ON LONGBOAT KEY “THE HOUSE WAS IN MY HEAD from the beginning,” recalls the current owner of Serenissima, a 19,300 square foot Venetian-style residence on the coast of Longboat Key, Florida, describing the arduous process of building a place for three generations of her family to gather. “I would wake up at 4 a.m., not by choice” she goes on, “and, in my mind, I would walk step-by-step through the house.” As a retired interior designer, she and her husband had a clear vision of what they wanted, starting with architectural style. In Longboat Key, a laidback town of beach and golf on a barrier island in Sarasota County, the prevalent look is Spanish Mediterranean Revival. Preferring an old world feel, they found inspiration directly across the bay at Ca’ D’Zan, the historic Ringling’s house-turned-museum, built by the circus owners in the Venetian Gothic Style in 1924. Furthered by a love of traveling to Venice, Italy, the owners drew these influences into their own aesthetic, and ultimately it would lead to the name Serenissima, Italian for “the most serene.” Once a source of sleep deprivation, the incredible details that deliver this serenity ultimately proved worth it and are immediately evident as one enters this grand, six-bedroom home. In a soaring, three-story foyer, the levels are connected by both a grand staircase, with each step consisting of a single slab of classic Botticino marble, and a birdcage elevator that ascends to a glass dome at the top. Passing through the foyer, westerly views over the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico come into view through a palatial living room with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and arched clerestory windows. The walls themselves are works of art, with not a single wall-covering to be found in the home. In fact, the walls are paintings by the renowned muralist Joseph Brown, whose list of noted clients includes Oprah Winfrey. Brown’s most significant contribution to Serenissima, however, is on display in the dining room, where the Grand Canal of Venice is illustrated on the walls in striking beauty that encapsulates the desired old world ambience. With young grandchildren and a large extended family, being able to host large dinners was an important component for this family. In addition to the main kitchen, with sodalite cobalt blue marble countertops and appliances that include a King Neptune oven range, a Jenn-Air flat top grill and rotisserie, and two Asko dishwashers, a well-equipped catering kitchen is located off the dining room, which allowed the owners to comfortably hold family reunions with nearly thirty people under one roof. With lush plantings and open ocean views, one need not go further for a day well spent in the sun. In the evenings, groups can gather around the gas fireplace or take the steps down to the sandy beach and go for a moonlight swim, as the owners often would with their grandchildren. When retiring into privacy, the sumptuous master suite is essentially its own secluded world, complete with dressing rooms, an office, a sitting room with a kitchenette, and his and her en suite bedrooms with separate bathrooms. Gold-flecked marble floors lead to his bathroom, outfitted with Azul Aran granite and a rain shower, and in hers, a whirlpool tub and rain shower of its own are set amidst Crema Marfil marble and honey onyx. During the long hours and late nights spent planning Serenissima, the owners were even careful enough to install a bedside cabinet from which they could control the security and Lutron lighting systems throughout the home, ensuring they slept soundly each night, listening to the waves in this inimitable family sanctuary on Florida’s Gulf Coast. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SERENISSIMA, visit luxuryportfolio.com and search Web ID: REBV88. TAKEAWAYS PRICE | US $26,500,000 • SQ FT | 19,300 HIGHLIGHTS | 10-seat theater | 16-car garage 1 Grand marble foyer soars to a glass sky dome above. 2 The infinity pool leads to glorious beaches and sunset views. 3 The principal kitchen clad in cobalt blue marble with a Gulf view. 4 Extravagant windows lead to an infinity pool and echoes of crashing waves. 5 A mural of Venice’s Grand Canal envelops the dining room. Taking advantage of the favorable climate, a spacious terrace with an infinity-edge pool proved to be an equally important gathering place.
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