duPontREGISTRY Tampa Bay September/October 2020

Page 1

Keeping St. Petersburg


before First Place NARI Award Residential Interior $250,000 to $500,000


trobel Design Build, a State Certified Building and Remodeling Contractor in Tampa Bay, has received numerous local and national awards for their home remodeling projects. Since their beginning in 1983, Strobel Design Build has mastered the art of sophisticated luxury home and condo remodeling. Their hands-on, design build process gives each client a custom approach to their specific home remodeling project. Areas of expertise include: • Historic Renovations • Condo Renovations • Coastal FEMA Remodels • Luxury New Homes • Designer Kitchens • Designer Bathrooms

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The Strobel Design Build team has over 40 years of experience building in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, and they are currently Tampa Bay’s most awarded design build firm. With multiple awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Strobel Design Build has the experience and credentials you need for your sophisticated luxury home remodeling project. The secret to their success lies in their process. Strobel Design Build combines client involvement, ongoing education and industry best practices for seamless design and renovation projects. The Strobel Design Build designers provide a concierge-level service to ensure that once they are finished with a project, their clients are left with the kitchen or home remodel they have always dreamed of. Call or visit the Strobel Design Build website for more information.•

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44 85


THE ROOMS WHERE IT HAPPENS 60 Travel: Escape to The Breakers by Cindy Cockburn The fabulous worlds of interior designer 63 Real Estate: Luxury Living in Tampa Rob Bowen BY DAVID WARNER Bay and Beyond


80 Dining: Eating the Pier by David Warner


83 Style: Relaxed Luxe by Michelle Cappelli Gordon

DREAM MAKER Steve Rogai’s custom homes BY DAVID WARNER

32 DESIGN FOR ALL Thinking ahead with Strobel Design Build BY DAVID WARNER 36

CUSTOM EYES Made-to-order furniture

85 Beauty: Behind the Mask by Michelle Cappelli Gordon 86 Wine Girl: Keeping it 100 by Tracey Serebin 88 Auto: Rambo Lambo by Howard Walker


40 HEALTHIER AT HOME Your safe haven, safer BY CINDY STOVALL

90 Visual Art: The Way Forward at the MFA by Cindy Stovall


92 Art & Architecture: Old School, New Outlook in Sarasota by Megan Padilla





PARK & CHILL Condos for your car

96 Architecture: Solo By Design by Eric Snider 101 People Helping People





COVER PHOTO: Courtesy Rob Bowen Design Group


FROM THE PUBLISHER Dear Reader, Before I go any further……….. PLEASE (1) Wear a mask in public. (2) Social distance at least 6 feet. There is no sure way to prevail over this virus, but (1) and (2) will help. NEXT: Please vote, either early or on Election Day. And vote your conscience. I do not care what political party you belong to or if you are an independent. Vote for whomever you think will do the best job for your community, your state and your country. When the votes are tallied, you and I may not like it, but majority rules. And by the way, you don’t need government to make things better. As an American and a good neighbor, there are more than enough ways to help make things better. So get to it ! So…….This is the Home and Design Issue. What timing! With the effects of the Covid pandemic, a lot of you (and we) are spending more time at home. Working or not, “home is where the heart is,” and this issue is chock full of great information and stories about the new homesteading in today’s world. Enjoy! As you know from our last several issues, we now feature “People Helping People” rather than just “Parties and People.” We have an ulterior motive here. We intend to show you examples of volunteers whose efforts are having a positive effect on others in our communities. We hope to inspire you to join in. And we truly like celebrating the generosity of our friends and neighbors in the Tampa Bay area. If I may, one last piece of advice. There are many parts of the Tampa Bay area that are hurting right now. We all have two ears and only one mouth. So it is time to listen at least twice as much as we talk. With that, we will come to an understanding. With that will come response. And with that will come solutions. Have a Great Day , Tampa Bay,

Thomas L. duPont Publisher/CEO P.S. Any thoughts on my thoughts? I have two ears to hear you with and an email address to receive your comments. Let me know what you are thinking. Together we can find solutions and celebrate Tampa Bay. 6

FROM THE EDITOR The little house pictured at left doubles as a box. It’s one of two I own by the Cape Cod artist Adam Peck, and it’s evocative of one of my favorite views in the world: the row of cottages you see as you crest the hill leading from Truro to Provincetown. My husband and I bought the first of our “house box sculptures” in 2010, and two years later, when we married on a P-town rooftop, I gave him another one, forming a pair. As it happened, his wedding gift to me was also a kind of box — a salt cellar, a traditional sign of welcome and sharing. Our gifts to each other represented two notions of home: as shelter, a place to get away from the outside world, and as invitation, a place where you can welcome the world in. Normally, a home can be both. But this year, of course, is not normal. We’re being asked to stay sheltered, and we’re being discouraged from inviting anyone inside. So this year’s edition of dRTB’s Home Design Issue comes at an opportune time. We give you ideas for spiffing up your own shelter: Strobel Design Build’s Mark Z talks about designing for the future; Cindy Stovall writes about home-based fitness and health; Tracey Serebin finds wine cellars morphing into party rooms; Catherine Mitseas champions the craft of custom-made furniture; Style Editor Michelle Cappelli Gordon’s got the goods on keeping yourself stylish while sheltered in place. And we invite you into other people’s living spaces, like the fabulous interiors of Rob Bowen and the up-to-date elegance of homes built by Steve Rogai. But we gotta get out sometime, as long we play it safe. I found plenty of distance and good food at the St. Pete Pier. As Cindy Cockburn tells us, the proprietors of The Breakers in Palm Beach are ultra-careful. And Eric Snider introduces us to a new addition to Beach Drive, a deluxe cigar and wine bar. Road trips are fine, too — especially in a Lamborghini Urus, test-driven by auto columnist Howard Walker (who also explores the latest perc for luxury car-owners: car condos). And if you’re going to be away from home for a long while, consider the services of Spouses Watching Houses. There’s no A&E Calendar this time around. But Cindy Stovall updates us on the reopening of St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts, and Megan Padilla previews SarasotaMOD Weekend, mecca for architecture aficionados. And I was happy to hear that theaters are finding new ways to bring us live performance, from digital series to drive-ins to shows on the Tampa Riverwalk. I only hope theaters will soon be able to invite us back into their homes, where scenic designers conjure up not just beautiful living rooms but whole imaginary worlds. David Warner Editor in Chief 8



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PUBLISHER/CEO Thomas L. duPont EDITOR-IN-CHIEF David Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Bruce Bicknell OFFICE MANAGER Audrey CampBell DIGITAL MEDIA Eric Kennedy SALES MANAGER/COMMUNITY RELATIONS Molly duPont - DIRECTOR OF MEDIA PARTNERSHIPS Rosemary Nye - DIRECTOR OF NEW BUSINESS Tracey Serebin - DIRECTOR OF BAY AREA SALES Sharon Castellano - ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES Ron Barreto, Cindy Carr, John D. Chapman, Jill Massicotte CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS Cindy Cockburn, Michelle Cappelli Gordon, Catherine S. Mitseas, Megan Padilla, Tracey Serebin, Eric Snider, Cindy Stovall, Howard Walker PRODUCTION MANAGER Tony Alvis


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The Rooms Where It Happens MAD FOR PLAID: Another view of the tartan game room shown on the cover. Wall coverings and the draperies and even a specially spun rug were made from matching fabrics.

Rob Bowen, St. Pete’s go-to interior designer for penthouses and other fabulous homes, takes us behind the scenes. STORY BY DAVID WARNER


That sense of drama, tempered by a respect for scale he client’s request was a bit startling, even to an and proportion, is one reason why Bowen has become interior designer known for making bold choices. the go-to designer for penthouses from Beach Drive “I want a tartan game room,” she said. to Manhattan and country homes from Aspen to the “And I’m like, ‘A tartan what?’” remembers Rob Hudson Valley (where the tartan room resides). Bowen. “She was like, ‘Tartan plaid. Like Ralph He says there’s “a common underlying DNA” Lauren. I also want them to be all historic “At the end of the to his firm’s designs. “We don’t want to be registered tartans.’” day we’re going to give predictable… but anyone who walks into any He was reluctant at first. “I love that you you the best version of of the homes that we create could say, ‘Was love this, but...” whatever you imagined Rob Bowen involved in this project?’ Whether “Oh, you can do it,” she responded, “and it’s times 10.” it’s Mediterranean, or French Country, or going to be the best version of this that’s ever super hip mod...” been done.” Or... Tartan plaid. She was right. You might think all that tartan would be overwhelming, but instead the room is a “I’m going to give you your Tartan plaid, but I’m dazzler. It’s at once witty, daring and — a favorite going to throw in some bronze, I’m going to throw in design word of Bowen’s — sexy, a mix of patterns and some fur, and I’m going to make sure those ceilings are textures that shouldn’t work together but totally do. the most spectacular ceilings” — coffered ceilings, to be 15

HOME DESIGN: Interiors

You can tell Rob Bowen loves his job. Showing me around the offices of Rob Bowen Design Group near Beach Drive, he has the “Look at this!” enthusiasm of a kid sharing his favorite toys — albeit a tall, dark and handsome 42-year-old kid. “This is where we’d have your whole entire home set up,” he says, “basically on this board.” Swatches and samples have been methodically arranged on a countertop to show the finishes Bowen will be using in a client’s penthouse: squares of sea-green embossed leather “with a python vibe” for the dining room chairs; geometric floor paneling in wedges of grey wood; a shiny, aqua-tinged square of striated glass that will be used for the kitchen cabinets. “Isn’t that awesome?” he asks, holding it up to the light. “This is a custom piece of glass that we had made... three pieces of glass that have been sandwiched together to create this specific color temperature.” Later, he takes me to the site where all of these ideas will come to life — in a 3,338-square-foot residence on the 42nd floor of ONE St. Petersburg, purchased in 2019 for $4.1 million by housing developer M. Patrick Carroll. When Carroll bought it, says Bowen, “it was just a developer shell — concrete floors, basic ceilings, laundry, sink and a kitchen.” Now Bowen’s team is turning it into the ultimate bachelor pad, with accouterments like a massive shower with 150 water jets and an intimate media room with draperies that can be opened and closed at the push of a button. Those required, among other feats, raising the floors and lowering the ceiling for the media room and calculating how many gallons per minute the shower drain would be able to accommodate. Bowen emphasizes that every design project is a team effort — senior designer Marie Maldonado; contractors like Daren Masters of Axion Construction, who’s working with him on the Carroll home among other projects; Bowen’s husband and business partner Jason Teabout, a retired military man — all challenge him and help transform visions into reality. Because Bowen’s job is not just about sourcing fabrics and choosing color palettes. It’s about such mundane but vital considerations as where to put the light switch, where the air vent is — not to mention those gallons per minute. “It’s not just what a room looks like,” says Bowen, “but how is a client going to live?” 16

Rob Bowen Design Group

precise, in navy and green hair-on hide. “At the end of the day we’re going to give you the best version of whatever you imagined times 10.”

DESIGNING MAN: Bowen has done homes in St. Pete, Manhattan and Aspen, to name a few.

Massive showerheads aren’t an issue in the next penthouse unit Bowen shows me at ONE. The challenge with this design, also still under construction, is making sure the walls will accommodate the owners’ large art collection — and that the space, which wraps around the north end of the building, is fluid and commodious enough for entertaining. Where the Carroll unit is all sharp angles and planes, this one is all curves — reengineered with sinuous walls and ceilings and a highly stylized bar. The two units couldn’t be more different — “like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” says Bowen — but that’s the point: While he brings his particular tastes and experiences to everything he does, his task for each client is to realize their dreams, not impose his own. The third unit he shows me in ONE, the only finished product I’m able to see in person, is much smaller than the penthouse units — Bowen calls it a “jewel box.” But it’s full of drama nevertheless, with flowing rivers of grey, black and white in the living room rug and the marble kitchen island; a streak of orange flame (actually water vapor in color-changing LED light) flickering in a low-slung black fireplace; an angular blue glass

Rob Bowen Design Group

Photo by David Warner

HOME DESIGN: Interiors

VISION BOARD: Some of the finishes being used in the Patrick Carroll penthouse in ONE.

UNMISTAKABLY BOWEN: A completed interior in ONE.

sculpture by Richard Royal from the Duncan McClellan Gallery on a glass dining table; a chandelier reminiscent of a cubist double helix; a marble kitchen backsplash with brass inlays. “Every single thing in here was custom-made specifically for this home,” says Bowen. “Every square inch of this place has been mulled over, edited, executed, edited again, executed, more editing...”

he was gay. (He did come out in his sophomore year, but “laid very low.”) It wasn’t till 2008, after several years in furniture and property sales, that design became his profession. What kickstarted his career was a place he designed for himself: a penthouse condo in downtown St. Pete where he was living with his partner at the time, Smith & Associates CEO Bob Glaser. “I designed it to be really cool,” he said, and apparently succeeded: Word of mouth about “the glass house” (his nickname for the place) led to a cover feature in the Homes section of the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times ). That was the springboard. Bowen and Glaser’s second “glass house,” a tri-level penthouse atop Signature Place, achieved even greater fame, and Bowen and his team went on to design homes at 400 Beach, Parkshore, Ovation and ONE as well as commercial spaces like the eye-popping interiors for C1 Bank (now Bank OZK). Bowen’s success allows him to indulge in his favorite things — he collects watches and Porsches (he’s owned eight) — and has enabled him to travel with his team to design shows throughout Europe. But travel almost ended his career before it began. During a trip to

Bowen was always interested in design and art, even when he was a little boy. “Starting around age 7 or 8, my mom [former Pinellas Schools Superintendent Julie Mastry] wouldn’t let me keep repainting my room, so I would cover it with construction paper to change the color.” He grew up in Belize, where his parents met as high school sweethearts, and after they divorced he moved to Florida with his mother and brother but spent summers and holidays with his father in Belize, where “I’d always be painting —big watercolors, with big broad strokes.” After graduating from Lakewood High, he studied business and communications at FSU; he didn’t take design courses because he didn’t want people to think


Rob Bowen Design Group

HOME DESIGN: Interiors

CLASS & BRASS: A Bowen-designed kitchen in ONE features a marble backsplash with brass inlays.

Thailand in 2006, he came down with what appeared to be food poisoning but was later diagnosed as GuillainBarré syndrome, the debilitating auto-immune disease. “I was paralyzed from the neck down, legit out,” he says. “It took me a couple of years to get really back to walking, crawling, holding my own toothbrush.” But he had a goal: “I had just bought a new Porsche before the trip. I would stare at that thing every day, and I was like, ‘I’m going to get back in that car.’” Now the only trace of his ordeal is a slight tremor in his hands, which makes drawing difficult. But he’s nothing if not a man who rises to a challenge. And now he’s taken on what may be the biggest challenge of all. He and his husband are opening a restaurant together — Social Roost at 150 1st St. N. on the ground floor of ONE. [Fun fact: Teabout and Bowen were students at Lakewood High at the same time; they even dated the same girl. But they didn’t know each other, and only 18

reconnected six years ago.] Since revealing their plans for Social Roost last year, Bowen and Teabout have had to postpone and postpone again. But Bowen’s design, which is slated to include nest-like banquettes, open seating and a 22foot community table, is well underway, and — with his characteristic attention to detail — he’s incorporating a ventilation system with a European-designed ozone generator to prevent cooking fumes from wafting up to the balconies of ONE. (He had to get special approval from the city for the generator, which is used widely elsewhere but not in Pinellas, another factor in the delay.) Now, as COVID continues to wreak havoc with the hospitality industry, Bowen says, “We’ll continue to pivot with the times. We don’t want to rush an open, but we also have to open.” And when he does, what do you want to bet his first words will be “Isn’t this awesome?”


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Common Myths About Collaborative Divorce Law

Collaborative Divorce Law is becoming more popular worldwide, and rightfully so. Collaborative Law is a method of handling cases and resolving disputes by removing the disputed matter from the litigious courtroom setting. It is a very well-constructed method to develop options and problem solve rather than to fight and battle it out in court. There are many myths surrounding Collaborative Law that act to dissuade attorneys from familiarizing themselves with it and from using it in their own practices. The most common myths are: • Only the rich can do it: Not entirely true. While collaborative cases involve several players, including collaborative attorneys, a mental health professional and a financial professional, unlike traditional litigated cases which can drag on for years, most collaborative cases happen in a condensed period of time. Given that nearly 95% of all divorces end with a negotiated settlement, many spouses end up paying for a large amount of preparation for a trial that never even occurs. Collaborative lawyers report that the total cost of a collaborative divorce is often much lower than that of a divorce processed through the adversarial, litigated process. • Collaborative Law is a fad: False. What began with one attorney in Minneapolis over 27 years ago has grown into an internationally recognized process that now includes thousands of practitioners from 25 countries around the world. The Florida Supreme Court has approved the process and implemented Rules for Collaborative Law. Most other states have followed suit. • The parties must trust each other and get along in order for the process to work: No. For divorce cases, if the parties got along perfectly and trusted each other completely, they probably would not be getting a divorce in the first place. It is true that many of the same emotions and issues that play out in traditional divorces—pain, fear, resentment, distrust—are also present in collaborative divorces. However, the difference lies in a willingness by the participants to work with their collaborative team to overcome these issues to reach a settlement that incorporates the interests of both parties. • It is not meant for high asset cases: Again, not true. Even though there is no formal “discovery” process that takes place, the parties in the collaborative process fully disclose to each other all records and financial information. While there is not formal, written discovery or depositions, there is a more focused overview for the attorneys and the experts to evaluate.

KY KOCH is a seasoned professional counselor with 30 years’ experience who has recently joined the Older, Lundy, Alvarez and now Koch firm. His preeminent reputation has been gained by representing clients in highstakes divorces. He has counseled professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, CPAs, business owners and their spouses. During his distinguished career, he has been a state prosecutor, board-certified criminal defense lawyer, and a board-certified marital and family lawyer. After facing almost every form of litigation, his concentration is now on the settlement of cases through Collaborative Divorce Law. He is now committed to an organized, efficient and wise approach dedicated to out-ofcourt private and win-win resolutions. As an authority and an advocate for Collaborative Law, Koch is a founder of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals. The newly merged firm of Older Lundy Alvarez and Koch starts another chapter in a highly successful career.

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All photos courtesy Smith & Associates. WOW FACTOR: Floor-to-ceiling windows on both floors (and the glass wall in the upstairs master bedroom loft) contribute to the feeling of openness. The owner of the penthouse worked with developers Brian and Debbie Taub on the floor plan; Robyn Greenberg did the interior design.

Find Your Bliss

A downtown St. Pete penthouse with spectacular views and a modern metropolitan vibe. STORY BY DAVID WARNER


mith & Associates Realtor Christopher Pitre is known for spicing up his video home tours with a touch of salsa (the dance, not the condiment). It’s close to irresistible as a sales gimmick. As he sidesteps and swivels through his properties to a salsa soundtrack, smiling all the while, he looks like a fun guy to hang out with. More importantly, he makes the houses he’s selling seem like fun places to hang out. But when it comes to one of his latest offerings — the spectacular two-story penthouse at Bliss, which he’s colisting with fellow Smith Realtor Ali Bearnarth — it’s likely the homebuyer who’ll be doing the dancing. Bliss is an18-story luxury condo tower at 176 4th Ave. NE in downtown St. Petersburg. Built in 2017, the tower has only 29 residences with no shared walls, a host of amenities (heated pool, fitness center, rooftop club room) and a prime location just off Beach Drive. But where it fully lives up to its name is in the penthouse. A wide-open two-story space with exhilarating, unobstructed views at every turn — yup, 24

this is bliss. And oddly enough, despite the marina and the museums and the new St. Pete Pier spread out below, it doesn’t feel like you’re in St. Pete. The 4,300-squarefoot residence has the kind of up-to-the-minute glamour more commonly associated with Manhattan or Miami. “This has a very New York penthouse loft vibe,” said Pitre, who moved to St. Pete from his native Brooklyn six years ago. “It has that very distinct feel to it that’s not necessarily St Petersburg but offers everything St. Petersburg has to offer.” Its proximity to the walkable downtown and waterfront parks of St. Pete is what distinguishes this condominium from its equivalent in a glitzier metropolis. “Miami to me is a concrete jungle,” says Bearnarth, a lifelong St. Pete resident and a Realtor for 16 years. “Here you’ve got a flair that you don’t have anywhere else.” Oh, and you don’t have to worry about scouring downtown for a place to park; the residence comes with four-count-‘em-four parking spaces.


LET THERE BE LIGHTS: Contemporary lighting fixtures distinguish the interior throughout. The wall installation in the dining area is the work of artists at the Morean Arts Center.

WAKE-UP CALL: You could simply relax and take in the view from the king-sized bed in the master bedroom suite, but there’s also a TV concealed in the footboard — and if you just want to sleep in, press a button and lower the automated blinds on the windows and the glass wall.



SOAK IT IN: Each of the condo’s four bedrooms has an en suite bathroom.

FROM THE TERRACE: Balconies off the living room and the master bedroom afford panoramic views. “You really connect with everything,” says Pitre. 26


HEY, GOOD COOKIN’: The gourmet chef’s kitchen has Wolf appliances, a six-burner gas stovetop, Sub-Zero refrigeration, a wine refrigerator, solid wood, soft-close cabinetry, solid stone countertops and an oversized island with ample seating.

IN YOUR CORNER: Every bedroom has either a view of the city or the water. The floors are connected by both a custom-designed staircase and an in-residence elevator.

TEAMMATES: Smith & Associates’ Christopher Pitre and Ali Bearnarth.


HOST WITH THE MOST: Steve Rogai and girlfriend Astrid Chas at last year’s virtual reality “block party” for a spec home in Sunset Park.

Dream Maker

Steve Rogai brings an eye for style and a knack for service to the construction of multi-milllion-dollar homes in South Tampa. STORY BY DAVID WARNER


hen Steve Rogai builds a home, he pays attention It’s the kind of care that clients can (or at least should) to every detail. expect from a developer building them a multi- Even the view from the toilet. million-dollar custom home. “I will try to explain this one to you without being And for Rogai, it’s personal — because he “I get to build crude,” he says as he shows me the underside of treats each home he builds as if it were going my dream home a windowsill that’s only visible from where he’s to be his own. every time on somesitting — on the toilet in a luxury home he built “I get to build my dream home every time on one else’s wonderful someone else’s wonderful budget,” he says, “and in South Tampa’s Sunset Park neighborhood. budget.” “Every painter I have misses that strip,” he then I get to get paid for it.” explains. “I tell my project managers I will come in here, I won’t use the toilet, but I come in here and sit Modern Capital Development Group, which down.” Rogai founded three years ago, is all about building dreams Because, he says, this is the view the homeowners will have, — on spec. and he doesn’t want them to be confronted every day with an “I start on speculation, find the lots on speculation, spec out unfinished paint job. a floor plan and begin to build,” he explains. “And if I’ve got


HOME DESIGN: Development

SUNSET, SUNRISE: The finished product, now the residence of Cheryl and Harvey Adams.

a client by drywall or framing [stage], they can pretty much pick everything except the floor plan.” That’s what happened in the Sunset home. The owners, Cheryl and Harvey Adams, bought it last year when it was in the block stage — a 4,918-square-foot single-story shell on an oversized lot. And they did so without even having attended the “block party” — an open house Rogai threw for 100 guests in the unfinished structure, complete with red carpet, refreshments and virtual reality goggles so that guests could walk around the concrete slab and envision the space with furniture and flooring. The finished product turned out to be a shining success. Created in collaboration with architect Randall Smith and interior designers Allan Domagas and Effie Griffith, the home is a model of understated elegance. “Everything flows so beautifully,” says Adams, who was in Canada during much of the six-month construction period and communicated with Rogai via Facetime. “He has impeccable taste, and I trust him. He doesn’t do ugly.” Before founding ModCap, Rogai, 43, traveled down many career paths, but his skills in marketing and customer service were a constant. He started in retail, got into real estate and mortgage financing, dabbled in reality TV (a show about lottery winners), and forged a partnership with Kevin

Harrington, launching products as seen on Shark Tank. It was a glamorous gig for a while — the company had offices in NYC and Toronto and London, he rang the NASDAQ bell twice and met celebrity spokespeople like George Foreman, 50 Cent and Suze Orman. But the “As Seen On TV” biz was eventually outdone by Amazon because people were taking their viewing (and their buying) online. When he returned to real estate, his experiences among the affluent drove him in a new direction. “I became more laser-focused on high-end luxury,” he says. Having dealt earlier in $250,000-$500,000 properties, he’s now building homes in the $2-$5-million range — with six under construction right now. On Beach Park’s Neptune Way, he’s on his third house; he’s there so much that he’s practically an honorary neighbor. “They call me the mayor.” Rogai has made a conscious decision to stick with a “modern, clean-lined flair” in his homes. “No one’s doing Mediterranean Tuscan anymore,” he says of Florida’s familiar architectural style. But, in the Sunset home and in a planned contemporary Tudor in South Tampa’s Golf View Park neighborhood, he is finding ways to merge modern with traditional. Sunset, for instance, is in what he calls a “transitional” style.


HOME DESIGN: Development

TUDOR TODAY: A rendering of a Modern Capital home planned for South Tampa’s Golf View Park neighborhood.

Family’s important to Rogai. He’s divorced, but he and his wife share custody of their two teenagers. To be closer to their schools, he moved out of his home in Carrollwood (a 4,000-sq.ft. Mid-Century Modern he renovated himself) to a much smaller place in South Tampa. Though he sometimes

misses the extra space, he doesn’t want the headache (or the staff) that a larger home requires. And besides, he gets to vicariously experience luxury living with every home he builds. Showing me around the Adams home, he’s as proud of its many distinctive features as if he owned it himself: the screen on the lanai (“there’s no horizontal or vertical bracing so it virtually disappears”); the line of fishtail palms that provide privacy for the pool (“it’s a complete sanctuary”); even the finishes in the garage, which he boasts are the same as those inside the house. But he seems proudest of the little extras, like the welcome packages he leaves for new homeowners, packed with tape measures, pizza coupons and other handy move-in items. And then there’s this small but ingenious detail: In each home he builds, he leaves containers of the paints used on the project, each one labeled by color and room. So if the owners decide to do a touch-up, they don’t have to make a trip to Home Depot — they’ve got the right colors already. It’s a touch that delighted Cheryl Adams. “Who does that?” she asks. “Nobody does that! “And did you see he made sure not to put it in paint cans?”

TRUE COLORS: Rogai’s moving-in gifts include color-coded canisters of every paint used in a home, as on these shelves in the Adams house.

HOMESTYLE: Rogai renovated and lived in this Carrollwood home before selling it and moving to South Tampa.

Arched doorways and windows evoke Spanish architecture of the past, but the striking black and white color scheme is very much of the moment. The home he’s building in Golf View, he says, is “kind of an homage to what was there before”: a nearly 100-year-old brick Tudor he bought from the estate of its late owners. The house he’s planning to build in its place retains a hint of Tudor detailing — pitched rooflines, double-hung windows — but otherwise the vibe is pure 21st-century. He’d hoped to salvage some of the original hardwood from the interior, but it proved impossible to remove safely. However, when the owners’ children reached out to him and asked for mementos of their parents’ home, he gave them each a chance to take one of the bricks that had graced its facade.





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Design For All

Mark Zdrojewski is uniquely prepared to build homes that work for everybody, now and in the future.. STORY BY DAVID WARNER

All photos courtesy Strobal Design Build HOUSE PROUD: Strobel Design Build’s Mark Zdrojewski at the Morgan cottage in St. Petersburg.


t’s almost as difficult to sum up Mark Zdrojewski as it is to only good for someone in a wheelchair, but for someone pronounce his last name. bringing in groceries while wheeling a stroller.” (His father tells people the first syllable’s pronounced To put it another way, Universal Design is about planning “Stroh,” like the beer, “with a jet ski behind it.”) ahead — preparing your house now for upgrades later on. Mark (he also goes by Mark Z) is a carpenter with a A case in point was a project in St. Petersburg’s Five Universal neuroscience degree. Points neighborhood for Rebecca and Jay Morgan. He’s been an Alzeheimer’s researcher and a Both are uncommonly well-versed in the issues of Design is about Habitat for Humanity volunteer. planning ahead — aging — Rebecca, 67, is professor of elder law at He’s a licensed contractor and a lifelong pianist. preparing a house Stetson University, where she helped design the And he’s the president of Strobel Design Build, for future needs. first elder-friendly courtroom, and Jay, 69, retired where his unique mix of education and experience as manager of the city’s Office of Aging. As a result, has made him arguably the area’s most qualified they’re uncommonly ready to plan ahead. practitioner of Universal Design. The concept, rooted in Three years ago they hired Strobel to build a fully the movement to promote accessibility for the disabled and accessible bungalow and garage directly adjacent to the the elderly, has grown to embrace design changes that can be nearly-century-old Florida cracker house where they’ve lived helpful to everybody. since 1987. Unlike that two-story home, the new structure is “It’s about things you can do,” says Mark Z, “that are not all on one level and fully outfitted for its residents to age safely 32 32

HOME DESIGN: Accessibility in place — so that, when the couple decide they can’t navigate stairs anymore, they can move into the bungalow, which they call “the cottage,” and hire a caretaker to live in the main house. The cottage is full of common-sense features. It’s sited on a slope, so there are no steps leading up to it. All the doorways are 36 inches wide. Cabinet doors are constructed so that a wheelchair can roll up close to the countertop. There’s wood behind the walls of the shower to allow for easy installation of a grab bar, and bathroom tiles are arranged in contrasting colors to be more visible, especially at night. The master bedroom has enough electrical outlets to accommodate a hospital bed if necessary, and the whole house is wired for telehealth. The project also entailed shifting the entire property to net-zero energy consumption and making sure that architectural details of the new structure were in tune with the older home and the Craftsman styles of the neighborhood. It was so successful that it won Strobel a Contractor of the Year Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and it’s already been resident-tested; rated to withstand a Cat 3 storm, it housed 10 people and seven animals over the course of a week during Hurricane Irma. Zdrojewski, 40, traces his interest in caring for

the elderly to his teens, when he saw first-hand the complications of his grandmother’s Alzheimers. She was living with him and his family at the time, and his father, a contractor, made improvements to the home to make it safer for her. Mark Z completed a BA in biology and psychology at SUNY Buffalo, working part-time as a carpenter using skills he’d learned from working with his father. He put that building knowhow to use when he moved to Florida in 2006, where he got his contractor’s license in 2008 and started his own company. But that went “belly up” (his words) a few years later, so, at the age of 30, he embarked on a new path: he enrolled in the Master’s program in aging and neuroscience at USF College of Medicine. It was his dual interest in home-building and senior populations that brought him into contact with Strobel Design Build founder Don Strobel. A leader in the remodeling industry with a strong belief in giving back to the community, Strobel was a founding board member of Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, an affiliate of a national charitable organization that specializes in home repairs for people with disabilities and low income. In 2012, Zdrojewski joined RTTB as a volunteer, his status as a licensed contractor enabling him to act as the non-profit’s primary qualifier on its building

OLD & NEW: The main house and the new cottage, connected by a porte-cochère and complementary design details. 33 33

HOME DESIGN: Accessibility projects. It wasn’t long before Strobel asked him to join Strobel Design Build as vice president. “We had common interests in helping people,” says Zdrojewski, who’s in his sixth year on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough and is now in his second stint as chairman. Strobel, he says, “always had it in his heart to find someone who could carry on the legacy.” Mark Z bought Strobel Design Build in the fall of 2019, with its founder staying on a year to help with transition. “He and I are still very close,” says Mark. The 37-year-old business has grown from $2 million and a staff of four in 2014 to $8 million and a staff of 22, including designers, estimators and project managers. Though the company does do new construction, 75 percent of its work is remodeling and renovation, along with a small amount of specialty commercial work — including a recording studio in the Warehouse Arts District for the guitar-teaching app TrueFire.

CONVENIENT CABINETS: Toe-kick ambient lighting and recesses beneath the kitchen cabinets help accommodate wheelchair users.


The music connection was especially appealing to Mark Z. A big fan of the Florida Orchestra, he has played piano since he was 8 years old and almost attended SUNY’s Fredonia College of Music until he decided he was better off sticking to piano as a hobby. But he still plays every day — he has a Yamaha upright in his downtown St. Pete apartment, where he lives with his dog, a Siberian husky/Aussie/Rotweiler mix named Biscuit. Does his apartment conform with Universal Design principles, I wondered? “Well, it’s in a high-rise, so we do have an elevator,” he answered with a laugh. “I’m waiting to build my dream home when I find the right piece of real estate.” Meanwhile, his parents are reaching retirement age, so he’s helping them remodel their home in Cocoa Beach. It will definitely be universal-compliant.

NO THRESHOLD: Transitions from exterior to interior rise less than a half inch and floors are flush on either side of the threshold.

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Courtesy Michael Malecka READY FOR TAKEOFF: Aero Furnishings’ coffee table made from a Boeing 727 jet engine.

Custom Eyes

The made-to-order furniture business in Florida brings beauty to the everyday. STORY BY CATHERINE S. MITSEAS


e’ve stared at our homes’ walls long enough. It’s time to take action and own something worth sheltering with. What about a new coffee table made out of a free-spinning titanium jet engine turbine fan? Or an expertly detailed shuffleboard table handcrafted for your game room? Or a vanity for your half-bath that is as beautiful as it is functional? It’s the world of custom furniture ready for use in our everyday lives. And the choices are outrageous.

Calling all AvGeeks

Aero Furnishings grew out of Mike Malecka’s love for the jet engine. He saw the beauty in its muscularity even as he worked as a salesman for the airline industry. Taking a leap in 2016, he bought a Pratt & Whitney JT8D from a Boeing 727, stripped it and started manufacturing polished stainless steel and glass coffee tables featuring jet plane parts. Today, he has added car and boat components to his creative arsenal. His creations can incorporate anything from a Ferrari 36

camshaft to an engine from a Boeing commercial jet. A sleek gallery-quality coffee table might feature sparkling engine blades spinning under thick panes of glass, powered by specialized batteries, and set off by carbon black steel legs. Each piece is finished according to the customer’s preference – in some pieces, the parts are polished to a spit shine, while others are left in near-vintage condition. After four years in business, Malecka now owns an enormous warehouse filled with, primarily, airplane parts, all catalogued by serial number in a Dewey decimal-like system. From the Boeings to his newly sourced military aircraft, his company buys entire airplanes and repurposes their parts into surprisingly lightweight desks, conference tables, media centers, mirrors, stand-alone sculpture — really anything a customer can envision — for private buyers, businesses and galleries. His one-of-a-kind pieces are built in Miami and shipped around the world, from Dubai to South America, where polished propellers, air frames, and even window sections find second careers as upcycled contemporary furniture.

HOME DESIGN: Furnishings In March of 2020, requests dwindled to a third, and for the next several months Malecka lived off back orders, completing contracted jobs while keeping employees on staff. A silver lining appeared when a fellow aviation enthusiast needed to unload a stockpile of planes. While the rest of us were sheltering in place, Malecka bought fighter jets and bombers from a broker at pennies on the dollar. For Andrew Watson, CEO and founder of BUILT LLC in Tampa, customer choice leads innovation. Sitting in his warehouse is a hand-built shuffleboard table manufactured out of rich walnut and specifically sized for a game room. Its detailed exactness reflects the core of his business — made-to-order furniture catering to discerning homeowners and commercial clients. Still, he envisions a time when handcrafted furniture and fixtures are not just for the wealthy. Calling his concept the “democratization of custom furniture,” BUILT recently invested in 14 high-level automated machines capable of producing furnishing within a shorter time frame and at a lower price point, with highly trained craftsmen finishing each piece. The CNC (computer numerical control) machines exactly duplicate designs created by Watson and his staff. The automation allows a customer to select an item, say a dresser, and individualize

Courtesy David Calvin

Bespoke for the rest of us

POLISHED: A table by David Calvin Furniture Studio.

it by the materials — wood, steel, upholstery, leather — and in the choice of accessories like drawers, copper pulls and terrazzo tops. In essence, BUILT provides the initial box while the customer chooses its functionality and final look. This investment turns his woodshop into a small made-in-Florida manufacturing plant which can produce, within weeks, 100 chairs for a local restaurant as well as custom and semi-custom furniture for private and commercial use. All the while, the system protects his employees from dangerous blades and keeps them close to the design and craft of building furniture by hand.

Courtesy Andrew Watson

The memory keeper

GAME TIME: A hand-built shuffleboard table by Tampa’s BUILT LLC.

David Calvin Furniture Studio, a one-man shop in St. Petersburg, uses local lumber to craft pieces individually, building anything a client wants from bedroom sets to vanities. Businesss slowed during the shutdown, so Calvin relied on existing orders to fill the days. Yet his niche — solid wood, dyed veneer and repurposing existing furniture — stayed true. His regulars know him for more than skilled woodwork — he is their memory keeper. One customer had kept her mother’s dining room table for 50 years, moving it countless times, holding tightly to its backstory. The well-worn slab was more than a place to eat; it reflected the Greatest Generation’s sense of pride after struggling through the depression and WWII. By working closely with Calvin, the daughter repurposed the sturdy table into a bar cart, a serving tray and wooden bracelets for her sisters and nieces — creating memories that transcended generations.


HOME DESIGN: Furnishings At Live Edge Slabs LLC in Tarpon Springs, clients select wood slabs as they would granite, by thumbing through cut and kiln-dried pieces sourced from Costa Rica. Tables are then hand-finished and legs and seats welded by expert technicians. The COVID stay-cation turned into a great business opportunity for Brad Kent, co-owner of Live Edge with his son, Brad Kent Jr. In the first months of the national shutdown, they saw business triple as families rushed to complete home offices and new work spaces. By June, the other three companies began recovering as well, with orders increasing daily. The longer people sat home, Brad Sr. observed, the more they wanted to change it up. The future looks good for these entrepreneurs, for whom constructing furniture is not just a hobby or business. It is a reflection of what they value: history, craftsmanship, independence, creativity. Or as Watson put it, “We just want to build stuff.�

BUILT LLC: David Calvin Furniture Studio: Live Edge Slabs LLC: Aero Furnishings:


Courtesy Brad Kent

The time is right

SEAWORTHY: A Live Edge Slabs countertop perfect for a beach house.

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Kevin Kenyon TORCH IT! Kevin Kenyon of Torch Cleaning Services uses a low-volume, high-pressure spray to deep-clean a home.

Healthier At Home

The newest ideas for making your safe haven safer. STORY BY CINDY STOVALL


with commercial clients such as medical clinics, veterinary ofuasimodo probably said it best — “Sanctuary!” That’s how we like to think of home – as an fices and restaurants – businesses that require a high standard escape to safety and comfort. But these days, we find of clean. But they also bring that same scrupulous approach ourselves spending uncomfortably prolonged periods of time to residential services. there, with no clear idea of how long it will go on or what “We created an approach to battling the coronavirus that I uninvited microscopic guests might be lurking. believe sets us apart,” say owner Kevin Kenyon. We need to find new ways to feel healthier and safer The service is called “Vital Oxide,” a spray “The model of at home. At the same time, we need to find innosolution of chlorine dioxide. an urgent care house vative ways to bring in services previously sought “Though the solution itself is not new in the call turned out to be outside the home. anti-viral arsenal,” Kenyon states, “the delivery prophetic. The response system Torch utilizes is unique.” Spraying the Can it be done? has been incredible.” solution at low volume with high pressure creates a The answer, gratefully, is YES! Here are some ideas from entrepreneurs whose ingenuity meets the far-reaching, better-penetrating fog that effectively moment. gets into every nook and cranny in a home. “It’s non-toxic, safe on all surfaces (even dishes) and safe Cleaner at home for kids and pets. What’s more, everything feels clean with no Home cleaning services are certainly nothing new, but tosticky buildup as occurs with other solutions.” day’s standard requires a level of clean that also brings peace The treatment is good for two to four weeks at a cost of apof mind. proximately 6 to 8 cents per square foot. Torch Cleaning Solutions is typically known for working “I’m proud to report a 0 percent infection rate in all of the 40

HOME DESIGN: Health commercial and medical buildings we service,” says Kenyon. “It feels good to be doing my part to help.” 727-485-4414,

Health care at home

Photo Courtesy Mirror

If you have a sudden medical need that does not rise to the level of a 911 call, the usual options include waiting for an available appointment with your doctor, going to an urgent care clinic, or heading to the ER – a daunting and cost-prohibitive choice in the current climate. It’s time for a new option. Now you can take advantage of a medical service conceived of and launched by clever nurse practitioner Peggy Cordle. With her years of experience in emergency medicine, Cordle devised Urgent Care Housecalls, a concept that combines the best elements of home care, urgent care and emergency care – all rolled up in a home visit. “I came up with the premise and launched in October of 2019,” says Cordle. “Obviously I had not even conceived of

the current crisis, but the model of an urgent care house call turned out to be prophetic. The response has been incredible.” Standard in-home services include the exam itself, point-ofcare testing for many common labs, mobile diagnostics, IV therapy and telemedicine. In addition to urgent care visits, Cordle provides some ongoing multiple-visit services. “I want to help patients avoid hospitalization and unnecessary exposure where possible.” To be clear, these services are offered to patients that are negative for coronavirus but have other medical needs. Cordle’s core philosophy? “Patients deserve to feel that they are safely receiving the care they really want and need. They deserve to feel cared for.” 727-403-5380 (24 hours),

GETTING FIT: Working out in front of The Mirror.

Urgent Care Housecalls

Fitness at Home

HELLO, NURSE: Peggy Cordle of Urgent Care Housecalls visits a client at home.

Many gyms remain closed during the pandemic. Even if open, you may have well-founded concerns about going. In that case, why not hire your very own personal trainer? Many trainers in our area make home visits, even now. But how do you find them? As luck would have it, there’s a Yelp-like website,, where you can browse a well-vetted list. Thumbtack lists the top 10 personal trainers (as well as a myriad of other services) in your area. The listings can be filtered for home training, specialized services, ratings, reviews and pricing to help you pick just the right fit for your needs and goals. Some trainers provide senior services, nutrition planning or even remote services. Most, if not all, take CDCrecommended Covid precautions such as mask-wearing, distancing and diligent equipment cleaning. The average cost is about $50 per session. If you’re more of a DIY fitness fanatic, or if having even one non-family member in your home feels risky, I’m obsessed with a new piece of home workout equipment called The Mirror ( This magical mirror is a cardio class, a yoga studio, a 41


Hydration at home Fluidz IV is a relatively new concept in home intravenous therapy. “It’s a sort of concierge-based solution for those who want effective, restorative fluid and supplement therapies,” says owner Preston Hearn. In a nutshell, registered nurses experienced in IV therapy insert venous catheters to give you that next level of immuneboosting, hydrating therapy. “These fortified fluids can be administered at home, in your hotel room, at spas – even in your chiropractor’s office,” says Hearn. “In contrast to taking vitamins or fluids orally, non-prescription infusion therapy provides up to 90 percent absorption, and customers are certainly seeking ways to enhance their immune systems.” The most popular infusions utilize enhanced dose vitamin C, B vitamins, glucathione and other additives that boost immunity, improve energy and restore fluid balance – even treat hangovers. Fluidz also offers mobile flu shots and recently began providing Covid tests. They also offer touchless temperature


monitoring. “When a Covid vaccine becomes available, we will be providing that mobile service as well.” As a former nurse, I can tell you that this is one cool idea with many applications. 844-435-8439,


ing ring, a personal trainer and so much more. An app-based fitness library will provide every conceivable workout you can think of. It’s just damned cool. Of course, when even a healthier home closes in, a nice long walk is still an option. Stay safe out there.

HAPPILY HYDRATED: Fluidz customers enjoy a session of infusion therapy.





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All photos courtesy Cave a’ Vin TABLE FOR TWO: Wine room as private getaway.

Reinventing The Wine Cellar

How to show off your collection and enhance your living space. STORY BY TRACEY SEREBIN


ccording to a recent article in Forbes , wine cellars are becoming more and more integrated into the home —often as showpiece rooms that can double as living and entertaining spaces. Is this trend taking hold in Tampa Bay? According to Paul Wiezorek, co-owner of Cave a’ Vin, the answer is yes. A licensed contractor and custom home builder, Wiezorek says that he and his partner, Craig Taylor, have 25 projects going on right now, and that he receives about four to eight calls a week for estimates in homes and restaurants. “The market is very busy, and high-end builders are using us for the new homes in this region.” People are staying home more instead of going out to drink, or they’ve decided to rework their living space, or they may have squirreled away hundreds of bottles of wines in different areas in their house because they’ve outgrown their wine refrigerator. Oenophiles who travel to Napa or Sonoma and order their wines delivered once a month may not have the space to store them and wind up wondering, “What do I do with all this wine?” Wiezorek said that 50 percent of his clients have a preconceived idea of what their wine space is going to look like and where it should be. Because he’s a custom home builder, he’s able to suggest alternatives once he 44

visits in person. At one condo on Bayshore, for instance, he tucked the wine cellar under a staircase and behind a fabulous door. He’s noticing a number of trends in the way homeowners are showcasing their wine collections. One is to add a special kitchen cabinet for wine with plexiglass doors and back-lighting. Or you could take it a step further and extend the kitchen with a refrigerated walk-in wine cellar with double glass doors. It isn’t just wines that are being showcased. Humidors with liquor cabinets are also being added. Paul said 10 out of 25 of their wine cellar clients are asking for humidors. In one wine cellar, they created a humidor drawer instead of a whole case, lining it with cedar and using a humidification system called a Boveda humidor bag. Another trend is that people are reworking spaces in their homes that aren’t being utilized — transforming a child’s bedroom, part of a formal living or dining room, or even an open study into a wine room. The wine room then becomes more than a storage area — it can now be a place to throw a party, surrounded by wine. Some clients with larger cellars are adding counters, creating an internal gathering spot where guests can decant and sip. Another Cave a’ Vin client had a high-top table and two stools set up in their wine room, perfect for intimate tête-à-têtes over a glass of cabernet.

HOME DESIGN: Wine Storage

ON DISPLAY: The wine collection becomes a design element in this back-lit cabinet.

Because Wiezorek is a licensed contractor, he can pull permits and assure clients that the cellars will be custombuilt by quality people, from electricians to refrigeration, who are licensed and insured. Craig Taylor brings years of experience from around the world, building upscale wine cellars and humidors for a discerning clientele. Now that it’s so common for people to work from home offices, what could be better at the end of the workday than to walk out of the office, stroll across the family room and meet in the wine cellar for happy hour? Cheers!

Cave a’ Vin, Tampa, 813-841-3330,

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All photos courtesy Scott Johnson SEEING IT THROUGH: Scott Johnson monitored the painting project that transformed the exterior of this customer’s St. Petersburg waterfront home (L: Before, R: After).

They’ve Got You Covered

Away from home? Spouses Watching Houses will take care of everything, and then some. INTERVIEW BY DAVID WARNER


Some come down for the winter and bring boats with them. I take the boats out of the water, put them away for hurricane season — whatever they need. If I can’t do it, I’ll find somebody who can.

o paraphrase the TV ad, Scott Johnson knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two. But he’s not naming names. As the owner of a business charged with taking care of multi-million-dollar homes while the homeowners are away, discretion is all. But he’s still got plenty of tales A VERY HANDY MAN: Scott to tell. Johnson. In a recent episode of dRTB’s Tampa Bay Talks on Facebook Live, I got to hear many of Scott’s stories and learn about his business, Spouses Watching Houses, which he operates with his wife, Joanna. Excerpts follow. For the entire interview, go to duPont Registry Tampa Bay’s Facebook page.

With hurricanes, do you have to go through all these properties and board them up? I do. We create a hurricane plan for every house. Some of these houses have vast amounts of pool furniture — and all of that has to go somewhere. When we start seeing the cone of uncertainty, I send out an email and give them the option, “Do you want me to hurricane prep your house?” Three days out [before the storm], everyone’s house is wrapped up and then I work on my own home.

dRTB: What is a home watch service? Scott Johnson: Home watch is primarily for second- or third-home or even vacation homeowners. It’s basically the old concept of a caretaker, morphed into a weekly handyman, concierge and valet service all in one. Much like the lawn guy or the pool guy, I have a set amount of customers, and every week I have to visit all of those customers... Every house is different. Some just want us to come through and make sure the a.c. is running and that nobody’s broken a window. Some want us to drive their cars or their golf carts.

You even stock the fridge before they arrive. I do. They email me a grocery list — it’s very similar to Instacart. I get everything they need, get everything prepped at the house.


That must give them an immense feeling of security. That’s probably the one thing I hear the most. It just gives them peace of mind. I send lots of pictures, keeping them updated constantly. When they get here they can enjoy the house — they don’t have to stress out about all the little errands. And when they pack their bags and leave, I get it all buttoned up until their next visit.

You’ve had to solve a number of unique problems, like the bug that sounded like a smoke alarm.

HOME DESIGN: Property Care The customer called me and said, “I think my smoke detectors are going bad.” The sound turned out to be coming from some weird bug that was living in a plant that she had brought in from her garden. As soon as she left the room it would chirp. Then there was the gecko... ...that tripped a home security system. ADT kept showing up, answering false alarms — it went on for almost a week. Finally I went through it with a fine tooth comb and on one of the windows I found a censor that a baby gecko had crawled into. Tell me the story of the missing arm. The customers hired me through a realtor. I had yet to get eyes on them — just knew it was a couple living in Connecticut. About two or three months in, I got a phone call. “Hey, we need you to go get Andy’s arm.” I thought maybe this was a test. So I played along and asked where would I find this. “Go look in the car.” So here I am tearing through their golf clubs looking for what I think was an arm — and it turned out it was a prosthetic attachment.

TOW BOAT: Johnson (in the van) takes a client’s boat into storage.

and south of there. The size is everything from three-bedroom condos to 3,500 up to 9,000-sq-ft. homes — anything bigger than that requires a team. Every week I go through a weekly checklist for every customer — some have boats, some have carriage houses, some have prize orchids they need watered. Customers may also call for basic handyman stuff — the door handle came loose or the ceiling fan is making noise, something like that.

There are some percs, no? You get to see houses that And you had a bird attacking a window. most people never see. But you say that it’s important He kept pecking at the glass, setting off the alarm not to get too over-awed. system. I go there and I don’t see anything going Most of these customers, we’re dealing with a lot of on, and as soon as I’m about to leave the house, wealth. They have the latest toys, the latest gadgets. About two I hear this whack — and there’s a bird staring But they don’t want to be drooled over. They’re or three months in, I angrily at me through the window. After just regular people. got a phone call. “Hey, looking at himself enough times and realizing we need you to go get it wasn’t something biting back, he went Do you time your tasks at certain homes so Andy’s arm.” away. It was a sandhill crane — he could have you’re there at sunset? broken that glass pretty easily. I always get home and say, “Why didn’t I take a picture of that sunset?” But I just get caught up in You were in IT for many years. How did you the work. get into this business? My parents are reverse snowbirds — they live in Oldsmar URL: Facebook: spouseswatchinghousestampabay and go to Michigan in the summers — so I was taking care of their house, my own home and two rental properties. A guy I knew from college in the Panhandle described his business model, and I said, “You’re getting paid for doing this? I’m already doing this!” Three, four months later I was in business. That was almost six years ago. At one point in your life you had a Department of Defense top secret security clearance? I have an active top secret SCI — about the highest you can go as a civilian. I’ve been doing consulting for the POW/MIA agency. That gives clients peace of mind when I initially meet with them. You work on a limited number of homes, mostly in the $3-$8 million range. They’re almost all waterfront properties — Harbour Island, Davis Islands, all of South Tampa, over to the Pinellas beaches

DRIVE RIGHT UP: The home watch service takes deliveries for customers, like this vintage Chevy Camaro.

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Unique. Secure. Upscale. Wheel Base Premium Garage Condos is a build to own garage condominium facility in the Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch area. Our garages are designed for the personal warehousing of rolling assets, especially car collections, where owners enjoy their prized belongings in a social setting. Truly unique, secure, and upscale, owners will enjoy the fully equipped owners’ lounge and the security of a completely enclosed campus with advanced security and construction to withstand major hurricanes with a location 41.5 feet above sea level.

Endless possibilities. An exclusive community of 46 privately-owned, climate-controlled garage condominiums featuring: • 675 SF – 2,475 SF floorplans with half bath and separate utility sink in each unit • Customizable: vehicle lifts, mezzanine, tv/audio, wet bar • 12'x14' garage doors, 20' ceilings, windows for natural light, parking in front of each unit • Private owners’ club with well-appointed indoor and outdoor spaces • Gated and highly secure campus with advanced security measures and on-site manager • Built high and dry, 41.5 feet above sea level, impact windows and doors and to withstand Cat. 4 storm • Prices starting at $165,000 At Wheel Base, we understand the importance of your collection and the power of your passion. Every aspect of our grounds, buildings, and condo units have been designed with the automotive enthusiast’s lifestyle in mind. Designed to protect and secure your prized possessions, while providing a private, luxurious, and feature-rich environment. Owning your own garage condo offers the benefits of customizing your space, controlled costs, and potential for asset growth. Call us today for a private tour!

Wheel Base Premium Garage Condos

Joanna Benante 941.356.7718

1600 Sarasota Center Blvd Sarasota, FL 34240

Ann Martin 941.356.7717

61 S. Boulevard of the Presidents Sarasota, Florida | 941.388.4447 53

Your Sarasota Connection #1 Team Michael Saunders & Company, St. Armands Circle since 2011 Serving Sarasota, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch NEW LUXURY OFFERINGS IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA

The Ritz-Carlton Residences


Remarkable water views, exclusive resort-style amenities, a dedicated staff, and the legendary resort pleasures of The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, make this a peerless place to call home.

A collection of just 22 half and full-floor residences plus a stunning Penthouse with rooftop sky terrace, each EPOCH home has panoramic bay views, dramatic walls of glass, soaring ceilings and light-filled living spaces.

3-4 BR | 3.5-5 BA | 3,095 – 4,855 SF Priced from $2,700,000

1155 N Gulfstream Ave, #905 | Downtown Sarasota 3 BR | 3 BA | 2,420 SF | Offered at $1,995,000 Beautifully finished 9th-floor condominium with majestic bay views, separate study/den, and luxury building amenities. MLS# A4466306

Ann Martin REALTOR®

941.356.7717 54

3-4 BR | 3.5-4.5 BA | 3,681 – 5,655 SF Priced from $3,325,000

1330 Main St, #7 | Downtown Sarasota

3 BR | 3 BA | 3,954 SF | Offered at $1,790,000 A superior downtown location blends with beautifully scaled spaces, 360-degree downtown views, and exceptional finishes in this 7th-floor condominium. MLS# A4450313

Joanna Benante



Professional and knowledgeable leaders, Ann Martin and Joanna Benante share over 55 years of combined Sarasota real estate experience. They consistently land in the upper echelon of Sarasota area real estate agents each year, with 95% of their business from repeat clients and customer referrals. Their marketplace knowledge and stellar customer service produce landmark results and a history of satisfied customers.

443 Bird Key Dr | Bird Key

3 BR | 3 BA | 2,676 SF | Offered at $1,380,000 Thoughtfully updated throughout, this light, move-in ready home features an open floorplan of spacious rooms that flow and zero wasted space. MLS# A4473322

6431 Jackie Lynn Ct | Sarasota

4 BR | 4 BA | 4,230SF | Offered at $915,000 Custom designed home with wraparound lake views and fairway views just beyond. Gated golf community. MLS #A4476383

2586 Prospect St | Arlington Park

4 BR | 4 BA | 3,585 SF | Offered at $971,500 New construction on a large corner lot with a warm contemporary style and superior finishes. Convenient to downtown, Southside Village, and stunning area beaches. MLS# A4462301

Wheel Base Garage Condos | Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch

Unique, secure and upscale community of customizable garage condos where you can enjoy your assets on your terms. Convenient to Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota. 675 SF – 2,475 SF | Climate-controlled | Array of upgrades | Clubhouse amenities

Call Ann and Joanna today to discover why so many are choosing to call Florida’s Gulf Coast home.

61 S. Boulevard of the Presidents | Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941.388.4447


Photos courtesy Michael Saunders & Company. AUTO SAVE: Steely gates, hi-def cameras and a location 41 feet above sea level ensure your cars’ security.

Park & Chill

A hurricane-proof haven for luxury autos and their owners in Lakewood Ranch. STORY BY HOWARD WALKER


One feature most buyers are opting for: a loft-style mezzanine hink of it as a Four Seasons for your Ferrari, a Mandarin Oriental for your Maserati. Tucked away behind steely floor to furnish with comfy sofas, a big-screen TV, a kitchen and security gates and watched over by hi-def cameras, this wet bar. The campus also features a 2,000-square-foot private owners’ brand-new luxury car condo complex on the outskirts of Sarasota is perfect for protecting your Porsche or cosseting your Corvette. clubhouse with lounge, meeting/poker room, kitchen, shower and WheelBase Premium Garage Condos is a collection of 46 laundry, plus an 800-square-foot outdoor patio. climate-controlled, 150 mph impact-rated garage units WheelBase is the brainchild of Sarasota neighbors “I think what designed to provide a safe haven for cars and collectDennis Brozak and Hans Schmeits. Both passionate sets us apart is the ibles — and let owners have fun enjoying them. car lovers, they faced the same problem of having too clubhouse and the Sizes range from a compact 674-square-foot space many toys and not enough places to park them. priced at $164,500 to a whopping 2,480-square-foot, focus on social interac“We knew there were plenty of other car collectors tion,” says co-owner 40-by-62-foot multi-vehicle unit that will set you back in the area with the same problem — living in luxury Dennis Brozak. half a mill. So far, 15 of the garages have been snapped condo buildings with just a couple of parking spaces, or up. luxury homes with only a two- or three-car garage,” says Each comes with concrete-block construction, 20-footSchmeits, whose eclectic car collection includes a 1968 Ford high ceilings and RV-friendly 12-by-14-foot motorized overhead F-150 pickup, a classic Volvo and an electric Fiat 500. doors. Each can be fitted out with everything from vehicle lifts to “So we came up with the idea of a garage facility that would give custom flooring. Every unit features a bathroom, air conditioning, a them space and security.” work sink and wifi as well as windows for natural light. Together they bought a five-acre lot on Sarasota Center Boulevard, 56


OWNER’S ENTRANCE: Each unit has a human-scaled doorway in addition to the motorized garage door.

just north of Fruitville Road in the Lakewood Ranch area, and set about creating the 54,000-square-foot complex, envisioning a Fort Knox-style design with high walls, a tight perimeter and insidefacing doors. St. Pete architect Ron Zawistowski of Innovative Design Studios was brought in to perfect their design and get it builder-ready. Andy Stultz of Sarasota-based Atlas Building Company was tasked with the construction. “The location is perfect,” says Brozak. “It’s a quick drive from the beaches and downtown Sarasota, and minutes from I-75. It’s also 41.5 feet above sea level and well away from any flood zone.” Being rated to withstand a Cat 4 storm is one of the primary attractions of the complex, he adds. “A great deal of interest has come from collectors who have homes on the beach or close to the water and worry about where to take their prized cars if a big storm is approaching. “And with our own back-up generator, a garage can even provide a safe haven for families to ride out a storm,” he explains. But the two friends-turned-developers see the WheelBase complex as much more than a safe place to keep “stuff.” They expect it to become a fun place for like-minded enthusiasts to hang out. “There are plenty of similar car condo developments in Florida. But I think what sets us apart is the addition of the clubhouse and the focus on social interaction,” adds Brozak, whose collector car of choice is a 2009 Aston Martin Vantage. He envisages cars-and-coffee-style events, gatherings in the leathersofa’d lounge to watch motorsports on the big-screen, poker nights, even wine tastings and barbecues on the outdoor patio. “The ground floor has a huge interior display area, so if

Lamborghini or McLaren wanted to show off their newest model to our owners, we certainly have the space. They’d just need to bring the appetizers.”

WheelBase Premium Garage Condos is at 1600 Sarasota Center Boulevard in Lakewood Ranch. Sales are being handled by Joanna Benante and Ann Martin of realtors Michael Saunders & Company. For more information, go to

YOU’RE IN THE CLUB: The private owners’ clubhouse has a kitchen, shower and laundry, a lounge for watching the big game, and an 800-square-foot outdoor patio.



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Join our efforts to make an immediate difference in the lives of children battling cancer! Visit for more information on how you can get involved. 59

The legendary Palm Beach resort offers unmatched luxury and freedom from worry. STORY BY CINDY COCKBURN GEM OF THE OCEAN: The Breakers from the air.


didn’t bother me. I’m checking in where VIPs and celebs have roamed. What a building! The design is historic beauty, the 200-foot-long lobby having welcomed visitors worldwide for over a alone: century. Recently refreshed by celebrated designer “Vacationers venturing out – but not too far.” Adam D. Tihany, it’s as if the Italian Renaissance Airlines are out. Road trips are in. So off I go has seamlessly been ushered into the 21st across the state to jump in the Atlantic, century. overlook the sea at sunrise, enjoy gourmet Each year, a Here is a slice of the Gilded Age, fully options in lavish surroundings and reinvestment of more in tune with the Covid Age. Everywhere indulge in the ultimate fantasy of a than $30 million balances you turn, signs about wearing masks private cabana by the beach. preservation and and hand sanitizer stations remind you Welcome to The Breakers. The modernization. of safety precautions. Are the other legendary oceanfront resort in Palm guests practicing social distancing? Let Beach is a bubble of bliss, with all the the well-trained staff do the worrying for pampering you would expect from a AAA you — it’s a needed break from your own Five Diamond property. constant worry. Facial coverings must be worn Just say go by all persons when entering, exiting and moving What to pack? It’s a joy to raid the (untouched throughout indoor and public common areas. Staff for months now) long cocktail dress side of my literally stand in each area of the hotel, beach and closet. Sorry, Mom, I’m not leaving the “good pool to remind you. I feel safe here. jewelry” at home. This is my chance to dress up and The formality of it all is intoxicating. I can accessorize for more formal nights, anticipating a practically feel all of the celebrations of the past. fun fling by day and more sophisticated options at How did they know to give me a “fainting couch” in night — minus the passport. my room that overlooks the sea? Nobody is here! I love this! The four-hour drive in the rain across the state fter months of pandemic lockdown, I needed a getaway to soothe my soul. NOW. The Wall Street Journal headline tells me I’m not

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Mike Dupre

Escape to The Breakers

dR Travel Recognized as one of America’s most iconic resorts, The Breakers is situated on 140 acres of oceanfront property. Founded in 1896 by magnate Henry M. Flagler, this legendary destination continues to thrive as an independent property. Each year, a reinvestment of more than $30 million in capital improvements and ongoing revitalization balances preservation and modernization. The Breakers features 538 guest rooms and suites. The property offers nine restaurants ranging from casual beachfront to stylishly sophisticated, and a world-class private beach club with four pools, five whirlpool spas, 25 poolside bungalows and a variety of on-site watersports. Additional amenities include two championship golf courses; 10 HarTru tennis courts; a Forbes Five Star spa (massages not available now with the virus but you can get a mani/pedi); an indoor-outdoor oceanfront fitness center; 12 signature on-site boutiques; and a family entertainment center.

Dining in and out The view of the Atlantic is spectacular from my spacious room with a balcony; I could have been happy just ordering from in-room menus for two days. But cocktail hour and sunset is calling, so I’m off to find my friends. The elevator is a little tricky to understand at first, what with all the safety and privacy precautions, but I find my way to the lobby and through the North Loggia to the lounge and dining room known as the HMF (as in Henry Morrison Flagler). The eclectic, globally influenced menu is a surprise. The formal surroundings suggest an Old Fashioned and traditional steak dinner might be in order, but instead we find fresh sushi and sashimi and Wagyu beef sliders, a big hit with my friends. There’s also an acclaimed wine list of more than 2,000 unique selections. By day, we live in bathing suits and crave a leisurely al fresco lunch overlooking the water. The Beach Club Restaurant has amazing lobster sandwiches and a tropical cocktail called a skinny margarita (sticker shock — it’s $25!). Instead of using an orange-liqueur like triple sec, Cointreau or Grand-Marnier, a skinny margarita uses fresh orange juice and a small amount of agave nectar.

Hello, Henry’s In June, the resort unveiled the newest addition to its dining collection, Henry’s Palm Beach. A newcomer to the island’s culinary scene, Henry’s showcases “elevated comfort food with character and

Cindy Cockburn

A fabled history

RENAISSANCE SPLENDOR: The 200-foot-long lobby has welcomed visitors worldwide for over a century.

a hint of nostalgia.” It’s located on Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach’s original Main Street. Specialties range from raw bar and “handhelds” to USDA-Prime beef and fresh fish. Butter Crumb Dover Sole is the signature dish, and daily specials include classics such as chicken pot pie, beef Wellington and fresh pastas; I loved the wood grilled filet mignon. “The food is familiar, with something unexpected about every dish,” said The Breakers’ Executive Chef/Restaurants, Anthony Sicignano. General Manager and Sommelier Carter Phillips said the new dining room is already popular with locals.

Pools and privacy The Breakers’ private half mile of beach serves as a playground for a long list of watersports like kayaking, paddle boarding or a ride on the resort’s 61 61

Mike Dupre INDULGE! A guest enjoys one of the private beach bungalows, which can be rented for up to $1,000 a day.

Hobie Cat. The Beach Club offers a private outdoor oasis: four pools, restaurants, bars. The ultimate in luxury? Rent one of the elegant, indoor-outdoor beach bungalows. Each is outfitted with living room-type furniture, a flatscreen TV, bathroom, and food and beverage service brought to you by a valet. Price? It can go up to $1,000 a day.

Shopping Palm Beach

Where do the locals dine? My friends and relatives rave about the cuisine of internationally acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud. While in Palm Beach, make a reservation for Café Boulud, located inside another historic hotel, the Brazilian Court on Australian Avenue. I drove about 15 minutes away from the Breakers one evening to check out the Spanish Colonial architecture and sat outside on their terrace sipping a mimosa in the lush tropical courtyard. This is a boutique hotel with only 80 rooms in a cottage-style design. The French chef and restaurateur has restaurants in New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Toronto, Montréal, London and Singapore. Since we can’t easily go to any of those places right now, it’s nice to be able to sample his cuisine in Florida.

Cindy Cockburn

Of course there’s a Lilly Pulitzer store here, known as the “authentic Palm Beach lifestyle” brand for more than 50 years. During a little rain shower, I’m checking out the dresses, sportswear, footwear and accessories, in bright colors and prints. Heads up: The Ralph Lauren store is reopening in the fall. We’re not alone in our love of this resort. We bumped into several friends unexpectedly from Tampa Bay. All of us saying, “This is my fave Florida getaway!”

Off-property: Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court

LIVING HISTORY: The resort was founded in 1896 by hotel and railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler. 62 62 63


British West Indies Masterpiece 4613 Bayshore Boulevard Tampa $5,295,000


ave your own resort right in the heart of South Tampa on scenic Bayshore in this Cooper Johnson Smith designed British West Indies masterpiece on more than acre lot. No expense was spared: from the slate roof, to the hand finished Venetian plaster walls. With soaring 12-foot ceilings downstairs, you have views of the water or the courtyard pool and yard from almost every room. Downstairs there is an open kitchen/dining/living room in the front, with a more casual great room w/ bar and walk-in wine room in the back. Also on this level, are 2 powder baths, an office with custom built-ins overlooking Bayshore, and a large laundry/utility room. The kitchen has a gorgeous Ilve Italian gourmet stove with brass accents, subzero fridge, double dishwashers and custom inset cabinetry. Upstairs is a huge master suite with octagonal bonus area complete with bar fridge. Imagine having your morning coffee and meditation as you watch the sunrise over Hillsborough Bay. The master bath has dual vanities, stand-alone tub, curbless shower, and separate water closet. Both the bed and bath open to the front covered porch. The master closet has floor to ceiling built-in cabinetry with a center island for ample storage options and is connected to an upstairs laundry. Also on this level are 3 additional bedroom suites with private baths and views of the water or the courtyard pool. Connected via a covered upstairs walkway is the 5th bedroom with its own living room making for an exceptional guest suite. There is a 5 car garage, unheard of in South Tampa! The outdoor oasis boasts a huge covered porch that surrounds the pool and spa, outdoor shower and pool bath, kitchen w/ gas grill, and lush landscaping in yard. Come be wowed by all the detail and sophistication that this home has to offer.

Stephen Gay, REALTORÂŽ 813-380-4343 | 813-839-3800 The Stephen Gay Group | Smith & Associates Real Estate 64


Delightful Dunedin Showcase 657 Scotland Street, Dunedin $2,749,000


troll down the streets of Delightful Dunedin and enjoy the shade from the peaceful oak trees as you set your eyes on this beautiful home positioned on a large corner lot. This newly constructed two-story pool home blends industrial farmhouse features with hometown southern charm. Gorgeous wood floors sprawl throughout with large windows allowing natural light to flood through the two-story living room with fireplace, drawing attention to the shiplap & brick detail throughout. The home office near front entry will make business meetings easy with nearby wet bar; while the entertainer’s kitchen is a dream come true with barn door closure to the walk in pantry and is surrounded by brick backsplash, granite counters and farmhouse sink with center island and open to the dining area. French doors from the living room open to the enclosed patio and poolside surrounded by privacy fence. The lower level owner’s retreat features an impressive oversized custom dressing closet with natural light through the privacy windows, laundry room plus en-suite bathroom with rustic floors, white brick shower and separate vanities. A second office or study /school area has 2 built in desks and generous cabinets with file drawers. Venture upstairs to find a cozy loft lounge with bar space and triple split floorplan featuring catwalk hallway over the foyer below and sizable guest beds with en-suite baths and spacious custom closets. The large bonus room is perfect for theater, gym, guest space or secondary master. Tankless gas hot water heater in garage with circulation pump. Every aspect of this custom home has been thoughtfully created to allow for easy, functional living in the heart of Downtown Dunedin.

Martha Thorn with The Thorn Collection | 727-432-9019 Coldwell Banker Realty 65


Exquisite Belleair Masterpiece

530 Ponce De Leon Blvd Belleair | $1,495,000


his stunning residence has been masterfully designed to blend classic architectural elements with state-of-the-art innovation to create a sense of openness, comfort and sophistication. Exquisitely finished to the finest detail, this Belleair home is truly one of a kind. Constructed by renowned green builder Marc Rutenberg who provides discerning homeowners with highly efficient luxury homes. This home combines sustainable “green� technology, Five Star rated energy efficiency powered by solar energy with an exciting design that will appeal to a variety of homeowners. The living spaces make a stylish statement with soaring ceilings, clean lines and a warm color palette. The open concept kitchen features custom birch cabinetry, stainless steel Jenn-air appliances, beautiful granite counters and a large center island that is perfect for casual dining.

Kerryn Ellson







In times of change, we are always here. Smith & Associates Real Estate has been deeply embedded in the community and moving the real estate market since 1969. “For fifty years, Smith has focused on customer service and embracing innovation. More than ever, we are committed to using the most advanced technology available to help our clients buy and sell homes,” says Bob Glaser, President of Smith & Associates Real Estate. Start your search today at Virtual Tours & Showings | Virtual Open Houses | Virtual Staging | Digital Property Ads | Neighborhood News

HARBOUR ISLAND 1117 Abbeys Way 6 Bed | 7 Bath | 7,678 SF | $4,200,000 Traci Burns 813.833.7510

THE FLORENCIA 100 Beach Drive NE #1900 4 Bed | 5/1 Bath | 4,831 SF | $3,931,000 Momberg / Stratton 727.560.1571

SNELL ISLE 930 Monterey Point NE 4 Bed | 2/1 Bath | 2,852 SF | $2,249,500 Connie Lancaster 727.741.2000

THE BELLAMY ON THE BAYSHORE 4201 Bayshore Boulevard #901 3 Bed | 3/1 Bath | 3,316 SF | $1,695,000 Traci Burns 813.833.7510

SNELL ISLE 222 Miramar Boulevard NE 5 Bed | 4 Bath | 3,701 SF | $1,550,000 Kantner / Waechter 727.278.5866

SOUTH TAMPA 4114 W Mullen Avenue 4 Bed | 3 Bath | 3,412 SF | $925,000 Mullis / Richards 813.624.5739

WALKER WHITNEY PLAZA 226 5th Avenue N #906 3 Bed | 2/1 Bath | 1,684 SF | $649,900 Ali Bearnarth 727.560.4377

SHORE ACRES 3910 Bayshore Boulevard NE 3 Bed | 2 Bath | 1,452 SF | $495,000 Linda Lee Gates 727.492.0389

LAKE JOVITA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB 34324 Perfect Drive (On 18th Green) 3 Bed | 2 Bath | 1,714 SF | $260,000 Gregory Szewczyk 813.480.1655

This limited collection of luxury residences is ideally nestled along Bayshore Boulevard in the Historic Hyde Park District. Contemporary open floorplans offer expansive views of Hillsborough Bay and the Downtown Tampa skyline. Soaring great rooms with chef-inspired kitchens flow into spacious dining and social areas. Abundant terraces extend living space outdoors, creating the perfect setting for entertaining family and friends. Starting in the $900s NOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Schedule your appointment today! 813.649.3700

From the developer of ONE St Petersburg, these new luxury residences feature floor-to-ceiling glass, abundant natural light, expansive terraces and sweeping views of Tampa Bay and Downtown. An ideal location offers a short stroll to all the culinary delights and culturally rich museums, as well as the new St. Pete Pier that makes downtown St. Petersburg the place to be, and SALTAIRE St. Petersburg the hottest new address in town. Starting in the $800s NOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Schedule your appointment today! 727.240.3840


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Located in the gated Belleair community of Belleview Island, you will experience breathtaking Western facing water views, sunsets included! Enter to the grand foyer and view the unparalleled finishes including Brazilian hardwood and marble floors. This 5-Bed/5.2-Bath smart home also includes a five car garage, elevator, pool, dock & lift. Offered at $5,495,000 |


Charming Belleair, this 5-bed/6.5-bath home has curb appeal with well-manicured landscaping. Open floorplan showcasing unique & functional space; gourmet kitchen located in the heart of the home and master retreat. Incredible outdoor living space includes sparkling pool, covered lanai, outdoor kitchen & backyard with privacy walls and lush greenery. Offered at $1,498,000 |


Impressive 10th floor Gulf front condo located along the sugar sand beaches of Siesta Key. A 2/2 condo with panoramic water views, split bedroom plan, sparkling black quartz kitchen, living/dining combo with water views & in-unit laundry closet. 2 week rental opportunities allowed; this can be an incredible investment property or your waterfront retreat! Offered at $1,085,000 |

The Thorn Collection | 727.432.9019 |

OVER $146



Stroll down the streets of Delightful Dunedin and enjoy the shade from the peaceful oak trees as you set your eyes on this beautiful home positioned on a large corner lot. This newly constructed two-story pool home blends industrial farmhouse features with hometown southern living. 5BD/4.5BA - shiplap & brick detail throughout, This showcase residence is a special place to live. Offered at $2,749,000 |


Bringing to mind a Mediterranean palazzo on the coast of Italy, this multi-level waterfront home in Belleair Beach has pool/spa, boat dock/lift, home theater, wine cellar, elevator + distinguished design throughout. Featuring a Juliet balcony overlooking the two-story foyer, balconies with water views & natural lighting; this impressive home will amaze. Offered at $2,399,000 |


Indulge in the luxury lifestyle from the Founders Club of Sarasota. This magnificent estate is settled proudly along a private drive with lush nature. This two-story home features lower level master suite, bonus room + movie theater, wine closet & sparkling pool with outdoor kitchen. The dining area with terrace & vast pool lanai are an entertainer’s dream! Offered at $2,230,000 |

The Thorn Collection | 727.432.9019 |



Š2018 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker logo, Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Previews logo are registered and unregistered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The property information.





This spectacular and luxurious 10,769 total sqft executive estate enjoys miles of dazzling open water views! Towering ceilings, grand open living spaces and brilliant craftmanship give this remarkable home a plush, lavish appeal. Huge master suite, wide covered balconies, pool/spa, updated seawall/dock and 2 boat lifts. Offered for $2,799,999.

A True Rarity – The Essence of Zen in Coastal Luxury. Remarkable 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 6830 total sqft open waterfront floorplan of masterful design and function. Towering ceilings and extraordinary finishes throughout. Impressive list of superb features and amenities. From your dock to the Gulf in four minutes! Offered for $2,298,000.


This wonderful 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 5564 total sqft coastal country home in exclusive Snell Isle offers a huge back yard and a grand, wide waterfrontage. Lovely kitchen, fine casual waterfront dining, private office/den, large media/ game room. Fabulous master suite with private balcony. Gorgeous pool, boat dock and lift. Offered for $2,350,000.

Brand new luxury waterfront construction located just a few minutes walk from the powder soft sands of Treasure Island Beach. Fabulous 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 5615 total sqft home boasts stunning coastal contemporary finishes in a lavish Euro-style minimalist appeal. Offered for $1,599,000.





The pinnacle in waterfront luxury and a rare opportunity in Tampa Bay. Astonishing 554ft of water frontage with deep, protected sailboat water. 10 bedrooms, 10 full baths, 4 half baths, 8-car garage and 26,383 total sqft. ‘Villa Terranova,’ nationally awarded the U.S. custom home of the year, is complemented by ‘Amanyara,’ a lavish contemporary guest home. Offered for $19,995,000.

This elegant 3 bedroom, 3 bath Gulf front home on the southern end of Pass-A-Grille has been beautifully and completely updated with a distinctive coastal luxury appeal. Subzero/Thermador/Bosch appliances, striking new Cambria quartz counters, high vaulted ceilings, wide covered balconies – nothing is left to want. Offered for $2,799,999.

Located on a deep, wide private beachfront lot in one of Tampa Bay’s finest beach communities, this astonishing 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath, 11,622 total sqft coastal Tuscan estate with separate guest house boasts extraordinary design, craftsmanship and luxury. Magnificent features and finishes throughout. Offered for $6,995,000.

Located directly on the intracoastal waterway at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico rests this beautifully updated 4 bedroom 3.5 bath, 4988 total sqft coastal contemporary home! Dazzling finishes, exquisite Wolf/Subzero kitchen, lavish baths, gorgeous pool, 16,000 lb boat lift, spectacular water views throughout. Offered for $2,295,000.


530 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Belleair • Listed at $1,495,000 •

118 Harbor View Lane, Belleair Beach Offered for $3,500,000

1047 Victoria Drive, Dunedin Offered at $3,499,000

15 Glendale Street A8, Clearwater Offered at $1,029,000

460 Althea Road, Belleair Offered at $749,900

18 Ambleside Drive, Belleair SOLD for $2,850,000

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Eating the Pier Tasting our way through the St. Pete Pier’s multiple menus. STORY & PHOTOS BY DAVID WARNER

OPEN WIDE: A toothsome perch at Pier Teaki.


know, I know, the St. Pete Pier has its faults. That stretch of unshaded concrete leading up to the pierhead can make for a grueling trek. The mix of bikes and scooters, toddlers and terriers makes for some dicey near-misses. And while I love Janet Echelman’s Bending Arc , couldn’t it be raised up just a little bit? But there’s so much to like. It’s not just that the Pier gives tourists a new place to visit; it gives St.

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Petersburgers so many new places to be . Nowhere is that more evident than in the Pier’s many eateries. Here’s my take.

Spa Beach Bistro Ambience: 8. You say you want shade? Head for one of the tables under the trees and umbrellas in this outdoor oasis mid-Pier. On a Saturday afternoon, it feels like you’ve been dropped into the middle of a big

dR DINING family picnic, surrounded by happy squeals from the adjacent playground and splash pad. (The ambience changes at night, when the bar and live music draw a more grown-up crowd.) Food: 7. The most rudimentary of Pier menus, but what else are kids going to eat but pizza, ice cream and chicken fingers? (They have salads, too.) Service: 10. Cary, who served me our pizza from the counter, happened to sit next to us on his lunch break. He asked how the pizza was, and when I asked if there were any red pepper flakes available he hopped up and said “I’ll get that for you!”

WE’LL BE BACK: Doc Ford’s Texas Baby Back Ribs.

Driftwood Cafe

SERVICE MAN: Spa Beach Bistro’s Cary Breton.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille

Ambience: 8. Somehow this mega-popular chain manages to maintain the laid-back vibe of a coastaltown fish shack. Pro tip: If the hostess tells you there’s an hour-and-a-half wait, take her advice and look for a seat at the bar. Food: 9. We’ve already extolled Doc’s famous Yucatan Shrimp in dRTB, but we hadn’t tried another of their specialties, because, well, how good could fish fingers be? But the serving is generous and the fish is fresh, the coating crunchy without being greasy. I wasn’t crazy about a Panko-Crusted Grouper dish (a trifle too salty), but I liked the plump little shrimp on the Shrimp Scampi Flatbread. And the menu offers lots more than fish dishes. My dining mates raved about the boneless pork ribeye, we enjoyed the meaty Texas Baby Back Ribs, and the mammoth slice of carrot cake was scrumptious. Service: 10. Caroline and Eli set a welcoming tone that made eating at the bar a perfectly fine alternative to the busy dining room. And Caroline makes a mean Old Fashioned and a smooth-as-silk Mai Tai.

Ambience: 7. This grab-and-go spot at the far end of the Pier is one of three Pier Point restaurants run by Chuck Prather of Birchwood Inn/Birch & Vine fame. Like its sister establishments on the floors above, the ground-floor cafe has a sweeping view of the St. Pete skyline — that is, if you can manage to score a table or bench. But you can always take your coffee drink or your sandwich and settle down on the grass slope in front of the cafe, where families like to picnic and kids like to roll. Food: 8. We had breakfast here one weekend morning, sampling a delicious breakfast pizza that was big enough for four (we took half of it home), a big egg and sausage croissant-wich, a tasty chocolate croissant and good coffee. Service: 8. Friendly, quick and efficient. Order inside at the cashier and wait in the smallish space to hear your name called, or they’ll bring the food to your table.

81 PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST? Yes, please, at Driftwood Cafe.


Pier Teaki

Ambience: 9. This is the Pier Point’s high-end dining spot (with, happily enough, not so high-end prices). Getting there can be a little confusing (you’ll likely need guidance to find the elevator to the second floor), but once you arrive, the decor makes an immediate impact. The hostess desk is the hull of a lake boat, there’s a gleaming installation of etched-glass nautical maps in the lobby ceiling, and an array of boat replicas hang above the dining room. The color scheme is teal, grey and teak, and the wide-angle view of city, sky and water is unmatched by any other St. Pete finedining restaurant. And while it’ll feel even more like the big-occasion room it deserves to be when there’s no need to limit the number of diners, there are fewer more romantic options for dining than a table by a window at Teak. Food: 9. A creative and well-priced menu. The Rosemary Manhattan is a smooth and savory twist on tradition, and 24 Carrot is a bright-tasting concoction of Stoli vodka, mango turmeric syrup, carrot and lemon juices. The apps we tried were stellar: crunchy conch beignets and an outstanding potato-crusted lump crab cake, enhanced by “Big Easy” corn, a kind of succulent succotash. I only wish our server would have advised us that the same mix of andouille and corn would be the main accompaniment for the “Laid Back” Lobster Bake; the flavors were redundant and the saucing overwhelmed the not very large lobster. The short rib, though — a bargain at $18 — was terrific, and inventive, too, bathed in ginger guava BBQ sauce on a nest of roasted cauliflower mash. And the Killer Key Lime Pie, also available at Driftwood, totally lived up to its name. Service: 9. Aside from the one quibble mentioned above, our server was warm and engaging. And any restaurant would benefit from the easy charm of Teak manager Eddie Hodkinson.

Ambience: 7. It’s a rooftop tiki bar and it can get crowded, so there can be a loooong wait before you’re allowed up. The main reason for the popularity: glorious sunset views, and the chance for highly scenic selfies. There are lounge areas and high-top tables and niches where you can escape with friends, and you can perch in the mouth of the Tiki Monster if you dare. Food: 7. Similar to the Teak menu, though really what you want to eat up here is the fun stuff: a very good Peterburger (though one of our party complained it wasn’t served hot enough), nicely done fish tacos, an okay BBQ chicken flatbread and, of course, tiki drinks. Service: 7. Confusion was afoot among my five fellow diners as to who was ordering what and who was footing the bill, so that may have had something to do with the delays and the (possibly) lukewarm burger. But our server was unfailingly good-natured through it all, and we had a very good time.

FAB CRAB: Teak’s lump crab cake.

HIGH SEAS: Nautical ceiling decor at Teak.


Relaxed Luxe

dR Style

Stay-at-home styles with flair. BY MICHELLE CAPPELLI GORDON


ore time at home shouldn’t equal less style. Wearing beautiful washable silk blouses or luxury athleisure tops with leggings is the perfect choice for ladies. Lounge pants with a tagless tee or a polo style shirt will keep him comfortably stylish. Everyone needs a favorite pair of slippers and an easy pair of shoes to slide on for that last-minute curbside pickup. To shop more of my selections or receive my virtual styling services, visit


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afety is a must these days, but how do we deal with breakouts from wearing masks all day? And dry skin from frequent hand-washing? Then there’s the question of makeup: What’s the best way to play up the eyes, especially when our lips aren’t showing? The good news — there are products that can help. Featured here are some of my favorite products to take care of business…and a couple of things you should never leave out. To shop these products and more of my favorites visit

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dR Wine

Keeping It One Hundred A special wine list at Meat Market Tampa is devoted exclusively to bottles that have received the experts’ highest score. STORY AND PHOTO BY TRACEY SEREBIN

ALL-STAR LINEUP: Meat Market sommelier Pablo Salinas with a selection of high-end bottles, including several from its new 100-Points list.


hen I dined recently at the Meat Market in Tampa’s Hyde Park Village, sommelier Pablo Salinas was a trusty guide, offering two very interesting red wines to try with my meal — a 2016 Golden Eye Pinot Noir with my appetizer of jumbo shrimp and Dragon’s Tooth from Trefethen with my NY strip. I knew I had to come back and talk to him some more about my favorite subject, and when I returned, I learned some exciting news: Meat Market is launching its 100-Points Wine Selection, a very select list of 20 bottles rated 100 points each by industry experts and magazine critics. The restaurant was able to obtain only two to three bottles of each variety so the exclusivity and price of each ensures a VIP experience for oenophiles. According to Pablo, few restaurants across the country have pulled together a list of such wines, which will be served in fine crystal decanters and glasses. The 100-Point List list is divided into three categories: Champagne & Old World Whites, Old World Reds and New World Reds. The Old World Reds include Bordeaux from France, a Grand Cru from the Burgundy region and bottles from the Rhone Valley and Tuscany. The New World Reds include wines from both Bordeaux and California. Four are cabernet-based and the rest are blends of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. If you love French wine, Meat Market is the place to go. They carry all five of the First Growths of Bordeaux, a classification that recognizes these wines as existing in a class by themselves. (My favorite is the Chateau Lafite Rothschild.) The 2016 Paulliac on the list is available for $6,000. Prices on the 100-Points Wine Selection menu start at $550

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and go up to $6,000 a bottle. John Balian, wine director for all Meat Market locations, is presenting it only at the Tampa restaurant for now, with plans to roll it out to other locations in the future. If $6,000 bottles are a bit too pricey for your pocketbook, Meat Market has wines to fit every price point. Thirty wines are available by the glass and bottle on the regular wine list, and the reserve list offers many bottles under $500. Pablo introduced me to two wines that he offers to his wine aficionados on a regular basis. The 2015 Dunn Vineyards from Howell Mountain in Napa, CA is a high-quality, full-bodied red with a small production, but is known in the industry. It is priced at $360 a bottle. A 2016 Ovid Hexameter Red Wine from Pritchard Hill winery in Napa Valley has a cabernet franc base providing dark fruit notes and aromas of chocolate and molasses. Pritchard Hill is a new winery — 2005 was its first vintage year — with Andy Erickson consulting. All of their releases have been rated between 96-100 points. This bottle is priced at $490. Finally, Pablo showed me two wines from DRC – Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. DRC is a small vineyard in France that produces only 3,500 bottles a year that are among the most sought-after wines in the world. Meat Market’s two DRC bottles, both100% pinot noir, are the 2017 La Tache Grand Cru, which sells for $5,000, and the 2017 Romanee-Conti. Meat Market has only one bottle of the latter, which is being sold for $15,000. When you go to Meat Market for a meal, you will enjoy wonderful food — but when you consult with Pablo, you’ll also meet a sommelier who can lead you to wines that enhance the cuisine. 87


Rambo Lambo

Lamborghini’s outrageous 641-horsepower Urus is the world’s first supercar SUV. Can you handle it?

Photos courtesy Lamborghini.





amborghini’s hip-high Aventador Superveloce supercar comes with a 12-cylinder nuclear reactor under the hood that can catapult you from zero to 60 in 2.7 seconds. It has a top speed of 217mph. It’s fast. As for carving curves, the Aventador delivers the same kind of cornering forces that only the guys who fly Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets get to experience. Braking? It’s the kind of deceleration you get by driving into a brick wall. So far so awesome. But now try rolling up at Rollin’ Oats and loading a few rolls of Charmin and a six-pack of Perrier into the teeny trunk-in-the-front. Ain’t gonna happen. Want to pick up your better half at the airport? Better get an Uber for the Samsonites. Kids to soccer practice? Rent a minivan. So for all those supercar aspirers who’ve said to themselves, “I’d really love to own a Lambo” but see the abject lack of practicality as a major deal-breaker, I have one word for you: Urus. In case you’ve been living in a yurt in the Galapagos for the past decade, Urus is Lamborghini’s crazy new SUV. That’s right, a Lamborghini sport-ute. One that can transport five adults and their bags to a snowy Aspen ski lodge. One with a manic 641-horseys on tap to scare the snot out of you on the race track. See the Urus in the metal and it uses elements from the blunt-instrument school of design you see in Lambo’s manic supercars, like the aforementioned Aventador. That means more creases than Keith Richards’ forehead, more tortured angles than Picasso at his cubist craziest. For full jaw-dropping sensationalism, opt for a bright exterior color, like the retina-searing Giallo Auge yellow of our test car. Then you see the full quirkiness of that front end with all its hexagons and devil’s prongs. The big surprise, however, comes when you climb aboard. Especially into the back. Despite that ski-slope roofline, there’s a ton of legroom and headroom, and getting in and out is a cinch. And inside you’re surrounded by acres of hand-stitched saddle-grade leather, suede-like alcantara, brushed aluminum and carbon fiber. Yes, the big center screen comes courtesy of Audi and some of the switchgear is from VW. But the design is

pure Lambo. Flick up the bright red fighter-jet-style flap on the center console, hit the start button and you detonate one of the most potent powerplants in the auto biz. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 filling up the engine bay may be shared with Porsche Cayennes and Bentley Bentaygas, but it has been massaged by Lambo to crank out an impressive 641 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough to propel this 4,843-pound cruise missile from rest to 60 in under 3.6 seconds and thrust it to a top speed of 189mph. OK, it would have been more special to have had Lamborghini’s own full-monty V10 or shrieking V12 doing the powering. But the twin-turbo V8 delivers performance in spades, accompanied by more soaring voices than Gaga in A Star Is Born. Where the true wizardry comes in is with the Urus’s otherworldly ability to change direction. Hammer it into a curve, or along a serpentine back road, or around a challenging racetrack, and the Urus seemingly defies physics by simply going where it’s pointed. Of course there’s a lot of computer trickery helping it run on rails. Like active roll stability control that firms up the outside suspension in speedy corners, eradicating body lean. Then there’s the rear-wheel steering that makes high-speed lane changes more immediate and tightens the turning radius at lower speeds. Add to this steering that’s laser-precise, and tires that deliver more grip than a case of superglue. This is not like any regular high-powered SUV. This is the world’s first supercar SUV — the first Lamborghini of sportutes. Naturally, you pay heavily for its exclusivity, its Italian pedigree, its towering performance. Base price is $218,000, though with a few options it’s easy to lift that to well past a quarter-of-a-mill. Our loaded tester stickered at a whopping $261,839. But telling your friends you’re driving the Rambo Lambo? That’s just magnifico. Interested? Talk to the nice people at Lamborghini Sarasota, Tampa Bay’s exclusive Lamborghini retailer. Look for Howard Walker’s online column, “Weekend Wheels,” every Friday at 89

Collection of Audrey & Jeffrey Spiegel

The Way Forward

The Museum of Fine Arts reopens with a timely exhibit and a facelift. STORY BY CINDY STOVALL BRIGHTER DAYS: Derrick Adams’s “Floater 36 (pineapple)” from Buoyant, now on view at the MFA.


any businesses in the Tampa Bay area slowly reopened over the summer, including most of our favorite museums – with one notable exception. The Museum of Fine Arts, the oldest museum in St. Petersburg and a main attraction on downtown’s Beach Drive, made the very difficult decision to remain closed throughout the summer months.


“Much of our membership falls into higher-risk categories and our team came to the conclusion that we simply would not put them at risk,” says Julie Wilson, director of marketing and communications. “We had considered opening in July, but the increase in cases made it clear we should stay closed. “Executive Director Kristen Shepherd spoke with museums all over the country to see what they were

dR VISUAL ART doing and, after considering all of the information, we were able to come up with a strategy that worked for MFA specifically.” The wait will be over, at least in the Hough wing, in September. (More on that in a moment.)

Museum of Fine Arts has remained active in cyberspace with a number of engaging programs: virtual tours with curators Katherine Pill and Stanton Thomas, puzzles and games for the kids, virtual cocktail hours for the grown-ups – even Spotify sets accompanying works of art. The popular book club has continued to meet in the Zoom realm. “We have worked hard to provide great programming, and much of it will continue after we re-open,” says Wilson.

MFA boasts one of the best permanent collections in Florida, from antiquities to modern art, from Monet to O’Keeffe. Having grown up in NYC, I think of it as the “Met” of St. Petersburg. I’ve been a fan The museum’s closure did yield one side bensince moving here in 1985 and have visited hundreds of efit — it gave the green light to long-planned renotimes. vations in the older galleries south of the great entry Personally, a highlight of my year since the event hall. Special Exhibitions Coordinator Jorge Vidal has began in the ’90s is participating in “Art in Bloom” – been overseeing the facelift, which will be unveiled in an MFA annual rite of spring in which florists, garden October. Funding for this project had been raised and clubbers and other creatives build fresh floral arrangeset aside long before the pandemic. ments that interpret approximately 50 works of art. Meanwhile, there’s an exciting exhibition in the When this year’s Art in Bloom was cancelled in March, newly reopened Hough wing —an exhibit of the works it was an early sign of the sacrifices to come. of Derrick Adams, a contemporary artist whose “The spring exhibit Art of the Stage had only star has been rising over the past year or so. been open for six weeks, and at the height of The exhibit was planned long before the season, when we had to close,” says Wilson. “We had considdeath of George Floyd ignited the current “We knew we were looking at a difficult ered opening in July, movement for social justice, but it’s sure time for the whole community.” but the increase in cases to be seen as both prophetic and timely. How does an organization this size stay Entitled Buoyant , it depicts in stunning made it clear we should solvent, if not profitable, during a massive color a view of African American life and shutdown? stay closed.” culture that falls outside of stereotypical “In a large museum, you don’t simply perceptions. Inspired by a 1967 article in turn off the lights and work from home,” Ebony magazine about Martin Luther King, Jr’s says Wilson. “The collections require special vacation in Jamaica, Buoyant celebrates fun and leimaintenance, storage and temperature controls that are sure in Black lives. Many of the scenes are set poolside costly. There is no furloughing a curator. Many of our with beach chairs and floaties – colorful bathing attire operations needed to go on, as well as the creation of and the bluest water — scenes often hidden from, or innovative online programming.” simply not imagined by white society. So where does the funding come from? “ Buoyant comes to us from the Hudson River “No doubt, lack of admission sales hurt us,” exMuseum in Yonkers,” explains Wilson. “The Museum plains Wilson, “not to mention special events, rentals, of Fine Arts will be only the second to host this incredietc. But, when the development team went to work, ble collection, and the first in the Southeast.” we were inspired by the level of loyalty and support Buoyant opened in the Hazel Hough Wing on from our members, museum supporters and the comSeptember 12 to members and on September 19 to the munity. Many purchased memberships in advance for general public. General admission has been reduced later use or made generous donations to help keep us to compensate for the continuing closure of the main going.” The museum also received PPP money from the galleries. “We will be adhering to CDC standards for CARES Act to retain core staff. a ‘Phase 1’ opening of 25% occupancy,” says Wilson. The one casualty to date has been the museum store. “There will be signage and timed ticketing to make the With closure, all store employees were furloughed innew reality easier to manage for all. We want to do this definitely. “The plan is to keep it closed until at least right, but that being said, we are so incredibly excited the end of the year,” says Wilson. “We want to reimagto be back!” ine the best use of the space and we do plan to have a Buoyant, Through Nov. 29, Museum of Fine Arts, retail space of some kind.” In the meantime, the online 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, For store continues to provide customers with the opportuvirtual programming visit: to buy some of the coolest merch in St. Pete. home. During down-time for the physical space, the


Photo by Rich Schineller

Old School, New Outlook The new Sarasota Art Museum gets a splashy re-opening with an exhibition focused on the Sarasota School of Architecture’s Carl Abbott.

Photo by Ryan Gamma Photography


GET BACK: The front facade of the 1926 Sarasota High School is unchanged, but its backside reveals that the building has become part of the new Sarasota Museum of Art, together with an adjacent 1960 structure by Paul Rudolph. 92



Photo by Marne Gaston

event patterned after Palm Springs’ Modernism Week, he old Sarasota High School has been on the presented by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. Tamiami Trail as long as you’ve been driving it. The octogenarian will be on hand when SarasotaMOD Little has changed on the facade of the redparticipants exclusively tour the exhibit on November 6 brick, Collegiate Gothic-style building since it was built to kick off the weekend events. in 1926. If you passed by recently and didn’t notice SarasotaMOD is typically packed with tours, films anything out of the ordinary, it’s time to turn back for a and conversations about the mid-century modern closer look. The surprise — and it’s a big one — begins architecture that has done so much to shape the on the backside. Sarasota of today. This year’s events are thoughtfully Where once there was a space between the “old” planned to balance access with social distancing and school designed by architect M. Leo Elliott and a 1960 take full advantage of Abbott’s extraordinary skill at satellite structure of the “new” school by Sarasota siting each project in relation to nature. School of Architecture icon Paul Rudolph, there’s now a courtyard and statement entrance to a world-class This year, participants will follow a self-guided map museum of modern art. The Sarasota Art Museum to visit the gardens and outdoor rooms of at least of Ringling College opened to much fanfare in 10 Abbott-designed homes, including his wellDecember 2019. Coronavirus abruptly shut it known Putterman Residence, while watching down three months later. or listening to pre-recorded videos with the The two buildings The completion of this $30 million architect speaking at each house. “work exquisitely well project not only preserves touchstones of “It is one way of getting Carl to tell you together and create the what he was thinking,” says SAF chair Anne Sarasota’s architectural history, but fulfills essential courtyard.” Essner, “when he decided how the land the vision of the original architects by another, Terence Riley of K/R Architects. would inform each site.” “While the two buildings stylistically present Another first this year will be guided differently, they work exquisitely well together architectural kayak tours on Siesta Key. “During and create the essential courtyard,” which Elliott had quarantine, our board member Christopher Wilson envisioned and Rudolph was aware of, says SAM discovered that there are all of these mid-century homes Executive Director Anne-Marie Russell. you can see from the water,” says Essner. An idea was The museum, which began slowly reopening in September, gets the chance for a splashy do-over in the form of its exhibition, Carl Abbott: Architecture for Nature , opening November 8. It is especially fitting that Abbott, who was a student of Rudolph’s at the Yale School of Architecture, is being fêted in a building that pays homage to architecture while showcasing modern art. Though Abbott, who is both an architect and landscape architect, has used Sarasota and the Gulf Coast as his lab for more than 50 years, this exhibit is not a retrospective but a modern art exhibition. Largescale installations that blur architecture with sculpture and provide a multi-sensory experience provide insight into the bold modernist, who is also recognized as the last architect to join the Sarasota School of Architecture movement, in which Rudolph’s work figures prominently. An outdoor installation in the plaza emphasizes Abbot’s great skill in shaping exterior space. Indoors, a replica of his home and lab, Bayou Studio, is central to the exhibit, inviting visitors to watch a simulation of a day’s interplay of light and shadows across the preserved wild land across Whitaker Bayou, as observed by Abbott from the studio. MAN OF THE HOUR: Architect Carl Abbott FAIA, seen Carl Abbott is also the theme of this year’s here in his studio in July, is the focus of both a Sarasota Art SarasotaMOD Weekend (November 6-8), an annual Museum exhibition and SarasotaMOD Weekend. 93 93


WHAT A SITE: SarasotaMOD Weekend tours will focus on the gardens and outdoor rooms of Abbott-designed homes, including this one, the well-known Putterman Residence.

born and is already creating a stir. The SAF is looking to make the tours a part of their ongoing offerings. “The SAF has done a brilliant job reimagining how we might look at, and think about, Gulf Coast architecture in the times of COVID,” says interior designer Ellen Hanson, whose Pansy Bayou Design Studio in downtown Sarasota recreated the interior of the Cocoon House, another project of the SAF to lease and then restore Paul Rudolph and Ralph Twitchell’s 1950 Healy Guest House on Siesta Key’s Bayou Louise. “I’m excited about taking a guided kayak tour of some of Sarasota’s mid-century gems as this is something that would not have occurred to me in ‘before times,’” says Hanson, “and new perspectives are what is needed right now as we look ahead to so much uncertainty.”

• The Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College opened in December 2019. Non-ticketed areas include the new plaza courtyard, gardens, bistro, gift shop and lobby art installations. Carl Abbott: Architecture for Nature is on view from Nov. 8-April 25, 2021. Timedentry tickets help the museum control social distancing. 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, • Sarasota Architectural Foundation (saf-srq. org) presents its 7th annual SarasotaMOD Weekend ( November 6-8 to celebrate the city’s legacy of mid-century modern architecture. This year honors Carl Abbott. 94 94

FLYING COLORS: Odili Donald Odita’s “Force Field” in the museum loggia. 95

SMOKE OUT: Ron Zawistowski in the parking garage behind Cigar Paradise Royal Lounge, with the 150-foot smoke duct above right.

Solo By Design

His work is all over downtown St. Pete — including a new Beach Drive cigar lounge where the Chihuly Collection used to be.



ver a couple of decades, Ron Zawistowski has quietly put his imprint on downtown St. Petersburg. His boutique architecture firm, Innovative Design Studios, has no major high-rises or large buildings to its credit, but Zawistowski’s work can be seen up, down and around Central Avenue in restaurants, bars, stores and barbershops. Most of the projects have been renovations, additions and build-outs of old structures, updating them to strict city code requirements. “I like doing bars and restaurants because there’s more


design freedom,” he says. “I design storage buildings all over the state, but I’m not going to drive to Stuart, Florida to see my storage building there. I can walk into a bar and see the finished product, have a drink, talk to the owner.” (Editor’s Note: See p. 56 for a story about a storage project he was involved in, WheelBase Garage Condos.) Zawistowski’s downtown St. Pete work includes both locations of the (swah-ray) dessert bar; the recently opened Toss Salads & Wraps; Salad Chop, opening soon in the Snell Arcade; Pizza Box; Courigan’s Irish Pub; the Shave Cave

dR ARCHITECTURE barbershop in Sundial; the soon-to-open Machine Shop Alexa, 25, who lives in Old Northeast. Zawistowski grew up Barber Company in the Edge District; and Three Dog in Erie, Pennsylvania and earned his five-year architecture Barkery, which sells extravagant doggie treats. All of these, degree from Kent State University in Ohio. Jobs were scarce and others, are small independent businesses that have in the area, so Zawistowski poked around and got a few offers defined St. Pete’s revitalized downtown. in Tampa Bay. In 1993, he packed up his Ford Tempo and Zawistowski’s newest project is among his most high- moved here. Lisa joined him a year later after completing profile so far. Cigar Paradise Royal Lounge is a cigar bar grad school. His first job was with (now-defunct) Philipi & and retail shop in the old Chihuly Collection space on Beach Associates. Drive. Among his many architectural challenges, one stood Zawistowski hung out his own shingle in 2000, working out: designing an HVAC system that would render the in a small office in the Jannus Landing complex. At the establishment as smoke-free as possible — or, to put it more time, he was busy designing the makeover of the old Hotel specifically, so customers can leave without smelling Detroit — which adjoins the concert courtyard — into like cigar smoke. condominiums. “The space was vacant and had last “To make it so you can smoke cigars inside been a youth hostel,” Zawistowski recalls of the was a major feat of engineering,” Zawistowski hotel that opened in1890. “It was destroyed. It “To make it so you says. Indeed. The original air conditioning can smoke cigars inside had four-foot bathtubs. It had one wood and system was replaced with a new one that two brick sections, so we had to completely was a major feat cost $185,000. Zawistowski says it’s “the size gut it and basically patch together three of engineering.” of a car” and pushes twice as much fresh air buildings.” into the room. Exhaust fans and smoke-eaters Around that time, Zawistowski was the have been strategically placed throughout. architect for Pop City, a 35,000-square foot bar/ Much of the smoke sucked from the space will be restaurant/nightclub that was the first tenant in deposited about 150 feet away. A silver duct, two feet Tampa’s Channelside development. Pop City opened in diameter, starts at the back of the cigar bar, runs along in 2001, just in time for Super Bowl XXXVII, but closed the roof of a condo parking garage and ends at a vent on within a year. Bay Street. Zawistowski has rented several small office spaces in St. Cigar Paradise Royal Lounge will feature a luxurious Pete over the years. In May, he closed the one on 22nd interior with a neutral color palette and ample lighting — Avenue North near Mazzaro’s, and moved operations into the antithesis of the dark, men’s-club smokeries of yore. A his home, where Lisa also works as a motivational author full liquor bar will provide craft cocktails, wine and beer. A and life coach. The couple has been married 26 years and large humidor occupies one area. A torcedor will roll cigars finds working and living in the same space no problem at all. by hand on site. The place will also offer ample outdoor Zawistowski once employed intern architects, but dropped seating. The owners, Cuban natives Marcos and Yatie Diaz, that idea some time ago. “I’ve never wanted to build a large said in mid-August that they plan to open olater this fall. firm, to have a large office managing a bunch of people,” he Zawistowski, a young-looking 53 with an easy-going mien, says. “I like coming up with the designs and working through lives in the Tyrone area of St. Petersburg with his wife Lisa, projects with clients. Instead of reviewing someone else’s son Jason, 22, and dog Charlie. They also have a daughter, drawings, and hope they’re right, I’d rather just do my own.”

THIS WAY TO PARADISE: The architect views the Cigar Paradise project in progress.

WE BRING YOUR CONCEPT TO LIFE - We work closely with you, our client, along with the entire project team to fulfill your vision while meeting the requirements of your project and budget. - We have a complete network of design professionals that can make your dreams come true. We can connect you with reliable developers, contractors, and suppliers. Our talents are varied, and our services can be specifically adapted to your needs. - Our projects include self-storage, medical and dental offices, restaurants and club design, industrial warehouses, office design, commercial build-outs & residential new construction. 98



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HARBOR VIEW HELPERS: A group of moms in Dunedin, concerned that their children would be taking their masks on and off during the school day, came up with a plan: hand-beaded mask cords! The kids did the beading themselves, and here they are selling their handiwork, which can also be purchased at A portion of the proceeds from each cord sold is donated to a local charity.




1 On Aug. 13, Pilot Bank welcomed NASA astronaut and artist Nicole Stott to an Executive Forum event at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, during which Pilot presented a check for $10,000 to MOSI. Stott shared her experience of living and working in space for 104 days and talked about Space for Art, an exhibition of artworks (including some of her own) from the Space for Art Foundation, which uses large-scale community art projects to connect children in hospitals, refugee centers and schools with an interdisciplinary team of art, aerospace, astronaut and health professionals. Masks were encouraged during the event, and individually boxed charcuterie and desserts were provided by Ghada Jadallah of Dash of Salt and Pepper. Photos by com.




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1 Pilot Bank CEO Roy Hellwege (left) and MOSI President & CEO Julian Mackenzie (right) display the $10,000 check with help from Nicole Stott, MOSI Chief Operating Officer Rob Lamke and Pilot President Rita Lowman. 2 Rita Lowman and Roy Hellwege. 3 Preston Scott, VP Marketing Director, Pilot Bank, and a colorful spacesuit. 4 Astronaut Nicole Stott. 5 MOSI’s Rob Lamke and a playful astronaut.


On Aug. 17, One Blood collected 48 units of blood during a blood drive held outside St. Paul’s, the private independent school in Clearwater. Turnaround is fast and demand high, so the “gifts of life” donated likely began to save lives within 72 hours, impacting 144 area patients. In all, 65 people donated blood, and one person with COVID antibodies donated plasma for vaccine research. Participants were a mix of St. Paul’s parents, faculty and staff.


Tom duPont, publisher/CEO of duPont Registry Tampa Bay, presents Jim Meyers, president and COO of Crown Automotive Group, with a commemorative copy of the surprise tribute to him published in dRTB’s A to Z issue in July. 103




On Saturday August 29, the Special Operations Warrior Golf Foundation hosted its first annual “Healing Through Golf” tournament at TPC Tampa Bay. This incredibly successful fundraiser was led by tournament director and Foundation Vice-Chair Tom Gates, assisted by Secretary/Treasurer Art Welhoelter, as well as benefactors of Tampa Bay, helpful staff and volunteers. The SOWGF would like to extend a special thanks to Spry Therapeutics, Homes Fit for Heroes, Ellmar Foundation, Murphy Auto Group, Les and Pam Muma, Jan Stephenson and Crossroads Foundation, Scott Bill and Brian Bill Foundation, Thomas Wasielewski, CAE USA Inc., Rufus Williams, Kelly Harris, Andrew Altieri, and Dr. Holly Xi for their contributions to support our wounded, ill and injured Special Operations Warriors through the therapeutic sport of golf — introducing each player to the golfing community and further providing them resources as they rehabilitate and re-enter society. For more information and ways you can contribute, visit

3 1 Foundation Ambassador SFC (ret.) Mike Morales with foundation Chairman Col (ret.) Cary Harbaugh. 2 The players ready to tee off. 3 Board Member and former SOCOM Commander Gen. (ret.) Tony Thomas gives thanks to donors and benefactors. 4 From l to r: Chairman Col. (ret.) Cary Harbaugh, Board Member and World Golf Hall of Fame Jan Stephenson, Board Member and medical advisor Dr. Colleen Jakey, and Board Member Gen. (ret.) Tony Thomas. 104





Fred Ginman, an 11-year-old from Brazil, has a dream to walk freely without canes. Since 2012 he and his mom, Isabela Amaral, have stayed more than 600 nights at Ronald McDonald Houses while receiving physical therapy. To thank them for their support and raise money for the RMHC Emergency Fund, which provides meals and supplies to families during the pandemic, Fred completed a 5K in the backyard of the St. Petersburg house over 10 days. The community (including duPont Registry Tampa Bay) sponsored and ran virtually with Fred all the way.



1 Fred gives the thumbs-up to a message from duPont Registry Tampa Bay. 2 Mother and son strike a championship pose before the run. 3 An RMHC family cheers on Fred as he runs. 4 Fred runs as mom Isabela cheers him on. 105








Children’s Dream Fund has been granting dreams to sick and seriously ill children in West Central Florida since 1981. But this year, many of those dreams — trips to Hawaii, shopping in Times Square, a one-week stay at “Give Kids the World,” a special Disney/Universal resort — have had to be postponed because of COVID. So the Fund came up with a sweet alternative: “dream delay” gifts. Each gift is tailored to reflect a child’s dream: a “Hawaiian vacation in a bag,” princess dress-up clothes, Lego sets, even an NYC travel kit with a mini-Statue of Liberty. More than 50 Dream Delays have been delivered in all, brightening up the lives of some very brave children.



1 Annalise, 9, heart disease and Down syndrome. Dream: A trip to Disney and Give Kids the World. Gift: An iPad with Disney+ subscription. 2 Deanna, 20, kidney transplant survivor. Dream: Trip to Maui. Gift: Beach bag, towel, beach items and Amazon gift card. 3 Jase, 5, brain tumor. Dream: A trip to Give Kids the World. Gift: Giant Lego kit, Mickey Mouse and other toys. 4 Leylah, 3, cancer. Dream: Meet princesses at Disney. Gift: Princess dress-up clothes and shoes, Mickey Mouse, Princess Barbies. 5 Madison, 19, rhabdomyosarcoma. Dream: A trip to Hawaii. Gift: Beach bag, towel, beach items, Amazon Gift card. 6 Joanna, 11, heart transplant. Dream: Go to NYC and tour the Apollo Theater and Statue of Liberty. Gift: NYC traveler’s bag with NYC shirt, books and Statue of Liberty Lego. 7 Jacqueleen, 14, cystic fibrosis. Dream: Go to a Justin Bieber concert and meet him. Gift: Justin Bieber gift bag with Girlfriend perfume, Justin Bieber shirts, mask, straws, toy, gift cards. 8 Morgan, 21, cancer. Dream: Alaskan cruise. Gift: Alaskan moose bag, Scent of Alaska candle, moose neck-warmer, Alaskan sweatshirt and Amazon gift card. 106



1 The Global Forum, “Women of India Leading in Time of Crisis,” was held virtually on August 1 to help feed low-income families in India during the pandemic and to bring awareness to topics of empowerment and gender inequality facing women all over the world. More than 40 speakers participated, representing seven countries and all walks of life, including Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez; Julie Weintraub of Hands Across the Bay and Gold & Diamond Source; and Arunachalam Muruganatham, the social entrepreneur who invented an easy-to-use machine for producing low-cost sanitary pads. Admission was donation-based, with proceeds feeding over 200+ families and supporting Lakshyam, an NGO that uplifts children and women of at-risk communities through education and employment. The Forum was led by Rina Patel (executive vice president, Women Ambassadors Forum), Ingrid Harb (founder of WAF), Rashi Anand (founder of Lakshyam) and Payal Patel.



1 The women behind the forum (clockwise from top left): Rina Patel, Rashi Anand, Payal Patel and Ingrid Harb. 2 During the virtual forum, Aanya Patel (top left), Siona Seth and Isha Modha performed the Vande Mataram, India’s national song. 3 Keynote Speaker Arunachalam Muruganatham, aka Mr. Padman, speaks with Rina Patel and Rashi Anand. 4 Keynote Speaker Jacqueline Fernandez (top left) with Rina Patel and Rashi Anand. 107


Parties & Pivots

Nonprofits are taking their fundraising events outdoors and online. Story by Molly duPont Schaffer NOW THAT’S A PARTY: Molly duPont Schaffer (second from right) and her posse go back to the future for the Skip Cline fundraiser..


e’re at the beginning of Tampa Bay’s “event season,” but no one is heading out in black tie to attend a 500-person gala. While many are enjoying not having to get dressed up, our nonprofit agencies are brainstorming amazing virtual events to keep supporters engaged and increase donations in this time of incredible need. While outdoor events are highly encouraged, our local weather makes that less than desirable. So we adapt. In August we were honored to support Ronald McDonald House Charities Tampa Bay with Fred’s Fun Run (see People Helping People, p. 105). Keeping the focus outdoors, many organizations are making adjustments to their golf tournaments, such as providing additional golf carts so golfers can ride alone and asking golfers not to touch rakes in sand traps or move the flag pins. Most event planners, committee members and auction organizers have had to take their entire events online. Many agree that the overhead expenses are reduced, and with the staffs’ efforts to be creative and engaging, it can produce outstanding results. Morton Plant Mease Health Care Foundation was able to pivot its Skip Cline Society Missin’ Fishin’ event to a virtual ’80s party with great success. Guests were provided a link to join an hour-long virtual event, bid online and learn how to make the event’s specialty cocktail recipe. Supporters were encouraged to dress up and send in their photos, which were shared in between informative vignettes, trivia questions and auction items. Since its inception, Skip Cline Society events have raised nearly $450,000 in support of pediatric programs at the not-for-profit hospitals of Morton Plant Mease. Looking forward to upcoming events, there’s much excitement about what will be offered to engage guests. Humane Society of Tampa Bay was the only shelter in Hillsborough County to remain open during the pandemic. Owners were surrendering their


pets, many due to losing their jobs or homes, and stray animals were being turned in daily. Now, the Humane Society is looking to our community to help them save 1,000 animals in Tampa Bay. Every animal receives a physical exam by a veterinarian, appropriate medical treatment, spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip, food and shelter, and of course, lots of love. Shifting from their largest fundraiser, Tuxes and Tails, the Society will hold a Virtual Week of Giving Oct. 5-10 that will include a silent auction, wine pull, raffles and local celebrities and conclude with a one-hour virtual show at their new shelter. LoveIVLawrence Foundation will be hosting its 2nd Annual Reeling in Stigma event on November 11, featuring National Geographic award-winning photographer and alpine adventurer, Cory Richards, who after summiting Mt. Everest returned home to face his own demons. The virtual platform allows for the message, “The Art of Healing,” to be shared easily and spread greater awareness. And what will the holidays bring? None of us knows for sure. But as always the festivities will be kicked off with The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation’s Festival of Trees. The foundation is committed to bringing joy to our community this holiday season in a comfortable and safe environment. Those who participate in this year’s Festival of Trees, presented by Amerilife Nov. 20-22, will experience a traditional winter wonderland complete with spectacularly decorated trees and wreaths inside the Long Center at 1501 N. Belcher Road. Guests will also be treated to an outdoor holiday music festival sure to get everyone into the holiday spirit. In keeping with our changing world, this year’s festival will also be virtual, allowing patrons to participate online. As always, trees and wreaths featured in the Festival of Trees will be available for purchase both online and in person with contactless pickup available.

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