Dreams of home can change


Steve Moore remembers the day in 2001 that his wife, Jan, phoned him from a empty lot in the Sandy Hook neighborhood of Siesta Key and told him she was standing in the middle of their dream home.

“We owned a vacation condo on Siesta Key at the time, and I had been coming to Sarasota since I was a kid,” said the retired businessman from Illinois.



“So when Jan wanted a Sarasota house for our family for extended vacations and possible retirement, I was all for it. We bought the lot, interviewed five contractors and hired Anchor Builders. The architect was Paul Fletcher. We completed the house in 2003, but actually Jan was responsible for all it, the design, furnishings, the gardens. It was our dream house on the beach, but it was really her project.”

zephyrThe couple moved in and named their beach home Zephyr, for the Greek god of the gentle west wind. A few years later, Steve sold his business and the couple moved permanently to Florida. They embraced island living, entertained visiting friends and family, and, in 2006, their chef son, Ben, got married on the beach.

Life seemed perfect, but it wasn’t, and that has ultimately led to the Moore house going on the market for $6.8 million through Ron Stahl Realty.

During the time of their dream life on the beach, Jan Moore was bravely living with ovarian cancer. She was fatally ill when she met a Sarasota woman named Jennifer Blanco, who owns Notary To Go and specializes in officiating at weddings. Jan hired Blanco to perform son Ben’s ceremony. Subsequently, two women became friends. A year later, when Jan Moore died, it was her wish for Jennifer Blanco to officiate at her celebration-of-life ceremony in Illinois, which Jennifer did.

Several months later, when widower Steve Moore contacted the Sarasota notary, they began to date. They married in 2009.

“I have had the great privilege of being loved and loving two amazing women in my life,” said Steve Moore. “First, my wife, Jan, the woman I built my life with, raised our children with and the woman who created this Florida dream house and life for us at Sandy Hook.

“And now there is wonderful Jennifer. I think of this house as Jan’s, and although Jennifer has been so gracious about living here with both my happy and sad memories, I know it’s time for a new chapter in our lives. Jennifer needs her own home.”

The 5,000-square-foot, modified Key West-style home is ideally located with views of the Gulf of Mexico. The home merges indoor and outdoor spaces and the outdoor kitchen/entertainment room (20 by 24 feet) features a big custom fireplace with a carving of Zephyr as its centerpiece. The are four bedrooms, each with its own bath plus a powder room. And yet, it’s the outdoor shower that all the guests want to use sometime during their stay.

The dine-in kitchen has all the amenities of a luxury home — custom cabinets, granite counters, Wolf gas range and Sub-Zero refrigerator and spacious prep island. There is a separate wine room, too. There are two staircases in the house (one is private in the master bedroom) and an elevator. Additionally the home has a three-door side entry and a 10-car garage with plenty of storage for boats and sports equipment. Outside amenities include a fire pit, heated swimming pool, spa, and, of course, the famous beach.

Noteworthy neighborhood

Part of the allure of the Moore home is its location in the historic neighborhood of Sandy Hook, which is just a 10-minute walk to Siesta Village. Sandy Hook was developed by Mary Rockwell Hook (1877-1978), a pioneering Kansas City, Mo., architect who bought 55 acres on Siesta Key during the midpoint of her career.

The resulting neighborhoods were Sandy Hook, Sandy Cove and Whispering Sands, where she built an inn and surrounding cottages that she intended as an artists colony.

As early as 1937, Hook was using solar power to heat water in her homes. At Sandy Hook, leading-edge architects, such as Paul Rudolph, Ralph Twitchell, Victor Lundy, Tim Seibert and Mary Hook herself designed homes that integrated indoor/outdoor spaces in ways that much later became known as the Sarasota school of architecture.

The Sandy Hook house she designed for herself is octagonal. Hook died at 101 on Siesta Key, and although her design work in Sarasota and in the Midwest was of major significance, and her advanced education in America and Paris was enviable, she was denied admission into the American Institute of Architects solely because of her gender.

To know that her instincts about Sandy Hook were so right would undoubtedly make Mary Hook smile. The price of the Moore house would probably shock and then delight her. As a neighborhood, Sandy Hook is one of the most highly prized addresses anywhere in Sarasota.

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 1, 2014
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