Bubil: Oyster Bay Pearl is a gem of a home


In the past decade, Josh Wynne has established himself as a master of the sustainable house — among the best in Florida and one of the best in the nation at constructing what most would call "green" houses.

Oddly, Wynne doesn't even like the term "green building." He prefers "good building." And he did a lot of it at The Pearl, a 4,000-square-foot house on South Lake Shore Drive in Sarasota's Oyster Bay.

With a HERS rating of 51, the house earned LEED-Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council with 101.5 points.

RAURORA21G_8616777As a result, the Pearl, named for a landscaping feature at the rear of the 100-yard-deep property, won multiple trophies at the annual Aurora Awards presentation during the Southeast Building Conference in Orlando a week ago. Other local Aurora winners include Neal Communities, Synergy Building Corp. and Habitat for Humanity (see list on this page).

Josh Wynne Construction has brought more than 40 Aurora or Grand Aurora trophies home to Sarasota in the past few years, and they mean a lot to the company's founder and chief designer.

"It is more of a regional competition," said Wynne. "It is for 12 Southeastern states. It is a good opportunity to compare my houses to what other people are doing."




Regarding the house's LEED-Platinum certification, which has become almost a given for Wynne's projects, he said, "We achieved that with no solar supplementation (photovoltaic panels), no rainwater cistern and no greywater collection. It was all just through smart design and intelligent use of materials and lot placement."

The Pearl, on South Lake Shore Drive in Sarasota's Oyster Bay, was created for a client who likes to entertain and enjoys Asian art and design. The central great room is a dominant feature, with exposed trusses that are 6 feet on center. "I built those myself in the field," said Wynne. "It is pretty spectacular."

The oddly shaped lot is 50 feet wide at the rear, 110 feet wide at the front and 297 feet deep, "and that drove the design of the house," said Wynne, who designed the house with an engineer's review, and also did the interior design.

"The client likes to have catered parties, but also is a private person," said Wynne. "The progression is: public spaces, intermediate spaces and private spaces. That is echoed through the landscape design and the floor plan of the house.

"She has a lot of Asian furnishings and likes the idea of an Asian-style house, maybe even Polynesian. I took those design principles and converted them to the Florida vernacular. There are a lot of different roof lines, and a feeling of individual buildings — the great room building, the garage building, the guest wing building, and the master suite building — each with a unique and individual roof."

At the rear of the property is what Wynne calls "our little pearl" — a circular garden that is sodded, with an elevated wood deck surrounded by four species of bamboo.

"It is pretty heavily planted and creates a really cool backyard 100 yards from the street," said Wynne. "A lot of transition happens between the two."

Wynne is proudest of the Grand Aurora award presented for the house's kitchen.

"We won for best kitchen in show, so that is pretty awesome," he said. "The kitchen is pretty spectacular; I like to do fun stuff with my kitchens. Jay Brady did an island top for me that is second to none. It is a 16-foot-long island top, 42 inches wide, waterfall edge, two and a half inches thick. It is one piece with an integrated sink and drain.

"It is pretty phenomenal. One piece, no seams, of GFRC — glass-fiber reinforced concrete. We put the island together and set the top over the island."

New winner in town

Synergy Building Corp. burst onto the local custom homebuilding scene with an Aurora Award-winning house on Manasota Key. It won Aurora awards for green construction, with LEED-Platinum certification, as well as third-party certifications from Energy Star, the Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor airPLUS, Florida Water Star (Gold certification), Florida Yards and Neighborhoods and the Florida Green Building Coalition (Platinum certification), said builder Joe Jannopoulo.

The house has 6,200 square feet of air-conditioned space and 9,600 square feet of total area.

"It is the largest LEED-Platinum home in Sarasota and is the first LEED-certified home on Manasota Key," said Jannopoulo. "There is a large solar-panel layout on the roof concealed from view from the ground, insulated windows, cutting-edge insulation techniques, the newest and some of the highest-SEER air-conditioning systems for efficiency, and sustainable material selection, making this one of the highest-rated LEED homes of its size.

"Short-ordering lumber to save material and money; no- or low-volatile organic compounds in the building materials; a focus on an extremely tight building envelope without air leaks; energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems; and effective water use management built into this home's design is saving money and resources, as well as promoting a healthy home and environment."


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: July 22, 2013
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