Paradise Calls in Tranquil Longboat Key Sanctuary

In Longboat Key, a condominium echoes its idyllic beachside setting with elegant coastal design touches and aqua accents galore


After just a few days of surf and sun in Longboat Key, a vacationing couple fell in love with the area. The romance endured and by the next year, the husband and wife had purchased a unit in the same complex they had visited, sight unseen.

The charm is obvious. The gleaming mid-century building, located in an exclusive community within the lavish Longboat Key Club, is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on two sides and offers private beach access. And just a few miles away, Sarasota’s quaint St. Armands Circle awaits with the area’s best shopping and dining options. 

“Our new home lets us enjoy the beautiful views of the Gulf and the peacefulness of the surrounding nature,” says the owner. “We love having close access to St. Armands and the rich culture of Sarasota.”

After acquiring the 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom residence, the couple immediately hired St. Petersburg designer Chelsea Potthast to oversee an interiors overhaul. “The project’s goal was to elevate design and functionality and breathe new life into the spaces to create a sanctuary of tranquility and style,” says Potthast, who wasted no time in hiring vendors, including Creative Kitchens & Baths and Campbell Cabinetry Designs, once her design vision was approved.

“During our first meeting with Chelsea, we asked her to create a space that emanates quiet beauty,” says the homeowner. “And she did exactly that, providing us with perfect choices and guiding us through the entire process. Chelsea and her team worked directly with the vendors and contractor, and handled every detail to ensure we were completely satisfied. They were amazing.”

The apartment’s design aesthetic merges with its private beach setting of silky white sand and blue water visible from the windows. To echo this picture, Potthast and her team drew inspiration from the light aqua Gulf waters and the sugary sand, and enhanced the design with navy and coral accent hues. “While we sought to employ the golden rule of ‘form follows function,’ we did not compromise on aesthetics,” says Potthast. “The furniture and fabric selections also played a pivotal role in channeling the renewed ambiance of the condo.” 

The Northeast owners primarily use this property as a vacation home and they love hosting their friends and entertaining family for the holidays. “We really enjoyed the creative latitude that the client afforded us on this project,” says Potthast. “We were able to maximize the aesthetic of each room by replacing all the finishes, adding gorgeous light fixtures throughout, as well as all-new furnishings, mirrors, artwork—you name it.” 

To befit the grand proportions of the great room, a massive sectional sofa upholstered in plush performance fabric takes the spotlight, along with a glossy white baby grand piano. Swivel lounge chairs dressed in aqua-toned fabrics emanate casual comfort while maintaining a crisp, contemporary appearance. Potthast also chose a custom-designed, diamond-patterned area rug to anchor the space and generate an elegant landing for the abundance of furnishings. “We opted for a Samsung Frame TV for its slim profile and ability to blend into the interiors when not in use,” notes the designer. “For the media unit, we went with a pale custom color, instead of white or wood, and added gold mica-flecked wallpaper behind it to bring texture and elegance to an otherwise plain wall.” 

With the help of Campbell Cabinetry Designs, the reconfigured kitchen facilitates a seamless flow between dining and living spaces. The tile backsplash composes an essential focal point covering the entire back wall of the unit. “Here, we opted for a subtle and elegant stone basketweave mosaic to brighten the room and give a nod to Old Florida style,” says Potthast. “Sleek GE Café appliances and soft aqua cabinetry elevate the design.”

Deeper aqua tones energize the guest bedroom and bath, lending a beach-inspired aesthetic enhanced with mother-of-pearl accents, luminous gold hardware, and bright white furnishings. Infused with an unexpected splash of color, an adorable twin bedroom wows with vibrant green, canary yellow, and brilliant coral red colors. But the ultimate retreat awaits in the primary suite, with a mesmerizing panoramic vista of the Gulf of Mexico. Potthast enhanced the view with ethereal drapery panels that frame the ever-changing seascape. 

“We are so grateful to have found Chelsea and her talented craftspeople to help us create our sanctuary in Longboat Key,” says the homeowner. “We love spending time here with family and friends, and we feel truly blessed to share our piece of paradise with the people we love.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Chelsea Potthast, Potthast Design, St. Petersburg, FL

Text by Jeanne de Lathouder

Photography by Nicholas Ferris, Sarasota, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:


Great Room

Sofa – Bernhardt, 

Club chairs – Bernhardt,

Cocktail table – Old Biscayne Designs,

Side table with wicker – Worlds Away,

Drink table with gold legs – Chelsea House,

Floor lamp – Wildwood Home,

Sconces – Wildwood Home,

Wallcovering – Wolf-Gordon,

Area rug – Jamie Stern,


Console – Elk Home,

Lamps – Wildwood Home,

Mirror – Mercana,

Ceiling fixture – Visual Comfort, Miami, FL

Area rug – Stark Carpet, Hollywood, FL

Kitchen and Dining Area

Kitchen cabinetry designed by Potthast Design, St. Petersburg, FL, and fabricated by Campbell Cabinetry Designs of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL

Stools – Essentials for Living,

Table – Villa & House,

Chairs – David Francis, Vero Beach, FL

Fabric – CW Stockwell,

Chandelier – Oly Studio,

Bar – Campbell Cabinetry Designs of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL

Wallcovering – Tile Bar,

Powder Room

Cabinetry – Creative Kitchens and Baths, Longboat Key, FL

Mirror – Regina Andrew,

Lighting – Visual Comfort, Miami, FL

Guest Bedroom

Bed and headboard – David Francis, Vero Beach, FL

Bedside chest – Four Hands,

Lamp – Worlds Away,

Primary Bedroom

Bed and headboard – Old Biscayne Designs,

Bedside chest – Worlds Away,

Lamps – Worlds Away,

Dresser – Worlds Away,

Chair – Lexington Home Brands, 

Guest Bedroom

Poster bed– Old Biscayne Designs, 

Headboard – Dana Gibson,

Bedside chest – Villa & House,

Lamps – Chelsea House,

Dresser – Villa & House,

Guest Bathroom

Cabinetry – Creative Kitchens and Baths, Longboat Key, FL

Lighting – Elk Lighting,


Builder – Creative Kitchens & Bath, Longboat Key, FL

Pillows and bolster pillows designed by Potthast Design, St. Petersburg, FL

Pillows and bolster pillows fabrics – Kravet,; Jim Thompson,; Duralee,; Fabricut,; Perennials,; Pindler,; F. Schumacher & Co.,; Nina Campbell,; Houles,; Manual Canovas,; Samuel & Sons,

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