This one-of-a-kind home designed for Patricia and Mark Short and realized by Greg Ross of Ross Built Construction makes the most of an unusual pie-shaped lot that sits on a cul-de-sac and opens to 200 feet of magnificent bay frontage. The house is oriented around optimal views of sunrises and sunsets. The main house features the owner’s suite at the top, an open ground floor layout that allows for a flood of light and cross breezes through the house, and abundant covered outdoor space throughout. A two-bedroom carriage house with an open loft sits 55 degrees off the main house and is attached by a covered breezeway that serves as an additional outdoor living area.
Driving around Anna Maria Island, the Shorts discovered architectural designer Emily Ann Smith and noted that many of their favorite homes are Smith’s designs. Each has a deep respect for tradition, as well as a unique and ageless façade that manages to blend within the environment and stand out at the same time.
“Everything I do is one-of-a-kind. I don’t repeat a plan,” explains Smith of her thorough design process. “I spend the time with the client doing all the homework to get into their traffic patterns; how they use every inch of space and why, and would they like to use it differently. I learn their personalities, their taste in color, everything down to where they take their shoes off. I act like a sponge, and I’m right on because of the up-front work.”
Ross Built Construction Company meticulously built the house, including stunning rooflines with custom sculptural hanging knee supports, tongue-and-groove vaulted ceilings, an artful staircase, and an elevator. “Smith’s designs are hand drawn, like an old fashioned blueprint,” says Ross Built project manager Max Gazzo. “We bring the precision and expertise to realize the plan’s potential and client’s desires.”
A pie-shaped lot on a cul-de-sac required an elegant solution. The carriage house sits at an angle to the main house and affords guest parking. The facade includes classic features of a low country frame vernacular: a raised basement, covered porches that wrap around the house, and operative cedar shutters. Pervious pavers line the driveway. A poplar-stained divided French door offers sidelights and a three-member transom with sidelights fixed above.
Pocketed sliding doors lead from the great room to the screened porch overlooking the pool and the bay. Matching blue velvet Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofas sit atop a silver and gray rug from Rugs as Art and in front of large reclaimed wood cabinets. The floors are Arimar engineered European white oak.
The gathering room of the guest house can be best seen from the second floor. It features a wet bar, fridge, and sink along a shiplap wall and gorgeous bay views with light flooding through the palladium window. The floors are a wood-look porcelain tile. The sconces are by Rejuvenation; the hanging lantern is Visual Comfort.
The kitchen, situated between the family room and the great room in this open floor plan, overlooks the covered walkway between the main house and the carriage house. Two striped navy and white leather benches from Hollingsworth sit in front of a Quartz countertop island. The backsplash is composed of an imported handmade tile similar to subway tiles. A Sub-Zero fridge matches the hood and cabinetry. There are two pantries behind the wall, including a butler’s pantry with a barn door.
The main entrance leads directly to the dining room; then the walls fan out 45 degrees with the great room overlooking the bay and the kitchen to the left leading to the family room. White linen slipcovered chairs surround a Jerry Pair composite wood-topped table with iron legs. The iron theme is repeated in a side table and Visual Comfort lighting.
The master bedroom boasts a stunning cathedral coffered beam ceiling, tongue-and-groove, painted white, and with exceptional bayside views. The four-poster mahogany bed grounds the room and is framed by matching Bernhardt bachelor’s chest dressers with capiz-shell drawer fronts and matching Mr. Brown London table lamps in gold and rippled silver. A marble-topped coffee table with gold legs beside an oversized lounge chair in blues and whites plays off the blue and white bedding. A queen-sized porch bed swing hangs just outside the bedroom.
This “hers” bathroom has a large glass bead hanging pendant light positioned above a Victoria and Albert bathtub with a Brizo chrome faucet from The Plumbing Place. In front of the tub is a white leather topped bench with brushed nickel legs. The large round mirror atop the cabinets is from Restoration Hardware. Polished nickel sconces are by Waterworks. Outside the window, Ross Built’s custom walnut-stained, laser-cut, hanging-knee supports are a stunning, authentic detail.
A covered breezeway or dogtrot connects the carriage house to the main house providing privacy for each of the buildings, a shared entertaining space, and maximum air circulation, enhanced with Haiku ceiling fans.
The orientation of the carriage house is best seen from the bay side with extensive protective seawall and two-tiered dock by Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boatlift. Privacy bushes conceal a pool beneath the main house, and the garage doors on the carriage house lead from the owner’s tackle room, perfect for storing kayaks.
Written by Brooke Parker
Photography by Jimmy White
Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift
1714 Independence Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34234
Ross Built Construction Co.
305 67th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34209
Rugs As Art
6650 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34231
The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232