Designing Mind

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Interior decorator Mark Dalton, ASID Allied, created the handsome look of the new Burns Court Villas in downtown Sarasota. Now he’s working with the developer, Westwater Construction, on their newest project, Moda, 12 three-story contemporary townhomes to be built behind Avenue of the Flowers on Longboat Key. In the 20-something years since moving here from […]


Interior decorator Mark Dalton, ASID Allied, created the handsome look of the new Burns Court Villas in downtown Sarasota. Now he’s working with the developer, Westwater Construction, on their newest project, Moda, 12 three-story contemporary townhomes to be built behind Avenue of the Flowers on Longboat Key. In the 20-something years since moving here from Hartford, Conn., Dalton has mostly concentrated on remodeling 1970s-era condominiums on Longboat and Siesta keys.

My first step: I ask the client what their uses are going to be. Are they empty nesters? Will they have kids coming home from college?

I always: Install marble on the floors because it’s easy. It’s never in, it’s never out, there are no grout lines, and you can clean it with a leaf blower if you want.

My most memorable redo: Two penthouses in Tortuga, on Siesta Key. They had huge balconies and incredible views, but outdated kitchens. I knocked down all the walls and made the kitchen part of the living room. It’s important to concentrate on the kitchen; no matter the price point, everyone spends their time there.

I never: Follow a trend; I always go by what the space dictates. In one penthouse the Michigan owner wanted it bright and vibrant, so I painted everything yellow and blue. The other clients, from Boston, wanted hardwood floors and warm colors.

My favorite colors: I like dark colors—slate blue, chocolate brown, dark orange. Florida can handle that because of the bright sunshine.

For Burns Court Villas: I used that very color scheme. It’s not a historical palette; to be honest with you, I picked the colors that I like. I painted the exterior of my own home dark green with cayenne shutters.

When you walk into a room: You should be enveloped; your home should wrap you like a blanket.

My clients just want: Comfort. Your home is your sanctuary and must be livable in the right way.

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