Savvy couple reconfigure a Gulf Gate ranch house



When Vicki and Charles Anoff moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Sarasota in 2013, they weren’t retiring, and they weren’t looking for a condominium on a golf course.




They’re still working; he is an engineer and she is an interior designer with more than 40 years’ experience. They were trading bad weather, awful traffic and a hectic urban lifestyle for something more livable. They wanted a neighborhood convenient to shopping, the beach and downtown Sarasota’s cultural amenities.

gulf2They found their home in an established neighborhood at Gulf Gate in Sarasota, where the single-story homes evolved from the 1960s to the 1980s.

“The neighborhood is close to Costco, which means a lot to me,” she said. “And, it’s a short drive to downtown, Siesta Key beach and to a couple of shopping malls. The house, which our Realtor showed me online while I was still in D.C., was built in 1981, and it had 2,464 square feet with a lovely lanai and a caged swimming pool. The kitchen was dated and the rooms were oddly laid out, and I just hated the faux Mediterranean exterior with three arches.

“The landscaping was tired, and the place had very little curb appeal. I didn’t care. The house was in the right place and it was the right size, and the tile roof had been recently replaced.

“We put in an offer immediately and sold our Washington home one week later.”

The Anoffs paid the full asking price of $280,000 because there was a competing offer. After making an assessment of what modernizing needed to be done and taking careful measurements, they allotted $100,000 to renovation, and Vicki got to work.

She was a designer — with herself as an exacting client.

The Anoffs lived in the house during the six months of work. The couple wanted an open-concept design, so Vicki had a kitchen wall removed and opened that room to the dining area and living room.

She extended the kitchen area two feet into the adjoining space and covered her new counters with White Ice granite. Her color palette throughout the house is black, white, gray, taupe and cream. Because the designer wanted a high-end Jenn-Air gas range with a down draft (no range hood to visually break up the space), a luxury Bosch dishwasher and an LG French-door refrigerator, she economized on kitchen cabinetry.

“I spent $7,000 on white sleek stock Ikea cabinets instead of going for custom cabinets, which would have been closer to $40,000,” said the designer. “The drawers are deep for pots and pans, and have a soft-close feature. But my priority was the gas stove; we had to bring in a propane tank because there is no natural gas in this neighborhood.”

Propane powers the gas grill on the lanai and the tankless hot water heater, too. The backsplash is white beveled subway tile, and I bought the bar chairs online. It’s a comfortable and spacious cook’s kitchen now, and it harmonizes with the rest of the rooms, which is important in an open-concept floor plan.”

The couple has two built-in floating buffets in the dining room that Vicki designed and Art Nagibiana fabricated. He also converted two linen closets into lighted glass display niches for the Anoffs’ collection of pottery and ceramics.

The homeowners replaced all the windows, redid the air-conditioning system and replaced baseboards, outdated ceiling fans and lighting.

They kept the red cedar ceiling beams in the living room, but painted them glossy white.

Not a fan of louvered bifold closet doors, Vicki had them all replaced with solid white doors with nickel hardware. She also replaced the front door.

One of the most significant changes the designer made was to take up the carpet and vinyl flooring throughout the house and replace it with a textured concrete flooring installed by Rob Siroky.

“I was after a low-maintenance solution that would be dog friendly, too,” said the homeowner. “The look of the concrete enhances the contemporary style of the house, and I’m completely happy with the way it functions for us. I vacuum, and, once in a while, steam clean the floors. I don’t even have area rugs in most of the house because, as we all know, when dogs want to be sick, they head for the nearest rug.”

In the master bathroom, the Anoffs swapped the existing bath tub for a roomy and luxurious walk-in shower. They upgraded all the fixtures and surfaces.

Outside, the Anoffs made dramatic changes, starting with removing the three arches at the entrance. The house went from white to taupe, and all the landscaping was redone. From the street, the house now reads fresh and contemporary.

“By removing the arches, we opened up the entrance, and by adding a double front door with glass panes, we greatly increased the amount of natural light that comes into the front of the house,” said Vicki. “And we love the modern look.”

Like most homeowners, the Anoffs exceeded their budget; recently Vicki called a halt to this round of renovations.

“We still have two bathrooms to remodel and our big shared office that used to be a bedroom needs organization. I’ve started doing built-ins in the office, but I’m not nearly finished.

“But, there’s no urgency. We’ve spent enough time and energy for the time being.

“And it’s kind of nice to have projects at home to look forward to.”

Perhaps only a designer could say that and mean it.




From interior designer Vicki Anoff
• “Take your time and get lots of references when picking a contractor, plumber, electrician and carpenter. Because I was new to the area, I made some costly initial mistakes — and some work had to be redone.
• “Realize that you don’t have to enlarge the footprint of the house to make significant improvements. Reconfigure spaces for the way you live. For example, I wanted an open-concept design, and I didn’t need as many linen closets as I started out with. Having a textured concrete floor made sense for our family because of the dogs. We needed a big home office more than another guest room.
• “Measure all your spaces before you buy furniture or bring furniture with you from another home.
• “Upgrading all the windows and closet doors will make a huge difference. And don’t forget new hardware.
• “Realize you can change the elevation of your home. Ours went from faux Mediterranean to Florida contemporary, and now the outside matches what’s going on inside.
• “Pick a color palette and use it throughout the home. This is especially helpful with an open-concept design. Realize that you can use a lot of your existing furniture if you consider reupholstering certain pieces. I have a sofa that I’ve recovered several times in the five homes we’ve lived in.
• “Get a new front door. This will really personalize your home and give it a real lift.”


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: December 13, 2014
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