A Lido Shores home of color and light


One of architecture’s most treasured maxims is Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

That has proved true for Lois Fishman, who shares an exemplary modern home in Lido Shores with her husband, Les.



fish2Before they bought the house in 1993, Lois had little interest in meal preparation.

“I had a lot of kids,” she said, “but did not do a lot of cooking.”

Then the Fishmans hired Don Chapell, the house’s architect and first resident, to expand the bachelor-sized kitchen.

“The kitchen was very small,” Les Fishman said. “I asked him if he could expand it for ‘X amount’ of dollars, and he said yes. He had his fingers crossed, by the way.”

Chapell seasoned it with multicolored cabinets, thin vertical windows and a big purple wall for hanging art.

Les Fishman recalled: “One day he came to us and said, ‘I have a plan for the kitchen.’ He presented the plan for the multicolored cabinets, and that sent the budget out the window.

“My philosophy is, if you are dealing with somebody and you think they are doing a good job, take a chance. We really didn’t know what it was going to look like. And we said yes.”

The space became so visually stimulating, said Lois Fishman, that “I became a chef, and I love it.”

Soon, though, the Fishmans are planning to adapt to a new kitchen in a bay-facing end unit at the Sarasota Bay Club. Their longtime home, with an appropriate addition by architect Guy Peterson, is listed for sale at $3.5 million by Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Previews.

The house, designed by Chapell in 1983 with interior design by Wilson Stiles, now has 4,733 square feet under air-conditioning. The house spreads over two lots to maximize views of Pansy Bayou over mangroves.

The view is what sold Lois Fishman on the house back in 1993.

“This house is all about the light,” she said. “When Roger showed us the house, I walked up the stairs” — the house also has an elevator — “and saw this view of the Pansy Bayou, and the light! And I thought, ‘I want this house.’ ”

The structure was pink at the time and sat on one of four lots that Chapell had bought. Lois wanted to change the color, but Chapell, who studied under Paul Rudolph at Yale and also interned under him, talked her out of it.

“I had Le Corbusier black leather chairs and modern furnishings,” Lois said. “I wanted to paint it, and Don said: ‘Live with it. You will see the pink in the sky.’ ”

Eventually she learned to loved the pink. But upon expanding the house in 1999, “it got bigger and bigger, and it just wasn’t working. It was too many colors.”

The couple like to collect and display fine art, including German expressionists, sculpture, from Africa, and her own paintings. The house is an eclectic personal museum.

Furnishings are by Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen and other modern masters, many pieces in pastels. Complementing them are custom built-ins and freestanding pieces in blond wood, including a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired dining room set. These were designed by Lois’ son, Billy Mostow, an emergency room physician in Arizona. (Visitors to the house often ask where Dr. Mostow’s studio is. In fact, he designs the pieces and has craftsmen build them.)

The art and eye-catching colors add a challenge for listing agent Pettingell.

“I have to get people to separate from looking at that,” he said.

“When people look at this house, they enjoy the different nests. You can be in the man cave or in the other side of the house. There are all these different gathering spots. You don’t see a lot of houses on Westway on two lots. You have a huge amount of linear space.”

Pettingell said the house attracts people who like modern architecture and have seen photos online.

“This house is self-qualifying,” he said. “There is nobody who walks in this house and says, ‘Oh, I had no expectation it would be like this,’ because online it is easy to show. It photographs very well. People who love this architecture love this house.”

Some people who have shown an interest in the house have mentioned how they would change it to suit their own taste.

“That is a hard conversation to hear for someone who has lived in a house for 20 years,” Pettingell said. “You have to separate that attachment because now it is going to be someone else’s and they are going to change it.”

Selling the property , Les Fishman said, has become a necessity. “What happened is, I have no balance, and this is a big house,” he said. “I can’t get on a ladder.

“It was traumatic.

“A long time ago, a contractor told me, ‘Don’t fall in love with your house.’ We fell in love with this house, and it was part of our life. Our families would come and spend a lot of time here; we’ve celebrated anniversaries, birthdays. The whole family loved this house.

“But the time has come. We have looked at apartments in the past and come back home and thought, no. But this time, it is physical.”

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: January 31, 2015
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