Manasota Key Sarasota

With 15 pending sales in April alone just in the Sarasota County portion of Manasota Key, it’s been an especially strong 2015 for the exclusive barrier island, says Nelda Thompson.  “In my opinion, this has been the largest amount of sales in one year since the recovery started,” says Thompson, owner of Nelda Thompson Realty, who has specialized in selling homes on Manasota Key since 1985. “And I believe that when people return in the fall, they’ll find prices 30 percent higher.” The inventory of listings has been reduced by half, too. “It had been 50 homes for sale [at any one time] for the last six or seven years,” says the veteran real estate broker. “Now there are about 25. It’s getting back to normal, and it’s happened very quickly.

Murray Homes

App Appeal

Two-thirds of home buyers can’t interpret complex floor plans and elevation drawings, and they struggle with making the plethora of design choices necessary to create the homes of their dreams, says Murray Homes’ Steve Murray. So the luxury custom builder has developed an easy-to-use app that lets buyers envision exterior and interior design choices from roofs to window styles, paint colors, kitchen cabinet finishes and even landscape plants and trees. “It’s the same as having photographs of your finished home before we have begun construction,” says Murray. Take a test drive at

Venice real estate

Rosedale's Pristine VI model.

Venice real estate

WCI's Banbury II great room.

More Models

Rosedale Golf & Country Club has introduced the Pristine VI model, a 2,395-square-foot, open-concept home with two bedrooms and three baths that’s in The Links, a neighborhood of maintenance-free homes. It’s priced at $431,000.

And WCI Communities has unveiled a new fully furnished model at its Sarasota National development in Venice. The
Banbury II Residence 201 has two bedrooms, two baths, an open great room floor plan plus den and lanai in 1,786 square feet of living space. It is in the Banbury II Coach home neighborhood and priced at just under $230,000. Sarasota National is a 2,400-acre master-planned community just west of U.S. 41 in south Venice.

Lutyens bench

It’s a Classic: The Lutyens Garden Bench

Sit right down and smell the roses.

Created by English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) for a Gertrude Jekyll-designed garden, this arched slat bench has become the gold standard for romantic garden seating in a traditional setting. Originally done in English oak, it can also be crafted in natural teak, plastic or metal, or coated in a weather-resistant paint. Lutyens did several variations, but all feature the signature curvy back and slat seating. Depending upon materials and length, a Lutyens-style garden bench ranges in price from $200 to $2,000. This bench works best in a garden or on the terrace of a seaside cottage, Colonial revival home, Georgian or vintage Victorian. Or move your Lutyens inside to the foyer, guest bedroom or even a large bathroom. And a Lutyens bench placed right next to an outdoor shower would be sublime. —Marsha Fottler

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