Pink Kitchen Packs a Punch

Repost from Find the original article here.

Venetian plaster, bold pendants and geometric tile add style and character to this chic Boston kitchen

by Brian anthony, Houzz Editorial Staff, June 24, 2019

When a fashionable couple recently moved from Manhattan into a newly built condo in Boston, they reached out to designer Dane Austin to help them create a home with a personality to match their own. The home’s pink kitchen is a perfect example of how a talented designer can use paint and accessories to take a space from standard to sublime.

Photos by Sean Litchfield

Photos by Sean Litchfield

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple who recently moved from Manhattan
Location: Boston
Size: About 300 square feet (28 square meters)
Designer: Dane Austin Interior Design

All of the kitchens in this condominium complex are essentially identical, so if the homeowners wanted to make theirs stand out they had two choices: They could rip out all of the new cabinets, countertops and tile and start over, or they could infuse the space with color and accessories to make it their own. They chose the latter route and selected the ideal designer for the job. “I love working with color,” Austin says. “It brings so much life and personality to a space.”

Austin started off the kitchen design by spreading out a fan deck of paint colors on the island and having the homeowners select their favorites. “They were drawn to gray and pink,” he says. “I told them if they want to be safe, they should go with gray, but if they want to be unique and interesting, go with the pink.” The homeowners went with “unique and interesting,” and Benjamin Moore’s Paisley Pink now covers the kitchen walls.


Wanting to draw the pink from the walls to the center of the kitchen, Austin had decorative painter Pauline Curtiss cover the island base in a custom pink Venetian plaster. “Venetian plaster is a pretty durable material, so it will hold up better to scuffs from knees and feet,” the designer says.

The modern counter stools are covered in a durable indoor-outdoor material that’s easy to clean and will hold up well to stains.


Previously, Austin says, the kitchen was outfitted with three frosted glass pendant lights above the island that blended harmlessly into the room. “We wanted pendant lights that had their own distinct character,” he says. The pair he selected feature a solid mint green shade at the bottom and a cherry red metal cage on top.

The tribal rug runner adds more color and helps to soften the space. “It’s alway nice to have something soft underfoot while working in the kitchen,” Austin says.


The kitchen features cerused white oak cabinets, white quartz countertops and a backsplash covered in a geometric marble design. Austin accessorized the existing floating shelves above the sink with a mix of plants, herbs, glasses and bowls. “The plants and herbs add a natural touch,” he says.

We are here to help for all of your real estate needs, and even as a resource when you want to transform your home to resemble a Houzz house! Vetted & fantastic designers and contractors? Check! Just ask us :-)

Plant Some Seeds at One of Sarasota's Eight Community Gardens

Community gardening is a lesson in both people and plants.

Below is a re-post from Sarasota Magazine and we loved the topic so much, we just had to share it with you!
By Giulia Heyward  5/30/2019  Published in the June 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak tends a zucchini plant at Bee Ridge’s garden.  IMAGE:  KAREN ARANGO

Community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak tends a zucchini plant at Bee Ridge’s garden.


On a cool morning, with a fistful of dirt in each hand, you might notice that your neighbor has a knack for growing Japanese eggplants. Maybe there’s a new gardener quietly tending to hopeful- looking zucchini or a seasoned gardener making even the most stubborn vegetable flourish. Community gardening is a lesson in both people and plants, and with public gardens scattered across Sarasota, getting your hands a little dirty can pay back in spades.

For Marcia Freeman, 81, community gardening is a part-time volunteer job. In 2012, the newly retired writer and school teacher was a founder of the Culverhouse Community Garden, a 10-minute bike ride from her home. “I didn’t even know that community gardens existed besides victory gardens in World War II,” she says. As one of the volunteer managers for Culverhouse, Freeman spends 15-20 hours a week working with fellow volunteer gardeners. In her own plot, she’ll grow anything besides tomatoes or melons because she doesn’t want to deal with the squirrels.

For Freeman, one of the biggest advantages of community gardening is the access to organic produce. But the benefits of urban agriculture extend beyond healthier food. From improving air quality and soil biodiversity in a metropolitan area to providing greater food security in food deserts, community-based gardening fosters a shared sense of purpose.

“You’re getting a lot out of that window of time,” says community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak, who works for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UFIFAS). There are eight community gardens in Sarasota County, and the UFIFAS extension oversees all but the Orange Blossom garden. Each volunteer gardener pays a $25 annual fee for a plot. “These gardens are very much volunteer-driven,” Hanak says. UFIFAS hosts workshops on agriculture for novice gardeners.

Peppers growing in a community garden.  IMAGE:  KAREN ARANGO

Peppers growing in a community garden.


Unlike in most other U.S. communities, Sarasota County’s community gardens are located on public parkland. UFIFAS acts as a liaison for organizers to find a location. Hanak says the Sarasota system runs with support from residents and local government that is rare to find. “There’s a recognition [by Sarasota County] that this is important for people,” she says.

For residents interested in starting a community garden, Hanak recommends first checking to see if one nearby already exists. If residents establish a need, UFIFAS provides a checklist for residents looking to form one.

A proposed garden should be a quarter-acre and be able to sustain a minimum of 15 plots. Organizers need to raise an estimated $10,000 to cover the cost of tools, fencing and access to water. UFIFAS will help with finding grants, and neighborhood associations may also contribute. If a well is needed, the price tag can quickly increase. At least 20 residents must commit to use the space from the get-go.

You don’t need experience to get involved. “There are people who move to Florida, try a tomato plant and, if it doesn’t work out, they might never grow again,” Hanak says. But at community gardens, planting seeds side-by-side with other gardeners is a way to learn gardening skills while socializing and getting out in the fresh air. “Community gardens are just a nice thing to have,” she says.

Summer Gardening

It’s hot and steamy. Here’s what to plant.

Sweet potatoes A great source of vitamin A and C, this root vegetable can stand the heat, and you can plant them through the end of June. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recommends planting Centennial and Beauregard varieties; for small gardens, plant Vardaman. Sweet potatoes take three to four months before you can harvest them, but the young leaves of the plant make tasty greens throughout the summer.

Southern peas (also called black-eyed peas, cowpeas and field peas) A favorite in Southern dishes, these legumes need warm soil and full sun. They love the heat and thrive even during droughts. Harvesting begins about 75 days after planting. They’re also a good summer cover crop.

Okra A member of the hibiscus family, this vegetable—another Southern cuisine staple—should be planted in late summer. Okra is easy to grow and must be harvested when the pods are two to three inches long, about two months after planting. It’s such a pretty plant that it brightens up the garden.

Eggplant Another heat-loving vegetable, the colorful eggplant also loves full sun. Make sure to put a stake near the plant since it can grow up to six feet tall. You can begin harvesting about three months after planting. IFAS recommends planting the varieties Black Beauty, Dusky, Long, Ichiban and Cloud Nine.

Cover crops If you don’t want to plant edibles, keep your soil healthy and weeds and pests at bay by planting the cover crops of sun hemp and Southern peas.

For more information, go to UFIFAS’s Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide at For classes and workshops, go to

Community Gardens in Sarasota County

Bayou Oaks Community Garden

3530 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 18
Year founded: 1997

Bee Ridge Community Garden

4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 31
Year founded: 2013

Culverhouse Community Garden

7301 McIntosh Road, Sarasota
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 69
Year founded: 2012

Englewood Community Garden

1390 Old Englewood Road, Englewood
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 18
Year founded: 2012

Laurel Community Garden

509 Collins Road, Sarasota
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 24
Year founded: 2000

Nokomis Community Garden

234 Nippino Trail, Nokomis
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 26
Year founded: 2001

North Port Community Garden

12255 Durango Ave., North Port
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 40
Year founded: 2011

Orange Blossom Community Garden

1822 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 65
Year founded: 2008

Interested individuals can contact UFIFAS at (941) 861-9900 or

Below is a map showing the 8 Community Gardens in and around Sarasota.


Restaurant Report! Umbrellas 1296


Admittedly, Umbrellas has now been in place for a few months already but it still felt brand new to me as I had yet to visit! Located in the historic space next to the Sarasota Opera House, the vibe is chic but with some pretty color and personality. This spot is one of the couple in town that never seem to house any one business for long (looking at you former-Rustic Grill/Darwins/everything else & also former location of The Table on Hillview, since reincarnated too many times to keep track of) and we’ll see if Umbrellas is an exception…so far I’d give it about 50/50 shot of still being around in a year or two.

I visited twice, once for happy hour and once for lunch. At happy hour, I made the very un-happy discovery at my 6:08pm arrival that happy hour only goes until 6:00 :-/ Drinks are half price during happy hour and run about $14 each the rest of the day. I had a traditional martini (it was fine but the blue cheese olives definitely came from a pre-stuffed jar - yuck!) and my friend had a glass of wine. The bartenders were cheerful and attentive, but the place was so loud we had to relocate after one drink to be able to have a conversation. I didn’t love the whole experience but decided that to be fair I needed to return and actually try some food.

I went back for lunch the next day and at first we were the only table seated; not such a good sign! Our waiter was really nice but the food came out in a funny & weirdly-timed order, and my dining companion didn’t realize until that evening that the second course in his Savor Sarasota meal was completely omitted! He did return at a later date and brought back a very rich chocolate torte that was delicious. I loved the fried brussels sprouts, but one word of warning: the bucket of french fries is literally a large bucket completely full of fries. It was kind of fun but so excessive that it was almost strange. About 20 people could have dined on that amount of french fries and everyone would have been stuffed! Finally, even though lunch was way less crowded than happy hour, it was still very loud as the sound just seems to ricochet around the place.

Maybe it is a lingering negative feeling about the location - I felt that ROAST was absolutely the worst restaurant downtown - but I just wasn’t thrilled with my experience at Umbrellas. No one thing stood out as being completely horrible and meal-ruining, but the general feel for me was just mediocre. And, as cheap&crabby-old-lady as this will make me sound, when I’m having a $14 cocktail, I just want to really enjoy the whole thing: the atmosphere, the coldness of the drink, the company I’m with, etc. It was fine, but just not special, in my humble opinion.


Even though I wasn’t crazy about the volume level inside, outside can be another story! There is a really nice courtyard where, once it is not a million degrees plus humidity out, I’ll return to check out some of the live music options Umbrellas features regularly: Jazz Jam on Mondays, Fridays ROCK!, Latin dancing on Saturdays, Ladies’ Night on Thursdays, Weekend Brunch, Jazz Thursdays and Gypsy Jazz on Sunday…

I hope you will give Umbrellas a chance and pop over for an early happy hour or dinner. It seemed like they were still working out some new-restaurant kinks so I’ll give it another shot once they’ve had more time to perfect their art!


Coming soon downtown: EPOCH


The second article in our series on new luxury construction happening downtown now

Rendering courtesy of

Rendering courtesy of

A reconnaissance visit to the EPOCH sales center recently was enlightening and I’m thrilled to share the info on this exciting new building! FYI: no matter how it is spelled, the name is pronounced EPIC (don’t ask me why, just go with it).

The quick & dirty:

  • EPOCH will be perched between Palm Avenue and Gulfstream at 605 S. Gulfstream Avenue (lot is clear now and work is underway)

  • 23 residences

  • Levels 4-10 will each feature and North and South condo (2 per floor), while 11+ are a full floor each

  • Residences range in size from 3681sq’ to 5655sq’ under air

  • Prices currently begin at $3,325,000 for a South Residence and soar to $6,599,000 for the Estate Residences

Even with all of the new construction currently underway and being announced recently, EPOCH stands out. What impressed me most was the level of customization available in this ultra-luxury building - future owners can move walls, reconfigure floor plans, and add architectural features, which is a concept that is very rare in condo buildings and is really only possible here because of the limited number available in the building. At also-intriguing-but-much-larger AUTEUR, (read our recent post about AUTEUR here) only future owners of the penthouse-level residences are able to customize structurally.

I was also struck by the thoroughness of the planning involved with the building. The care that was given both to features that you can see, such as ceiling height (here they measure to the drop ceiling, so height isn’t compromised when people add things such as built-in speakers, controls for automated blinds, etc. because the developer has already allowed for the space to accommodate them), and having the foresight to design the building so the floors are staggered with the neighboring condos (no waving out your luxurious kitchen to the resident of your same floor level next door here!), give the impression that ever detail has been thoughtfully considered to give the ultimate living experience to future owners. The structural choices that aren’t readily visible have also been meticulously orchestrated, including various construction tactics and materials that help eliminate noise and conserve energy.

There are also a number of amenities that each residence here will have that are practically unheard-of in existing construction and are also rare among the other new buildings downtown now:

  • Outdoor kitchens for everyone! Each will feature an electric grill and many possess an enviable nearly-2000sq’ of terrace.

  • Floors 11-17 each come with an enclosed 3-car garage. Yes, you heard that right…space for three vehicles and a door just like a garage in a single-family home, rather than spots in a parking structure that are open.

  • Designated storage space is already designed into each floor plan. The storage rooms are private to each residence, under air, and BIG!

  • The pool will be 70’ long and steam showers are a part of the amenity plan.

  • Let’s not even mention the stunning water views…there is absolutely nothing to obstruct the expansive bay vista, and the ingenious brise soleil will keep interiors cooler in the hours when the sun over the bay typically beat in strongest.


  • Just 23 expansive residences on 18 floors with unobstructed views of Sarasota Bay.

  • Personalized 24-hour concierge services

  • Expansive window wall system and full-height sliding doors of optically clear, impact-rated, insulated, low-E glass that meet the latest Florida building codes.

  • Custom-outfitted elevators with secure key-code access to each residence, the Residents’ Club Level and rooftop terrace.

  • The brise soleil architectural elements of EPOCH enhance shading and breezes, creating an ambiance unique to each residence.

  • A concierge welcomes and sees to the every need of owners and guests. Here too is a mailroom and separate package storage room for secure deliveries.

  • The Residents’ Club Level features a social room perfect for intimate gatherings, catered celebrations, a weekly bridge game or an owners meeting.

  • The exquisitely landscaped pool terrace extends from the Residents’ Club, offering outdoor entertaining at the bar equipped with two grills and an ice maker, a 70’ pool with lap lanes, and a sun deck, spa, private shade cabanas, designer furnishings and lounge areas with fire tables.

  • The attention to detail at EPOCH extends to the garages — a fitting stable for owners’ automotive passions. Two spaces for north, south, and west residences and private three-car garages with roll-up doors for each full-floor home are included. Secure bicycle storage is also conveniently located on both levels.

For all of your downtown Sarasota real estate needs - in both the to-be-built and classic buildings - we have you covered! Please call us anytime for guidance on the right spot for you in fabulous Sarasota, and check back here for the rest of the NEW NEW NEW article series!

Staging: An essential part of preparing your home for sale!

the importance of home staging cannot be overstated!

Whether it is simply decluttering and rearranging your existing items and replacing a few things here and there or totally furnishing an empty home, preparing properly makes a HUGE difference in how buyers will perceive your property. (Luckily, I happen to include this service with all of my listings so call me and don’t worry about a thing!)

First, let’s take a look at a property downtown that I listed late last year. This condo, featuring the most jaw-dropping vista of Sarasota that I have literally ever seen, is located in The VUE building. At that time almost no one had moved in yet and all of the other condos available for resale were being shown unfurnished and, rather than feeling chic and modern, the result was kind of cold and echoey. I knew something had to be done to set mine apart so I suggested staging - in this case even including installing some fixtures such as lights and mirrors - and the seller was game and left me to it (so fun!).

The staging here softened the starkness of the very clean lines that the newer buildings downtown feature and also made it feel finished and ready to occupy. These were delivered in a state where some, shall we say…“customization” was needed (read: bare lightbulbs in the most minimal socket-type fixture imaginable, no bathroom mirrors, etc.) and installing these few items didn’t cost much but made the condo feel more like a beautiful place to live and less like, oohhhh, a construction site! This one sold went to contract in just nine days, a record that still stands as the fastest resale to date in the building.

Second, it is easier for buyers to picture themselves in a home if the spaces are defined and, with the love of open floor plans we currently have, this can be tough without furnishings to indicate what area has what function. Also, even though it is counterintuitive, spaces usually feel larger when they have furniture. Here are a few examples where this is definitely the case:

Staging by yours truly ;-)

BEFORE: It’s pretty and open but also cold and undefined.

BEFORE: It’s pretty and open but also cold and undefined.

AFTER: Same area, but with a clear living room and dining room that makes the space make sense and adds some fun color.

AFTER: Same area, but with a clear living room and dining room that makes the space make sense and adds some fun color.

BEFORE: What to do with this living room?? Where does the sofa go?? Does it have to float??? And is the foyer a waste of space?!

BEFORE: What to do with this living room?? Where does the sofa go?? Does it have to float??? And is the foyer a waste of space?!

AFTER: Plenty of space for living room furniture  and  a cute spot for a desk! We also removed and replaced the window treatment, making sure to hang the new curtains as high as possible and outside of the actual window frame to make the window appear as large as possible. It’s the little things that make a difference!

AFTER: Plenty of space for living room furniture and a cute spot for a desk! We also removed and replaced the window treatment, making sure to hang the new curtains as high as possible and outside of the actual window frame to make the window appear as large as possible. It’s the little things that make a difference!

BEFORE: Another undefined “great room” that is difficult to picture actually living in. And you really notice the not-amazing dining room light fixture since there is not much else to draw attention.

BEFORE: Another undefined “great room” that is difficult to picture actually living in. And you really notice the not-amazing dining room light fixture since there is not much else to draw attention.

AFTER: SO cute!!! Let’s move there right now! The existing curtains and light fixtures here worked fine once there was some color in the rest of the space.

AFTER: SO cute!!! Let’s move there right now! The existing curtains and light fixtures here worked fine once there was some color in the rest of the space.

And staging is not just for inside…

Fresh color choices and a few outdoor accessories like wreaths and planters say “someone cares about this house and keeps it up nicely!”

Better photo lighting helped too, but the aquamarine door and planter just feel way more modern and manicured. We also added a fresh doormat that isn’t quite visible in the photo.

LOVE this bright blue! It picked up this ho-hum porch and made the approach to the home feel so much happier. (And, yes, I paint…)

If you are considering (or even considering considering!) selling your home, starting to make small changes while you are still living there could be a benefit both to you - you get to enjoy them too! - and to a future buyer. If you ever want my two cents, you know where to find me so please call anytime!

Just Arrived Downtown: 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop


I like to scope the newest spots downtown and 99 Bottles is one you will not want to miss! Located at 1445 2nd Street in one of the retail spaces on the ground floor of The DeSota building, the cozy but chic beer & wine bar just opened this month. You may know the owner, Mark Tuchman, from his previous popular beer destination: Mr. Beery’s in Gulf Gate, but don’t worry, 99 Bottles is a HUGE upgrade in terms of the decor and vibe!

I visited with a few friends and two of us had wine and two opted beer. The wine list had plenty of choices (including Dom P by the glass, for those so inclined!) and the reds my friends selected were both luscious, fruity, and totally yummy. We also split a Night Swim porter and Barrel-Aged Bible Belt stout/IPA and both were great choices, especially the chocolatey Night Swim! We didn’t sample any of the food but the menu options had a nice variety and I’ll definitely give it a try next time.

What struck me most was the way everything seemed very well thought-out, from the design details like the pretty herringbone-style wood paneling on the bar and the bathroom tile that echoed it, to the shelves designed just to display the many beers offered by the bottle. Speaking of the restrooms…there are the most beautiful painted murals in there - unexpected and fabulous! When someone has put that much thought into the visual presentation, it really sets the expectation that the rest of the experience will follow suit and 99 Bottles did not disappoint! The staff was knowledgeable and everything ran so smoothly that you would have no idea that they had opened only days ago.

You heard it here first: 99 Bottles is an awesome addition to downtown so go check it out!


99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop

1445 2nd Street in downtown Sarasota


JUST SOLD! Valencia at Rosemary Place

Photo credit mfrmls

Photo credit mfrmls

We are so pleased to have clients that just closed on this newly-built townhome in the Rosemary District of downtown Sarasota! It was quite the process (read: delays, delays, delays!) but now that this phase is finished, it sure turned out beautifully. There is one townhome here still available and construction there is nearly complete. What really drew our clients to the property is the single-family home feel with a private garage and front entrance on the street combined with the super-walkable location and price point (cross Fruitville and it is a whole other price ballgame for the same type of property!).

Valencia is a short walk from the Van Wezel, downtown Sarasota’s shopping & dining, and Sarasota Bay. When complete, Valencia at Rosemary Place will offer 30 luxury townhomes that will range in size from 1900 square feet to 2500 square feet. The builder, ICON Residential, is currently working on their next project, Artisan on Main, where Main Street dead ends into School Avenue.


701 COCOANUT AVENUE in Downtown Sarasota

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 2.5 bathrooms

  • 1916sq’ under air

  • Private terrace

  • 2-car garage

  • Sold for $565,070

For all of your downtown property needs, we can help! If you are comparing the benefits of new construction to existing, we are especially pros at that so give us a call.

Create your own luxury lifestyle story - Auteur


We like to be the first to tell you about new and notable happenings downtown, and the official opening of the Auteur sales center certainly is one to pay attention to! The ultra-luxury building, which is being developed by the same team that brought us Beau Ciel downtown and Orchid Beach Club, Aria, and En Provence on the barrier islands of Lido and Longboat, is truly not to be missed. We LOVE the chic and glam sales center itself, for starters, and the floor plans are unlike anything we have downtown now.

Allison at The View From The Top has just had the pleasure of working with one of the very first buyers of Auteur to make a reservation. Right now the building is available for reservations ($50k down for all but the highest floors, which command a deposit of $100k) and it is expected that these will be converted to contracts in mid-to-late summer. Auteur is expected to be delivered in 2022 but, for those who are planning ahead for their next move, now is the time to get in!


Rendering found on website

Rendering found on website


Auteur will be a 216’ tower with a projected 56 units priced from just under $2,000,000 to more than $3,500,000.  Residents of Auteur and residents of downtown Sarasota alike will benefit from the developer’s involvement in the community: when originally proposed to have over 85 units, the community of Sarasota voiced concerns.  The developers listened and reduced the number to 56, and by reducing the number of units, the builders were able to both set the structure back further from the street – adding aesthetic value - and increase the size of each home to an average width of 75 feet, something not commonly found in condominiums at any price point (even many single-family homes are on lots of a smaller width than this!).  Each residence will have a spacious, open floor plan and panoramic views of Sarasota Bay.

  • Four floor plans are available, ranging from 2915sq’ to 4219sq’

  • All feature approximately 500sq’ of terrace

The Location.

Auteur will be located at 1100 Boulevard of the Arts on the 1.25-acre site next to the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The Hyatt parking garage will be torn down to accommodate the structure, and future parking for the hotel is incorporated into the plans for the building, though hotel and resident parking will remain decidedly separate. The close proximity to all of the current amenities of downtown and future The Bay project are a major draw for the building, especially since pedestrian overpasses at 41 are part of the plan! ;-)



The Experience.

The features and benefits at Auteur are extensive and just exude the modern style of luxuriousness that discerning buyers today are seeking.  Coded access elevators will deliver owners to private foyers and interiors created by world-renowned designers.  Walls of glass span multiple rooms to create sunlit spaces where high ceilings and HUGE terraces add to the overall elegance of each home.  Kitchens come equipped with Sub-Zero® and Wolf® appliances.. and of course, each residence will be pre-wired with the latest smart home technology. Two sides of the Auteur building are expected to feature a vast assortment of fitness, social and general recreational opportunities. 

Other amenities owners will enjoy:

  • Attentive concierge staff

  • Tropical pool overlooking Sarasota Bay

  • Resort-style heated pool, spa and shade cabanas

  • Two assigned parking spaces per residence

  • Fitness center, message therapy, steam showers and yoga studio

  • Fenced pet play area and pet grooming facility

This is an addition to downtown that we at The View From The Top are seriously excited about and we think you will be too!

For all of your downtown real estate needs - in both the to-be-built and classic buildings - we have you covered! Please call us anytime for guidance on the right spot for you in fabulous Sarasota.

New This Week: 4 Breezy, Summery Living Rooms

Repost from Find the original article here.

Give your home the feeling of a vacation at the beach with this casual, laid-back style..

by Mitchell Parker, Houzz Editorial Staff, March 22, 2019

If you’re planning a summer vacation to a beach, then you’re probably looking forward to some lazy, relaxing, sun-filled days. But that lifestyle doesn’t have to be confined to one week out of the year. Casual beach style is a great design choice for your living room. Linen-covered sofas, jute rugs, watery color palettes and a vibe that beckons you to put your feet up and while away the day is something everyone could use a little more of throughout the year. Let the following four living rooms inspire yours.


1. Carefree in California

Designer: Irene Lovett of designstiles
Location: Santa Monica, California 
Size: 375 square feet (35 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “The home is Mediterranean style, and the clients wanted to have a modern aesthetic while playing into the California casual lifestyle,” designer Irene Lovett says. “We went for a light, bright and cozy feel.”

Special features. Large custom sectional covered in indoor-outdoor fabric. Custom side chair. Wool herringbone-pattern rug. Clay lamps. Iron cocktail table in a nickel finish. “The room is pretty neutral, so it was important to bring in lots of textures to keep the room from feeling flat and one-dimensional,” Lovett says. “Altogether it feels layered and relaxed while still looking refined and inviting.”

Designer tip. “People tend to want to place their sofas right against the wall,” Lovett says. “I always try to float the sofa a bit and give the sofa some breathing room. Here, we didn’t have floor outlets or any eye-level lighting. Incorporating table lamps allows for mood lighting and ambiance. We placed a console behind the sofa to bring in large-scale lamps, which also helped fill in the negative space between the sofa and the bottom of the windows.”


2. No-Fuss in New York

Designer: Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs
Location: Southampton, New York 
Size: 400 square feet (37 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “This is actually my own development project, so I was both the client and the designer,” designer Gabriela Gargano says. “My vision for the home was to turn this petite 1950s bungalow into a warm yet contemporary home that had plenty of entertaining space, comfortably accommodates eight guests and felt chic in both summer and winter months.”

Special features. White linen love seat. Jute rug. Crisp white walls (Delicate White by PPG Paints). Bleached and whitewashed floors. Nesting coffee tables. “We stuck to white, taupe, black and oak as the core theme and layered in some cool blues and natural tones for warmth and contrast,” Gargano says. “I think the art plays a big role in adding character to the space,” which “feels light and summery without being overtly beachy.”

Designer tip. “I often like to paint the ceiling, walls and trim one color to disguise lower ceilings,” Gargano says. “I think this worked really well to freshen the space up and also allow for a nice backdrop for our light taupe cabinets in the kitchen. The inverse — taupe walls and white cabinets — felt too traditional.”


3. Feet Up in Florida

Designer: Laura Greig and Sara Richards of The Habitat Collective
Location: Parkland, Florida
Size: 266 square feet (25 square meters); 15 by 17 feet

Homeowners’ request. A relaxing, beautiful, inviting and comfortable living room that offers plenty of seating for watching movies with family and entertaining friends. 

Special features. Light gray walls (Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams). Sofas with washable covers. Woven Roman shades. White drapes. Kid-friendly coffee table with rounded edges — “to avoid any collisions with sharp edges,” says designer Laura Greig, whose clients found her through the Houzz pro directory.

Designer tip. “We used two different yet complementary sofas in this space to give it a more casual vibe,” Greig says. “The trick is to select sofas with complementary but not matching shapes. Both styles in this space have clean, classic lines — think square arms, slimmer silhouettes, minimal detailing — but the gray sofa features a gorgeous wooden base and legs, while the beige love seat features a simple, tailored slipcover.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “Following our final design presentation, our clients absolutely loved the design and were excited to move forward, but needed to reduce the overall budget for the space,” Greig says. “We wanted to be sure that this space would still function well for our clients, so didn’t want to skimp on things like kid-friendly upholstery and a durable coffee table. Instead, we strategically resourced smaller or less used pieces, like the TV console and accent chairs, to bring the costs down while maintaining the integrity of the design.”


4. Casual on Cape Cod

Designer: Cathy Kert
Location: Orleans, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod
Size: 560 square feet (52 square meters); 19 feet by 29½ feet

Homeowners’ request. A coastal-style space that would be durable, bright and comfortable, with plenty of seating for lots of activities. 

Special features. Soft ocean-inspired color palette. Durable fabrics. Wood beams and wall. “We wanted this room to reflect the colors of the Atlantic Ocean just steps outside the house,” designer Cathy Kert says. “There is room for visiting, napping, reading, playing games or doing puzzles; a little wet bar with a serving area for appetizers on the console table; and two reading nooks.”

Designer secret. “The mix of textures really adds to the coastal feeling in the room — linens, wool, cotton throws, rattan and glass accents,” Kert says.

“Uh-oh” moment. “The dark wood on the fireplace wall and dark beams were challenging in keeping with a coastal vibe,” Kert says. “Ultimately, the contrast was very beachy and the wood anchored the room.”

We do breezy living right here in Sarasota!

BONUS: Sensational in Sarasota!

Sarasota home with charm for days! Couture Real Estate is representing the buyers who are looking forward to enjoying the “breezy” indoor and outdoor “living rooms” in this gorgeous West of Trail home. We thought it was worth sharing!

We are here to help for all of your real estate needs, and even as a resource when you want to transform your home to resemble a Houzz house! Vetted & fantastic designers and contractors? Check! Just ask us :-)


Ever since Ceviché departed in 2013, Sarasotans have wondered what is going to happen to the fabulous space located at 1216 1st Street, in the cool historic Sarasota Times Newspaper building. Finally, a new restaurant has opened its door here, still featuring 4 stories of dining space and the famous rooftop bar. Welcome to the scene, Sage! I had the opportunity to check out this swanky new world-cuisine restaurant recently and highly recommend you check it out.

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 9.27.03 AM.png

The Food.

The seasonal menu changes so often, it’s not even posted on their website. Their mission is to use fresh ingredients, unique flavors, and cooking styles from around the world to give their patrons the best dining experience. Bonus: They happily accommodate any dietary restrictions and many of their dishes are already gluten- and dairy-free. In addition to the exquisite flavors, their food presentation is some kind of work of art!

When I visited, I went straight to the fabulous rooftop bar - one of my favorites hang-outs from years past when Ceviche was there! - and I was certainly not disappointed! The vibe was sophisticated but not fussy and it was pleasantly busy but not so packed that I wanted to leave. The cocktail I had was delicious and my friends and I loved the various types of seating on the roof - bar, high-tops, and lounge areas and, of course, THAT VIEW is a major draw!

The Location.

As I said above, the building itself is a Sarasota historic landmark, formerly housing the Sarasota Times Newspaper. The 1st Street location is on the western edge of downtown, so it is easily walkable from the Bayfront condominiums, offering an alternative to Jack Dusty for dinner and a nightcap, as well as the Palm Avenue area of downtown. Also nearby: the Sarasota Opera and FST — which makes this a perfect pre-show dinner location!

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 9.29.25 AM.png

The Experience.

Despite the casual vibe of the rooftop bar, make no mistake, Sage is a fine dining establishment. The waitstaff is friendly, professional, knowledgable, and in uniform. Searching for the perfect place to grab drinks with the girls? The lively atmosphere on the top level is just right — absolutely beautiful décor with great views of the city that you can enjoy from beneath a mod chandelier or next to a roaring fire pit. And to top it off, pop star Pink has been seen there already, during her recent vacation to our area. ;-)

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar | 1216 First Street | Downtown Sarasota | | 941.445.5660


Perusing the new listings this week, I couldn’t help but notice that there were more stunning water views than usual, and at a variety of price points! Sarasota is a beautiful city and these properties let you see the best of it every day without even leaving home… From Golden Gate Point to the center of downtown to The Landings, check out my picks for the best brand new listings this week :-)

Photos courtesy of the MFRMLS.

226 Golden Gate Point #24 at Harbor House West

The views simply do not get better than those from Golden Gate Point! Directly on the bay and overlooking the Ringling Bridge, plus with pretty views of the sparkly lights on Bird Key and out to Longboat at night, the vistas from this condo WOW.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1396 sq’ under air

  • Offered at $565,000

1350 Main Street #910 at 1350 Main

Updated with chic and modern finishes, this 9th floor home at fabulous 1350 Main features views of the bay, Lido, and even out to the Gulf! For those that want true city living but also seek a water view, the center-of-downtown location of 1350 Main and orientation of this condo in particular is ideal.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1336 sq’ under air

  • Offered at $749,900

5359 Landings Boulevard #203 at The Landings

Some places within The Landings feature BIG water views right out to the bay, which are of course gorgeous, but this condo (for under $400k!) has the perfect pond-overlooking positioning for wildlife lovers and bird-watchers. Inside is gorgeously updated and features vaulted ceilings - so nice, especially at this price!!!

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1775 sq’ under air

  • Offered at $379,000

136 Golden Gate Point #401 at The Phoenix

The water and bridge views from this spectacular residence are absolutely unrivaled! Floor-to-ceiling windows along the entire waterfront side and the location on Golden Gate mean water, water, everywhere... .

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 3.5 bathrooms

  • 3785 sq’ under air

  • Private 2 car garage with elevator to residence

  • Offered at $2,495,000

These are just a few of the gorgeous properties available now and the available inventory is on the upswing. Whether your desire is to live downtown or elsewhere in our wonderful city, please call me when I can help you find your next perfect place! :-)

Your Downtown Update: What's all that construction?

Sarasota certainly has not been idle in the months our seasonal visitors have been away. Let’s take a quick look at what you might have missed while you were gone.

While You were Gone…

A suite at Sarasota Modern

A suite at Sarasota Modern

…These projects have neared completion:

These long-awaited new construction projects are nearing completion, bringing a lot more options for renters and visitors!

  • Embassy Suites Hotel - 202 N. Tamiami Tr. Central Downtown

  • Arcos Apartments - 320 Central Ave. Rosemary District

  • Elan Rosemary Apartments - 710 N. Lemon Ave. Rosemary District

  • Sarasota Modern Hotel -1242 Blvd. of the Arts Rosemary District

A rendering of Courtyard at Citrus

A rendering of Courtyard at Citrus

…These buildings have begun construction:

A multitude of living options await us in the coming months! For the purposes of location, we’ve let you know what niche of downtown each of these are located.

  • Artisan on Main - 62. N. School Ave. East Downtown

  • The Boulevard (BLVD) - 500 N. Tamiami Tr. Central Downtown

  • Bold Lofts - 2nd St. Central Downtown

  • Courtyard at Citrus - 461 N. Orange Ave. Rosemary District

  • The Enclave at Laurel Park - 1425 Main St. Laurel Park

  • Laurel Townhomes - on Hudson Bayou Laurel Park

  • The Pearl - 609 Golden Gate Pt Golden Gate Point

  • 7 One One Palm - 711 S. Palm Ave. Palm Avenue Waterfront

  • The Ritz Carlton Residences - 1111 Ritz Carlton Ave. Bayfront North

  • The Mark - 100 S. Washington Central Downtown

…And these have stayed in or begun the development process:

Many of these have been a subject of our blogs (and conversation!) for months, but the shovel is not yet in the ground.

  • The Collection - 1335 2nd St. Rosemary District

  • TBA, 5-story condo - 1469 5th St. Rosemary District

  • 332 Cocoanut - 332 Cocoanut Ave. Rosemary District

  • TBA, condos - 680 Golden Gate Point Golden Gate Point

  • Courtyard at Citrus, phases 2 and 3 - 461 N. Orange Ave. Rosemary District

Rendering of The Strand

Rendering of The Strand

  • The Demarcay - 27. S. Palm Ave. Palm Avenue Waterfront

  • Epoch - 53 S. Palm Ave. Palm Avenue

  • Evolution - TBD Golden Gate Point

  • Quay Sarasota - North Bayfront

  • Payne Park Village - East Downtown

  • The Risdon - Rosemary District

A rendering of Zahrada

A rendering of Zahrada

  • The Strand - North Downtown

  • Vanguard Lofts - 1343 4th Street Rosemary District

  • Zahrada - TBD 4th Street Rosemary District

A rendering of DeMarcay

A rendering of DeMarcay

Is all the new construction a good or bad thing? Only time will tell. From a real estate perspective, the sheer volume of new options in the downtown area have begun to impact our current market, which has shifted to a buyer’s market slowly over the past few months. The influx of additional options in downtown housing started as a correction to many years of downright snail’s pace development in our area post-recession. As Sarasota grew in popularity over the last decade, construction didn’t really pick back up until 5-6 years in, so we did have some making up to do. We will have to wait and see how the changing skyline of our city impacts of overall market in the coming months and years.

2018 Has Made Us Your Trusted Downtown Experts


Thank you for a wonderful year, Sarasota! We love downtown Sarasota and are proud to have worked so often and in so many amazing buildings in the area.

Take a look at all our action this year as your trusted downtown experts!

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 2.20.19 PM.png


#1404 Worked with Buyers & Seller

This stunning 14th floor residence at VUE was only on the market for 9 days! I listed and staged the condo, which resulted in my buyers scooping it up in record time - it is the fastest resale in the building to date!

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2.5 bathrooms

  • Sold at 97% of list price for $1,495,000

Regency House

#307 Worked with Buyers

My buyers got a fantastic deal on this Regency House condo. Walkable to the bayfront and the art galleries, shoppes and restaurants of Burns Court and Palm Avenue, this charming condo is the perfect pied-à-terre!

  • 1 bedroom

  • 1 bathroom

  • Purchased for 96% of list price for $277,000

#1008 Worked with Sellers

An unexpected greenbelt view of downtown caught the eye of an artist who purchased this condo from my seller, a composer. All in all, this was a match made in heaven, with incoming buyers who appreciate the artsy ambiance of the Palm Avenue/Burns Court area of downtown, and sellers who are moving out of a beloved location into a single family home we found for them nearby.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • Sold at 92% of list price for $455,000

One Watergate

#PH-B Worked with Seller

A large terrace, spacious living space, and floor-to-ceiling sliders that overlook everything from the Bay to the Gulf and all the keys couldn’t keep our seller a job relocation, but luckily she had Allison stage this one to perfection and get it sold so she could begin a new phase in her life up north.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • Sold at 93% of list price for $765,000


270 Cosmopolitan Ct. Worked with Sellers

Another record-breaker was the fastest resale ever in Q, the luxury townhomes located right in the heart of downtown. This beautiful home was a smart house with contemporary and classy features and décor everywhere, as well as an extremely spacious rooftop bar. It sold in a mere 18 days on the market.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • Sold at 99% of list price for $775,000

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season! See you in 2019 for all your real estate needs. :-)

Best New Listings Downtown Now

Welcome to Season, where both housing options and potential buyers are on the rise. Check out some of the best condos on the market downtown right now!

Spotlight: New Construction

There is no shortage of new buildings available downtown, in various states of construction. For more information on each, click on the link below.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 1.09.44 PM.png

Spotlight: Resales

Surprising Ground-Floor Unit in Condo on the Bay

888 Blvd of the Arts #102

What a refreshing surprise! We love the #viewfromthetopstyle, but this view from the ground is just lovely. It gives this condo a single family home-feel, with yard and trees viewable from the windows and the ability to walk right out to the waterfront, but retains all the worry-free amenities of comfortable and easy condo living.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1,288 sq ft under air

  • Listed on Dec. 6 for $ 549,900

Panoramic Views in Embassy House

770 S. Palm Ave. #704

Embassy House is one of the best buildings from which you can get an amazing view of Sarasota Bay. The age of this building (1975) puts it out of the running for many people, whose attention is drawn to newer, more sparkly objects downtown (not that we don’t love those too!), but it should not be overlooked by anyone to whom space and view are important.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1,625 sq ft under air

  • Listed on Dec. 3 for $749,000

Sleek on Sparkling Sarasota Bay

174 Golden Gate Pt. #23

Harbor House is an adorable mid-rise building on exclusive Golden Gate Point. The modernity of this residence is a true treat for the eyes, with waterfall marble, wood-look tile flooring, and clean lines that give way to the beautiful bay view right outside the large windows.

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1,388 sq ft under air

  • Listed on Nov. 26 for $699,000

Traditional Sophistication in La Bellasara

464 Golden Gate Pt. #601

There is something about classic décor that is…well, timeless. This elegant residence features stunning design elements such as mahogany molding, a clawfoot tub, an executive office, and even a built-in sauna! The kitchen is worthy of an HGTV special with modern touches in a classy and functional space. It also features nearly 1,000 sq ft of ourdoor terrace space from which to enjoy the view.

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 3.5 bathrooms

  • 3,384 sq ft under air

  • Listed on Dec. 4 for $2,799,000

Spacious Contemporary Haven in Sansara

300 S. Pineapple Ave. #401

2016’s Sansara is one of my favorite recent additions to downtown. Modern and chic choices were made in every detail of this prime location building, and this fourth-floor condo is no exception. The west-facing living space gets Sarasota’s spectacular sunsets every night and the bedrooms overlook the city.

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 3 bathrooms

  • 2,773 sq ft under air

  • Listed on Nov. 20 for $2,090,000

With the increase in options available downtown, let me be the trusted advisor that guides you through this process. For all your downtown Sarasota real estate needs, I’m here to help!

Woo hoo! More options at SRQ

Allegient Air just announced the addition of NINE non-stop flights out of our neighborhood airport. As a semi-regular traveler, I’m keenly aware of the benefits of flying local: a friend can drop me off without being put out for hours on end, I avoid parking fees, and I don’t have to be awake at 4 in the morning to get out on a 7:30am flight—So many positives! Check out all the new places we can go conveniently right from SRQ Airport starting soon!

Allegiant Announced New Nonstop Service from SRQ to 9 Cities

SARASOTA, Fla. Nov. 13, 2018 — Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today announces nine new nonstop routes to Sarasota via Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) from: Asheville, North Carolina; Baltimore; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; and Syracuse, New York. To celebrate, the company is offering one-way fares on the new routes as low as $45.*

“We’re excited to announce this unprecedented expansion in one of the newest destinations in our network - Sarasota,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. “Sarasota offers world-renowned beaches, museums and dining, and we’re so excited to bring even more visitors to this amazing city.”
The new year-round routes to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) include:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning 2/22/19

  2. Baltimore via Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) – beginning 2/22/19

  3. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania via Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) – beginning 4/3/19

  4. Syracuse, New York via Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) – beginning 4/3/19

  5. Cleveland via Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – beginning 4/4/19

  6. Columbus, Ohio via Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) – beginning 4/4/19

  7. Richmond, Virginia via Richmond International Airport (RIC) – beginning 4/4/19

  8. Grand Rapids, Michigan via Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) – beginning 4/5/19

  9. Nashville, Tennessee via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning 4/5/19

The new nonstop routes will operate twice-weekly and will bring nearly 160,000 passengers to the Sarasota / Bradenton area annually, contributing to visitor spending in the local economy. Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at
“Working with Allegiant, the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has developed into one of the region’s premier airports, further setting the Sarasota / Bradenton area apart and ensuring it remains competitive in a crowded market,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The past few years have brought with them an unprecedented expansion of routes, including Allegiant’s. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau applauds their efforts to make the destination more accessible than ever before for our visitors. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors from these cities onboard Allegiant flights.”
 “We are very pleased with the success of Allegiant at SRQ,” said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. “The airport has experienced substantial growth since Allegiant began service in April. The addition of nine new cities will provide our community with many more ultra-low-cost options and we look forward to the continued growth and success of Allegiant at SRQ.”
“These flights are serving some of our most important origin cities for visitation and will have a huge positive tourism impact for Sarasota county,” said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota.
Allegiant offers a unique option to Sarasota-bound travelers with low base airfare and savings on rental cars and hotels. Travelers can book their entire vacation with Allegiant for less.



If you are planning to winter in Sarasota, visit us during holiday vacations, or come during Spring Break, check out the convenient access point to all things paradise, SRQ Airport. And for all your real estate needs while you’re enjoying the Sunshine State, give me a call today.

Contact Us | (941) 961-3212

3 Elegant Dream Kitchens

Repost from Find the original article here.

See the materials and other design elements that put these kitchens into a league of their own.

by Mitchell Parker, Houzz Editorial Staff, November 2, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.12.24 PM.png
  1. Light & Luxurious

Designer: Michele Merz of MMI Design

Location: Kingwood, Texas

Size: 273 square feet (25 square meters); 13 by 21 feet

Homeowners’ request. “Like so many others [in the Houston area], this client’s home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey,” says designer Michele Merz, whose client found her through the Houzz pro directory. “The damage done by the flood set into motion a complete overhaul, not only of the kitchen but also the entire first floor. The client requested a much larger kitchen to provide better flow, symmetry and storage to the ceiling, as well as plenty of seating options for family and friends to gather. Along with the practical elements, this client also wanted a beautiful and elegant kitchen which matched her love of all things shiny and elegant.”

Elegant features. Mullioned cabinets with mirror panels. Large-scale island pendants in polished nickel. Large range hood of stainless steel and chrome. Light blue island (Cobblestone Path by Benjamin Moore) topped with a Fantasy Macaubas quartzite countertop. Polished-nickel cabinet hardware and faucet. Carrara marble subway tile backsplash that extends behind the range to the ceiling. Dark wood floors. “The color scheme of blue, white and gray also created a beautiful foundation for the chinoiserie accents so loved by the client,” Merz says.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.15.15 PM.png

Designer secret. “Long before we discussed paint colors or pretty hardware, we studied the layout and storage options,” Merz says. “I encourage any homeowner contemplating a kitchen renovation to consider the layout. Is it optimal for cooking, entertaining or day-to-day living? By reorientating the kitchen footprint away from the corner, relocating the range to take center stage and the fridge to the other side of the room, we created better flow and much-needed symmetry.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “When the homeowner requested a 6-by-10-foot island with no seams in the countertop, I knew we were in for a challenge,” Merz says. “Not many natural stone or quartz slabs come that large. After searching for several months, we found a beautiful quartzite. The next challenge was getting it in the house and installed without fail. The slab weighed several hundred pounds. With an army of installers at the ready, the slab was successfully put into place. Though it felt like the crowning achievement of the kitchen, the entire team sighed in relief once it was in place.”

Morgan four-light foyer pendant in polished nickel: Capital Lighting Fixture Co.; Chantilly Lace cabinet paint and Graytint wall paint: Benjamin Moore; builder: Davanti Homes; project photographer: Jonathan Calvert

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.16.53 PM.png

2. Black, White, & Bold

Designer: Christine Vroom of Christine Kimberlee Designs

Location: Los Angeles, California

Size: 260 square feet (24 square meters); 20 by 13 feet

Homeowners’ request. “The vision the homeowners wanted at first was classic and timeless white,” says designer Christine Vroom, who collaborated with her clients through Houzz ideabooks. “Well, as you can see, we started venturing into a much more glamorous and elegant version of that classic white. They wanted bespoke, unique, custom — something you don’t see on every corner in the Los Angeles area. The theme then became high-end, chic and edgy, yet still having classic roots with the high contrast of the black and white.” 

Elegant features. Custom brass-and-zinc range hood. Black cabinet details (Black Knight by Benjamin Moore). Calacatta Michelangelo marble slab island countertop. Thassos marble backsplash in chevron pattern. “The features that give this kitchen grand luxury are definitely the tile selections, the high-contrast features and the scale of the appliances,” Vroom says. “Although the backsplash was a more modern pattern, the subtle glimmer and sparkles of the Thassos make it feel really ritzy and tone down the trendiness of the chevron.” 

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.21.34 PM.png

Other special features. Dark schist perimeter countertops. Brass-and-black stools and light fixtures. Accent tile behind range is Calacatta, Thassos and bluestone marble, surrounded by a brass strip. Wide-plank French oak floors. “They were slightly wire-brushed for a little distressing and a lot of variation,” Vroom says. 

Designer secret. “What wasn’t working was how the coffered ceiling was off center from the range and the room,” Vroom says. “But we maintained balance by weighing down the space with the wide span of the range and the custom brass-and-zinc hood, and then continued by drawing your eye toward the eye-popping elements of the room — the lighting, the black-framed cabinets and island, the brass hardware, the grandeur luxury of the appliance sizes and bling of the plumbing fixtures. One of the features I love about connecting on Houzz is that, as their designer, I’m able to get daily updates when [my clients] post to their ideabook. So I am constantly staying current on their thoughts, hopes and dreams.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.23.37 PM.png

“Uh-oh” moment. “A major ‘uh-oh’ moment was that there was a giant post that was going to project into the space on the end of the wall to the left side of the sink,” Vroom says. “It wasn’t a huge issue until we realized the post had to actually be 2 by 2 feet, and it completely closed in the room, making it feel more compartmentalized. With some magic between the architect, engineer and myself, we managed to replace the post with a beam and we were able to have that open, airy feel that the clients wanted.”

Glendale 9-light foyer pendant: Hudson Valley; Super White cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.24.43 PM.png

3. Tall, Dark, & Handsome

Designers: Cindy King (interiors), Jessica Nelson and Stephanie Lindsey of Etch Design Group (furnishings and lighting) and Patterson Custom Homes (builder) 

Location: Austin, Texas

Size: 330 square feet (31 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “The clients purchased this home newly constructed and ready for move-in,” designer Jessica Nelson says. “The owners are a family of five, with three young girls between the ages of one and five. The furnishings they selected for the home are all family-friendly, with stain-grade fabrics that are easily cleanable.”

Elegant features. Tall ceilings covered in tongue-and-groove pine wood stained dark (Pecan by Sherwin-Williams). Douglas fir beams also stained dark (Brazilnut by Sherwin-Williams). Stain-grade knotty alder wood cabinets and island, also in Pecan stain. Porcelain backsplash tile with marble look. Quartz countertop with marble look. Cast-stone vent hood. Oversize island pendants. 

“Uh-oh” moment. “Some of the original selections for the home didn’t quite fit the clients’ style, so we upgraded many items in the kitchen, such as the pendants and dining chandelier as well as all cabinet hardware,” Nelson says. “The client wanted to add some brass accents throughout the home, so we upgraded all hardware to an antiqued brass finish. The lantern-style lighting we chose has a mixture of brass and black accents, which gives a subtle but elegant appeal.”

4-light foyer fixture in bronze (over island) and 8-light linear chandelier in bronze (dining room): Hinkley Lighting; Chloe high-back bar stool: World Interiors; Greek Villa cabinet and wall paint in satin finish: Sherwin-Williams; project photos by Cate Black Photography

Just Listed: Fully Renovated Condo Alternative

There is more than one way to enjoy downtown Sarasota…You can visit it for a few months each winter, you can live in the heart of it every day, or you can simply enjoy all the amenities by living very near it! If single-family home living is more your style but you desire easy access to everything downtown has to offer, then we may have just the perfect option for you!

3026 Pinecrest St Sarasota FL-005-1-chpteam5-MLS_Size.jpg

3026 Pinecrest Street

Located 8 minutes from downtown, in South Gate.

more information

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 bathrooms

  • 1,174 sq ft under air

  • Large, brand-new deck sitting right on a pretty offshoot of Phillippi Creek!

  • Offered at $325,000

3026 Pinecrest St Sarasota FL-008-41-chpteam8-MLS_Size.jpg

Welcome home!

Walk right in to this open & bright creekside cottage and enjoy a full-scale renovation, which makes the adorable mid-century home feel like a new chic downtown condo! Fresh paint inside & out, new lighting & electrical, modern wood-look tile in all living areas, and contemporary-style updated kitchen and baths. You will be WOWed!

Light, Bright, Open Interior

Wide windows let the light into the main living space, which is open-concept, and sliders to the back deck provide beautiful views of Phillippi Creek, where you can watch the birds and turtles frolic! You will love to cook and entertain in the modern kitchen, finished perfectly with sparkling new granite, a marble backsplash, and all new stainless appliances.

Enviable Modern Kitchen

The island has convenient space for eating, so pour your coffee and enjoy the quiet tranquility of a waterside home. Shaker-style quiet-close cabinetry, sleek knobs, and new fixtures & lighting will please every home cook.

Cozy Yet Updated Master and Guest Suites

Features you have come to enjoy in your downtown condo, such as sliders from the master bedroom right to outdoor space and interesting finishing touches like the barn door to the master bath are both available here. Your single-family condo-alternative is awaiting you! The master bath feels utterly luxurious with the oversized walk-in shower and clean, modern gray tones.

Your guests can still come for a visit and enjoy the spacious second bedroom and nearby bath. The bedroom features new carpet and fan and two large windows, and the bath right around the corner is completely remodeled and updated with accent tile, new wood cabinetry, and granite counters.

The Joy of Being on the Water

And why would someone want to move away from the liveliness of downtown Sarasota? Here’s one reason… unless you are in one of the few waterfront condos, you simply cannot walk out your door and hop on your paddleboard and be out in the sunshine within minutes. You can do that here. The large yard is complete with a wide deck with plenty of room for entertaining, plus there is a poured slab on the side of the home for storing your boat and/or other outdoor playthings like kayaks or canoes.

Why South Gate?

It is close enough to enjoy everything about downtown but far enough away to have the peace and quiet of living in a neighborhood! Be at the Opera in 10 minutes or Selby Gardens in 5 (or jog there, if you’re ambitious, Allison does!). South Gate has easy access to the north bridge to Siesta Key, so everything you enjoyed about being minutes away from Lido Beach downtown is right here too - only to one of the best beaches in the country!

If you have been wondering how you can keep a downtown lifestyle and the low-maintenance you’ve come to appreciate, look no further than this home that needs absolutely nothing else to update it — inside OR out, viewable or not. Everything from the guts to the finishing touches is brand new. So relax & enjoy the post-downtown life!

When to List?

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.30.36 PM.png

With the cooler weather comes an influx of additional people in our area: tourists, snowbirds, and visiting friends and family for the holidays. Consequently, we in real estate are gearing up for the busier season and so should you if you are interested in selling your home! The data speaks for itself…

Information here comes from Trendgraphix

The Statistics of Downtown Condo Sales

Consistently & across the board, the six months from October to April perform better than the summer months, but different price points are stronger in different times of this cycle. Let’s take a closer look at the downtown condo market by price point.

Up to $499,999

If your condo is valued under $500K, now and the next couple months are a good time for you to sell!

  • Most condos go to contract in February, March, and April.

  • Average number of days a downtown condo in this price point is going to take to go to contract is about 128, which is just over 4 months.

  • Homes selling in December, January, and February garner the highest list-price-to-sale-price ratio, meaning you get more of your asking price if you sell in these months.

  • The highest price per square foot is garnered in January and February.

  • October is the month with the most inventory typically. Whew! Glad that’s behind us—no one likes to be lost in a sea of inventory!

    VERDICT: Now is the best time to begin marketing.

$500,000 to $999,999

If your downtown condo is valued between half a million and a million dollars, there is a lot of variation in your market, but consistency where it counts.

  • Most condos of this range go to contract in November, March, and June. There is a lot of variation here, so how about some positives?

  • The average number of days a condo of this price range is spending on the market is 91 days, or about 3 months. That’s the lowest of these four price ranges!

  • The list-price-to-sales-price ratio is pretty darn consistent here in the mid-90s almost all year. By a slim margin, November, January, and May were slightly better than the rest.

  • Also pretty consistent, the best price per square foot has a very small range (apart from a couple outliers), but the highest (by a small margin) is garnered in October & November.

  • August has the most inventory.

VERDICT: This market is consistent where it counts: you’re likely to get a good price for your condo almost all year. Summer is the hardest, so avoid listing late spring through about now!

The snowbirds come for this view, and stay for it too! Selling season is here now that snow is falling up north. Who wouldn’t rather be at the beach?

The snowbirds come for this view, and stay for it too! Selling season is here now that snow is falling up north. Who wouldn’t rather be at the beach?

$1,000,000 to $2,500,000

Now, this range runs in a trend that is exactly what we expect:

  • Most condos in this price range go to contract in November, December, and January.

  • The average amount of time a condo in this range is going to spend on the market is 101 days. When we remove a couple high outliers, this drops to 53 days, which is less than 2 months!

  • The highest percentage of list price is received in October, and December through March.

  • The highest price per square foot is over the summer, most likely because of lack of inventory, followed closely by February and March.

  • The entire fall season has the most inventory available in this price range, as sellers prepare for seasonal visitors that have yet to show up.

VERDICT: This range rolls with the season for sure. Do not miss marketing your million-dollar property during season: January and February are both great months to list to get the best % of your list price and the most $ per square foot.

$2,500,000 and above

Similar to $1-2.5 million range, the ultra-luxury market unsurprisingly follows the season, when visitors from all over the country and world are leaving the snow for some much-needed sunshine.

  • More condos in this range go to contract in January than any other month.

  • Condos in this price range are on the market longer, as there are not as many buyers in the ultra-luxe budget bracket. Average number of days on market is just over 4 months, at 125 days.

  • Sellers get the highest percentage of asking price December through March. In fact, in 2017, ALL of these months averaged 100% of asking price OR MORE!

  • The price per square foot is pretty consistent in this market. Given the small number of condos that sell in this price range each month, one sale seriously affects the average. December through March are consistently highest, but not by much.

  • Quelle surprise! The most inventory is available in this market when our snowbirds are away, from April through August.

VERDICT: Seasonality reigns supreme here. Market during the early parts of season to accommodate the longer time on market sometimes required of this price point.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.32.23 PM.png

Finding the exact right time to put your condo on the market is a bit of a science, as you can see. It depends on the ever-competing priorities of time vs. money. We hope this little cheat sheet gives you a guideline to look at when considering next steps for your downtown property. Please give us a call today if we may help you value your downtown condo and help you find a time to sell. :-)

As always, we work not only in the downtown Sarasota market, but all over this wonderful town of ours, so as your seasonal visitors fly down and decide they need a place, please keep us in mind—we can help them find their dream vacation home too!

Hard Hat Tour of Artisan on Main

Realtor Extraordinaire & Marketing Guru - Hard hats not included!

Realtor Extraordinaire & Marketing Guru - Hard hats not included!

In the continuous effort to stay in the know on all things downtown, Molly and I went for a visit today at one of the newest Sarasota developments, Artisan on Main! In keeping with a recent trend of fee-simple (i.e. not shared/condominium ownership) residences, Artisan on Main is made up of 32 townhouses that bring the feel of single-family homes to a city-friendly lifestyle.

We like the rooftop bar…

Okay, there is a lot to like here once inside. Townhome-style living is #trendingup, as people crave both the downtown lifestyle and the freedom to fully own their property. And this particular community starts at a very reasonable starting price in the $600,000s, especially considering these floor plans range in size from over 1,800 to 2,690 sf! But for the home size and the downtown lifestyle, getting it at this price point will mean making some concessions…

Location: Not Exactly Downtown, But Not Far

East of 301, on the far-more industrial-feeling side of Main Street, is where Artisan is located. While there is a lot of new construction popping up in the area (this community alone will boast 6 buildings), the feel of this section of downtown is not quite there yet. And to walk to the heart of downtown, you’ll need to cross busy Washington Blvd.


We are trying to not judge this one too harshly yet, especially since it’s incomplete and so is all the new construction around it, but we were underwhelmed with the view of the rooftop of Sarasota Lanes and the sight-lines from one building right to another.

The Plusses

  1. Price:Size Ratio

    Did we mention: The Price is Right! For those of us with less-than-million-dollar budgets, getting this amount of space downtown for the high hundred-thousands is worth the couple of negatives.

  2. Mostly-Walkable Location

    Easily walkable to the Fruitville corridor of downtown (think Breakfast House and The Tea Room), this eastern downtown complex is within city limits and still provides a mobile, city lifestyle. Right across 301 is the movie theater as well as myriad adorable coffee houses and restaurants. Without crossing 301, residents of Artisan on Main can visit downtown’s beautiful Payne Park, which hosts live music, a skatepark, a fantastic playground (even in the hottest summer months, thanks to the water features!), fitness loop, green space, and a cute lunch restaurant.

  3. Luxurious Feeling

These townhomes feature chic & modern details, right out of the pages of magazines: beautiful waterfall countertops, rooftop terraces with space for a jacuzzi, open contemporary staircases, and top-to-bottom elevators available. The areas you can’t see are quality as well: concrete block construction, hurricane-grade windows, natural gas available (a rarity for our area, and a perk for those of us who like to cook!), and energy-saving AC & heat pump.

Renderings of the Finished Product

More about Icon Residential

Not new to our area, Icon Residential is still in the process of completing their other off-the-beaten-Main-St development, Rosemary District’s Valencia. While we love the vibe and idea of both their Sarasota endeavors, Valencia’s construction is running more than a year behind, so this is a good time to remind everyone: if you are on a specific timeframe, new construction might not be for you. This is far from just an Icon problem, so it’s important to keep in mind.

If you are interested in newly constructed (or feels-like-new!) residences in Sarasota, let us know. If you are working on a specific timeframe, we will ensure that you are heading in the right direction at the right time. As usual, we are here to solve all your real estate dilemmas with top-level service and View From the Top style!

The Best Views from the Top Available Now

Here at View from the Top, we love everything Sarasota. We love the beaches, downtown, the cultural scene, the restaurants, and especially the neighborhoods, homes, and just plain living here…but we do specialize in penthouse and high-level living in the downtown area, so how about we look at the penthouses currently on the market. :-)

1350 Main St. #1701

in 1350 Main

Center-of-it-all penthouse living right in the heart of downtown.

990 Blvd of the Arts #1800

in Beau Ciel

Contemporary opulence with unobstructed sparkling views of the Bay.

  • 4 bedrooms

  • 5.5 bathrooms

  • 8,111 sq ft under air + over 2,000 sq ft of terrace space

  • Built in 2003

  • Offered at $7,950,000

888 Blvd of the Arts #1907/1908

In Condo on the Bay

Double-penthouse overlooking cerulean waters provides a perfect place for art collections aplenty.

1400 State St. #PH-11

in The Mark

Quintessential contemporary new construction.

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 3.5 bathrooms

  • 2,753 sq ft under air + approx. 300 sq ft terrace

  • Under construction now

  • Offered at $1,899,000

1335 2nd St. #PH-8

in The Collection

The ultimate in cosmopolitan luxury, located in up-and-coming Rosemary District.

  • 3 bedrooms

  • 3.5 bathrooms

  • 3,288 sq ft under air + 1000 sq ft terrace

  • Pre-Construction 2018/2019 build

  • Offered at $2,599,900

401 S. Palm Ave. #PH-1101

in Savoy on Palm

They don’t take credit card for their penthouse purchases, I already asked. ;-) #want

  • 4 bedrooms

  • 5 bathrooms

  • 5,708 sq ft under air plus outdoor kitchen on 1000 sq ft terrace

  • Offered at $4,500,000

And one View From the Top we just got under contract…

#1008 in Regency House

We listed this vast & spacious 10th-level condo and recently got it under contract. Sold from one artist (a composer) to another (a painter), this residence sits right in artsy Burns Court/Palm Avenue area, features amazing space for art collections throughout, and has an ultra-unique greenbelt city view.

When you are thinking of downtown Sarasota, we hope you think of us here at View from the Top, where we prize your lifestyle vision above everything else and will help you find the best place for you in our beautiful downtown area. When it comes to buying or selling in Sarasota, we are your experts! Give us a call today if we can help.