THE ART OF ZEN IN THE HOME
“Develop the quiet, even state of mind… and gently go your way in peace.” –— Heart of a Buddha
The owner of this beautiful Harbor Acres home knows a lot about how order creates serenity. An organic chemist, he also devotes countless hours to creating and cultivating Bonsai trees, the careful care of which is in itself a form of meditation. A talented landscape artist, he and Stephen Hazeltine of Hazeltine Nurseries designed the Japanese-influenced gardens around the home and added a Zen rock garden, where raking stones invites contemplation. This love of tranquility emanates from this lovely 5,064 square foot, 4-bedroom/ 4.5 bath home, showcasing interior design by Gail Carlson Brundage of Studio G Home.
The fresh white exterior, accented by classic black shutters and geometric iron balconies, sets the tone for the home; tasteful yet never over-done.
“The owners wanted a welcoming and approachable home,” says Carlson. “Uncluttered and comfortable but with an overarching elegance, was the tone they wanted for their home.”
The dining room, using warm neutrals and soft hues of blue set a restful tone to this space. Hickory White dining chairs are upholstered in a pacific blue low-cut chenille with a contrasting back panel of light chocolate, accented by nail head trim. The Hickory Chair dark walnut table features a triple pedestal base and seating for eight, partially provided by unexpectedly placing a velvet patterned banquette at the head of the table. The iron and glass chandeliers, with frosted glass diffusers, light the scene and a hand-woven Pakistani rug provides understated beauty underfoot. The room’s focal point, above the sideboard, is a hand-carved wall sculpture depicting a dove, signifying blessings and introducing a spiritual note to the home’s interior.
Carlson designed the built in bookshelves in the living room, in collaboration with Euro Tech Cabinetry and having the unit wired so that sconces could add a soft focused light.
The designer added a bit more warmth to the space by accenting the coffered ceiling in Sherwin William’s Basket Beige and treated the columns as transitional pieces, bridging the old world and the new by having the columns clad in Travertine stone echoing the wall surrounding the fireplace. A custom iron chandelier with flame tip bulbs and wax candle sleeves shines above a walnut ottoman covered in mocha linen, a mushroom-colored chaise and low-cut velvet couch. A pair of high-backed armchairs by Hickory Chair, made by hand in the USA, completes the furniture group. The alabaster table lamp is by Arteriors. Window treatments in a geometric pattern fabric frame the view to the garden.
The kitchen is perfect for the owners, who enjoy gourmet cooking and entertaining. David Asher, president of EuroTech Cabinetry, interviews homeowners extensively about their lifestyle and kitchen usage. The answers guide Asher to design the perfect kitchen for them. Here, Asher accommodated the owner’s wishes for a crisp and clean look by using “American Estate” cream colored cabinetry with an antique glaze. He made certain this was a “very smart working kitchen, where two people can work easily, with a sink for cleanup and another in the island, where the cleverly placed microwave is also found. Such great design, along with impeccable service, is the reason EuroTech has been chosen for more than 2,100 home projects. We never disappoint.”
Italian white crackle tile accented with bronze decos from Crossville form the backsplash behind the Wolf gas and a custom wooden hood that tastefully hides the vent. The paneled refrigerator is “pure refrigerator” with a dedicated SubZero freezer installed under the pantry cabinet. The fixtures are Rohl “Perrin & Rowe” in an English Bronze finish and were supplied by The Plumbing Place.
“The owners wanted nothing but the finest fixtures in their kitchen,” says John Smithman of The Plumbing Place. “The kitchen had to be highly functional, yet simple and classic. We were happy to be able to accommodate their every wish.”
The couple also chose a Bella Cera engineered Hickory wood plank floor in a dark Maiori stain, from La Casa Tile LLC for the kitchen and throughout much of the home to maintain visual flow.
“The owners wanted to use unique materials in their home, which pleased us and we were delighted that our work pleased them,” says Fernando Gobic, owner of La Casa Tile.
The master bedroom features a walnut four-poster bed from Hickory White, with a striped ticking headboard and side panels of sheer linen. The bedding is lightweight linen cotton from Carlson’s own Studio G Home Collection and it, along with the shams and velvet accent pillow, recollect the colors of the sea. A sunburst mirror of silver leaf metal reflects light, as does the mercury glass bedside lamp. The nightstands feature a pullout tray and glazed cream finish. A velvet-covered bench by Bernhardt conveniently sits at the foot of the bed. Sherwin Williams’ “Dapper Tan” paint adds warmth and tranquility to compliment the furnishings.
“It is important that everything, from the paint color to the fabric choices, create a nurturing and restful atmosphere,” says Carlson.
The designer ameliorated the fact that the master bath was a long and narrow room by using an abundance of mirrors to reflect light and give the appearance of more width to the space. A polished chrome silk shaded chandelier and vanity sconces by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort add a touch of elegance and sparkle. Blue Ridge by EuroTech dark stained maple cabinets, including a built-in linen closet designed to match the his-and-hers vanities and tub panel, provide dramatic contrast to the stunning porcelain floor.
“The Italian porcelain floor mimics Calacatta marble perfectly, but requires much less maintenance,” says La Casa Tile’s Gobic. “The homeowner needn’t worry about hairspray or body oils marring the surface, nor will it develop scratches.”
Norwegian Ice mosaic marble was used in the shower, a combination of glass and split-face stone adds texture. The master bath lavatory faucets, tub faucet and shower fixtures are Grohe’s “Geneva” Collection in polished nickel from The Plumbing Place.
The rear exterior of the home provides the perfect palette for the owner’s art, as he designed all of the landscaping. Here visitors may see examples of some of his bonsai trees and the raked gravel of the traditional Zen garden. A stone fireplace is a gathering place and the seating area features pieces from Lloyd Flanders. The lighting by Bevelo is copper and, with the home being so near the water, will develop a natural patina. Chaise lounges are of hand crafted all-weather wicker with plush cushions offering comfortable seating near the pool and raised spa. The entire outdoor scene is one of restraint and classic beauty.
“I strive to build strong relationships with my clients and exceed their expectations,” says Carlson. “Thoughtfully curated with an enduring appeal, everything in this home harmonizes and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to create an interior that my clients appreciate and enjoy.”
Written by Kitt Walsh
Photography by Jimmy White Photography
1609 DeSoto Rd
Sarasota, FL 34234
La Casa Tile, LLC
1777 Northgate Blvd. Unit A3
Sarasota, FL 34234
The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232
Studio G Home
1517 State Street, #101
Sarasota, FL 34236