great room, where windows extend to a 22-foot-high ceiling. The open floor plan gives the couple plenty of room to entertain both inside and out. Glass doors slide open, inviting guests to enjoy the waterfront, infinity edge pool with its dramatic gas fire pit.
Step through a hidden panel door into the master suite, where the scenic bay view continues and thick shag area rugs tickle the toes in plush contrast to the glossy porcelain flooring polished to a high sheen.Just off the bedroom, the master bath warmly welcomes with a wall mosaic of white marble and glass tiles that transmit light, including that from the flaming fire troughs beside the tub. Cobalt-blue Italian lacquer cabinetry shapes a curvaceous double-sink vanity that flows to a second spot to view the aquarium. A shade ascends to reveal a portion of the back of the big fish tank to add a whole different take on water activities in this spa-like space.
An upstairs balcony is a relaxing place to gather and, once again, enjoy water views. And although the view from here is spectacular, there’s an even better one from the glass-enclosed rooftop patio one flight up. “It’s our favorite place to look out at the bay and even see the Gulf of Mexico beyond,” the wife says.
Since this couple’s house was built, they have seen an increase of boat traffic in the channel behind their property — even tour boats make their home a photo op. “It’s the first house we’ve built from scratch,” the wife says. “From start to finish, it’s 100 percent us.”
Mark Sultana, AIA. NCARB, DSDG Architects, Sarasota, FL
Mike Voigt and Stephen Voigt, Voigt Brothers Construction, Sarasota, FL
Critter Ridge Landscape Contractors, Sarasota, FL
Ryan Gamma, Sarasota, FL
Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley
Sofas and cocktail tables – Owners’ Collection
Accent pillow fabric – Candice Olson, Surya, Calhoun, GA
Aquarium – Living Color Aquariums,
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Barstools – Robb & Stucky, Sarasota, FL
Wood paneling – Marvins Woodworking, Inc., Sarasota, FL
Fabricated by Voigt Brothers Construction, Sarasota, FL
Sliding glass doors – WinDoor,
All Glass & Windows, Sarasota, FL
Area rug – Custom designed and fabricated
by Carpet Crafters Rug Company, Inc., Tampa, FL
Cabinetry – Munda Cucine, Cucine Ricci, Sarasota, FL
Countertops and island – Cambria, Sterling Manufacturing, Sarasota, FL
Recessed lighting – Elite Lighting Company, Lightstyle, Tampa, FL
Dining table and chairs – Bellagio, Cantoni, Dallas, TX
Pendant lighting – LBL Lighting, Lightstyle, Tampa, FL
Centerpiece “Fly” sculpture – Shiomi Haziza, HStudio, Sun Valley, CA
Bed – Bellagio, Cantoni, Dallas, TX
Chaise – JM Porters, Inc.,
Chair – Z Gallerie, Sarasota, FL
Home Audio System – Sonos, Wicked Smart Homes, Sarasota, FL
TV – Vizio, Wicked Smart Homes,
Area rugs – Custom designed and fabricated by Carpet Crafters Rug Company, Inc.,
Cabinetry – Archeda, Cucine Ricci, Sarasota, FL
Faucets – Axor, Hansgrohe, Inc.,
Mosaic tiles – Bliss, West Florida Distributors, Sarasota, FL
Chairs and chaise lounges – Owners’ Collection
Railing – All Glass & Windows, Sarasota, FL
Pool fabricated by Water Designs of Sarsota, Inc., Sarasota, FL
Occasional tables – Cattelan Italia, Innovations, Atlanta, GA
Sofa – Vinita, JM Porters, Leawood, KS
Armchairs, chaise lounges and
accessories – Owners’ Collection
Outdoor patio flame system – Warming Trends, Littleton, CO, and American Specialty Glass, North Salt Lake, UT
Windows – Coral Storefront, All Glass & Windows, Sarasota, FL
Doors – WinDoor, All Glass & Windows,
Shades – Blinds by Design, St. Petersburg, FL
Front exterior custom lettering – J & G Diversified, New Brunswick, NJ.