Bubil: Bayous have hidden charm


It was kind of like work.

With the first Sarasota MOD Weekend looming, Oct. 9-12, and a boat tour of Sarasota Bay real estate on my schedule of presentations, some research was in order.

An award-winning remodeling job on Lido Key by Halflants + Pichette Architects of Sarasota. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

An award-winning remodeling job on Lido Key by Halflants + Pichette Architects of Sarasota. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

So I went out on my favorite kind of boat -- someone else's -- on a Sunday to plan the tour and preview the houses I would be pointing out to my audience aboard Le Barge.

Jack and Claudia Barnett hosted us as we departed from Bayfront Park in Sarasota.

After we passed some familiar landmarks, such as the impressive new houses in Harbor Acres and nearby neighborhoods, we headed for the north end of Siesta Key. But instead of just following the coast, we darted (slowly) into Hansen Bayou and Bayou Louise -- bodies of water that Le Barge avoids.

Charming does not begin to describe these bayous. They are lined with vintage homes, and a few new ones. Carl Abbott's Dolphin House is a highlight.

The boat docks are so close together that an urban "boatscape" has been created.

A few properties have boat houses, such as "Snook Inn," which sold in 2013 for $10 million. It has an elaborate boat house with two "garage" doors. On Bayou Louise, another boat house is more of a hut, sided in aging plywood and looking a bit rickety -- but charming nonetheless.

Photo gallery: Waterfront living on the bayous

We were not able to pass under the humpback bridge over Hansen Bayou, as the bridge is not as tall as it seems to be when you are going over it in a car. But that is probably a good thing, as it restricts the amount of boat traffic on Hansen.

Same story on Bayou Louise, which dead-ends at the famous Cohen House on Garden Lane.

Homes on north Siesta Key and Bay Island -- the two are separated by Hansen Bayou -- must be treasured by residents, as just two properties are for sale at this time north of the secluded west end of Siesta Drive. On Bayou Louise, one of them is listed at $2.88 million.

South of the humpback bridge on Hansen, four houses are listed from $1.35 to $2.5 million.

At the north end of Bayou Louise, a 1940s house was torn down to make way for a mansion to be designed by Guy Peterson. It will have a fabulous view that includes the downtown skyline. Dean Thompson will build it.

Hansen Bayou is named for early Sarasota settler Peter Hansen, a Danish sea captain. His daughter, Ocean, for whom Ocean Boulevard is named, married Capt. Louis Roberts of Roberts Bay notoriety.

The tour is from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, and it is sold out. The best I can do now is offer you a gallery of photos I took on my preview tour, which you may view here: Two bayou view on Siesta Key

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: September 22, 2014
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