A couple selected this waterfront property to build a beach house they intend to use as the gathering place for their large, close-knit family. The husband and wife, who hail from the New England area, envisioned a home that embodied Northeastern-style architecture, but also fit within the context of a southern beachfront property.
Fortunately, the team of highly attentive experts they enlisted used its combined insight and talent to make this vision a reality. Interior designer Gail Carlson-Brundage of Studio G Home firmly grasped the desired aesthetic. Architect Don Cooper worked within the framework of a traditional architectural language to lend the residence a sense of timelessness. And builder Brent Whitehead made the owners feel comfortable in expressing their individuality while preserving the natural beauty of the property. This enabled the residents to relax and focus on what mattered most: building a home that was large enough for their whole family to spread out, have fun, and enjoy. “We were all so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such a beautiful couple, whose vision was to create memories with loved ones,” Whitehead remarks.
Architecturally, a personality befitting the home’s setting was integrated by Cooper. “Materials, colors and proportion of windows to walls all convey character in subtle ways not readily apparent,” he says. “In addition, the flowing floor plan, which allows for easy circulation among spaces, was also a large contributor. Different ways to get around bring a spirit of adventure.”
Likewise, Carlson-Brundage astutely infused the spaces with warmth and a comfortable elegance by using a crisp coastal color palette of linen, oyster, and stone, married with pure white and punctuated with delft blue, sun bleached woods, and white-washed finishes throughout-perfectly in tune with the backdrop of the ocean. To keep the ambiance relaxed and friendly but still elevated in style, the designer incorporated pre-washed linen, the perfect year-round fiber. “It’s washable, breathable, durable, and gets softer over time,” says Carlson-Brundage. “It also regulates to the temperature; cooling when it’s humid and warming when it’s chilly. It’s a beautiful fabric to use in Florida.”
The interiors she masterminded suggested a certain Cape Cod sensibility, combined with a bit of Hamptons aesthetic, putting the family right at home. “It’s an elegant beachfront estate, but there’s nothing pretentious about it,” says Carlson-Brundage. “Despite the grandeur of its scale, the home is cozy and casual. And it’s not just a pretty picture of interiors with fluffy pillows; it’s designed for real beach living.”
And then, of course, there’s that awe-inspiring beach. “The first time the family gathered together at the beach house, it was the 4th of July. I can imagine that all of them enjoying the fireworks from the beach was truly magical,” Carlson-Brundage muses.
The atmosphere of the master bedroom is akin to a soothing breath of saltwater-infused air. The room is appointed with a barreled ceiling and generous windows to frame the incredible beach views. Hidden blackout shades from Digital Homes are cleverly concealed within the window casings, perfect for sleeping in on lazy vacation mornings. The bed from Studio G Home, with its sleigh headboard and low profile side rails and footboard, is embellished with a delicate, hand-painted metallic detail. It is dressed in Italian linen and comfy cotton designed to be more casual than pristine. Dutch pillows stand in for the usual Euro shams, and a faded floral Ralph Lauren pillow and fringed alpaca throw complete the ensemble. Overhead, a romantic chandelier delicately hangs.
The great room, awash in pure white and alabaster with touches of time-honored Wedgewood blue, captures the essence of a chic beachfront residence. Carefully selected elements include the European oak flooring by Bassano from La Casa Tile and a sun-bleached cocktail table (with hidden storage space beneath its lid) from Studio G Home. The sofa, upholstered in pre-washed linen for softness and staying power, is ideal for relaxed living. A seagrass rug and driftwood lamp further accentuate the oceanfront elegance, and even the elongated onyx bowl possesses a seashell quality.
As seen from an alternate vantage point, the warmth of this all-important living area is further conveyed by the introduction of deeper tones in the console and contrast tops of the multipurpose built-in wall unit. One can imagine lounging in the whitewashed cane chairs while the fireplace glows, lingering over a glass of wine poured from the vast collection contained within the three-door refrigerated wine cabinet.
The kitchen island is appointed with seven comfortable upholstered counter stools, a good indication that this is a home designed for a large, close-knit family. The use of Azul Imperial quartzite from Omicron Granite on the backsplash and countertops brings a richness rarely found in a typical beach cottage. Designed for function, this kitchen is outfitted with two galley sink stations, as well as faucets and a pot filler by Brizo, all from The Plumbing Place. Hand-formed, translucent decorative pendants, fashioned in clochette style (the French term for little bell), coordinate perfectly with the cabinetry by Epoch Solutions. Glass door fronts reflect light and add translucency in contrast to the crisp white cabinets built to optimize every available inch for storage and organization for the homeowners.
The bright and cheery master bath offers abundant space for his and hers prep and pampering. Behind the vanity’s three mirrors are hidden medicine cabinets, just one example of the detailed cabinetry and millwork by Epoch Solutions thoughtfully crafted for this detail-oriented homeowner. The undulating lines of the soaking tub and frosted glass sconces add curve appeal, while the sand-toned, honed marble floors complement the matte finish of the cabinetry. Window mullions and palm trees are reflected in the mirror above the makeup vanity, and Carlson-Brundage added a buttoned-up chambray slipper chair for a touch of blue amidst a sea of cream and white.
This is a closet meant to be on display! Backlit shelves showcase an enviable collection of shoes and handbags, a center island houses lockable drawers for precious jewelry, and a crystal chandelier regally illuminates the space crafted by Carefree Design Center.
This guest room was designed with a light touch. The four-poster bed features an upholstered headboard and footboard with sloping curves and a mini nailhead trim. Tone-on-tone cream and white bedding impart a crispness to the room, while a sisal area rug references the beachfront locale.
A guest cottage attached to the home, which has its own separate wing, includes a living and dining area that opens to a kitchenette fit with appliances from Mullet’s Appliances. A custom Epoch Solutions built-in banquette (complete with storage!) and a pair of linen slipcovered chairs surround a planked wood table with trestle base, creating a delightful dinette. A hyacinth swivel chair and oyster-colored coffee table with a barley twist leg perpetuate the seaside vibe.
“What do you do when six guest bedrooms are not enough? You create a bunk room for 24!” says Carlson-Brundage of the bunk room, which is reminiscent of a ship’s sleeping quarters. This space, more than any other in the beach estate, exemplifies that the home was created for a large family. Nautical elements–from the navy and white palette, to the brass bulkhead lights, and even the three Currey & Company rope-wrapped suspended pendants–infuse a marine theme into this kid-friendly room. A vinyl composite that emulates wood was selected for the floors for ease of maintenance. There’s ample cubby space for clutter control and even an adorable reading nook with built-in bookshelves. The ingenious design includes lower drawers that contain pullout trundle beds, so when the slumber party ends, there’s no shortage of places to get a good night’s sleep.
The VIP fortunate enough to occupy this guest bedroom is in for a treat. The antiqued four-poster bed is finished in the faintest hint of Swedish blue and detailed by gilded accents and a nailhead tape that trims the linen upholstered headboard. The classic white bedding by Studio G Home has dainty tawny brown embroidered accents, and an enchanted garden of floral draperies features tones of powder blue, citrine, raspberry, and blush. Lamps with lacy pierced bases adorn the graceful bedside tables. Due to the room’s eastern exposure, rays of morning light pour in–something so wonderful to wake up to. ‘It really is a charming, sweet space,’ Carlson-Brundage comments.
The house is large enough to incorporate two slightly different architectural styles; the front displays a more classical detailing, while the two rear wings are more within the Florida vernacular, with hip roofs and exposed rafter tails that reference Old Florida architecture. Shutters painted Rainstorm Blue from Sherwin-Williams add punch to the lower windows, while the shade of the metal roof virtually melts into the sky.
A deep porch overhangs the swimming pool, placid when all the little ‘fishies’ are asleep. Beneath it are two oversized columns and corbels that are both structurally supportive and decorative. The spa, comfortably tucked beneath them, reflects the dramatic glow of the lanai’s outdoor lighting.
Written by Robin Hodes
Photography by Ryan Gamma
Studio G Home
1530 State Street
Sarasota, FL 34236
Carefree Design Center
1091 Central Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
Digital Homes Corporation
2231 Sarasota Center Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34240
7040 Riverview Boulevard
Bradenton, FL 34209
La Casa Tile
1777 Northgate Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34234
4233 Clark Road
Sarasota, FL 34233
7910 25th Court East, Suite 101
Sarasota, FL 34234
The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232