Spectacular sunsets and luxurious living are two enduring qualities at L’Ambiance on Longboat Key. Units at the popular condominium community don’t come on the market often, but when they do, they generally sell swiftly. New owners are likely to embark on remodeling the 1990s-era residences, from modest updating to total gut-and-remodel projects.
Such was the case for this three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath 3,220 square-foot unit on the eighth floor. On the market for less than two weeks, the new homeowners wasted no time initiating a transformation of the unit, leaving naught but the view untouched. But the process for this remodel was a little different, according to April Balliette, interior designer for DSDG Architects. “The client owns a textile company, and she did most of her own shopping. She would mail samples to me at the office, then fly in, and together we would narrow down the choices during marathon meetings.”
Emails flew back and forth between the pair as well. “The owner would send me a photo of an element she liked, saying ‘Let’s replicate this!’ Then I would come up with a way to do it!” laughs Balliette. “Parts of this project pushed me outside my design comfort zone, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out.”
Dan Lane of Markley Construction points to the level of customization, particularly of the finish materials, as an indicator of the challenges the renovation presented. “The insanely beautiful cabinetry on the bookshelves is a good example of the amount of pre-scheduling and pre-thinking required,” notes Lane. The unit had to accommodate fire sprinkler placement, HVAC, plumbing, and electric, as well as specific placement of the owners’ sound system.
With the home’s focus on the glorious Gulf, other elements of the master bedroom design take a subtle back seat. Elevated in order to be seen from the bed, a modest linear electric fireplace glows amidst a wall of Vetro Metallico glass-filled tile in Venus White Bronze, interspersed with strips of Beach Grass accent tile in White Bronze. The custom furniture piece at the foot of the bed houses a television which rises for relaxed viewing. The walls are quietly clad in Phillip Jeffries’ Como Silk II wallcovering in Coast.
Located in the interior of the unit, the master bath offered DSDG architect Mark Sultana a challenge. “The owner wanted a view of the Gulf from the freestanding tub. We couldn’t access the original plumbing, so we elevated the floor to install new plumbing where we needed it,” explains Sultana. The glass wall changes to a frosty privacy screen at the touch of a button.
The remodel retained the original bathroom count, which included his-and-hers bathrooms with a combined-use shower, but the bland beiges and browns of the 90s era bathrooms gave way to new neutrals, glimmering tiles, and furniture-quality fixtures and accessories. Custom mirror and glass pieces throughout the unit add sparkle.
Feature cover image: Roller shades are tucked away behind narrow wood valances papered to match the kitchen soffit and great room walls. The rectangular structural columns, once circular, were boxed in and tiled in an overlapping pattern adding texture to the room of glass. The original sliding glass doors and windows were replaced with impact resistant glass by Mullet’s Aluminum.
The headboard wall takes center stage in this guest bedroom. Fashioned from tile left over from the owners’ primary home, it is a design masterpiece, accomplished by Balliette in AutoCAD. “The homeowner sent me the quantities and sizes of the tile she had on hand and I pieced it together, taking into account mounting the wall sconces.” Splashes of red accent the teal linens and upholstery, in one of the few explosions of color in the unit.
Written by Ginny Peterson
Photography by Ryan Gamma
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