Orchid Beach penthouse is high in altitude, price and glamour


 PHOTO GALLERY: Penthouse at Lido Beach

In sociological real estate parlance, the 6,000-square-foot penthouse at Orchid Beach condominium on Lido Beach is the ideal "aspirational" home for people who want to live in Florida and have it all.

It has the beach, incomparable views of Gulf and bay, and convenience to restaurants, shops and nightlife.

It also has the in-house amenities that mean you don't have to lift a finger to enjoy blissful times in our version of paradise. It's what ads in chic shelter magazines promise, and, if you have $5,950,000 (or a little less) you can realistically aspire to own it.

rOrchidBeachXXBuilt in 2005, the penthouse includes 1,500 square feet of terraces for home entertaining, watching sunsets, cheering on the annual boat races or enjoying the fireworks on the Fourth of July. There's a kitchen out there for entertaining.

The apartment has two master suites and a total of four bedrooms and four and a half baths. A four-car garage comes with the sky-high home. And because this is the top floor, the ceilings are a luxurious 11 feet, something you don't always get with a condominium. Most of the ceilings are coffered, making them a design feature.

The laundry room is as large as most luxury kitchens, custom designed and cleverly decorated by the lady homeowner, who was also the interior decorator for the whole apartment. Because the homeowners — business people from Cincinnati — were furnishing their permanent home at Orchid Beach after moving from Casey Key, they spared no expense in acquiring exactly what appealed to them. That includes custom art basins in the bathrooms and high-end custom lighting fixtures in every room. Many of them are Swarovski crystal chandeliers and matching sconces. Some are gold-plated. All of them are genuine showstoppers.

The wife has had two of her homes on showhouse tours in Ohio, and she has done five custom homes in her married life. This penthouse probably won't be the last. The couple's northern business is growing and requires on-site leadership. So they have put the penthouse on the market through Sylvia Babineau of My Realty Company so they can move back to Ohio. They have leased a home in the same golf-club community where they used to live, so they expect a smooth transition, although neither they nor their visiting children and grandchildren are any too pleased about losing the Sarasota connection.

rOrchidBeachXX"We're going back to friends and familiar places in Ohio," said the wife, "but it's really hard to leave Orchid Beach. It's everything we wanted. But, the business is growing too fast for us to be away from it, and it makes sense to live in Ohio. "We're hoping in a couple years to buy a vacation place here in Sarasota so that we can start coming back. It's been a difficult decision. We have truly loved our home here."

The extra-large kitchen in the Lido Beach penthouse has a separate beverage center with a custom Chinese cloisonné basin at the bar and Pepita blue granite counters. The kitchen features two dishwashers, a separate icemaker, gas range, walk-in pantry, oversized French-door refrigerator, marble counters from Italy and faux finished walls. It's easily a three-cook kitchen. The bedrooms and baths are expansive and expensively outfitted. There's a gas fireplace in the Africa-theme family room that gives the room a homey and comfortable feel.

Orchid Beach is a gated 54-unit, West Indies-style complex with condominiums ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet and prices ranging from about $1.2 million to more than $5 million. The two yellow and white towers are situated on park land right on Lido Beach. Realtor Sylvia Babineau is an original owner at Orchid Beach. Over the years she has sold about 30 units in the complex. She bought her own place pre-construction and has never even thought about moving.

The penthouse homeowners will take their artwork with them to Ohio, but the distinctive light fixtures will stay, and the homeowners are amenable to selling most of the furniture because key pieces were chosen especially for this residence and much of the furniture is custom. The style of the furnishings is transitional-contemporary and the color scheme is white, neutrals and lots of metallic gold and silver.

Reflective surfaces give the rooms a light and airy feel; the home is definitely polished and sophisticated. The decor as well as the home itself are aspirational — something to look forward to when you get rich and successful enough to move up.

Marsha Fottler

Marsha Fottler has been a newspaper and magazine lifestyle, food and design writer since 1968 first in Boston and in Florida since 1970. She contributes to regional and national publications and she is co-publisher and editor of a monthly online magazine that celebrates the pleasures of the table called Flavors & More. (941) 371-8593.
Last modified: March 31, 2013
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