The clients wanted two seemingly divergent feelings in their vacation home on Sarasota’s Harbor Drive— modernity and warmth. But architect Mark Sultana is in the business of realizing people’s vision, and doing so without drama or conflict.
“I listen carefully to my clients and give them what they want,” explains Sultana. “I am an easy-going guy without a huge ego. I get a good feeling when I am able to design something that delights the clients and then be invited back months later for the party where they are proudly showing off their new home.”
Sultana particularly enjoys working with builder Mike Voigt, whom he has teamed up with on many other projects.
“There’s no reinventing the wheel with Mike, who understands what I’m looking for and does the highest quality work,” says Sultana.
“I am passionate about exceeding expectations,” agrees Voigt. “I never want to settle for anything but the best. I really enjoy building things. My hands-on approach means I am actually on the job site to oversee all of the details during construction.”
The third member of this successful team is April White. She served as interior designer on the project and had the most challenging, yet fascinating experience, of the whole team.
“Besides a handful of in-person meetings, the majority of the project was done via email, since the homeowners spend majority of their time in Europe,” explains White. “We made sure to use our limited time together very efficiently, making color, fabric, and finish selections. The homeowners had a lot of input on the design direction and I made sure to pay strict attention. I came to understand their tastes, likes, and dislikes very well.”
White summed up the project, “The whole thing came together incredibly smoothly.”
Cantilevered stairs on the second story entrance jut out like diving boards over a water feature hidden by a one-story wall on the front exterior. Glass balconies and ribbon windows allow light to warm the modern structure in addition to providing privacy. Thermally-modified poplar, kiln-stripped of its moisture to better resist Southwest Florida’s humidity, makes up the lighted wooden under-roof of the home. A six-car garage makes up the lower level.
Floor-to-ceiling windows and doors in the great room overlook Sarasota Harbor. A two-story fireplace wall of 8-by-4-foot custom precast concrete panels hosts a linear gas fireplace. Flooring made of 2-by-4-foot porcelain tiles from Sticks & Stones Flooring is used throughout the lower living area. A 22-foot-high ceiling rises above the minimalist furniture. A Giorgio Sorressi Como sectional clad in pebble gray cotton flanks an Orgo Showtime free-form coffee table. Both rest on a tone-on-tone rug from Rugs As Art. A black leather clad Eames lounge chair and ottoman offers extra seating. An overarching floor lamp reaches out from a marble base and an Artemide Mercury Suspension chandelier from Light Up Your Life hangs overhead. LED lighting on the underside of the bridge leading to the third floor, showcases the artwork from the owners’ own collection.
A tall glass wall enhances the dining area view overlooking the water. The 14-foot Antonio Citterio Recipio table in black stained wood seats ten guests. Glass pillar candlesticks of various heights bring visual interest to the minimalist table. The Hubbard Forge Cityscape LED pendant chandelier is from Light Up Your Life. Streamlined ribbon-slotted diffuser HVAC vents share the ceiling with LED panel lights spotlighting the American flag artwork from the owners’ collection.
The Zebrawood cabinetry brings warmth to the gourmet kitchen, which features appliances by Sub-Zero and Wolf from Monark Premium Appliance Co. Cleverly hidden behind two large cabinet doors is the spacious walk-in pantry. An opaque glass mosaic backsplash subtly glows with reflections from the under-cabinet lights and sunshine from the unadorned window. Alina hand-blown Venetian teardrop glass pendants from Light UP Your Life reflect on to the countertops of Caesarstone Quartz. The Jamaica barstools are by Spanish designer Pepe Cortes.
Suspended by two steel stringers, the open staircase was designed by Sultana to introduce motion to the home’s interior. Glass railings allow light to stream into the space. Three-inch thick wood treads are attached to the stringers and stained to match the upstairs maple floor by Sticks & Stones Flooring, helping to give the impression that the staircase is floating. On the other side of the front door (not shown), a commercial grade elevator, unlike most residential elevators, has doors that close automatically. The fully integrated smart home design by Wicked Smart Homes includes Lutron lighting control and motorized shades and Crestron controlled audio, video, lighting, shading, thermostats, security, garage doors, and entry gate.
The gallery forms the bridge seen above the great room and acts as the center point for the master and guest bedroom to the left and right of it. Wide planked stained maple floors provide a rich surface throughout this third level. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for magnificent views of Sarasota Bay from the comfort of down-filled LC3 Grand Modele armchair designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand upholstered in pewter cotton on either side of the stone-topped chrome table.
The master bath floor and the walls of the glass shower are a porcelain wood-look planking. The walls are clad in 9-by-36-inch mosaic tiles. The free-standing air-jet tub is filled by a standalone chrome faucet. A simple shade can be lowered electronically for privacy.
The guest bedroom features a Bensen Frame Lo King Bed, designed by Niels Bendtsen and upholstered in bright skipper blue, one of the colors in the woven-wool and bamboo-silk rug from Rugs as Art. Crisp white bedding provides a simple counterpoint to the abstract painting above the bed. Eileen Gray matte-black, adjustable steel tables add convenience. A Cassina Grand Modele armchair, in pewter cotton, sets between a tri-toned, oversize, crockery vase holding blue reeds and a Ados high-gloss walnut chest. The colorful abstract painting is from Grace Howl Art Gallery.
The outdoor living and dining areas are surrounded by glass-panel railing affording perfect views of the sunset on the harbor. Twenty-four-inch square porcelain wood-look tiles in driftwood gray create a level surface, while the concrete slab below it is cleverly sloped to encourage rainwater run-off. Surrounding the custom built base of the Ben Nettles linear fire-pit table, are woven hemp and bronze Babylon settees and chairs with durable Sunbrella fabric. The outdoor kitchen at the far end of the lanai is set on a wall clad in taupe limestone tiles from Sticks and Stone Flooring. The kitchen is equipped with a 36-inch Lynx grill from Monark Premium Appliance Co. The Babette table designed by Marc Sadler is paired with aluminum side and armchairs.
A living wall of plants adorns the lower level of the home, as seen from the pool deck. A sculptural cantilevered staircase has a landing made of glass to offer a view of the water feature below. That waterfall pours into a lap pool lined with polished glass beads for a delightful feeling underfoot. A quartet of stepping-stones offers a line of demarcation to the corner spa shaded by the living area overhead.
Written by Kitt Walsh
Photography by Ryan Gamma
Grace Howl Art Gallery
1235 15th Street
Sarasota FL 34236
Light Up Your Life
1620 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34236
Monark Premium Appliance Co.
5670 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232
Rugs As Art
6650 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34231
Sticks & Stones Flooring
1839 Northgate Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34234
Wicked Smart Homes
527 South Pineapple Avenue, Suite A
Sarasota, FL 34236