Today’s homes show us why Siesta Key has appealed so strongly to artists over the years. One is artistic in spirit; the other speaks directly to the key’s heritage as an artist’s colony and nest of creativity.
Let’s start with the larger of the two. It’s located on the very upscale northern tip of the island; and although it dates back to 1950, it’s been remodeled several times over the years and now has the atmosphere of a new house. Its previous owner was an artist and designer who specialized in color, and he had a sense of what the great Mexican architects like Luis Barragan were up to—strong primary colors that hold their own against the tropical sun, yet at the same time serve to define the space.
The living room.
It’s a big house—over 2,500 square feet, with five bedrooms and three baths. High ceilings and clerestory windows are in all the rooms, and I particularly like the horizontally paneled glass doors and windows. The pool area—yes, it’s heated—is exactly what you want in a Siesta Key house but so often don’t find: perfectly accessible from the living areas and surround by tropical palms and rare bamboo.
8338 Midnight Pass Road
Our second house is several miles south, on Heron Lagoon. It belongs to a prominent local family who have owned it for generations, and back in the ’50s and ’60s it was a regular stop on the partygoing circuit of such Sarasota icons as painter Syd Solomon and writer John D. MacDonald.
It was built in 1957 as a three-bedroom but now it has but one, as it is a mere 780 square feet. It has dramatic skylights and an Asian look, with a green ceramic tile roof. It’s known as the Moonhouse; the shell landscaping and the white marble floors cause the property to glow in the moonlight. And if you’re wondering about the numerous pine trees on the property, they are leftover Christmas trees. The family would plant them each January rather than toss them out. And here they are, decades later, still going strong.
Old Christmas trees.
There’s a melancholy note to this sale. The house is set on a wonderful piece of land; it fronts the lagoon and is nearly two-thirds of an acre. Whoever buys it will probably tear it down and build two new houses, as allowed by zoning. I hope not, but what can you do? In the meantime let’s run extra pictures of this piece of Siesta Key history. For more information call Tak Konstantinou at (941) 374-1606.