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Suncoast : Home Tour : Sarasota Serenity

West Indies style is magnificently updated for modern living in this five bedroom, five-and-a-half bath home in Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota. Mindful of the community’s aesthetic diversity, partner John Cooney of Stofft Cooney Architects opted for simple proportions and conventional framing, as well as an emphasis on excellent materials.

The handsome exterior is clad in fossilized coral stone, with cypress accents, including the large front balcony’s pillars and custom-designed Colonial-style railing. Cement roofing styled to imitate West Indian wood shakes–but better fortified for Florida weather—caps the structure. “For the front elevation, we used a color palette that complements the Mediterranean homes nearby, but gave it a tropical twist. What we ended up with is quite sophisticated,” says John Cooney.

From the outset, the home was thoughtfully considered from top to bottom, inside and out. “This is not a case of a finished house in which we placed some furniture, but rather a collaboration, beginning with the blueprint,” says Interior Designer, Lou Shafran Owner of Pacifica Interior Design. “We worked together to achieve a design that was neither over decorated nor under simplified, and would, we hoped, be relevant years from now.”

Throughout the home, the Pacifica team married furnishings and artwork for a comfortable, universal appeal. “We drew from the British Colonial tradition as well as transitional pieces to create something modern and clean,” says co-designer Mark Vanagas. “A fresh color scheme gives the home a look that’s a bit different and unexpected.”

The scheme incorporates blue, white, warmer neutrals and lots of wood. In the upstairs VIP bedroom, French blue walls set off a crisp blue-on-white Waverly coral print that’s draped around the headboard and windows. The dark wood Chinoiserie desk is contrasted with a carved wing chair with a coral-shaped back, custom finished with a white wash. The x-motif on the wooden bed frame is a recurring pattern throughout the home.

The living room carries the same tone as the VIP bedroom. An off-white Oscar de la Renta sofa faces the cast stone fireplace and formal mantle. The custom designed iron and glass coffee table and silver-leaf mirror are clean contemporary shapes amid more traditional twin wood chests and Asian inspired ceramic vases.

The kitchen is divided from the adjoining family room by a granite-topped breakfast bar. The cast stone fireplace mantle with tile backsplash turns the 48-inch Wolf range into a central hearth. Here again are the x-shapes—this time on the custom cabinetry and on the backs of the barstools. Faux-linen walls, a dark walnut island and steel inserts in the tile work (as well as tiny pops of bluein the accessories) and bar stool cushions are easy complements.

“Rather than multiple colors, we chose to use different materials here in similar tones,” says Shafran. “Our philosophy is that layering textures, never too much of one thing, will keep the eye interested.”

The comfortably formal dining room with its round table and shield-shaped chairs is centered around a custom designed dark bronze and crystal chandelier hanging from the vaulted ceiling. Two distressed wood columns and blue and white porcelain gourd-shaped vases flank an original graphite pencil-drawn scene of a plantation done by co-designer Mark Vanagas. Over the sideboard (not pictured) is a gallery of artwork made from porcelain shards.

The family room’s pitched ceiling is framed with cypress beams that match the dark floors and recessed media cabinet. Pale faux-linen colored walls extending from the kitchen are a soft backdrop for a plush white Century sofa, custom-scaled wood coffee table, and blue-and-white-striped upholstered wingback chair.

The downstairs study is a standout. “The entire room was built out of custom wood, including the paneling, glass doors, window frames and coffered ceiling,” says Vanagas. “We added a hickory desk, as well as the Randolph & Hein covered armchair as an accent.” A steerhide rug, custom iron lighting fixture and tufted blue velvet desk chair complete a setting designed for serious contemplation.

The neutral master suite with his and hers bathrooms is designed as refuge for the homeowners. In her bathroom elegance abounds. Jerusalem stone with mosiac inserts crisscross the floor, silk fabric covers the window and vanity chair, and crystal sconces emerge from the mirrored wall.

In the bedroom, the mahogany-spired bed dressed in Italian linens complements quilted silk-covered armchairs. Over the bed, magnified and cropped details of Malabar botanical drawings are framed by the squares of custom wall detail.

The outdoor living space was a collaboration between Stofft Cooney and Pacifica Interiors. John Cooney is especially proud of the outdoor living room which features the same coral stonework and cypress ceilings found elsewhere. Shafran introduced the upholstered teak furniture and Asian ceramic stools which are clustered around a stone fireplace and beyond that, the pool. Again, modern luxuries draped in sun-dappled Caribbean garb. “We wanted to narrow the gap between the outside and the inside spaces, which gets at the essence of Florida living,” concludes John Cooney.

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 Elisa Ludwig Photography by Kim Sargent Photography

Pacifica Interior Design 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #130 Naples, FL 34109 239.325.1411

Stofft Cooney Architects 633 Ninth Street North Naples, FL 34102 239.262.7677

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


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