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Riverfront Revival

The stunning roofline and exterior details of this coastal transitional home sitting at the mouth of the Manatee River belies the before picture of its gut renovation; a 1970s style house with a flat roof and a second-floor apartment above a three story garage. The owners were attracted to the charming and upscale neighborhood of the Manatee River region. Realtor Pam Charron of Berkshire Hathaway assisted their search for a waterfront home with good bones which Dan Gagne, owner of Gagne Construction then renovated to their specifications.

A carport courtyard with soft gray pavers leads to a three-car garage with a bedroom suite above. Welded rails across decks were added to break up the outdated 1970s structure and hint at the contemporary nautical themes explored inside. The unique cantilevered observation deck adds drama, height, and provides uninterrupted river views. Black bronze rectangular sconces with glass panels by Blu Home and custom pendants stand starkly against the white exterior walls. The front door is custom-made from warm mahogany with horizontal glass panels.

Interior designer Holiday created custom chairs with a white-washed oak herringbone detail on the back as the first furniture visible in the home. The Kravet fabric has a hint of blue and is complemented by the Bungalow 5 navy blue end tables with statement mirrored metal-based lamps and a gray linen shade from Pink Pineapple. The custom sectional is in a durable white Sunbrella fabric from International Design Source and sits across from a white-gloss coffee table. The split-faced stone fireplace in white and the frosted mirrored-glass tiles are both from Tile Market of Sarasota and provide additional light and texture. The charcoal painted interiors of the custom cabinetry add depth. 

The dining area is still part of the open concept, but set-off to the side with a partial wall. Wainscot and a tongue-and-groove ceiling detail on a diamond angle define the formal space. The custom washed-gray salvaged-wood table with extension leaves is by SDS Designs. The ebony-finished legs of the simple chairs are matched by the black frames of the geometric series of prints lining the walls of the vestibule that leads to the guest suites.

In the original building, few rooms were geared towards the river, while the new construction prioritizes water. The owner’s suite and two additional suites around the perimeter of the great room offer an unobstructed view of the river from the front door. “We didn’t want the formal dining room to distract from the water views,” says Gagne, “so while the great room is open, we partially walled-off the dining room to keep the sight line towards the river from the moment you enter the house. This way, you’re discovering portions of the home along the way.” Even the enclosed office has glass barn doors to maintain a seamless vista of the water.

“The magnificent great room ceiling was the focus of the interior design,” explains interior designer Jessica Holiday, owner of HSH Designs. “We tied in built-in cabinets to the architectural fine points throughout the home.”

The circular window, polished-nickel Circa chandelier with a nautical weathervane look, tongue-and-groove X-lined ceiling, and fishing cleats used as cabinet pulls, all contribute to the “captain’s quarters” feel of the office. Vintage local photographs and nautical fishing maps, enlarged and box framed, bring history and gravitas to the space. The engineered warm wood floors were topped with glass and customized as the desk and countertop. A white cane high-back wing chair and parsons chair in navy blue complete the look.

To ensure that the custom oversized island topped with Super White quartz didn’t overpower the entire space of the great room, designer Holiday added elements like functional touch-latch panel backs and columns that mimic the columns on either side of the appliance wall. Custom low-backed swivel bar stools in a white indoor/outdoor fabric soften the rectangular lines, as do the Visual Comfort Hicks polished-nickel hanging etched-glass globe pendants. The backsplash consists of white linear tiles in a herringbone pattern, also from Tile Market of Sarasota.

The new floor plan expands the footprint with a 3-foot bump-out for a study and the owner’s bathroom suite, adding curb appeal with plenty of sculptural elements, but ultimately accommodating a new roof configuration and reengineered trusses for the large and impressive vaulted ceiling. A garage apartment is now connected to the house and a new staircase above an added guest suite, creates an observation tower that looks beyond the house to a panorama of the water. “We added porches, columns, decks, louvres, and horizontal railings, and lightened them up in a modern contemporary way,” architect David Wash explains.

The bathroom mood is inspired by a Visual Comfort chandelier with a slight arch and rectangular lines echoed in the Kohler tub and stunning tile details. The tiled floor pattern consists of white Thassos rectangular tiles framing square-cut Thassos tiles turned on the diamond with a mother-of-pearl hatched tile inlaid band also used on the vanity wall with inset mirror. All of the selections are from Tile Market of Sarasota.

Floor to ceiling built-ins and the tongue-and-groove ceiling cocoon the owner’s bedroom. The height of the updated Noir white-washed oak canopy bed balances the height of the cabinetry and is flanked by Bungalow 5 chests. The wall hangings are a resin composite faux-coral, and stone lamps with a metal rimmed base are hand-carved. The Jaipur rug in soft creamy grays with white details brings movement to the room and prevents the lines of the room from feeling boxy.  

Holiday dressed the interiors in plenty of whites, taking care to use durable materials and textures. “The owners asked for crisp, clean, and elegant,” concludes Holiday, “but still wanted their family and guests to feel at ease, like they could flop on the sofa without stress.”

The fabulous photograph of gazing women in bathing suits charms guests in a bedroom that overlooks the Manatee River. Built-in armoires on both sides of a built-in dresser stand across from a basket-weave bed dressed in navy and white bedding. The owners’ own white with navy blue coral-based lamps with linen shades sit atop matching navy blue nightstands. Two custom X-based benches in navy indoor/outdoor fabric with polished nickel nail-heads provide flexible seating.

The family room, as the pass through room from the house to the garage and the stairs leading to the observation tower, does not have a view of the river. To compensate, Holiday brought in nautical themes with a navy and white Dash & Albert rug, nautical knot-pulls on doors, and enlarged vintage photographs that introduce the views of the house. A wall-length built-in bench with storage is topped with white trimmed charcoal gray fabric and assorted pillows, including a block print fish fabric from Pecky. Palecek teak chairs with rope-wrapped arms and back sit by a custom basket-weave linen-wrapped game table.

While the location and shape of the pool remain the same, the rear of the house received significant attention in the renovation. The existing retaining walls were used to create a terrace that wraps around the back, with an outdoor kitchen of NatureKast Outdoor Cabinetry in Silver Birch from Progressive Cabinetry and grill from American Grill & Hearth. Cabled rails disappear so there’s no structure impeding the view, and an expansive staircase frames the landscape. Around the side of the deck is an outdoor shower and enclosed dressing area. The pool was updated, and the owners added a new shell stone travertine deck, stairs, and walkway to the dock. 

American Grill & Hearth 2881 Clark Road #16 Sarasota, FL 34231 941.925.3985

Gagne Construction 214 Pine Avenue Anna Maria, FL 34216 941.778.3215

HSH Designs-Jessica Holmes Holiday 1487 Second Street, Suite E Sarasota, FL 34236 941.447.7373

International Design Source 1785 Northgate Blvd. Sarasota, FL 34234 941.552.2552

Pam Charron | Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Realty 3192 Fruitville Road Sarasota, FL 34237 941.993.3388

Progressive Cabinetry 6404 Manatee Ave West (Suite N) Bradenton, FL 34209 941.866.6975

Tile Market of Sarasota 1962 Main Street, Suite 120 Sarasota, FL 34236 941.365.2356

Written by Brooke Parker Photography by Jimmy White


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