At Ritz Residences, a cool, collected look



Interior designer Sally Trout's clients, a New Jersey couple not yet retired but wanting to escape to Florida more often, chose an 11th floor condominium in the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota because of location, security and no maintenance.

They wanted their new place in Sarasota to embrace the view while giving them an ambience that would be light, bright and sophisticated, a design style that would depend more on organic textures and modern sculptural custom furniture rather than on color or typical tropical beach-cottage accessories.

They wanted polished and serene, yet kick-back comfortable with durable fabrics that could hold up to sun, sand and lots of use. They have two daughters and a four-year-old grandson who visit.

"In showing me samples of things that she particularly liked, the wife kept gravitating toward shades of peridot and citrine," said Trout. "I knew we could use that green color range in accessories such as toss pillows, art work, glass decanters and even live orchids. Peridot and citrine would unite the spaces, but we actually started with the area rug. It's a custom-made and hand-knotted, 14-by-15-foot carpet woven of silk and wool and done in Nepal, taking several months to complete. It's the signature piece in the home and it has the colors that we used throughout the home — citrine, peridot, gray-blue, toast, tobacco and linen. But mostly, the palette is cool and neutral. The design is not about color."

The floors in the home were polished travertine and one of the first things that Trout and project manager Abigail Nunn did was to convince the homeowners to hone away the gleam. "Shiny stone floors are looking a bit dated today," said Trout, "and just taking that gloss off the marble gave the floors a deeper, more refined look. We're doing a lot of honing lately in remodeling projects and it transforms the surface. The matte-finish look for stone floors is definitely more desirable today."

For furnishings, the couple chose a transitional style. "It's the most popular and the easiest to work with," said the interior designer. "Transitional is right between modern and traditional and it gives homeowners lots of flexibility and the ability to personalize the space by not depending on a particular period look.

"Transitional furniture has clean lines but is not without detailing. My clients wanted unfussy pieces that would be comfortable, high-performing and custom. For instance, the handsome bamboo console in their living room hides a television lift. We had to have the piece custom-made to accommodate the husband's 50-inch flat screen. The large painting above it is by Sarasota-based artist David Steiner."

The glass and metal coffee table is twice the size of a typical one in response to the clients' wishes, but the open design and the glass top keep the space light and airy.

The clients did not want a television in their bedroom and that space is as serene and elegant as a five-star international spa. The homeowners read in bed so they needed expert lighting and an upholstered headboard. The relaxed organic furniture is wenge wood. All the drapes and shades in the home are motorized and remote-controlled.

The dining room features McGuire chairs around a dark wood table. The ambience is slightly Asian. The husband personally picked out the chandelier over the table.

The design team reworked the dated wet bar into a modern beverage center with a new backsplash, lighted glass shelving and an under-counter wine unit. The homeowner chose a brushed nickel finish for the cabinet knobs and pulls for the beverage center and for the remodeled kitchen.

Probably the most unusual piece of furniture in the home is a handmade chair that the homeowners call The Sail because of its shape. "Our daughter is in an M.F.A. program in furniture design at the Rochester Institute of Technology," said the wife, "and this chair was an academic project. The bent wood chair looks delicate but it's quite strong and we love the sculptural design. It's the one thing that we told Sally had to be included in the design scheme when we first met her."

The clients were involved in all aspects of the selection process and they made a trip to D&D Building in New York City to personally sit in chairs and sofas before placing any orders.

And the husband mandated an egg-shell paint finish in all the rooms.

"It was a successful six-month collaboration right from the outset," said the wife. "Our Sarasota home reflects Sally's abilities and our tastes. This home is us and we love it."


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: January 3, 2013
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