It’s what most newcomers to the Sarasota area want — a house on the water and a place to keep a boat at the end of a private dock.
It’s the same for second-home vacation buyers and active retires who choose the water lifestyle over of the country-club golf ambience or the rural ranch lifestyle of privacy and bucolic Old Florida scenery.
Generally, if the budget can stand it, water wins, and a 4,000-square-foot home on Kingfisher Lane in Longboat Key Estates has plenty of it. The house is offered at $1.75 million through Lynn Robbins of Coldwell Banker.
The two-story Mediterranean revival, built in 2001, is on a narrow, quiet road opposite a wooded area. Longboat Key Estates is a community of just 45 homes, all of them on the water because when the neighborhood was developed in the 1950s, two long, deep canals were cut, leading into the bay near Buttonwood Cove.
The first home in Longboat Key Estates was built in 1953 by Sam Gibbons, who came to Longboat Key for Army training during World War II. He fell in love with the island and returned after the war to live here for good. Gibbons subsequently served as the mayor of Longboat Key from 1969-1974.
Estates residents share a 400-foot-long private waterfront park, a fishing pier and deeded access to a private beach across the street on the Gulf of Mexico. A cute cabana stakes its claim on the sand and provides shade and seating for residents. Everyone in Longboat Key Estates has a bay view, and some homeowners have a bay-to-Gulf view, too.
More than half of the residents are seasonal, but Nancy Jenkins, who has been on the homeowners’ association board for 20 years, says that doesn’t keep the community from being close knit.
“Just the other day, we rescued a kayak that had gotten free and was floating,” she said. “The homeowners won’t be back until winter, so we all look out for one another, and when everyone is here, we have community events in the park. We all know one another and we’re friends who love to socialize.
“In the summer, it’s quiet, but it’s just as lovely. I play a lot of golf and I enjoy the weather. And you can’t beat the privacy. There are just two roads in here. We’re like an island within an island.”
Homeowners’ association fees are $750 annually. Jenkins is a Wisconsin transplant who was transferred to Florida by Siemens, a company she still works for from her home.
The house for sale on Kingfisher Lane is for sale by a homeowner who differs from the norm in the neighborhood. He’s never lived there. He bought the property some years ago as an investment, and, for the past five years has leased it out on an annual basis, never just seasonally. Now, this Florida-based homeowner has decided to sell.
The house is not being offered turn-key furnished, but it could qualify because all the furniture and home decor accessories are being offered for sale under a separate contract.
The home is exceptionally customized and done up in an Americanized Tuscan-villa style that probably reached its zenith in popularity in the late 1990s, although the architecture, with its red tile roof, archways, stone columns, quatrefoil windows and stately approach, still has significant appeal to home buyers in this part of Florida.
Inside, a double-height ceiling and open gallery upstairs means that from wrought-iron Juliet balconies, there are open interior views from both floors. The rooms are big and there’s plenty of natural light. The home is oriented to the back, where there are double stone-covered terraces (one up and one downstairs) that overlook the spa and swimming pool, landscaped backyard, the 65-foot long dock and boat lift, and the deep-water canal. The most impressive view of the property is from the water.
The master suite is downstairs with direct access to the covered stone terrace and to the pool area. The master suite has the canal view. In all, the two-story home has three bedrooms and three baths as well as a powder room. Each floor has its own family room and a formal dining room is between the living room and kitchen.
The living room has a stone gas fireplace that is flanked by wet bars, one that holds an under-counter wine-storage cooler. The kitchen is outfitted with wood cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances, granite counters and both a breakfast bar and eating nook.
A home office on the second floor is accessed by clear-glass French doors and includes quality custom built-in furniture and a lovely arched window. The walls throughout the house are faux-finished to resemble old stone castle walls; all the rooms have deep crown molding, custom light fixtures and customized window treatments. Some of the coffered ceilings are metallic-painted to cast a soft glow on the rooms below.
The second floor landing features a window seat nestled into a large Palladian window. One of the guest bathrooms is ornamented with a charming quatrefoil window. The floors throughout are hardwood and stone.
The views from the back of the house, or from the two stone balconies, could be post-card vistas of the bay seen through clusters of mature palm trees. Classical stone statuary and a pair of lion-head wall fountains that flank the front doors reinforce the architectural style of the home and hint at the kind of casually elegant lifestyle that waits within.
Best of all, the house takes full advantage of the water views, and the floorplan integrates indoor and outdoor spaces in just the ways that buyers find ideal for that Florida waterfront lifestyle.