When Helen Feiner embarked on a complete renovation of her Hudson Harbour condo, she did so with a secret weapon: her son-in-law, Carl Solander, who happens to be a LEED-certified AIA architect. Inspired by the concept of reverse engineering, Solander named his Boston-based firm Reverse Architecture, “which in my case means he took this space to its original state and then put back only what’s necessary,” Feiner explains.
A native of South Africa and former laboratory physician at New York University Medical Center, Feiner wanted an easy lifestyle and practical materials to encourage family visits. Solander wanted to create a bright, airy sense of place that was also environmentally responsible. “The idea was to meld Helen’s South African roots to her new home in Sarasota. We combined African and beach themes,” Solander says.
The architect’s innovative design and finish specifications, though atypical for a Sarasota residential project, were capably executed by Denny Yoder of Yoder Homes. “Elements of the design were new to Denny and his team, but they approached every challenge with enthusiasm. Using new sustainable sources from all over the country was something they were eager to do,” Solander says.
Arts and crafts 1 collected in South Africa and Zimbabwe cohabit with materials evocative of Sarasota beaches: custom-cut limestone floors 2 reminiscent of Siesta Key’s white sand and Stone Source tile backsplash in the aqua of beach glass. Feiner and Solander dubbed the Gulf-inspired ceiling 3 “the wave of the future,” its three undulating waves unifying the space by eliminating boxed partitions and a cathedral peak. For energy efficiency, Solander no longer specifies incandescent fixtures, opting instead for Color Kinetics LED lights 4 innovatively installed in specially devised slats in the dramatic ceiling. Air-conditioning costs are reduced with a G Squared ceiling fan 5 by Mark Gajewski for Artemis, winner of the Good Design award for its use of recyclable materials and ecologically sound design. Rapidly renewable bamboo from architectural source Plyboo was selected as the surface for see-through bar 6 and kitchen cabinets from Bertch Custom Cabinetry in the clean, contemporary Jakarta style. Sustainable IceStone countertops rival the strength and appearance of quarried stone, but they’re made from recycled glass and concrete, which the manufacturer redirects from landfills. Alison Levin Bishop of Living Walls suggested an ethnic contemporary area rug 7 to pull together the colors of art and materials in the great room, and the sleek microfiber loveseat and sofa 8 by Della Robbia.