Note: Several spaces were not finished when the Herald-Tribune visited the Jewels on the Bay showhouse in February. We revisit today to see those spaces.
The reason for the continuing nationwide popularity of charity showhouses is that most people love to see how other people live. Pure curiosity. They also want to see trends and new ideas for styling rooms brought to a particular place where they can pick up practical knowledge to apply to their own living situations.
Want to learn how to efficiently and stylishly organize a closet? Then check out the purple closet/dressing room off the master bedroom by Bob Barthman of More Space Place. This closet, not huge by any means, offers maximum efficiency (soft close drawers, pull-out ironing board) as well as beauty. Antique white cabinets are paired with satin nickel Hafele accessories and pulls. Barthman worked with homeowner Robin Thomas on the style and design of the closet to customize it to her lifestyle. Customization is a huge national design trend and it’s available at all price points.
You can tour Thomas’ work-in-progress preservation/renovation project from now through March 13. This 21st Jewels on the Bay Designer Showhouse is located at 2716 Bay Shore Road. Tickets are $25 at the door; proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. Hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 Sundays.
Built in 1926 by developer and Bay Haven hotel owner Walter Coleman, this year’s showhouse is a prominent edifice on Bay Shore Road that was in pitiful condition for many years until it was rescued last year by Robin Thomas of Cincinnati. Thomas renovated and restored a 1854 home in Cincinnati in the late 1990s. In 2008, she restored a property that she converted into a boutique hotel with a culinary studio that provided cooking lessons. Thomas intends to operate a culinary studio in Sarasota after she is settled in and has made the move from Ohio complete.
Her new kitchen in the Sarasota showhouse, installed by Cook’s Design Studio, has everything a culinary expert (or lucky homeowner) could want — double wall ovens, big island with a second sink, SubZero stainless French-door refrigerator, Wolf six-burner gas range, extra-large stainless-steel under-mount rectangular sink with a fancy faucet, floor-to-ceiling climate-controlled wine cellar, granite counters, soft-close drawers and pewter cabinet pulls.
The kitchen is white (a national trend) but the base of the island and cabinetry in the butler’s panty is purple, one of the trend colors of 2016, but also a personal favorite of the homeowner. Every memorable kitchen needs sexy light fixtures and the “bubble” pendants in this one come from Bee Ridge Lighting. They add a contemporary and whimsical accent to the open-concept room.
The kitchen flows into the breakfast room (which opens to a loggia) and this area of the home is an addition. Its construction made possible the new master bath which is directly above the space. The breakfast room design is by Cameron Cox, who used some of her own furniture (an antique Irish pub table as a sideboard) and some of her own art in the room. At one end is a built-in buffet with plenty of closed storage that was originally in the dining room of this 1926 home. Homeowner Robin Thomas had the seven-foot long mahogany piece dismantled and moved to the new breakfast room where Cox created a niche to fit the piece. Cox then had it chalk painted (another big national trend), detailed and waxed. The color on the cabinet is one shade darker than the Benjamin Moore Prescott Green that is on the walls. Some of Robin Thomas’s own china is now inside the buffet.
On the painted oval 1970s Henredon table (from Mission Avenue Studio), designer Cox added acrylic napkin rings that also hold sprigs of purple flowers. Round purple placemats sit under gold fluted chargers and the plateware is Limoges. Above the table is a metal chandelier circa 1900 that is not original to the house but certainly looks right at home. The cream painted chairs around the table are from Rustic Rooster.
“The informal breakfast room is a nice easy mix of vintage, repurposed and new furniture,” explained Cox, “and although it looks like it came together effortlessly, there is always a lot of careful measuring that a designer has to do before going shopping. Proportion, scale and balance all have to be right, and those are often things a homeowner can stumble on when doing a room from scratch. The color scheme in here references the purple accents in the kitchen and in other rooms because it’s one of Robin’s favorite colors.”
The tile flooring and the wall paint in the kitchen and breakfast room are the same, thus visually unifying the two spaces.
Upstairs, the beautiful white master bathroom that is a combination of modern and vintage looks, is sheathed in what appears to be white Calacatta marble. But, it’s actually a quartz man-made material. So is it half the price of the costly Italian white marble? No, it’s actually more expensive, because this “marble” is impervious to stains and needs no special maintenance to look pristine day in and day out. The master bath is the work of designer Deborah Marr. It’s a glamorous bath with its sculptural soaking tub, heated towel rack, white double vanities integrated into a repurposed antique sideboard, crystal chandelier, Rococo European mirror and oversized walk-in shower. One enters through vintage, ornamented white French doors. One is tempted not to leave.
Another room to investigate is the homeowner’s personal office, which is off her bedroom and next to the walk-in closet. Done by Ringling College of Art and Design graduate, the designer Kimberly Ducette, this front-facing room is narrow and without any architectural features to make it outstanding. But it does have a view overlooking Sarasota Bay and in front of that window is where Doucette placed a long plain vintage table and a copper modern chair. On the opposite wall, she installed a large framed mirror that expands the space, floods the room with natural light, and, more importantly, steals a view of the bay. When you walk into this space and look right or left, you’ve got water vistas.
“This room is all about bringing the outside into the office and a big mirror was the answer along with echoing nature in the color scheme and in some of the contrasting decorative materials,” said Doucette, whose design firm specializes in sustainability.
“The room is modern-chic and rustic-organic at the same time. And, of course, the mirror maximizes the views and makes the narrow room seems wider. If there is one thing I think tour goers can take home from this room is the design power of a well placed mirror. And, also, that the room is really inviting because I resisted putting too much in here. Although, if I sat down to work at that desk with that view, I don’t know how much I’d ever get done.”