Back in 1925, famed architect Dwight James Baum was on a roll. John Ringling brought him to Sarasota to design the Ca d’Zan and a host of other projects, not the least of which were three model homes on St. Armands Circle. These homes were the lynchpin in what would become (hopefully) the fanciest, most prestigious residential development in Florida.
It didn’t quite work out that way—the boom ended with the bust of 1927—but two of the three model homes are still there, with their incredible history and architectural provenance. One is owned by designers Jeff and Joyce Hart and the other has just come on the market.
The home has many unproven links to the Ringling family. It is known that one time Mable’s sister lived there. And there was a circus mural painted in the dining room. They tried to recover it but it proved impossible.
It’s located at 76 S. Washington Drive and in layout is the same as a classic center hall Colonial that was so popular back in those days. The façade is symmetrical and you enter with the living room on the left and the dining room on the right. Upstairs are the bedrooms. Many of us grew up in houses with this very same plan.
But the style and details are all Med. Revival—a red tile roof, arched windows in the sunroom (these homes always has a sunroom off the living room), and a tiled fireplace. When I first saw this house back in 1987, it seemed a little tired. But that was then. Over the years it has been updated, enlarged and glamorized, with a pool added, plus a separate guest house, to the point where it recently was chosen as decorator’s showhouse. And best of all—it has its own Wikipedia page.
76 S. Washington Drive is priced at $1,499,000. For more information call Maureen Horn of Michael Saunders at (941) 539-3384.
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