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Suncoast : Home Tour : Majestic Marbella

With a nod to the past yet with an eye toward the future, the “Marbella” model by Arthur Rutenberg Homes in Lakewood Ranch, marries two great traditions. “I wanted to honor the home’s Tuscan tradition by combining the best of the Old World with the best of the new,” says Arthur Rutenberg Homes Senior Interior Designer, Cindy Alander. The integration of an elegant garden design created by ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design was fundamentally important to carrying the Tuscan theme from home to homeside.

Upon arrival, guests see natural stone and cap-rock boulders unifying the architecture with a Tuscan plant palette of Italian Cypress and drought-tolerant evergreens indicative to the region. “Without the strong connection between plant material and home design, the first impression of an authentic Tuscan theme would be greatly diminished,” says Clinton Lak, degreed landscape designer for ArtisTree.

A romantic time in history is evoked by the Marbella model, beginning with the classic entryway, featuring an arched doorway, a fieldstone front piece and barrel-tile roof reminiscent of a Tuscan villa. The curve of the den is echoed in the subtle undulations or rolling berms incorporated to add a third dimension to the garden beds. The landscaping was designed by Clinton Lak, Degree Landscape Architect for ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design, who incorporated natural stone into the scheme and chose a Tuscan plant palette of Wild and Pygmy Dates, Silver European Fan Palms and Italian Cypress, all low drought-tolerant evergreens perfect for the South Florida climate. “The plant materials were organized to frame the house and showcase the architecture, while creating a layered look and year-round interest,” says Lak.

Inside the home, the fusion of past and present becomes apparent. The great room invites guests to relax on twin sofas covered in nubby oatmeal linen and matching wingback chairs covered in restful blue, accented by nickel nail heads. The oversize Century cocktail table finished in a distressed black stain, introduces the Old World dark wood found throughout the home, in a way that invites the visitor to put their feet up. The Surya rug brings a bold pattern to the mix, and its color pays homage to the coastal location of Sarasota. “In Southwest Florida, we are never far from the Gulf of Mexico,” says Alander, “and I used blue throughout the home to reference that.”

The great room opens to the kitchen and the casual dining area, making for a wonderful flow for entertaining. While the chef du jour cooks in the Wolf/Subzero kitchen, guests may sit on dark wood Carcole stools with patterned cutout backs pulled up to the granite kitchen island. The unusual granite is grey-blue with veining in a sea-glass green. “It is the color of the Gulf on a clear day,” says Alander. Iron and frosted glass pendant lights shine above, using retro filament bulbs for an industrial chic touch. A mosaic, featuring irregular cut natural sandstone along with glass insets of beach and a deep blue glass, add the historic artisan touch necessary to help create what Alander has named her “New Old World” design scheme.

The casual dining room is perfect for both every day and big occasion dining. The Drexel table can be opened to accommodate seating for eight. The host and hostess chairs are cobalt patterned linen, introducing color into the room, and the guest chairs are covered in oatmeal suede, accented with nickel nail heads. The crystal and iron chandelier lights the scene and the dark wood buffet adds the Old Europe element.

The luxurious master suite creates an atmosphere of serenity by the use of solid fabrics throughout the room, with the only patterned elements being the custom curved headboard, duvet cover, and neck roll pillow. The antique satin banded window treatments highlight both the darker and lighter elements of the room and the mushroom wall paint provides a dramatic backdrop for all the furnishings. Twin lounge chairs, loosely draped in a taupe material, are separated by a polished nickel and a glass-topped table featuring open fretwork.

The master bath is a sanctuary from daily cares. His and hers custom vanities are finished in a taupe wash with brushed nickel hardware. The vanity, with its taupe slipper chair, provides convenient seating and the arched mirrors and mirrored towers create ample hidden storage. The oval soaking tub is set on a tub deck of Crema Marfil stone which also tops the counters. The floor is covered in a glorious marble named “Storm” which mimics the greys, sand, and beiges of the beach in wild weather.

In keeping with the inviting features of the rest of the home, guests are also made very comfortable in one of the other two bedrooms, each with its own en suite bath.

The club room, an entertainment mecca, houses a pool table, a poker/game table, and a big screen TV media center, welcoming gatherings of friends and families. The cinnamon carpet perfectly complements the room’s most striking element– the russet brick wall. But entertaining needn’t be constrained to the interior of this lovely home. Ninety-degree retractable doors open out on to the cabana–an outdoor space covered by a tongue-and-groove wooden ceiling. A TV rises above a delightful gas fireplace, perfect for cooler nights, and walnut-stained, all-weather wicker furniture, sporting the now-signature blue cushions, provides a perfect place to end an evening.

“Connecting the outdoors and indoors is what people are looking for when they come to Florida,” says Alander. President Derek Nelson of Nelson Homes, Inc., an independent franchise of Arthur Rutenberg Homes, agrees. “The Marbella, honored as ‘Plan of the Year’ from among all national Arthur Rutenberg branded plans, is a Tuscan dream home,” says Nelson. “If you love entertaining or have children or grandchildren coming to visit, you couldn’t ask for a more welcoming place to call home.”

Lakewood Ranch is the 17,500-acre award winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. Just minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches and cultural assets in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch is already home to more 18,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, the  75-acre Premier Sports Campus, the Ancient Oak Gun Club, its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and four million square feet of commercial property. For more information visit

Written by Kitt Walsh

Arthur Rutenberg Homes 13922 58th Street North Clearwater, FL 33760 727.536.5900

Nelson Homes, Inc. (an independent franchise of Arthur Rutenberg Homes) 7309 Merchant Court, Suite A Sarasota, FL 34240 941.907.2292

Lakewood Ranch Information Center 6220 University Parkway Lakewood Ranch, FL 34240 941.907.6000

Clinton Lak, Degreed Landscape Architect ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design 160 Pond Cypress Road, Suite B Venice, FL 34292 941.488.8897


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