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Linear Equation

Take edgy ideas and sharp angles, add tasteful finishes and technology, then multiply them by panoramic views and the answer is unequivocal: a distinctively modern waterfront home.

To ensure a modern house doesn’t end up looking like a box, you need to think outside it. Strong lines make a powerful architectural statement, but not one that necessarily says: “warm and welcoming.” Fortunately, DSDG Architects’ principal and lead architect Mark Sultana, who was enlisted to design a custom home for a discerning client with exceptional taste, is a visionary who was more than up to the task.

The desirable plot, situated on a canal leading to Sarasota Bay, was already home to an oak tree too impressive and stately to cut down. To preserve the tree, the architect had to tap into his ingenuity right from the get-go. “I decided to recess the front door to distance it from the tree,” says Sultana of his solution, which not only added interest to the façade, but also allowed the grand oak to continue thriving.

Like many waterfront properties, an elevated or stilt structure is often required to protect homes and their residents from potential flooding. In this case, Sultana enacts a clever alternative for the bayfront home: “I put the staircase inside, so you enter on the ground floor, then climb up to the main living area.” His innovation resulted in an unexpected yet engaging design element. “I guess you could call it a staircase sculpture,” Sultana muses.

T.J. Nutter, owner of Nutter Custom Construction, was also intimately involved with the project. He had unique insight into the clients’ mindset due to an interesting common denominator. “He is a homebuilder in another state who is experienced and astute when it comes to building and design,” says Nutter. “These clients are eclectic with very specific desires.” Like Sultana, Nutter has the knowhow and aptitude for “outside the box” thinking and was therefore able to meet his clients’ high standards.

With the ingenious three-story structure in place, it was DSDG Architects’ in-house designer April Balliette’s turn to show off her skills. “My job is to bring the clients’ vision to life. I execute what they see in their mind’s eye,” says Balliette of her role. She began by selecting a porcelain tile from Design Works for the flooring that emulates natural wood, thus creating a warming effect. By using that same material on both living levels, Balliette achieves a sense of continuity between areas of the home. She took design cues from Sultana’s architecture. “The clean lines of the exterior dictated the cabinetry and countertops within, which have a sharp and linear quality about them,” explains Balliette. To add impact, she also created fun and textural focal walls in the more prominent spaces.

Nutter reflects on the finished product with praise for his colleagues and how invaluable it is to be a part of this team. “DSDG’s design and finish selections are timeless and embody the sheer elegance of a modern waterfront home.” Simply put, the collective inventiveness amounted to a home far greater than the sum of its parts.

Sultana used a multi-dimensional composition to prevent the exterior from resembling a stark white box. Easily mistaken for wood, the detailing is in fact aluminum, digitally printed to read as walnut. Unlike real wood that requires regular maintenance, this latest technology is trouble-free. Its pretty heavy duty, says the architect. You could throw a baseball against and it wouldn’t dent.

On-trend pieces, ranging from transitional to contemporary, furnish the great room with conviviality. But its the floor-to-ceiling relief wall, a silver alabaster shadowstone panel, that houses the fireplace from American Grill & Hearth, suspends the TV from Wicked Smart Homes, and ultimately steals the show.

Unabashedly modern, the kitchen features decadent custom cabinetry from Main Street Kitchen & Bath and a cutting-edge clear glass tile backsplash from Design Works, grouted bright white for added pop. Professional-grade stainless Thermador appliances from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, utilitarian counter stools, and industrial clear pendants by Tech Lighting from Light Up Your Life enhance the contemporary aesthetic.

The dining room is flooded with natural daylight, but when night falls, the smoky glass “Quinton” pendants by Tech Lighting from Light Up Your Life turn on the drama. A generous helping of metal in the geometric dining table, etched sideboard, and Midcentury-inspired brass chairs enhance the contemporary character of the space.

The master bedroom juxtaposes soft and fluffy with sleek and solid. Dark espresso wood supplied by the owner becomes a show-stopping headboard wall. The same rich tone is duplicated in the sophisticated, channel-tufted leather benches at the foot of a chic, mirrored canopy bed. Minka Aire’s oversized brushed nickel fan makes an encore appearance on the ceiling, effecting modern poetry in motion.

Understated yet excitingly urban, the master bath features a chunky oval acrylic freestanding tub and a striking focal wall where decorative porcelain tiles from Design Works by Atlas Concorde create a jaw-dropping “slab” of white and gray with a hint of honey.

Horizontal and vertical lines converge on the expansive open-air balcony. Custom-stained cypress installed tongue-and-groove style encompasses the ceiling. A set of inviting, boxy chaise lounges, including one that gently swings, and a slim aluminum railing gives way to a breathtaking water view.

The rear exterior, boasting three proportioned stories of concrete, glass, and aluminum, could easily pass for a boutique hotel in the hip section of a bustling city. Instead, this trend-setter rests alongside a tranquil canal in what Sultana calls “an up-and-coming neighborhood on the bayou.” It’s just the kind of individuality the forward-thinking owners and creators had in mind.

Written by Robin Hodes

Photography by Ryan Gamma

Architect & Interior Designer

DSDG Architects

1348 Fruitville Rd

Sarasota, FL 34236


Luxury Home Builder

Nutter Custom Construction

3534 South Osprey Ave

Sarasota, FL 34239



301 Granite and Marble

3800 North Washington Blvd

Sarasota, FL 34234


American Grill & Hearth

2881 Clark Rd, #16

Sarasota, FL 34231


Carefree Design Center

1091 Central Ave

Sarasota, FL 34236


Design Works

4500 Carmichael Ave

Sarasota, FL 34234


Ferguson Bath, Kitchen

& Lighting Gallery

2451 17th Street

Sarasota, FL 34234


Light Up Your Life

1620 North Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34236


Main Street Kitchen & Bath

1527 Main St

Sarasota, FL 34236


Sticks & Stones Flooring

1839 Northgate Blvd

Sarasota, FL 34234


Wicked Smart Homes

527 South Pineapple Ave, Suite A

Sarasota, FL 34236



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