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Changing Tide

Bird Key may be a long way from Reno, Nevada, but mesmerized by beauty of its waters, the homeowners relocated without ever looking back. Initially, it was their daughter’s passion and talent for tennis that sparked their desire to purchase a home near IMG Academy, a boarding school for dedicated student athletes, but falling in love with the water, and the home’s proximity to Lido and Longboat Key’s beaches, is what truly sealed the deal.

Bird Key’s eclectic mix of architectural styles offered DSDG Architects’ principal and lead architect Mark Sultana a world of possibilities. “You have Mediterranean Revival, ultra-modern, and everything in between,” he says. After deciding to do a coastal take on traditional, Sultana set his architectural plan in motion, tactically placing rooms and windows to make the most of Sarasota Bay’s gorgeous views.

Since the homeowners had so assuredly expressed their desire to bring the colors of the ocean inside, interior designer Linda Mixon of Linda Mixon Design went with the flow. Instinctively, she incorporated sea-inspired tones of turquoise, aqua, and rich blues into the décor. “The clean and vibrant color palette drifts from the exterior bay right into the interiors,” says Mixon. And to satisfy their lust for sparkle, she also mixed in some bling. Case in point: the master bedroom, where the colors are quieted, but the glamour volume is cranked up with crystal fixtures and iridescent textiles. “It was important for me to make them feel like they were retreating into a space that had the ambience of a luxury resort with the feel of home,” describes Mixon.

The residents might have changed locations, but their personas remain constant, regardless of how the tides may shift. “The overall feel of the home reflects who my clients are–warm, inviting, and one of a kind,” says Mixon.

“Everyone has their own interpretation of West Indies-inspired architecture,” says Sultana. ”Mine is a coastal take on a traditional home–a low sloped roof of metal, or as in this case, flat concrete tile.” The front exterior profile hints at the soaring 20-foot foyer ceilings that lie just within the mahogany entry door. Copious tropical palms used in the landscaping remind the owners they’re a long way from Reno. The home had so much curb appeal that it sold within a mere two weeks of it being listed by the developer.

A handmade area rug from Rugs As Art anchors the great room, establishing the color palette and setting a tone of oceanic elegance. The Estelle mirrored cocktail table reflects the rug’s kinetic pattern, evocative of white capped waves in a tropical sea. A pair of sumptuous ivory leather tufted sofas by Bernhardt from International Design Source offer impeccable style and total comfort. Interior designer Linda Mixon customized accent pillows in vibrant aqua and royal blue, using silk and velvet fabrics by Kravet Couture. A sleek fireplace from American Grill & Hearth is set within a split-face white crystal quartzite ledgestone wall from Design Works, with beachy accessories decorating the glass shelves. Color blocked drapery panels–made from aqua and cobalt blue fabrics by Duralee–frame the water view.

The custom-designed staircase features white oak Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring landing and treads, with a handrail stained to match. The artwork, titled “Brigitte by the Pool” by photographer Christopher Kennedy, and the handmade brain coral floor vase filled with dried pumila pampas grass, both lend themselves to the oceanside aesthetic.

Cabinets by Cucine Ricci, Arabescato quartz countertops and the backsplash, a slab with striking gray veining and waterfall edges, all together provoke a light and airy sensation in the kitchen. Alongside the Kali Eucalipto Bianco island, four Elite Modern barstools on with a hydraulic lift system rise to the elegant occasion. The chandelier by Elk lighting from International Design Source, a dazzling drum comprising thousands of faceted clear crystal beads, stops the show.

Perfect for entertaining, the dining room flows effortlessly into either the kitchen or great room, due in part to the continuation of the hand-crafted European white oak Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring in LaFamiglia Giginella. Guests will surely be “wined and dined” at the Century wood dining table from International Design Source. The table’s base, and the legs of the six metallic tweed chairs around it, are made of clear acrylic to create an illusion of a floating effect.

“I wanted to respect my clients’ love of the ocean by using vibrant blue and teal in multiple ways,” says Mixon, where she punctuates the mushroom-colored upholstered sofa from International Design Source in the family room with custom pillows displaying a trellis pattern and an alligator print-embossed velour. Both fabrics are from Kravet. A sand-toned Mozambique wood and acrylic cocktail table by Vanguard centers the space, as does the shaggy luxe rug from Rugs As Art by Stanton’s Avant Garde collection. The pair of deep Bernhardt swivel chairs are swathed in turquoise to perpetuate the marine motif.

A stunning departure in palette, matte gold and ivory hues characterize the luxurious master bedroom. The walls are awash with Benjamin Moore’s Shaker Beige, a neutral go-to for many designers. The upholstered headboard by Caracole Home Furnishings is spun with gold threads, creating an intricate decorative pattern. The bedding ensemble by Lili Alessandra from International Design Source, both opulent and understated, boasts shimmering shell tones, while the cozy plush rug places softness underfoot. A quarter-sawn oak nightstand by Caracole Home Furnishings, finished in warm Heron Grey, features a beaded trim along its drawers. The drapery panels–using a diamond-patterned sheer fabric by Victor Thomas–and a lacy crystal Minka Metropolitan chandelier add delicate finishing touches to this lovely oasis.

This aqua, white, and chrome guest suite is sure to make any visitor feel glamorous! The gray shag-like rug, white fur benches, and curvy accent chair soften the abundance of contemporary silhouettes present in the space.

As relaxed as life in the tropics may be, sometimes you must work hard before you play hard. Therefore, the home is equipped with a functional office space, designed with an airy aesthetic so as not to diminish the leisurely vibe. Subtle blues in a hand-loomed New Delhi rug from International Design Source meet clean lines from a barely-there chrome and glass desk. A custom built-in by FineCraft Custom Cabinetry uses Conestoga’s Strata Collection carbon wood, and a tryptic beach scene photograph lets the Gulf linger on in the mind even during “work” mode. When work is complete, the homeowners can move outside to enjoy their stunning pool and view of Sarasota Bay.

Tending to her clients’ love for the Florida lifestyle, Mixon chose natural woods and ocean-inspired materials for the lanai. Ivory shell fossil tile pavers encompasses the flooring, while cypress, richly-stained and installed in the tongue-and-groove technique, marks the ceiling. Woven wicker seating from the Catalina Collection by Patio Renaissance from International Design Source sits atop a diamond-patterned outdoor rug from Rugs As Art. In the end, she created a cozy space to chat and ogle at yachts passing by on the bay.

Written by Robin Hodes

Photography by Nicholas Ferris


DSDG Architects

1348 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34236


Interior Designer

Linda Mixon Design

1656 Main Street

Sarasota, FL 34236



American Grill & Hearth

2881 Clark Road, #16

Sarasota, FL 34231


Cucine Ricci

1515 Main Street

Sarasota, FL 34236


Design Works

4500 Carmichael Avenue

Sarasota, FL 34234


FineCraft Custom Cabinetry

4333 South Tamiami Trail, Suite C

Sarasota, FL 34231


International Design Source

1734 Northgate Boulevard

Sarasota, FL 34234


Rugs As Art

66550 South Tamiami Trail

Saraosta, FL 34231


Wicked Smart Homes

527 South Pineapple Avenue, Suite A

Sarasota, FL 34236



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