SRQ Magazine | March 2023 Home of the Year

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Home remains the most significant architectural place we experience throughout our lives. It represents personality, togetherness, privacy, stability and inspiration. As we continue to investigate the role that homes play in our daily lives, the annual SRQ Magazine Home of the Year Competition invites local architects, builders, interior designers and landscape artists to present us with new notions of home environments by submitting their recent residential projects. Year after year, the competition redefines the spaces where we live and thrive—broadening the discussion of what a home represents and what it can ultimately be with today’s building strategies, renovation techniques and regional trends. From seaside to streetside, inside and out, these awardwinning domains celebrate and contribute to a growing legacy of innovative home design. Competition Produced by SRQ Magazine

Contents march 2023
srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 7
This page: Platinum Home of the Year Award Winner for Sustainability+Green, DSDG Architect’s Betonhaus II.













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Kenny Loggins sat down with us to share memories of his decades-long career and his feelings about his upcoming final tour. Tyler Clites has turned his lifelong passion for building with LEGO® into a career. Melinda and David Setchel are changing the tune for aspiring musicians by selling affordable used musical instruments and sound equipment at Music Go Round

culture city 29

The Sarasota Orchestra makes strides with their world premiere of Sarah Gibsons “to make this mountain taller”.

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Spring into these local stores for the softest goods for your home. Through art installations, workshops and more, Olivia D’Amico and Kinspoke harness the power of flowers for all. With a mission to create a sustainable home with quality pieces of furniture and decor, Megan and Alex Uccello

are celebrating the opening of their brand new store, The Woven Home.

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Florence and the Spice Boys left their food truck behind to bring culinary joy to the Landings. Six of the area’s mobile eateries share lessons learned.

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Guided by their faith, David and Adie Rubin are brightening the way for others and themselves with their generosity.

Cover: Platinum Home of the Year Award Winner for Overall Home $1-$2 Million, Damien Blumetti Architect’s Siesta Key Bay House. This page clockwise: Asian-Hawaiian-inspired cuisine from Bridgett Killik’s food truck, Killik’s Kitchen; Music Go Round Bradenton buys and sells used musical instruments; and, home goods and accessories from local boutiques, photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

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MARCH 2023





Ashley Grant


Robinson Valverde


Suzanne Munroe


Nichole Knutson

Rob Wardlaw


Wyatt Kostygan


Barbie Heit


Gabriella Alfonso


Megan Mitchell


Virginia Jankovsky


Dylan Campbell

Laura Paquette


Kevin Allen, Chris Leverett, Jacob Ogles, Kate Wight



941-365-7702 x1



941-365-7702 x2


The magazine in your hands offers enormous insight into our community, but the most informed in our community follow our constant coverage of Sarasota and the Bradenton Area in SRQ Daily. The electronic newsletter is a must-read in thousands of inboxes. Check our special editions: Monday Business Edition, Tuesday Foodie Edition, Wednesday Philanthropy Edition, Thursday Family and Education Edition, Friday Weekend Edition and the much-discussed Saturday Perspectives Edition, featuring a diverse range of opinions from the region’s top pundits and newsmakers. SIGN UP ONLINE AT SRQMAG.COM/SRQDAILY


The “SRQ” in SRQ magazine originates from the designated call letters for the local Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “SR” was the original abbreviation for the airport before the growth in total number of airports required the use of a three-letter code. Letters like “X” and “Q” were used as filler, thus the original “SR” was revised to “SRQ,” much as the Los Angeles airport became “LAX.” As a regional publication committed to the residents of and visitors to both Sarasota and Manatee counties, SRQ captures the place that we call home.


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Grammy Award-winning music legend Kenny Loggins. Dylan Campbell

ON MARCH 10TH, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST KENNY LOGGINS will kick off his final concert tour with a performance at the Van Wezel Foundation’s 2023 Inspiration Gala. Loggins has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide with chart-topping songs that have entertained generations of audiences. He sat down with SRQ to share memories of his decades-long career and his feelings about his upcoming final tour.

WHAT PROMPTED THE DECISION TO EMBARK ON IT AND MAKE IT YOUR FINAL TOUR? KENNY LOGGINS: This is my finale. I keep getting asked the question of why but the answer is really simple. I’ve been on the road since 1971, travel is becoming difficult and I’ve just felt that I've reached a point where enough is enough. I love the audiences but as Dan Fogelberg said in one of his songs, “The audience was heavenly but the traveling was hell” and it can be. Last time I went out I caught Covid twice, so hopefully that won’t be happening again this time. I figured I should go out while I can still hit the notes and still sing the songs and not wait until that's not possible which can be really depressing.

WHAT EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING THROUGH YOU WHILE ON THIS FINAL TOUR? LOGGINS: I haven't really dealt with the emotions of realizing that “this is it” as we used in the ads. I know that it’ll hit me once I reach the audiences that are super appreciative and get the depth of what this last show is for them, then that in turn will get it for me. I know that there’s going to be some emotional reckoning, but I feel like I’m ready for it. In my dream of dreams it has to do with being the final farewell that’s filled with emotion and gratitude in both directions.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO CONTINUOUSLY PERFORM? LOGGINS: A number of reasons: a couple of divorces are certainly motivational. I’ve had to rebuild my personal finances twice, I have five kids, their needs continue—college leads to starting a new business or moving into a new territory. I want to make sure I have enough to retire on and take care of me and the kids. One of the primary reasons I didn’t quit as well is the interaction with the audience. It feels so good when they sing along with you at every show and you get to realize that that 50 year career has a payoff—it's the connections that have been made and the realization of the importance that your songs have in other people's lives—and that’s a real thing. I think that most of us get into the business because we want people to appreciate our music, we spend our entire lives getting people to hear it, and this is the point in the career where you get to see the payoff for that investment, you get to have that connection with the audience.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN YOU DIDN’T HAVE THAT PREEXISTING CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIENCE, WHEN YOU WERE STARTING OFF WITH LOGGINS AND MESSINA IN 1971? LOGGINS: That’s a completely different rush. You’re going out there, you don’t know how it's going to be received but because we’re young and

naive, we’re extremely optimistic about what’s going to happen. You write the songs, you make a record, you go out and you’re instantly a rockstar right? Not necessarily, but we didn’t know that. And it sort of worked out for us that way. FM radio came into fashion and really carried Loggins and Messina to the forefront of college kids’ awareness. Our college tour was very successful and that pretty much launched us.

TELL US ABOUT THE FORMATION OF LOGGINS AND MESSINA. LOGGINS: Originally we weren’t writing together—I showed up at Jimmy Messina’s house with a guitar and I played him a dozen songs and he liked House at Pooh Corner and Danny’s Song, but he was concerned that what I’d brought him was folk music and he wanted to make a rock n’ roll album. He’d come out of Poco, his second act, and signed a deal with Clive Davis at Columbia Records to be a producer and I was one of the few acts that he initially worked up. I was more malleable than other acts that Jimmy had been sent by Clive to work with. Jimmy was the country of Loggins and Messina, he’s from Texas and brought that sensibility to the group.

AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE BREAKING OFF AS A SOLO ARTIST? LOGGINS: I didn’t know that it was almost impossible for an act to go solo from a successful duo. Very little history of that happening, Simon and Garfunkel being a good example. Hall and Oates as well—it’s unbelievable that a talent like Daryl Hall could not launch a solo career post his time with John Oates. Because people get used to that name, but I was naive enough to not be too worried about it. Thought that Loggins and Messina was doing great, our intention was to make a record. When I first met Jimmy, his intention was to make a “Kenny Loggins with Jimmy Messina sitting in”, like a jazz record and then launch me into a solo career out of that. So for me, emotionally, I was always ready to go, ‘ok now do I get to make a solo album?’ Then Clive said, “no, you guys have got to stay together for six albums, I’m not gonna release a record of a group that’s already broken up”—so that’s when we became Loggins and Messina and that was a six year deal.

WHAT DROVE YOU TO HAVE SUCCESS SOON INTO YOUR SOLO CAREER? LOGGINS: The duet with Stevie Nicks was really the thing that brought me back into the public eye as a viable artist. I always give her the credit for that, for being generous enough to share her talent and sing that song with me. I got lucky, when I went solo I became the opening act for Fleetwood Mac. And it was through that time of just hanging out and having fun after

as shown on the cover of his book Still Alright:
Kenny Loggins
Kenny Loggins

shows on the road, she said, ‘if you ever need a singer give me a call’ which I was like, ‘absolutely.’ So that was really the thing that launched the solo career.

STARTING WITH “I’M ALRIGHT” FROM CADDYSHACK AND CONTINUING THROUGHOUT THE ‘80S, YOU BECAME KNOWN AS THE KING OF THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK. HOW DOES WRITING FOR FILM DIFFER FROM WRITING FOR YOURSELF? LOGGINS: When I write for my own albums, at least from sort of a middle solo career period onwards, they become more and more autobiographical. In order to do that, one has to dig in very deeply to get to those core emotional things that are happening in your life. When you write for a movie, you’re writing for a fictional character or characters. You can transpose your reality onto them, but for the most part you’re safe— your songs are hiding behind other faces and they can do whatever you want them to do. I’m Alright was based on that opening character of Caddyshack, Danny, who’s riding his bicycle through the suburbs and when I first saw the director’s cut of the film, the director had put temp music in, one of which was Gotta Serve Somebody by Bob Dylan. And I just thought, how is this shot of this kid riding his bicycle through suburbia scored by Bob Dylan? That doesn’t make any sense to me. Bob Dylan is like the quintessential rebel and this kid is anything but a rebel, until you get to the end of the movie. Using Bob Dylan at the beginning of the movie was a foreshadowing of what was going to happen so that’s why I went with the lyrics ‘I’m alright, nobody worry about me’ to open—to show that rebel stance of the Danny who isn’t quite there yet.

IS DOING SO EASIER THAN WRITING FOR YOURSELF? LOGGINS: I think it’s considerably easier because you can go into an alter ego. For me, the voice that I used on I’m Alright was actually inspired by Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle with You, which was Gerry Rafferty’s obvious imitation of Bob Dylan and I thought well, heck if Gerry can do it then I can do it too.

YOU’RE THE FIRST MAJOR ROCK STAR TO DEDICATE YOURSELF TO WRITING MUSIC FOR CHILDREN AND FOR FAMILIES. IS THAT INSPIRED BY YOUR OWN FAMILY? WHAT KICKED THAT OFF FOR YOU? LOGGINS: Yeah, it was definitely inspired by my own family. I had written House at Pooh Corner that Loggins and Messina recorded when I was a senior in high school, probably 16 or 17. And then years later, my fourth child is on the way and I realized this circle just keeps getting completed, that I was a kid when I wrote that,

and my first kids are almost as old as I was. And it was this feeling, like, write a new verse to it and complete the circle. So the idea of the new verse in Return to Pooh Corner is that I'm watching my own child, holding a bear that inspired me to write the first song. So that was the beginning of that idea of making a children's record. Then Don Ienner, who was running Columbia Records at the time, was not pleased with the idea and said, basically, “It'll destroy your career if you do this.” And I said, “No, I don't think so.” I said, “Do you want to hear the music? Because you kind of have to hear the music to get that it's not really a kiddie album.” He said, “No, I'll just take it down the street. It won't count as an album delivered on your contract, but you can make it,” and ended up selling a couple million, so far. And the thing about children's records is they're evergreen. So young couples who are having their first baby are going to be given that album, and it happens a lot.


LOGGINS: I look back and think there wasn't anything that was really calling my name passionately, other than that. I never really took it seriously as the thing you do when you grow up until I was in junior college, and then I realized, “I am wasting my time studying things I don't want to do and I should be on the road because rock and roll is a young man's game.” So I quit school and the first offer I got was from a band called The Electric Prunes, which was a psychedelic band in the ‘60s. I toured with them and that was a horrible tour because we were hired to replace the original band by the manager. Only two of the original players were in the band, but we didn't have to play any of their music. So we got to play all our own music. But here you have a psychedelic rock band already with a three album career. So their audience is showing up at shows and you're not doing anything like it. I'm lucky I wasn't tarred and feathered. It was a very rough experience for a young singer-songwriter.


LOGGINS: Yeah, I told my son, my oldest boy, Crosby, when he tried to go on the road and be a solo performer, and he came to me one day and said, “Dad, I don't want your life. I can't do this at 29.” And I said, “Son, if you can quit, you should,” because it's a compulsion. Those who stick with it have got to be so in love with it that they can't do anything else. And I used to tell my son, “Don't have a backup plan. Don't have a plan you fall back on when you decide to do what it is you're going to do. Because you have to have that kind of determination to keep going and get better at what you do and defy the odds.” SRQ

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Artist, Designer and LEGO ® extraordinaire Tyler Clites talks about how he’s built a career one piece at a time. Dylan Campbell

“I BEGAN BUILDING WITH LEGO WHEN I WAS TWO YEARS OLD. I quickly became obsessed. I have a home video of one Christmas morning where I’m opening present after present but when I got to the LEGO® set I started jumping up and down and was just way more excited than anything else,” says Tyler Clites with a laugh. Clites, winner of FOX’s premier season of LEGO® Masters, is a designer, artist and creator who's been carving out a name for himself in the LEGO® scene for over a decade. Clites is more than just a creative multi-hyphenate though. He’s also a Gulf Coast native who resides in Sarasota. Even more importantly, he’s someone who has turned passion into a career, a shining example that childhood dreams can indeed come to life.

srqist 20 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
This page: Clites shared his experience as a LEGO® master at the Bishop After Dark LEGO® competition .

“ONE YEAR FOR MY BIRTHDAY I GOT A CASTLE LEGO SET, but the instructions were missing and I thought it was useless until my mom ended up building it for me. She said something that was really influential to me at the time which was that I didn’t have to just build what the instructions said, but that I could take the pieces and build whatever I wanted to,” says Clites. “That started my journey of just taking parts and building whatever I wanted out of them.” That journey took Clites through an adolescence of making a name for himself in the LEGO® community over the internet, to continuing his passion while studying film in college eventually getting requests for commissions from businesses and individuals for various sets and models graduating into gigs such as creative director for companies like Brick Loot and Build Better Bricks, to founding his own design firm TC Brick Designs. Today, Tyler works with corporate clients such as Google and DHL and individuals creating unique LEGO® sets and models. His work ranges from largescale creations – think 3-foot tall autonomous forklift for DHL— to deeply expressive characters inspired by film and television – including a striking portrayal of Stitch from Lilo and Stitch—and busts of various individuals or characters. In short, Clites’ creations dismantle everything the unsuspecting individual may think they know about LEGO®. He’s an artist on the vanguard, constantly pushing the envelope of what one can create with LEGO®, and an individual who Sarasota is proud to call their own. SRQ

srqist 22 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.


Music Go Round helps aspiring musicians bring their dreams to life. Laura Paquette

FROM BANGING ON POTS AND PANS AS A CHILD to taking up the guitar during a midlife crisis, making music is so ingrained into modern culture that many people consider it a human right. Music Go Round Bradenton, owned by Melinda and David Setchel, is changing the tune for aspiring musicians by selling affordable used musical instruments and sound equipment. Melinda was a clarinet player in the high school band as well as a singer in the chorus and was a member of her college band for a brief time. Both she and her husband David, a keyboard player, worked in the medical field for over 30 years. “I was a dental hygienist, and David was a hospital administrator,” says Setchel, “and we moved all over the place from job to job as hospitals were being sold.” While living in Topeka, Kansas, the hospital where David worked was sold, and the pair began looking for work opportunities outside of medicine that would allow them to live near their extended family in Florida. They explored franchising opportunities and intrigued by the music business the couple decided to open a Music Go Round franchise. Their sons, both lifelong musicians who play guitar and sing, are also part of the business in the roles of manager and guitar technician.

This page: Melinda and David Setchel share their passion for music with the SarasotaManatee community.

“We buy, sell and trade used and some new inventory,” says Melinda. All musical instruments— like guitars, drums and keyboards—are available, as well as professional sound equipment and accessories such as guitar straps. The majority of the stock runs the gamut from beginner to professional level, allowing customers to trade pieces in and save for more advanced gear. For example, an average beginner guitar costs less than $200, but vintage and high-end models from brands like Gibson or Fender can cost up to $3,000. “We’re very particular and we don’t want to look like a yard sale,” adds Melinda, “so we make sure that everything is clean and fully functional.” In terms of new products, the store carries Dean guitars, Luna guitars and drum percussion products, as well as Casio keyboards and Meinl percussion instruments.

Music Go Round also sells band instruments for students and offers a buy-back program. “If the kid

hates it,” she adds, “then they can return it within a year and we’ll buy it back for half the cost, which is cheaper than renting the item.”

Aside from students who are unable to choose between lugging around a tuba or a flute, the shop also lends a hand to all musicians. “People come in to purchase their starter guitar and get excited because we can offer them a bundle package that’s less than the cost of a normal guitar,” says Melinda. Further supporting musicians’ needs, the store does onsite guitar repairs and refers customers to qualified technicians outside of the business for other instrument and equipment repairs. They also host music lessons on select instruments like guitars, drums and beginner keyboards onsite. “We hope that as we continue growing, we can get involved with community events and do more to help local musicians,” she adds. SRQ

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Plan a Visit Music Go Round Bradenton, 5108 15th St. E. Unit 204, Bradenton, 941896-9138.

culture city


The Sarasota Orchestra makes strides with their world premiere of Sarah Gibson’s “to make this mountain taller.” Dylan Campbell

LOCAL PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS+CULTURE srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 29 This page:
Composer Sarah Gibson

culture city




WILL BE IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN. Well, technically, it’s a part of the League of the American Orchestras but the sentiment remains the same. On March 31st, the Sarasota Orchestra will partner with composer Sarah Gibson for the World Premiere performance of her new work, “to make this mountain taller”. The performance, which is part of the Orchestra’s final Masterworks program A Hero’s Life, is made possible through the League of American Orchestra’s Virginia B. Toulmin Commissions Program.

By taking part in this initiative, the Sarasota Orchestra is one of 30 U.S. orchestras in a national consortium dedicated to performing contemporary work from six distinguished female composers throughout the 2024-25 season. With the World Premiere of Gibson’s work this spring, the Orchestra is one of the six lead orchestra-composer pairings—each composer will see their work performed throughout the country with four other orchestras, for a total of five performances of each commission. The program, which aims to not just introduce new orchestral works but also build a network of mentorship and career development for its composers, has evolved since its inception in 2014.

“We used to commission works from three composers a year, each resulting in a world premiere with a different orchestra,” says David Styers, Director of Learning and Leadership Programs at the League of American Orchestras and overseer of the program. “We realized after several years that it was great exposure for the composer but then what–for every composer throughout history, it’s the second, third, fourth, the ongoing performances of a work that matter more for them.”

After the League had chosen their six composers, the decision to delegate Sarasota Orchestra as one of the lead orchestras came easily. “With Virginia having lived in Sarasota, it made natural sense for the Sarasota Orchestra to be one of the six lead orchestras. We were thrilled with their interest in the program and from the group of composers, they selected Sarah for their world premiere this March.”

For the Sarasota Orchestra, the commission is as much about extending Virginia’s legacy as it is about performing a world premiere. Toulmin, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 84, served on the Orchestra’s board and was the board chair in 2008 when the organization rebranded from The Florida West Coast Symphony to the Sarasota Orchestra.

“I had the pleasure of working alongside Virginia for several years. One of the things that’s so incredible about this commission is Virginia’s own personal story,” says Joseph McKenna, President and CEO of the Sarasota Orchestra. “In 1965 she became the

CEO of a pharmaceutical company as the result of the premature passing of her husband and I just think of what it would’ve been like to be a female CEO in the midwest in 1965, of the fortitude and leadership that would’ve taken. Throughout her life if there was an opportunity to make something better for another person, she took it. This commision is just an incredible extension of her spirit, knowing that the funding making it possible for Sarah Gibson to provide us with new music comes from her foundation. It’s an example of her philanthropy still changing lives.”

With the commission not yet having been written, however, Sarasota Orchestra’s pairing with Gibson was somewhat of a leap of faith. “Our artistic planning staff was excited to work with Sarah, who has such a distinguished record and is a really accomplished composer and vibrant creator. We felt very comfortable to be matched with her and have confidence in what she was going to do,” says McKenna. “Part of the journey is placing trust in the hands of the composer and giving her the space to create something new and bold and exciting for us.”

For he Los Angeles-based composer and pianist Sarah Gibson, who has held various honors including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Sound Investment composer and received commissions from organizations such as the Seattle Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, her involvement in the League’s Virginia B. Toulmin Commissions Program grants her the opportunity to take the exciting next step in her career. With her latest work “to make this mountain taller”, Gibson, who is also the co-founder of the piano duo HOCKET, has the chance to not only build her portfolio but to write on a topic she feels passionate about. “In my work, I’m often inspired by visual art and will visit museums prior to writing a piece. I visited the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and saw this sculpture called The Mountain by Aristide Maillol of a nude woman that was quite large and striking and managed to be both feminine and very strong at the same time,” says Gibson. “It happened to be on the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned and it made me think a lot about women’s rights, the mountains women have to climb and the basic human rights that women and non-binary people have to fight for. Later, I came across the poem “Legacy” by Rupi Kaur which includes the line “to make this mountain taller” and focuses on building up women. Using that line as the title for the work felt very apropos considering the emphasis of the commission and how they’re ushering women’s voices forward.” SRQ






Duncan Real Estate

310 Pine Avenue

Anna Maria, FL 34216

c: 941.737.3491 | o: 941.779.0304



MUGSIE quinlan

Fine Properties

5224 Paylor Lane

Sarasota, FL 34240

p: 941.467.3448



JudI Taulbee

Fine Properties

5224 Paylor Lane

Sarasota, FL 34240

p: 941.544.6227



Each real estate transaction is unique and so are the people that you work with—Lindsey will cater to your specific needs for a smooth and easy sale! She is a premier Florida Real Estate Agent!

Lindsey was born in North Carolina and moved to Florida at the age of 5 —almost a Florida cracker but with southern roots! She has been a resident of Manatee County since 1987. Lindsey joined Duncan Real Estate in 2015 as the Director of Business Development. She completed real estate school and received her real estate license in 2017. At that time, Lindsey became the sales assistant to the broker/owner of Duncan Real Estate. After a few years of training under the broker/owner to understand the real estate business and vacation rentals, Lindsey moved into fulltime real estate sales and has quickly become a top selling agent. Her experience with Duncan Real Estate and also growing up in Manatee County gives her an edge in selling real estate and knowing the area. Let Lindsey put her experience and personality to work for you!

Lindsey Leech Strickland

Duncan Real Estate

310 Pine Ave | Anna Maria, FL 34216 C: 941.737.3491 | O: 941.779.0304


ELITE AGENTS 2023 32 | srq magazine_ MAR23 elite agents 2023

Mugsie Quinlan

Fine Properties

5224 Paylor Lane | Sarasota, FL 34240


E: |

Mugsie quinlan

Nicknamed Mugsie at the ripe age of one, Mugsie Quinlan has been leaving an impression since before she could rightly walk. She learned business savoir faire from her grandmother, who opened her own successful shop in 1924. Her grandmother and later, her mother’s business sense was a driving force in Mugsie’s life. Prior to relocating to Sarasota to be near her family, Mugsie worked with the New York Yankees, where she was renowned as the pulse of the iconic Legends Club. Mugsie has assisted over 114 Buyers and sellers representing over $50+Million in sales since 2019 and closed out 2022 as the #1 top selling agent in the brokerage.

Since becoming a Realtor, Mugsie has brought a skill set that includes exceptional service, a remarkable work ethic, and a sense of fun and adventure to every transaction. Mugsie’s customers find her service and knowledge of the active lifestyle and 55+ communities immeasurable. A resident of Parrish, she specializes in both the new and resale neighborhoods of Manatee and Sarasota County.

ELITE AGENTS 2023 srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 33


It’s my goal to exceed everything you’ve ever known about working with a REALTOR® and to help you find your new Florida address! I’m truly committed to serving each customer with exceptional personal, first-class service.

I’M JUDI TAULBEE. With 20 years in the real estate industry, I feel it’s crucial to be dedicated to providing important, in-depth local market knowledge. I enjoy providing each customer with individual attention, enthusiasm and my years of knowledge into the Greater Sarasota real estate market. From Sarasota to Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Parrish, Venice and across to The Islands, I thrive on this coastal lifestyle and want you to do so as well. Whether you are listing or buying, I’m here for you! I’ve been fortunate to earn over 225+ FIVE star Zillow reviews as well as being the #1 Top Volume Sales producer at Fine Properties for many years running. I’m thoroughly committed to offering you an informed, solutionoriented and responsive approach to each unique listing for my sellers and everything involved in working with buyers in this dynamic market. I’m accessible to answer each and every one of your timely questions and you can trust my guidance. Contact me if you’d like to chat about your real estate goals. I’m here for you and interested.

FINE PROPERTIES is a full-service agency and the #1 100% Commission real estate brokerage in our area with over 300 agents, sales volume of nearly $1 Billion, and an average of over 2000 homes sold per year from Manatee/Sarasota and surrounding counties.


5224 Paylor Lane | Sarasota 34240 941.544.6227


34 | srq magazine_ MAR23 elite agents 2023


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Compiled by Megan Mitchell

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN. srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 37
cargo 38 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local
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Kinspoke makes the magic of flowers accessible across the community. Laura Paquette

AS A CHILD, OLIVIA D’AMICO WHILED AWAY THE HOURS WEAVING FLOWER CROWNS, playing outside and discovering the beauty of nature. D’Amico, now 30, pursued a career as an artist, studying graphic design at the State College of Florida and becoming a professional graphic designer. The combination of working a 9 to 5 graphic design job while juggling various side hustles led D’Amico and friend and fellow graphic designer Elizabeth Taylor to explore other artistic ventures that allowed for greater flexibility and creativity.

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AN IDEA BEGAN TO BLOOM, AND IN 2016, THE PAIR FOUNDED KINSPOKE, a floral and art installation company. D’Amico and Taylor coined the term “Kinspoke,” meant to evoke the ways that art uses storytelling to strengthen intergenerational bonds. “In the beginning, we weren’t focused on flowers,” D’Amico adds, “and we wanted a name that gave us the flexibility to be fluid, work through different mediums and have whatever future we wanted.”

Their first project was a large women’s conference installation piece that incorporated greenery and flowers as a medium. “We fell in love with flowers as a medium, viewing them as works of art,” says D’Amico.

This open perspective has allowed the company to bounce between art installations, florist services and educational workshops without missing a beat. One of D’Amico’s favorite installations, displayed at a conference for 2,500 people, was a 1967 Mustang convertible overflowing with flowers. Another was a ceiling installation with disco balls and crepe paper accompanied by matching florals. Both installations were featured at conferences in Bradenton. Kinspoke creates custom displays for weddings, parties and private and public events. On a smaller scale, the company creates art and floral installations inside Atria Cafe in Lakewood Ranch and Oscura in Bradenton for the enjoyment of patrons.

Like traditional florists, Kinspoke offers a weekly flower menu of bouquets and arrangements with pre order options for holidays. However, D’Amico doesn’t just want people to look at the flowers; she also wants them to participate in the creation process. On a weekly basis at locations like Waterside Place and the Friendly City Flea, Kinspoke hosts pop-up bloom bars, where guests can choose from a variety of seasonal dried and fresh flowers to create their own bouquets. “We want to encourage people to be playful and to touch the flowers because people can be afraid of handling them,” says D’Amico. According to her, despite the flowers’ psychological and emotional benefits, many people don’t feel like they deserve to have them in their home.

As an artist, she’s also observed that creative projects can seem daunting to the average person, and believes that flowers can help bridge the gap between everyday objects and museum masterpieces. At Kinspoke’s workshops, D’Amico shares her years of experience with an introduction to design lesson, in which students learn about color theory, placement, the rule of thirds and other basic design principles. She enjoys watching as couples, families with young children and people of all ages explore floral design together. “I love teaching,” she adds “and workshops help us show people that flowers are an accessible medium and encourage them to bring them into their homes and play with them.”

While large-scale installations can cost up to $10,000, D’Amico ensures that workshops and bloom bars offer affordable options for all budding florists. Kinspoke also partners with Youth for Christ and The 180 House to create installations and art programs. “Beauty is a human right, and we want to make the creative process accessible for underestimated communities,” says D’Amico.

With current business partners Linda Bradshaw, Lillian Teford and Katelyn Glover, D’Amico is grateful for the way that flowers have allowed Kinspoke to walk the community through all of life’s phases, from joyous weddings to celebrations of life itself. “Because flowers are universal, everyone has a story or memory attached to their favorite flower,” she says, “and they help ground us to where we come from.” SRQ

srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 41 PHOTOGRAPHY
BY WYATT KOSTYGAN. This page: Kinspoke, kinspoke., Instagram and Facebook @ kinspoke.
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The Woven Home has a mission to create a sustainable home with quality pieces of furniture and decor. Barbie Heit

LOCATED IN SARASOTA GLASS AND MIRROR’S NEW COMMERCIAL UNIT, The Woven Home is a recentlyopened, 1400- square-foot, bright and open space featuring everything from $5 propagated plants to dressers from the 1940s, credenzas, and gently-used home decor, accents and baskets. Megan Uccello, along with her husband, Alex, are the proud owners of the brick-and-mortar store where they display and sell their products. While the couple tends to lean toward coastal bohemian style, they also feature midcentury modern and wicker items–anything that can help to make a house feel like a home.

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THREE YEARS AGO THE WOVEN HOME WAS RUNNING ENTIRELY VIRTUAL. They operated–and flourished–by posting newly-discovered decor and furniture items each week on their Facebook and Instagram pages. “We started on social media because that was the easiest way to get a business up and running during a pandemic,” says Megan. At that time, Megan, and a former business partner, were running the shop from her home, buying and selling high-quality, vintage furniture and decor. Soon, the business started to morph into a much bigger company and she found that it just wasn’t feasible to have customers shopping in her house.

Natives of Sarasota, the Uccellos feel a strong connection to the community. “We really wanted to utilize our ties to the area so we don’t travel much to source our inventory,” Megan says. “We work with social media and different local consignment shops to acquire really good pieces, and one of the big things we’ve started to do recently is to buy from our customers. So a customer can actually trade in an item and get a credit toward something new from our inventory.” This helps the Uccellos bring traffic into the store and gain new business from young couples, like themselves, who may be just starting out and unable to afford the high price of brand-new furniture.Megan, a graduate of USF, went to school for business and finance. While she felt

prepared for a job in the business world, she knew that she did not want to go down a corporate path. Alex, who has a background in real estate, also knew he wanted to do something different. As a couple, they work well together and balance each other out.

“I was blessed with the ability to curate a space, not just put a piece of furniture in it. I can look at a piece from the 70s and see how cool it could still be,” says Megan, who named her store ‘The Woven Home’ because she likes to weave different items together to make a space feel like home. Alex, who found the space for the store, has a knack for business and also takes care of moving and delivering the furniture.

“In addition to our working relationship, I think things are going well because people are realizing how expensive new furniture is and also that new furniture is not designed to be sustainable at all,” adds Alex. “We now have repeat customers and we’re seeing pieces that come back around again and again and they’re really holding up well. That truly speaks to the sustainability of older furniture.”

“We are a store for all ages, all generations,” says Megan. “We’ve had moms in our store buying for their children and one of our sweetest customers is an 81-yearold man. We love working with the whole population and getting to learn about each generation.” SRQ

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This page: The Woven Home, 5859 Murdock Avenue, Unit A. Alex: 941-955-9882; Megan: 941-374-0403. Open Saturdays, 10am-4pm and during the week by appointment only. @thewovenhomeco,



Home remains the most significant architectural place we experience throughout our lives. It represents personality, togetherness, privacy, stability and inspiration. As we continue to investigate the role that homes play in our daily lives, the annual SRQ Magazine Home of the Year Competition invites local architects, builders, interior designers and landscape artists to present us with new notions of home environments by submi ing their recent residential projects. Year a er year, the competition redefines the spaces where we live and thrive—broadening the discussion of what a home represents and what it can ultimately be with today’s building strategies, renovation techniques and regional trends. From seaside to streetside, inside and out, these award-winning domains celebrate and contribute to a growing legacy of innovative home design.



srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 49 PROGRAM PARTNER



Preserving the surrounding mature vegetation, the home was built above parking and storage nestled amongst nature. Filled with light and open to the exterior, the home provides the ultimate indoor/outdoor lifestyle afforded by the Florida climate that is suitable for entertaining friends and family. With three bedrooms, an open kitchen, dining for up to twelve, a studio, an office for two that can double as a fourth guest bedroom and a pool for swimming laps accompanied by outdoor seating and dining, it is the quintessential space for entertaining. The program elements and circulation are organized around a courtyard. The walls of sliding glass doors at the living/dining area, and the studio and office/guest bedroom opens to the courtyard, allowing the areas to communicate with each other. This separates both the house from the studio and office/guest bedroom pavilion, allowing existing trees to be visible from within the courtyard and surrounding space, while providing privacy from the adjacent house in the rear. The glass hallway of the guest wing doubles as a gallery, enriching the courtyard experience. The home provides a protected and relaxed feeling of openness. The home’s massing is designed to block views from surrounding properties and to block views of other houses surrounding the site. The home captures views of neighboring vegetation and on-site vegetation through carefully placed windows and the break in the house’s massing, while still protecting privacy. The result is a house enriched by its relationship to the exterior elements afforded by the courtyard and the views of vegetation and sky.

Architect: Seibert Architects Contractor: Yoder Homes Kitchen Cabinets: Kitchens & More | Yoder Homes Bathroom: Kitchens & More | Yoder Homes Carpets and Flooring: LaCasa Tile

Landscape: DWY Landscape Architects Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography Pool: Fox Pools Structural Engineer: Hees & Associates

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Architect: DSDG Architects Contractor: Voigt Brothers Construction Interior Design: DSDG Architects

Kitchen Cabinets: Cucini Ricci Bathroom: Ferguson Plumbing Carpets and Flooring: Design Works

Landscape: Siesta Key Landscaping Pool: Water Designs Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography

Two lots away from 2019’s Betonhaus, a larger lot allowed an opportunity for the original home design to be oriented along its north/ south axis and maximizing the views from the five bedroom suites to be fully western facing. What was once the ‘back of house’ has been transformed into the stunning front entry procession. Rather than a deterrent, design opportunities sprouted with larger overhangs, more glass, and sleek, thin roof lines. This strategy was achieved by opening the hallway corridor to become a grand gallery experience filled with glass for not only viewing from the inside but a gallery to be visible from the outside as well. The stairs and great room were reorganized for the new program and implemented as a glass volume transparent to the Sarasota Bay and beyond. The water is observed from the driveway through the house. Above the glass porthole is the gallery cube, large raked overhangs funnel the elevation into the gallery space as uplighting washes the smooth stucco plane in an artistic stroke. The nearly 5,800 square foot conditioned elevated first floor places the primary bedroom at the southern end of the home with the best view of the Ringling Causeway, and four additional bedroom suites stacking to the north. Each bedroom opens onto a continuous veranda with a view and each interior bathroom is arranged with an interior glass panel to maintain contact with the water outside in an otherwise windowless room. A lounge, laundry room, and powder room make up the remaining gallery procession. The elevated constraints of the velocity zone allow the home a cantilevered protection from the elements as it seemingly floats above the ground over an open air colonnade. Betonhaus II utilizes concepts from the Sarasota Mod style with raked beam elements and exaggerated overhangs. Structural concrete for its shell and roof and the addition of wood accents and pops of color warm the overall aesthetic and add additional layers of detail to the design. A woodlined cube pops out from the west face of the great room as the covered porch slides up against the stark white stucco volume.

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Architect: MKC Architects Contractor: Ross Built, LLC Interior Design: RH Interior Design Kitchen Cabinets: Campbell Cabinetry Landscape: Michael Gilkey Pool: Tom Sanger Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography

Located on a narrow lot on the Manatee River in Bradenton, FL, the homeowner, an architect from Ohio, drew up the first set of plans by hand. One of the main challenges of the project was just how narrow the lot was. The owner was able to design a house that was long and skinny in order to get the most out of the land. Separated into two wings, the living quarters include the kitchen, living room and dining room; the sleeping quarters include the bedrooms, bathrooms, media room, office and the stairwell. Dividing the spaces up into two sections allowed for tall, vaulted ceilings in the living spaces while creating unique, practical sleeping quarters. The idea of the design was for the front of the property to transition seamlessly to the back. This was accomplished by having a walking path start before the entrance and continue through the house between the two sections and carry on all the way into the backyard. This home was designed to be as practical as possible, while maintaining interesting architectural details. Indoor-outdoor living was very important to the homeowner which is why outdoor living spaces connect seamlessly to the interior of the home. This home features an outdoor kitchen and living area, hot tub, large pool, separate lap pool, and fireplace making it the ultimate Florida vacation home.

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The custom design of this L-shaped residence sits on a trapezoidal waterfront site on Longboat Key, taking full advantage of the unusual shape of the parcel. The floor plan was designed to cradle an outdoor shaded room facing the long view across Sarasota Bay while the interior rooms were positioned around the bayfront porch which houses the raised pool and spa. The L-shaped plan together with the elevated courtyard adds to the perceived size of the house. As the residence turns its back against a crowded neighboring property, the outdoor shaded room opens to the expansive views over Sarasota Bay. The house stair-steps along both side yards to meeting the daylight plane zoning requirement. Aluminum perforated stairs emerge out of the house, suspended more than twenty feet above the pool to provide access to a roo op terrace. The roo op terrace provides additional shade to the pool and terrace areas below without impacting the view by utilizing slim evenly-spaced steel columns. A custom steel shade structure was designed to span long distances over the pool and to keep the roof profile as thin as possible resulting in an open and airy tropical atmosphere. Five sliders pocket into the wall along the pool terrace bringing the outside into the living room creating light and adding openness to the living space. A glass bridge running the length of the house from the entry foyer to the dining room is aligned with a linear skylight above bringing unexpected daylight to the entry sequence. Two double-height spaces bookend the glass bridge, one at the entry and another facing Sarasota Bay, creating an open axis running the length of the house connecting the entry and Sarasota Bay.

Carpets and
Vincent L. Fugge a Jr. LLC Custom Steel Fabricaton: Modulo Roofing: Feeney Roofing Electrical: B+B Electrical Innovations Structural: MCE Photographer:
BEST OVERALL HOME OVER $2 MILLION SILVER srq magazine_ MAR23 live local | 55
+ Contractor: Halflants + Piche
Interior Design: Halflants + Piche e Kitchen Cabinets: Finecra Custom Cabinetry Bathroom: Finecra Custom Cabinetry/ Volcano Stone/ Sarasota Glass
Flooring: Floors
Coast Outdoor Services Pool:
Seamus Payne



The property is located in a flood zone, which requires the finish floor to be elevated 11 feet above sea level and includes a small area on the ground floor dedicated to entry. The project consists of three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, outdoor living on the ground, and first-floor level kitchen, dining, study, and laundry. The clients have an appreciation for the architecture of their native country of Venezuela and the use of honest materials. They wanted the building constructed using raw materials that are exposed or have not been significantly altered and responded to the site with unobstructed views of the bay. The building is comprised of four primary materials: board-formed concrete, Cedar wood, galvanized steel, and impact glass. The material pale e is honest and straightforward. The footprint of the property is relatively small for the area. A strategy of folding in the walls from the exterior facade was employed to allow light and views to the water from interior spaces of the house. The move creates a dynamic facade that directly relates to the interior program. The south facade has a 14-foot overhang in the main living area to allow for unobstructed views to the bay while blocking out the most intense southern sunlight. The form of the building is influenced by Sarasota’s preeminent environmental and regional architect Paul Rudolph. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Rudolph introduced a new building typology to the Gulf Coast of Florida that responded directly to its microclimate and used passive systems to cool and shade the structures. Bay House is a study and interpretation of ideas that remain relevant today.

Architect: Damien Blume i Architect

Interior Design: Kathy Bush at Home Resource Kitchen Cabinets: B&B Cabinets Bathroom: B&B Cabinets Carpets and Flooring: BMMI (concrete floors) & Gulf Coast Stucco Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography

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Architect: DSDG Architects Contractor: Voigt Brothers Construction Interior

Design: DSDG Architects Kitchen

Cabinets: Finecra Custom Cabinetry

Bathroom: Ferguson Plumbing Carpets and Flooring: Sticks & Stones Flooring/ Weird Science Concrete Floor Landscape: Borden Landscape Design Pool: JT’s

Custom Pools Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography



Overlooking Manasota Key’s eastern shoreline, seven hundred lineal feet of seawall frontage has this home situated in the middle of the lot, further from the waterfront setback requirements. This gesture also preserves several grand oak trees on either end of the house. The minimalist home totals nearly 2,500 square feet of conditioned space and is punctuated with three hundred square feet of covered outdoor living that cascades to an 1,800 square foot pool deck with an integrated spa and pool. The hardscape is so ened with elevated planter areas, small-run staircases, and artificial turf to break up the typical flat sea of concrete decks. The interior of this split-level home features three bedrooms and three bathrooms organized around a large great room area. The childrens’ rooms and primary bedrooms flank each end of the double height great room as three distinct exterior volumes are unified through an expansive clerestory ribbon window allowing natural diffused light into the space. The minimalist aesthetic is achieved by using raw concrete on the exterior and interior styling. Architectural concrete encapsulates the entry with a floating floor and cantilevered roof. An aggressively angled wall fits between those floating elements and draws guests toward the front door. The exposed concept is then carried to the interior spaces with a polished concrete main level slab and continues to the rear deck with exposed shell top concrete pavers at the pool. The concrete was planned and executed to be the contrasting element to a minimal pale e of white stucco and glass.

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This interior design project centers around the view of Sarasota Bay. The goal was to create a cohesive and visually appealing environment that was aesthetically different from the client’s traditional midwest home in Chicago. It is always challenging to step into a space that the firm didn’t develop from the beginning. The design process typically begins with a consultation with the client to understand their vision, style preferences, and functional requirements for the space. The designer creates a design plan that includes a detailed layout, color pale e, furniture and decor selections, and lighting and finishes. This project relied on furniture and fixtures to create a space that reflected the owner’s personality. The design team worked to provide a design style with muted tones, a few accent colors, and an immersion into different textiles, knowing the client wanted to depart from their usual traditional style. Without bright colors to detract from the panorama, the space is filled with clean lines and neutral colors, creating a calming and inviting atmosphere. Neutral tones add warmth and texture to the space. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame the stunning views of the Bay and provide a visual anchor. Started just before Covid, the project faced challenges with lead times and items on hold. The design team managed client expectations through a high level of communication. The design team was brought in before construction began to pick finishes from what was available. By mixing the four or five options available to the owner, the team created something unique to their unit. Overall, the design aims to escape from the client’s traditional decor used in their northern home by creating a serene and stylish space for their southern retreat.

Architect: Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors Closets/Built-Ins: Elite Woodwork Photographer: Venjamin Reyes
60 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local BEST OVERALL INTERIOR DESIGN



This stunning home was built along a river, on land inherited from the client’s grandparents, where the client grew up. We used the home’s name and se ing as a theme throughout the design, bringing in nature. The client wanted an eclectic, Boho California Coastal design, so we brought in playful hints of color and grounding natural elements. The custom 12-foot, live-edge table and 5-foot tall ra an chandeliers in the kitchen are beautiful statements in this main living area. The focus in the living room was to accent the incredible view of the river. We designed a relaxing space highlighted with a sandstone fireplace and California Boho elements in the pillows, coffee table and chairs. An inviting upgrade was given to the master bedroom by using colors found throughout the home in richer, bolder hues. It was important to bring in the client’s favorite colors; blue and pink, layering in elements that made this space feel like home. When it came to the oldest daughter’s bedroom, we spared no expense when creating the California Boho vibe she also loves. We gave her a custom ra an bed and ra an hanging chair, accented with amazing black and white palm tree wallpaper. We wanted guests to say “wow” in the pool bathroom with a mix of geometric tiles on the floor and handcra ed 2 x 3 tiles in the shower, rising 10 feet to the ceiling. Moroccan tiles and natural tan colors give a fun surprise as you enter the grand entryway. We used 3 inch furring strips on the entry wall, adding interest and dimension, while camouflaging the half concrete, half drywall wall since the home is on the water. We also made use of the space under the stairs by installing a refrigerated wine cellar.

62 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local BEST OVERALL INTERIOR DESIGN
Builder: Johnson Homes of West Florida, Inc. Interior Design: Amy Lou Interiors, LLC Kitchen Cabinets: Cabinet Creations, LLC Carpets and Flooring: Prosource of Sarasota Photographer: Jimmy White Photography
2023 2023 2023

Architect: Phipps Home Design Contractor and Builder: Voigt Brothers (Mike Voigt and Doug Horton)

Interior Design: Blu Interiors Kitchen Cabinets: Campbell Cabinets Landscape: Mullet Brothers Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography


This home is a fresh and serene environment that would accommodate the whole family. The variety of textures and neutral colors make this space feel cozy and inviting. Tactile products like textured wallcoverings, sisals, linens and plush fabrics are seen throughout the home to create a modern, comfortable, coastal vibe. Our client felt strongly about using li le to no color throughout the home, which aligned with our vision as well. The overall design goal was to consider the location and make the house feel coastal without being cliché coastal, and use clean lines to create a modern aesthetic. This became the client’s Shore House. Originally, the home was built as a guest house by the original owner/next door neighbor, so some of the spaces were a li le small to work with. This just meant we had to maximize every inch. Every corner, shelf, coffee table, and countertop was carefully curated and accessorized. The client purchased the property early during construction, so we were able to select every material as if it were a new construction build. Some interesting elements throughout the home are the river rock installation on the stair wall. This wall is adorned with a custom light fixture made of bamboo. The floating shelves in the kitchen are made of the same quartz material used on the countertop and backsplash to really simplify the design, aiming for an unfussy aesthetic. Each shelf weighing almost 200 lbs has a mitered edge creating a more substantial look than just using the standard thickness of the material.

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The custom design is based on a British West Indies style with a coastal contemporary open concept flair. The design of the home incorporated intricate interior and exterior elements that were inspired by the homeowners’ global travels to the Far East and French Polynesia. Given the blend of unique elements this house is filled with beautiful interior design details designed by Studio Santa Maria in close collaboration with the homeowners. We worked together with the residential designer and the builder to ensure the overall design was cohesive from exterior to the interior. The corner bay and canal location of the home accentuates the incredible views of Sarasota Bay. Driven by an open concept, these open-water views can be enjoyed through the entire home. The selection of the tile work by the homeowners brought the elements of waves and water into the home. The four-sided glass wine room is surrounded by the free-floating stairs. The use of glass showcases the wine room from different angles with custom lighting. The interior selections were all specified in a neutral pale e that is enhanced with color in the accessories creating a timeless elegance allowing for possible future modifications. Walnut doors and intricate woodwork with custom stain provide a warm balance. Custom drapery pockets including custom-cut beams were designed in order to ensure the structure would conceal all roller shades. This home is equipped with one of the most advanced home automation systems, high-fidelity interior and exterior sound and Ketra lighting allowing various color se ings and temperatures during different times of the day to create colorful unique se ings for entertaining. The home truly changes its personality throughout the day and night.

66 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local BEST OVERALL INTERIOR DESIGN
Architect: J King Designs - Justin King - Residential Designer Builder: Murray Homes Interior Design: Studio Santa Maria (Ana Santa Maria) Kitchen Cabinets: Farmwald Cabinetry & Design (John Farmwald) Bathroom: Peter Maticsek Tile Carpets and Flooring: Sticks & Stone Landscape: Hazeltine Nurseries Pool: Water Designs Home Automation: Smart House Integration Furniture: Robb & Stucky Photographer: Mark Borosch
2023 2023 2023




The goal of the design was to create a home that was comfortable, sophisticated, bright and airy with a coastal flare. The home has a feeling of refined comfort with coastal elements in every space. The homeowners really wanted to customize their builder-standard home, so Trade Mark Interiors made sure to include custom built-ins and unique light fixtures and they were able to propose additional details once construction was completed. Lake Club was designed for a family with adult and teenage children, and as the homeowner’s children began to start their own families, Trade Mark Interiors aimed to create a space for family members of all ages to be able to relax and unwind. This home is rich in texture and layered with livable materials. The coastal theme is rooted in the blue kitchen design and expands from there, carrying hints of blue throughout. Comfort was a top priority for the homeowners, and Trade Mark Interiors was able to source aesthetically pleasing, functional and comfortable furniture. Performance fabrics and easy-toclean fabrics were sourced in all of the main furnishings. Impactful and stand-out art was selected to bring color into the home. Each of the spaces in the home are unique, but the coastal theme throughout creates a beautiful cohesive feel.

68 | srq magazine_ MAR23 live local BEST OVERALL INTERIOR DESIGN
Builder: Stock Custom Homes Interior Design: Trade Mark Interiors Furniture Vendors: Arteriors, Currey, Brown Jordan, Palecek, Philip Jeffries, Surya, Vanguard, Century Photography: Nicholas Ferris



Centrally located within the great room, the Pointe kitchen boasts fi een-foot-tall ceilings. The single island layout is flanked by a living room and dining room which each open onto an outdoor deck. The ten-foot-tall sliding-glass doors provide cover from rain as the fi een-foot-high clerestory ribbon windows flood an impressive amount of light across the ceiling, naturally brightening the space with ambient a ernoon light. The lighting responds to the biophilic need to connect with the outdoor natural environment. The minimalist yet cozy style is achieved by using raw concrete on the interior flooring. The exposed concrete is polished, stained, and sealed to create harmony with the exterior elements and contrast the white interior pale e. A vivid white waterfall edge island countertop is paired with Aspen white lacquered cabinetry for a white-out flush style. The inside of the island waterfall is clad with a contrasting wood grain panel coordinating with the kitchen feature wall beyond. That floor to ceiling feature anchors the room and mirrors the opposing fireplace feature wall. Touch latches and brushed-metal spacer strips create a clean vertical element as horizontal grain grounds the cabinetry. The pantry is tucked to the side of this element, almost hidden behind a flush pocket door for additional storage.

Architect: DSDG Architects Contractor: Voigt Brothers Construction Interior Design: DSDG Architects

Kitchen Cabinets: Finecra Custom Cabinetry Bathroom: Ferguson Plumbing Carpet and Flooring: Weird Science Concrete Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography

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2021-Best of SRQ Logo-SilverWinner.indd 1 3/14/21 11:05 AM 2023


Contractor: Premium Group Construction Inc. Interior

Design: Interni Design Center (Carolina Ramirez)

Photographer: Lo Architecture Photography

This project was the gu ing and reconstruction of a two-story Gulf front condominium in a midrise building on a barrier island. The owner’s project requirements were to create interiors maximizing the value of the 2-story-tall unit for minimum cost. Primary design goals were to maximize views to the Gulf of Mexico and beach and maximize functionality. A secondary design goal was to create a warm engaging interior composition with unique features of luxury and refinement. Implementation of functionality maximization led to construction of an additional second floor area inside the existing unit (added 500sf), changing the residence from three bedrooms and three and one half baths to five bedrooms and five and one half baths. Views were optimized by redesigning the floor plan and removing a stair at a window wall and constructing a new glass and steel stair near the unit entrance, opening up the view. Much interior demolition and a totally redesigned plan created entertainment space for adults and separate play/entertainment for children, such that both activities could occur simultaneously without cross interference. A design/build approach was undertaken with construction handled by the designer. Challenges included ge ing outsized construction materials nine stories above the beach level by manually hoisting from the ground with ropes routed over balcony guardrails. Unique original Interior design elements were fabricated by hand by the designer including split ceramic tile installations, a wine room see-thru wine storage rack, a mosaic tile installation designed and installed by the designer, and hand assembled crystal chandeliers. The designer designed and constructed a backlit translucent onyx fireplace surrounded in colors complimenting the sand color of the beach. Repurposed cabinetry owned by the client was incorporated in kitchen, laundry and closet areas, saving construction cost, and handmade decorative murals were executed in multimedia on various walls to add textural interest.

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The constraints of designing to resist a highvelocity wind zone on this site led to a raised volume that stretches the horizontal aspect. Well above the FEMA elevation, the horizontal loading of western facing rooms allows natural, uniform lighting year round through sliding glass doors which double for passive ventilation. Using ultra-high performance windows and glass conserves energy loss with a low solar heat gain and thermally broken frames. Tankless water heaters, low-flow toilets, and a water filtration system provide water efficiency to the home. Four 18 SEER, variable speed, HVAC systems are zoned to provide a comfortable indoor environment in each room as needed. Sympathetic toward nature and its footprint on it, the home was moved several times during the planning phase to avoid disturbing the eleven existing oak trees on site. Deteriorating from years of invasive plant growth, the existing precast concrete retaining wall was reinforced and improved to give wave-break shelter from Sarasota Bay and combat rising sea levels. Only Florida native and drought tolerant plantings were used to limit the amount of irrigation needed to keep the property looking tropical. Given its name, the structural elements of this home are on display. Large columns elevate the home to a concrete floor system. The narrow floor system was also desired for the roof construction. A concrete roof was designed to match the minimal thickness of the floor as the white thermoplastic roof not only waterproofs the home but reflects solar heat gain. The gentle sloping concrete roof allowed a place for this home’s greatest feature, a 50kw solar array. Affixed in a way to fully power this nearly eight thousand square-foot house. The excess power produced, when not used by the home, is fed back into the city power grid.

Architect: DSDG Architects Contractor: Voigt Brothers Construction Interior Design: DSDG Architects Bathroom: Ferguson Plumbing Carpets and Flooring: Design Works at West Florida Distributors Landscape: Siesta Key Landscaping Pool: Water Designs Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography



Hugo Mijares is an award winning and ideas-focused design practice established by Hugo Mijares in Miami in late 2008.

In the same year the practice was selected by the American Institute of Architects for the ‘Emerging Young Architects’ Houses Tour which has been widely published, both locally and internationally. The practice distills a holistic detail design and process-led approach in the delivery of highly creative and pragmatic solutions that resonate conceptual rigor and material invention. Hugo Mijares engages with clients who share in the reward of accomplishing bold visions to enrich their daily lives, who prioritize quality over quantity, and who place value in a chieving inventive and well-cra ed spaces that are meticulously detailed and finished.


David Poorman’s childhood was a blend of farm and beach, having moved at an early age from Ohio to Naples, Florida. A er enrolling in the architecture program at St. Petersburg Junior College, he went on to receive a Bachelor of Design from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Architecture from Princeton University. He lived for ten years in downtown Chicago, working and travelling for Perkins and Will and then for David Woodhouse Architects. In 2010, David established David Poorman Architect LLC (DPA) in Naples, an award-winning firm specializing in small-scale residential and commercial projects inspired and informed by Florida’s natural resources and climate.


Bruce Sparano is a licensed architect in the Untied States. He practices residential, municipal and commercial architecture, in addition to real estate consultation and development.  Bruce is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the United States Green Building Council, the Preservation League of New York State, and the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.

—Thank you to the 2023 Home of the Year Awards Judges for their insights in this year’s competition

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Local home experts share guidance and hottest trends for new ideas and inspiration in building and decorating.


Longing for the look of simple luxury in your space? Take trends into your home by including large format tile when revamping your residential kitchen, outdoor space, or bathrooms. Large-format porcelain tiles offer a contemporary design aesthetic that shine with practicality in performance. The ever popular 48” x 48” size offers a uniform and continuous look, giving your space a composed and clean aesthetic. Largersized tile means less grout joints, so say hello to an easy-breezy maintenance process! This trend doesn’t stop at your floors – include the visual appeal on your walls as well. Create a personal wow-factor by incorporating 4” x 9” tile slabs on your fireplace – guaranteed to make it hot! Florida Design Works is dedicated to help transform your next remodel or new-build project with any of the 40,000+ exclusive products available through our showroom. Contact us or stop by one of our showrooms today!



Two trends in tile have fully captured the hearts of Southwest Florida homeowners: wood-look plank tile and rich, swirly, polished stone-look tile. You can now enjoy them combined for a fresh, exciting, and timeless look. Wood plank tile brings the beauty and warmth of wood to a new level when installed as a wall tile and combined with large format polished porcelain stone looks. Polished stone tile adds a sense of Zen-like movement to the floor of this space as a result of its large format. The result is a warm inviting space that comfortably blends contemporary and rustic elements, verticality and horizontality, rectangles and squares, matte with polished, and marvelous subtle natural looking stone and wood variations. You’ll find these looks and more at Tile Outlets of America, established in 2002, and with stores in Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Tampa. Visit for hours and directions.


Guided by their company core value of “unquestionable integrity,” Yoder Homes is a well-established contractor specializing in custom-build homes, remodeling projects, room additions, and historical renovations. Over the past decade, Yoder Homes has built a reputation as a reliable source for homeowners looking for a superior level of expertise and proficiency to incorporate unique interior features into their homes. From Coastal Contemporary to Traditional Modern, Yoder Homes implements these highly sought-after styles through the use of natural materials and clean rectangular lines. Inside the home, phone app-driven products—such as smart appliances, lighting controls, robotic vacuums, door locking mechanisms, and transitional window films—are also growing in popularity. With extensive experience in the field, Yoder Homes brings expert planning, design, and craftsmanship to every project. Their team can work directly with clients from start to finish or can collaborate with architects to manage the construction side of a project. Yoder Homes also offers custom cabinetry, storage solutions, hardware installation, flooring and window coverings, and maintains a state-of-the-art showroom to display their wide range of high-quality cabinetry and resources. Whether a client is seeking a new home or looking to renovate, Yoder Homes is dedicated to incorporating practices that support longterm sustainability to projects so integrity and craftsmanship can be enjoyed well into the future.



M&M Wallcoverings and Blinds has been a leader in the sale of high-quality Hunter Douglas blinds, shades and shutters for three decades. M&M’s 3,000 square foot gallery showcases operable Hunter Douglas window treatments as well as the company’s large display of wallcoverings, custom draperies, valances, upholstery, bedding and pillows. Clients are able to test and operate M&M Wallcoverings and Blinds’ exciting displays of motorized window treatments. Both on trend and now available at a more accessible price point, motorization capabilities have been integrated into the popular Solar Shade style as well as Silhouette, Pirouette, and Duette styles. M&M has also shared that wallcoverings are increasing in popularity. From Grass Weaves to bold, geometric patterns, clients are opting to create focal walls that tie the colors and decorative elements in their rooms together. Also trending for 2023—tailored draperies and stationary side panels that frame windows by adding texture, pattern, and color. The possibilities are wide ranging so M&M offers their expert decorating services, product knowledge, and passion for their trade in the form of in-home consultations, which are always free of charge. A family-owned and operated business, M&M Wallcoverings is proud to have been named a premier Hunter Douglas gallery. This allows for M&M to provide the very highest quality at very competitive pricing.




4500 Carmichael Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34234

(941) 355-2703


4801 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 7

Sarasota, FL 34231

(941) 925-7800


500 Central Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 758-4028


4088 Cattlemen Road

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 549-8453


Below: Corn ribs are infused with Szechuan spice powder, brown butter and maple sauce for a gluten-free mouthful.



Florence and the Spice Boys left their food truck behind to bring culinary joy to the Landings.


IT FEELS ALIVE. When you first walk into Florence and the Spice Boys, the globally-inspired fast-casual eatery in the Landings, you’ll notice an energy here that you don’t always find in this area. Whether it’s the variety of lush, dangling plants, the cookbooks from around the world, the Bohemian hints in the decor, the intriguing flavor combinations of the cuisine, the diverse clientele or all those curious onlookers who stop in front of the wide open entryway and stare inside … there’s a liveliness here. Call it curiosity. Call it excitement. Call it a culinary revolution. You’d be right. Florence and the Spice Boys is the latest offering from chef Steven Schmitt and his wife, Florence Schmitt, and their friend and business partner, Carl Kolber. The trio introduced itself to the area as a food truck, delighting local foodies with their Israeli-style chicken shawarma, and were so successful that the move to brick-and-mortar was inevitable. After months of planning, and months of answering fans’ constant Facebook questions of when with a simple refrain of soon, their vision became reality.


They all met years ago in Europe. Steven, who grew up all over Europe but mainly in Germany and Carl, who grew up mostly in Sweden, met through Carl’s sister when they were both at separate boarding schools. They ended up at the European Business School London, where Florence came into the picture. The story of how they graduated from friends to Spice Boys starts — as most innovation stories do — with a bit of failure … the good kind, though. Kolber was set to launch a restaurant concept in Manhattan, and when the deal fell through, he wasn’t sure where his next opportunity would take him.

“I kept on telling him, you’re crazy for trying to do this in Manhattan for your first project,” Steven Schmitt says. “You should go to a town like Sarasota because it’s wide open here. There’s a lot you can do that hasn’t been done, you know? And you can do something different and you can stand out a little bit.”

Kolber was interested, but he needed a chef. Steven Schmitt, now 41, had been there/done that, and he wasn’t eager to go back to the grueling kitchen lifestyle he experienced early in his career. “I had made my peace with this industry and left it behind,” Steven says, “ but Carl’s passion for the hospitality industry was infectious.” A partnership was formed, a concept was developed. They could have gone all-in on a brick-and-mortar restaurant from the outset, but they opted instead to start small with a food truck. They called it Spice Boys, and originally it was just Steven and Carl mainly working in temperatures that could soar to 135 degrees on those mid-summer days. Florence started taking a more active role as the face of the operation, and the food truck really started taking off.

If you saw them at street fests and events around town, chances are you witnessed some long lines. They kept the menu simple. One thing was clear though: the partnership worked. “Carl is really the engine that keeps the whole thing ticking,” Steven Schmitt says.

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This page, left to right: Juicy chicken thigh meat, pickled slaw, mild banana peppers, egg, tahini and a homemade zhug delicately layer themsevles on a fluffy pita. Rev up your taste buds with the warmth of the sweet potato with Japanese goma dare sesame sauce, Szechuan chili oil and crispy tofu.

Plan a Visit

Florence and the Spice Boys is open

Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4990 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information call 941-405-3890 or visit

Florence and the Spice Boys on Instagram @ florenceandthespiceboys


To say that Kolber and the Schmitts are well-traveled is a vast understatement. Their globetrotting makes the Johnny Cash song lyrics in “I’ve Been Everywhere” read like a preschool primer. And every place they’ve visited —India, China, Japan, the Middle East, every corner of Europe—serves as inspiration for this menu. The chicken shawarma tacos are a perfect example. To start, the taco “shell” in this case is a pita. Shawarma in itself isn’t particularly novel. It’s marinated chicken thighs that are grilled rather than cooked vertically as you’ll see a lot of shawarma prepared around the world. There’s a house-made pickled slaw on top that gives it a nice crunch and an easy-on-the-eyes pop of purple. But, as Kolber points out, “the sauce combo is what makes it so flavorful.” He’s referring, of course, to the trio of house-made tahini, zhug, and amba.

All three are created in-house, and all three have Middle Eastern origins, with the tahini bringing a more earthy flavor, the amba bringing sweetness from the mango, and the Yemeni zhug carrying a spicy herbforward sauce akin to a chimichurri. To top it all off, there’s a quartered egg that is served at that blissful point between soft-boiled and hard-boiled. It’s a chord in a beautifully composed song, but it’s a great one.

“If you put an egg in the boiler for seven minutes, then take it out and put it in an ice bath, it will be approximately like ours,” Kolber says. “Just perfect.”

No dish on Florence and the Spice Boys’ menu is just one thing. These flavors are complex without requiring more conservative diners to step too far out of their comfort zone. “I don’t like rules,” Steven Schmitt says. Call it inventive. Call it delicious. Just be careful if you call it fusion. The team isn’t throwing together flavors from around the world for the sake of a marketing ploy or a selling point. The fusion you find at Florence and the Spice Boys is a reflection of their tastes, interests and passions. “It really does work because it’s genuine,” Florence Schmitt says.

The house-made hummus, for example, is the result of Kolber’s obsession with recreating the hummus he loved when he was young. “It was me spending the summer in Istanbul, Beirut, all over Israel, just with the specific purpose of investigating, how do I create the hummus that I like?” Kolber says. “And they’re all

different depending on where you are. So picking up little techniques, paying people to give me some tips, talking to managers, grabbing cooks, taking notes. That’s the kind of stuff I love doing.” It took between 20 and 30 iterations before he landed on the version that is lovingly brought to your table.

Every recipe is like that. There’s the place where they first tried a spice, a sauce, an ingredient. There’s the journey to recreate it. There’s the challenge to make it palatable and appealing to a broad audience. And there are dishes that seem to just . . . happen . . . like the turmeric fried chicken sandwich.

It’s a Kerala, India-inspired fried chicken recipe that uses a chicken thigh, plus a Japanese kewpie mayo (often the secret ingredient in the sauces that make some restaurants famous). The sandwich is also served with two types of pickles ( a house-made radish pickle and a more traditional dill pickle) and a pile of that crunchy purple slaw. It’s all topped with a Japanese okonomi sauce that reads like a sweeter Worcestershire.

That one came together after a visit to London’s Kricket, an Indian-inspired restaurant with multiple locations. Steven loved their Kerala fried chicken, and like Kolber’s approach to hummus, went about learning how to recreate it. “I think,” Steven Schmitt says of the creation, “that was just me playing around.”

No inventive fast-casual concept would be complete without a couple of snacky dessert options, and Florence and the Spice Boys have one that is sure to excite the kiddos. The Spice Boys cookie uses Goldfish crackers—yep, the ones that parents of toddlers find strewn in the nether regions of couches and cars—to create an especially crunchy chocolate chip cookie. Florence invented it herself, taking inspiration from Milk Bar CEO Christina Tosi.

“I am historically a terrible baker,” Florence Schmitt says. “Really one of the world’s worst bakers my whole life.” What she lacked in baking skills she made up for in a thirst, er, sweet tooth, for knowledge. “I persevered because I always wanted to be one of those moms who could bake,” she says. So, she went to work taking Tosi’s courses, learning the science behind baking, and now her cookie is a must-add to any Florence and the Spice Boys order.


For Kolber, who was supposed to open his first restaurant in Manhattan, the Spice Boys—and now Florence and the Spice Boys—has never felt like second prize. “This is the dream,” he says. “And the dream of where it all leads could be all kinds of things down the road.” Multiple locations? Maybe. A new concept? Sure. Just like their cuisine, nothing is off limits at this point. After all, there are no rules. SRQ

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The first thing you should know about the food truck scene in the Sarasota-Manatee area is that this is a tight-knit community. They talk, collaborate, commiserate and share everything from a cup of sugar to advice on refrigerator repair to social media marketing advice. And the winner in this equation? It’s you, the diner, of course. We wanted to know what it takes to run a successful food truck here, so we found six of the area’s most popular, from mainstays to newbies.


Lessons learned from six of the area’s most memorable mobile eateries.


AT THE BEATING HEART OF THE LOCAL FOOD TRUCK COMMUNITY IS LORA RUST, owner of Smokin’ Momma Lora’s. She’s been delighting locals and tourists alike with her barbecue for 13 years. She’s also seen as a de facto matriarch for the food truck community. Need advice on sourcing ingredients? Ask Lora. Need to know if an event organizer is treating you fairly? Ask Lora. Need a plate of smoky, tender, delicious pulled pork? Ask Lora. Rust, a Tennessee native, recognizes that Florida tends to be a bit of a melting pot for barbecue tastes. That inspired her to specialize in sauces. “I make every kind of sauce out there,” she says. “I have an Alabama white, I have a North Carolina, South Carolina, people love the sweet, the honey barbecue. I love making the sauces because I can’t pick the one that I like the most.” Rust is also helping the next generation of food truckers find their footing, including Birria Station owner and food truck novice Bryan Tapia. He says he’s asked Rust and other food truck owners countless questions, every one of which they’ve happily answered. “I owe it to them for paving the way for me,” Tapia says, “and I will do the same to the next person who asks me questions about starting a food truck.”

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LESSON LEARNED A rising tide lifts all trucks.
This page: A visit to Smokin’ Momma Lora’s is a must for local and visiting bbq fans.


IT MAY NOT BE EXACTLY WHAT YOU’D EXPECT FROM A SELF-DESCRIBED “very Slovak/Irish-looking white girl,” but the Asian- and Hawaiianinspired cuisine coming from Bridgett Killik’s truck, Killik’s Kitchen, is legit. While Killik grew up in Florida, she spent five years working in Hawaiian kitchens, learning the intricacies of some of the state’s traditional favorites. She originally opened the food truck in Colorado in a four-foot-by-six-foot trailer that Killik says could “barely hold three people.” She’s since graduated to a larger space and moved back to Florida a year and a half ago. “Business has been great ever since, really,” she says. That includes one of her most popular dishes, a Kahlua pork bowl. Everything on the truck is scratch-made, including the pork, which cooks anywhere from six to 10 hours. Killik’s number one seller is a bento box of handmade mango salsa, teriyaki chicken, pineapple, Asian slaw, and rice. Killik’s signature cuisine goes far beyond the physical ingredients though. In Hawaiian kitchens, she learned the meaning of the word aloha, which is thought to have as many as 200 meanings depending on the context. “They would always say, ‘You have to put the aloha into your food,’ which is like love,” she says. “You really learn the beauty of understanding food and showing that love.”

LESSON LEARNED It helps to bring a little aloha to your community.

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This spread, left to righ: Left: Rust serves up finger-lickin’ bbq with a smile. Right: Bridgett Killik of Killik’s Kitchen keeps her customers happy with Hawaiin-inspired dishes like Korean beef wonton tacos, bang-bang shrimp eggrolls and her famous teriyaki bento bowl.


IT’S NO SECRET THAT SARASOTA IS A FAVORITE LANDING SPOT FOR RELOCATED CANADIANS— both temporary and permanent. One such immigrant is Quebec native Eric Primeau, owner of the Florida Poutine Co. food truck. For those who may not have had the good fortune to dig into a heaping serving of poutine, Canada’s national dish is a simple melange of crispy French fries, brown gravy and melty cheese curds. If you join the majority of humans in having an affinity for all three ingredients separately, you’re nearly guaranteed to love poutine as much as Primeau. A 25-year-veteran of the information-technology industry, Primeau moved here permanently in 2013. He set out to find his beloved poutine only to come up empty. He decided to make it for himself, but there was one glaring problem: the closest place to find quality cheese curds is roughly 1,400 miles to the north in Wisconsin. He took matters into his own hands, starting with the curds. Not only did he have to teach himself how to make them from scratch, but he also needed to learn how to do it in Florida, where the humidity can wreak havoc on the process. Over time, his gravy and French fry recipes evolved. Now, his food truck is a regular destination for relocated Canadians and part-time residents. He’s lost count of how many of his countrymen have connected over his poutine. He’s even introduced this beautiful dish to a generation of American first-timers. Primeau hangs out of his food truck and offers samples — “Costco style” as he puts it. They need to taste it, he says, because “there’s no way that I can explain to you, fries, gravy and cheese and make it sound sexy,” he says. “But then you shove it in your mouth.” He pauses. “Yeah. Wow. Then you understand.”

LESSON LEARNED There’s a sweet spot between nostalgia and comfort.

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OF ALL THE FOOD TRUCKS IN THIS PIECE, THE NEWEST IS BRYAN TAPIA, whose Birria Station launched late last year and found immediate success by focusing on a Mexican favorite: Birria tacos. After spending 14 years enlisted with the Florida National Guard, where he rose to the rank of sergeant, Tapia faced a career change. He remembered making Birria for his colleagues and receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews and he went to work learning the food truck business, networking with fellow truck-based chefs and perfecting his signature recipe. Perhaps most importantly, however, his experience with the Florida National Guard prepared him for the unpredictable nature of food truck ownership. A sergeant once told him, “There’s always a solution for everything.” Tapia has taken this lesson to heart with Birria Station.

“Every hiccup, every hardship, every craziness, everything life throws at you,” he says, “there’s always a solution for everything. Find that solution and reach that outcome. I use that saying in life and the way I run my business.” Tapia’s military training kicked in on his very first assignment. A local festival had a food truck drop out at the last minute, and he had some birria meat leftover from a cancelation the night before due to weather but wasn’t sure if he had enough to meet the needs of this particularly well-attended event.

“That’s when my military and restaurant experience kicked in and I had to find a solution to the problem,” he says. “I had to prioritize what needs to be done first, which was the meat.” He reached out to the owner of another successful local food truck, Nas’ Philly Steak, to gauge how much food he needed to prepare. “To have made enough food and sell out after a full day of planning and trying to find a solution to the problem, it was an amazing experience as my first event.”

LESSON LEARNED There’s always a solution.

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Left: Left, Eric Primeau offers Canadian comfort food to poutineloving Floridians. This page: Birria Station owner and taco maker Bryan Tapia prepares delicious slow-cooked tender meat for his Birria taco plates.


AFTER ABOUT FIVE YEARS OF RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL MOBILE HOT DOG CART, Alexis Jeter and her mom, Dee, were ready to take the next leap: a food truck. So, in December 2021, Dee’z Diner — the food truck — took to the streets. Since then, the Jeters have been serving up some of the best mobile diner food you’ll find from Palmetto to Punta Gorda. You’ll find traditional diner favorites here, like burgers, gyros, patty melts, and Philly cheesesteaks, but they’re anything but average. Dee’z is taking comfort food to the next level with toppings galore, fresh ingredients, and out-of-this world portions at very affordable prices. So crave-able are these half-pound and full-pound (fresh, never frozen) burgers that the truck recently missed being named the area’s best burger at the Sarasota Beer and Burger Festival by a single vote, coming in a very close second place. The truck harkens back to its hot dog cart roots as well. Dee is a Michigan native and has perfected her version of the Detroit-style Coney Island hot dog over the years. It’s an all-beef hot dog covered in mustard, chili cheese, onions and all beef (no beans) chili. “We’re as real as it gets,” Alexis Jeter, who runs the truck’s very active social media presence, says. But the coolest part of running a food truck? Jeter says it’s “getting to travel and getting to put smiles on people’s faces because the quality of the food is so good. We get to bring the restaurant to them, and that’s just a really cool experience itself.”

LESSON LEARNED Food trucks are a family affair.


FOR YEARS, VADA AND ALAN KEHRER DREAMED OF OWNING A FOOD TRUCK. Turning that dream into reality, however, wasn’t going to be easy. The couple owned a lawncare business together and Vada teaches third grade at Tatum Ridge Elementary in East Sarasota. And she’s pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. It’s not exactly the recipe for a simple career change to food-truck ownership, but this foodie couple was undeterred. “I read as many articles as I could,” Vada Kehrer says. “I talked to as many people who were involved in the industry as I could to learn the do’s, the don’ts, the must-haves, things that were helpful, things that were detrimental, and basically, how could I be successful in this business?” The result of that preparation is Sarasota Eatz, one of the most stylish food trucks you’ll see on the circuit, with its signature sunset photo of Siesta Key helping it stand out from the crowd.

But Sarasota Eatz is much more than a pretty facade. This food truck is one of only a handful in the area that offers breakfast options (in addition to burgers, Phillys, reubens and hot dogs for lunch). Swing by in the morning and you’ll find benedicts, customizable omelets, steak and eggs, avocado toast and something called The Cure. We’re not talking about British gothpop bands here. Sarasota Eatz’s version of The Cure is a decadent glazed donut grilled with sausage, egg and cheese with a side of potatoes or cheese grits.

Vada says that her experience as a teacher has prepared her for the food truck biz by giving her patience, compassion, and a gift for clear communication. It helps when you’re juggling all the demands that come with owning a food truck. “It’s a full-time plus job,” she says. “People think it’s just like a weekend gig; it’s not like that. I don’t think you could do it as a side job. I’m on the phone all the time when I’m not teaching: advertising, connecting with people, responding to people. I mean it, that part is a lot.” Judging by the recent long lines at Sarasota Eatz, the work is paying off. SRQ

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LESSON LEARNED It helps to love what you make, love what you do, and love your co-workers.
This page: Favorites at Dee’z Diner inclue the double-bacon cheeseburger and chicken cheesesteak.

giving coast


Guided by their faith, David and Adie Rubin are brightening the way for others and themselves with their generosity.


giving coast

GOOD HERO PHILANTHROPIC AWARD RECIPIENT DAVID RUBIN AND HIS WIFE ADIE have deeply impacted our community through thoughtful charitable giving with a focus on uplifting others through education and meaningful connections. The couple, originally from New York and married for 44 years, have been through their fair share of heartache, but it is that heartache that has helped to fuel their mission to help others during difficult times. Early on in their marriage, they lost their only child, a son, after a serious illness in Adie forced the doctors to deliver Jordan very early. He died ten days later. According to the couple, the strongest glue in their partnership is not their marriage, but their friendship. “We have been best friends since day one, and it’s the friendship that has kept us together through the hardest times,” shares Adie.

As Jews and practicing Buddhists, the Rubins have had the privilege to have been guided by two paths that stress giving. In Judaism, tzedakah is a Hebrew word meaning “righteousness,” but commonly used to signify charity. This concept of charity differs from the modern Western understanding of charity. The latter is typically understood as a spontaneous act of goodwill and a marker of generosity; tzedakah is an ethical obligation. In Nichiren Buddhism, the stress is on boddhisattva practice—one of ardent commitment to self-development while also seeking to ease the suffering of others and bring happiness and benefit to them. David and Adie practice this for themselves and for others. The founder of Nichiren Buddhism once noted that “If one gives food to others, one will improve one’s own lot, just as, for example, if one lights a fire for others, one will brighten one’s own way.

David learned early in life about the power and magic of reading, growing up in a house of readers, delving into Hemingway at the age of seven. “Next to my family, I consider the ability to read the most impactful gift my life has given me,” he says. When he and Adie learned of an afterschool program in Newtown that was helping at-risk students to get back on gradelevel reading, they jumped in. Adding in David’s love of architecture that inspires learning, they formed a team that built a leading-edge campus in the heart of Newtown named for the program’s founder, Mrs. Jacquelyn Paulk. SOAR (Seeds of Academic Resource) Learning Center is in its fourth year of successfully helping students not only catch up but excel in their reading. Many have gone on to college — one recently graduated from Yale University— and to bright, promising careers.

Adie’s life has been marked by a very personal battle with depression, anxiety and trauma. ”We have been to hell and back more times than we can count,” she says. It’s this experience with mental illness that has formed the current focus of the Rubin’s giving.

“There were so many times I felt I was barely clinging on to life,” Adie shares, “and at those times I wondered, what does someone do who doesn’t have the resource, the safety net of friends, the caregiving husband?” That’s when they scanned the community in search of those services that provided that kind of support.

“Sarasota is a place where there is enormous need, but it’s also one of the most generous and giving communities,” David shared. “We are truly blessed with many remarkable organizations that address the rampant mental health crisis in our society and our community. ”Resilient Retreat is one such organization and a favorite of the Rubins. This remarkable 84-acre retreat caters to those suffering from the varied effects of trauma. Many of their clients are first responders whose work on behalf of others has left them traumatized. All their services are free of charge to the public.

Early in 2022, Adie and David were part of an informal granting group that enabled elementary school mental health therapists at a Sarasota County school to receive what they felt was a much-needed, long-overdue salary raise. Also in support of mental health and more recently, the Rubins learned about a play being produced by Lifeline Productions called Clowns Like Me. It’s the work of Joel Ehrenpreis, who, together with playwright Jason Cannon–who served ten years as an Associate Artist at Florida Studio

Theatre–is creating a one-person play about dealing with mental health challenges. It is about the life of Joel’s son Scott, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome along with other challenged and is the sole actor in the play.

“It’s a poignant, humorous, and touching experience,” shares Adie, “It captures so much of what I have been through.” The goal of Scott’s parents and Jason Cannon is to bring the show to college campuses throughout the nation and the Rubins are working with them to try and make that happen.

Additionally, the Rubins annually support the Mark Wandall Foundation, an organization that helps children who have been touched by loss, and who desperately need a way to experience that loss and the associated grieving, in a way that is healing and restorative. David explains “I’ve had the privilege of supporting the work of the Mark Wandall Foundation, led by Mark’s amazing wife Melissa, an organization that she founded after Mark was killed by a red-light driver years ago. Melissa made a vow that she would raise her newborn daughter Madisyn Grace not in loss, but in love. That was the starting point of her work.”

David and Adie are grateful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for introducing them to many of the programs they have supported, including SOAR, a community-based education program for students in grades K to 3 in Newtown. David contributed gifts from his fund at the Foundation to help construct SOAR’s 3,000-square-foot, permanent learning center facility. The Rubins are looking forward to continuing their work, their tzedakah, so that by ‘lighting a fire for others, they brighten their own way.’ SRQ

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David Rubin was honored at the SB2: Philanthropic Agenda Luncheon and Good Hero Philanthropic Awards Luncheon as a 2021 Good Hero.










Expanding Our Footprint

As Lakewood Ranch continues to grow, so too does the need for quality convenient medical care. That is why we are happy to announce Lakewood Ranch Medical Center will be undergoing a $120 million expansion project on its campus starting later this year. This will be Phase 1 of a multi-phase plan for facility expansion to take place during the next several years. Construction of a new five story, 170,000 sq. ft. tower will add 60 patient beds and allow for growth of key ancillary departments ranging from Pharmacy and Laboratory to Education, Food and Nutrition Services and Pre-Admission Testing. The tower will also include shell space to add two more floors for an additional 60 patient beds and expand other areas as the hospital continues to grow its services and capabilities.

We are happy to have been the hospital of choice for many Lakewood Ranch residents for nearly 20 years and look forward to meeting the growing healthcare needs of this great community for many more. Thank you for choosing Lakewood Ranch Medical Center – let’s do well together.

The Ranch Keeps Growing

Lakewood Ranch is growing. Everyday more homes, more families, more wonderful places and spaces sprout from the lively soil. But it’s not just people that are sprouting up here in the Ranch, our region is blessed with a wealth of small and boutique farms, run by passionate and iconoclastic farmers. Floridians may love Publix, and at the Ranch we love our Fresh Market as well, but if you want to visit the men and women who bring green, leafy life out of the soil then it’s just a hop and a skip away to the North, East and South. In this edition of Living Lakewood we visit the organic innovators at Bluemenberry Farms, the long-time locals at Hunsader Farms, the sustainability leaders at Gamble Creek Farms, and the orange juice mini-empire of Mixon Farms-and we hope that you and your family will follow in the footsteps of our writers and photographers and visit these welcoming and warm local places yourselves. Wear comfortable shoes, and go for a walk where your food grows, it brings comfort and joy to an otherwise often over-busy daily life. We also explore the ins and outs of the cyclist lifestyle, and then takes you to the pizza Mecca of Atria where you can put the delicious calories right back on that you might have burned turning the pedals of your bicycle. The edition is dedicated to enjoying the fresh air and outside pleasures that will bring you back in touch with the nature that so richly surrounds the Ranch. We’ll be seeing you, outside!


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Spring 2023 TM
Below: CEO Andy Guz of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Gamble Creek Farm and Produce Market.


Rooted in Farming, 6 Residents of Lakewood Ranch and surrounding areas are fortunate to live near local farms dedicated to providing high-quality farm products that not only feed the community but also raise awareness about the vital role that farms play in all aspects of life.

Trailblazer | Get Out and Ride, 14

For local cycling enthusiasts, the Lakewood Ranch area has something great to offer around every twist and turn. From picturesque communities to a plethora of natural beauty

and challenging terrains, Lakewood Ranch provides a fun and adventurous way to stay active,and fit–and make new friends, too.

Trailblazer | A Slice of Heaven, 23

Fans of this food-focused, family-run restaurant have been hungry for more of Atria’s thoughtful cuisine, and have urged owners Jim and Weyli Angus to expand. Instead of opening up new locations, the Angus family met this demand by maximizing their current space and opening for dinner.

Above: Atria Café’s foray into housemade gourmet pizzas, photo by Wyatt Kostygan. Cover: Spring blooms with succulent produce at Blumenberry Farms, photo by Wes Roberts.


This page: Blumenberry specializes in cultivating around 80 types of fresh and delicious vegetables. WRITTEN BY LAURA PAQUETTE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN / WES ROBERTS

Rooted in Farming

Springtime Produce


Blumenberry Farms

Opened in 1995 by owners Mitch and Colleen Blumenthal, Blumenberry Farms is a certified-organic farm in Sarasota. Blumenberry grows around 80 types of vegetables, like varieties of romaine lettuce, beets and kale. They also raise chickens and ducks to provide fresh eggs to consumers. “All the manure from the chickens and ducks is used to create an on-farm fertilizer,” says Mitch, “which helps improve the soil quality and yields perfect plants.” These crops are sold to consumers as part of Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes. Customers pay an up-front investment in the farm, then receive a CSA box of produce grown by the farm. They can choose to order boxes on a seasonal, biweekly, monthly or weekly basis, and non-CSA members can also purchase boxes. Consumers can choose to customize their boxes based on produce availability, or opt for a box of items chosen by the farm. The boxes are dropped off for consumers to pick up at seven locations across Sarasota-Manatee, and include surprises like fresh flowers. For people who prefer dining out, Blumenberry supplies products to Crop Juice, Meliora, Indigenous Restaurant and Fork & Hen SRQ. “I’m a strong believer in knowing your farmer, and it’s nice to have a relationship with my customers,” adds Mitch. 2151 Dog Kennel Rd., Sarasota, FL, 941-5049474,

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This page: With its countryside atmosphere, Hunsader Farms is a welcome retreat for visitors of all ages.

Hunsader Farms

Located in Bradenton, Hunsader Farms has been in the Hunsader family since 1967. David and Kim Hunsader own the farm, where their daughter, Rachel Hunsader-Sliker, is a manager. Beloved for holiday events like the Pumpkin Festival, the farm offers fun activities all year, including a petting zoo, a tiny town for kids and farm games. Passionate about debunking the mysteries of farming, Rachel runs buggy rides around the farm most Saturdays. “People don’t understand how expensive farming can be,” she says, “and there’s more to it than just beans and water and fertilizer.” During the buggy tours, she explains the need for tractors, labor and water for the crops, many of which can be harvested as part of U-pick programs.

Visitors can pick fruits and vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes, eggplants, beans, peppers and peas depending on the season. Beginning in March, they can also frolic in fields of sunflowers, zinnias and wildflowers which they can take home as a souvenir. For the ultimate immersive country experience, Hunsader is home to a KOA campground, with sites for RVs, tents and cabins. At the farm market, produce grown onsite is sold along with other local products, like honey that could come from the same bees pollinating the farm’s plants. “I love that the public can see the farming experience,” adds Rachel, “and even if the town surrounds us, we’ll always try to keep Hundsader country.”

5500 C.R. 675 Bradenton, FL, 941-504-9474,

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Gamble Creek Farms

Ed Chiles, the former CEO of Chiles Hospitality and owner of Gamble Creek Farms in Parrish, opened the farm in 2013. Supplying to consumers as well as Sand Bar, Beach House and Mar Vista, all Chiles Hospitality restaurants, Gamble Creek is committed to sustainable farming practices. “Wherever we find waste streams on the farm, like fuel or fertilizer, we thoughtfully find ways to give it a second or third life,” says farm manager Zach Rasmussen. For example, water released by air conditioning units is used to irrigate the banana garden. The farm also trucks all the food waste and compostable products from the Chiles restaurants back to the farm to be used as compost. In all the farming practices, the goal is to use products that will be completely consumed by the plants, avoiding runoff and the need to purchase expensive fertilizers.

These sustainable techniques maintain competitive prices for the farm’s products, like specialty lettuces, candy cane beets and sungold tomatoes. Along with produce, shoppers at the Gamble Creek Farm market can purchase premium pork products, baked goods and more. The bacon, from pigs raised by Toffer Jacob, is so popular that people drive an hour to Parrish to purchase it. Due to the high-quality of the soil, Gamble Creek’s produce is so nutritious that, through a partnership with FreshPoint, it’s a staple on the menu for patients at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital cancer center. For Rasumussen, the cyclical nature of growing nutrient-dense crops expresses itself in a myriad of ways. “In supporting local farms, you support the local farm community, decrease your carbon footprint and consume more flavorful food, which also has a powerful impact on your gut microbiome and your overall health.”

14950 Golf Course Rd, Parrish, FL, 941-548-4805,

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This page: At Gamble Creek Farms, farm manager Zach Rasmussen and his team do everything they can to keep farming practices sustainable.

Mixon Fruit Farms

Husband and wife Janet and Dean Mixon own Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton. Dean’s family founded the farm in 1939, starting with a roadside fruit stand and supplying downtown Bradenton hotels with fresh produce. In 2006, Janet and Dean took over the farm, expanding it to include orange grove tram rides, a larger deli, a children’s area and venues for weddings and other events. Mixon is also home to a wildlife rescue, where visitors can meet and greet creatures like alligators, as well as a large koi pond. In terms of crops, the farm specializes in oranges, tropical fruits and organic bamboo, a Mixon-family favorite.

Visitors of all ages can enjoy the hour-long tram tours through the orange groves. “We go through the grove, where we have old equipment, and discuss the farm’s history, giving people an idea of how the fruit used to be picked,” says Janet. Eager to experiment with different crops, Janet leads visitors out into the fields to pick exotic produce like star fruits. The farm offers U-pick programs for other fruits, like grapes. No day at Mixon is complete without trying the orange juice-infused ice cream, a fan-favorite among visitors, many of whom came to the farm as children and now bring their grandkids to experience it. “Dean and I both lost spouses to cancer before ending up together,” adds Janet, “and our goal with the farm became to make memories, because when you lose a spouse you realize how important the memories are.” 2525 27th St E, Bradenton, FL, 941-748-5829,

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This page: Visitors to Mixon Fruit Farms can enjoy many products, like fresh juice, from the farm store.

Get Out and Ride

FOR LOCAL CYCLING ENTHUSIASTS, the Lakewood Ranch area has something great to offer around every twist and turn. From picturesque communities to a plethora of natural beauty and challenging terrains, Lakewood Ranch provides a fun and adventurous way to stay active, and fit–and make new friends, too. We asked the experts from three local shops–Ryder Bikes, Trek Bicycle Store Bradenton and Village Bikes, Lakewood Ranch–for their take on best biking practices in the area. We hope their advice gets you behind the handlebars, up on the saddle and on the road wheelie soon.

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BIKES: We have some great bicycle clubs in the area. The main clubs are the Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club, Village Idiots Cycling Club and Gulf Coast Velo. All of these clubs have different speed levels that help riders join group cycling. There are also a few subgroups that sprout out from these clubs – normally a group that has common speed/handling abilities that add a few more ride options weekly. If there are riders looking to get into racing, we have a few clubs that are focused more on getting people ready to race and help with tactics–a few of these are the Sarasota Cycling Club and Alpha Cycling.

CHRIS LEVINS, VILLAGE BIKES: There are several. There is Village Idiots which was started by Village Bikes about 12 years ago, but probably the most diverse bike club is the SarasotaManatee Bike Club. They have rides that cover most ability levels from hybrid to road bike rides, and also an e-bike category. DEAN JONES, TREK BICYCLE: For those interested in off-road trails, the Swamp Mountain Bike Club is a great one. The biggest bike clubs in this area are the Sarasota-Manatee Bike Club and the Village Idiots. These clubs offer weekly rides and special events, such as the Gulf Coast Cyclefest.

and take Golf Course Rd. to Rye and Rutland Rd. to the Fish Camp on 64. Many of the new communities allow for new routes to pop up as well – Waterside and Del Webb to name a few.

TREK BICYCLE: Some of my favorite routes for riders in the Lakewood Ranch area are the new development roads east of White Eagle Blvd. to Bournside as well as riding south down Lorraine. These routes are well suited for any level of rider as the bike lanes are big and there are little to no cars to avoid.



Owner, Ryder Bikes 5275 University Parkway #135, Bradenton, FL, 941-351-0000,


General Manager, Village BikesLakewood Ranch 8111 Lakewood Main St across from the fountain, 941.388.0550,


Owner, Trek Bicycle Store Bradenton Lakewood Ranch 1849 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Bradenton, FL, 941-243-3837, trekbicyclebradenton. com



VILLAGE BIKES: Wednesday Night Worlds, a Village Idiots group ride during the spring through fall after daylight savings because I get to mix it up with my friends. RYDER BIKES: There are so many great routes in the LWR area. Benderson Park is great for a casual ride or for people looking to do some interval training. LWR Blvd, Hidden River Trail, Lorraine Rd all provide an easy way to get 20-60 miles in. These roads all have large sidewalks for the casual rider and bike lanes on the roads to allow the road bikers to ride safely. People looking to go longer will add a northern section of Lakewood Ranch Blvd. over the Fort Hammer Bridge into Parrish

WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE ON THE BEST WAYS TO STAY HYDRATED DURING A LONG RIDE ON A HOT DAY? RYDER BIKES: This is one of the most important aspects of cycling that many people do not take into consideration. Hydration starts off the bike, by continuing to hydrate throughout the day. During the ride, a rider does not want to get dehydrated as this affects the reaction time to obstacles that may be in the roadway. For most people, a water bottle and holder on the bike are enough, some people will opt for a hydration pack that can carry more fluid. Additionally, water is normally not the best choice, but using an electrolyte replacement will provide better stamina for the rider. VILLAGE BIKES: In the heat of Florida you cannot just drink water when exercising. We recommend Skratch Labs hydration mix with your water to replace lost electrolytes. TREK BICYCLE: During a long ride on a hot day, the best way to stay hydrated is to pack as much water as you and your bike can hold. I also recommend biking jerseys with pockets for bottles to hold any additional water you might need. A good rule to follow is to drink 20 ounces of water every hour of your ride on a hot day.

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There are all types of gear you can take with you riding but the gear I recommend the most is the newest brightest pair of daytime running lights, Garmin or other brand computers to track all sorts of ride data, and upgraded, stronger compound tires to give you a better ride with fewer flats. RYDER BIKES: We are seeing many riders moving toward Garmin GPS devices to record their rides. These allow the rider to look at performance metrics from their rides and chart progress across the various rides. This also allows for the rear radar light that can detect cars and communicate them to the rider—a real game changer as a rider. Additionally, clothing has come a long way to add comfort for the rider – padded shorts in both lycra and baggie versions, and jerseys that are cut longer in the back to not ride up and provide pockets to store nutrition.

VILLAGE BIKES: Probably the most gamechanging piece of gear in the last few years has been Garmin Varia Radar. The Varia alerts you when vehicles are coming up from behind on

your compatible computer. When combined with a mirror it gives you an increased spatial awareness needed on today’s roads.


RYDER BIKES Bicycles have added a few more slices in types over the last few years. A consumer used to have the option of a cruiser, road, mountain or hybrid bike. Now there are additional options that take those four options and merge them to create a new riding experience—comfort hybrid, fitness hybrid, dual sport and flat bar road bikes to name a few. Choosing the right one can sometimes feel a little overwhelming and that is where the local shop comes to help. At Ryder Bikes, we ask how people are planning on riding, where they are going to ride and what kind of position on the bike they would like to be in–upright, leaning a little, leaning a lot–then provide a few choices. We have a great test ride area and want people to try a few bikes to feel the positioning. This allows the customer to make a great choice

and enjoy their cycling experience. VILLAGE BIKES: Purchasing from a reputable bike shop would be my first recommendation. Accessing a rider’s goals, what distances they are looking to ride, and if they have any previous injuries or limitations ( bad back, knees, etc.) is our job. These are all factors in choosing the right bike and many more. A good bike shop will be able to direct you to the right bike for your needs and provide continued service on the bike in the future. TREK BICYCLE: When it comes to choosing the bike a person might want, the type of riding is the deciding factor. The three main types of bikes are road, hybrid, and mountain. Road bikes are for riders looking to go longer distances at a faster pace, where they only ride on the street at a more aggressive riding position. Hybrid bikes are for more casual riders looking to ride on the road as well as light off-road trails and be comfortable doing it. Mountain bikes are for riders looking to ride through off-roads trails ranging from easy, flat trails through the woods to steep climbs and descents at fast paces. LL

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Below: The Garmin Varia attaches to the bike and uses radar to detect cars approaching from behind. Whether you’re a novice or an expert rider, local shops like Village Bikes can help you find the perfect ride.


I’m one of the partners here. I oversee a lot of the scheduling, sta ng, contracts, overall project schedules and project management. I’ve been at Fawley Bryant since October 2001. Stu and I bought the company a little over five years ago. STU HENDERSON:

I’m a director of design and a partner at Fawley Bryant. I’ve been at the fi rm about 11 years, specifically in Lakewood Ranch for that amount of time. I moved down here from Erie, Pennsylvania for a di erent climate and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.


PADGETT: Long answer short, a partnership with SchroederManatee Ranch, Inc. (SMR). We

In Conversation



were actually the architects for the SMR headquarters. So early on we were involved in conversations about long-term planning, what their vision was, and what they were trying to do. We were very much interested in what that was and what that meant for us, being in Manatee County, and then also Sarasota County. We moved our headquarters here in 2008 and SMR was a partner of ours in this building. So again, partners from the very beginning. And we did that for a lot of reasons: recruiting, bringing in people further south that maybe we couldn’t get from downtown Bradenton. Also, people from further north because we had more access to the interstate, being part of a planned development, and having access early on to things like educational projects. government projects and sports and recs. We did a lot of country

clubs, so that fit really nicely in our portfolio. It came down to people. Just having relationships with the people that had a big idea that we wanted to be a part of and could help out in any way possible.


PADGETT: Rick Fawley was our original president. Mike Bryant was vice president. They are the founding fathers of Fawley Bryant. They both had their own individual firms in Manatee County. They came together to work on a project for Manatee High School. Partly, they were banding together to try and keep the outsiders out, and keep the insiders in. And they got the project that worked well and they stayed together.

So their partnership was born out of somewhat necessity but trying to keep local groups local. Rick was the community guy. He had all the relationships, he was out and about. Mike was really more of the business-minded guy, he was looking at the schedules and the budgets and the sta ng needs. I think Stu and I are very similar in personality to each of them. Probably a bit more of a blend than they were, but same kind of idea. Still, community is extremely important to us. We still work in this community and we’ve extended it from Lakewood Ranch to Manatee County, the city of Bradenton, Sarasota, the city of Sarasota, North Port, and now Wellen Park. So we’ve continued to build on those relationships over time. But a big part of that really was just knowing the right people, being someone you trust, someone you respect, and really




A graduate of The University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning, Stu joined Fawley Bryant in 2011. A er moving from Erie, PA where he taught at Mercyhurst University for seven years, Stu returned to the field of architecture in the Bradenton/ Sarasota area. Stu plays a key role at Fawley Bryant with his ability to turn a conceptual vision into reality. His creative pragmatism has played a fundamental role in the completion of large-scale sports and education projects like IMG Academy’s West Campus and Binghamton University’s Baseball Complex. His 3D modeling and technological abilities allow clients and team members to visualize project considerations from a tangible and intuitive perspective. Stu currently serves as a Board Member for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Manatee’s 2019 class.


A Florida native and graduate of Clemson University, Steve joined Fawley Bryant in 2001 and has seen tremendous changes and growth in the region. Steve is engaged in the firm’s operations and helped fuel the initial development and expansion of Fawley Bryant’s sports division, including projects for the Pi sburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, IMG Academy, and Gatorade Sports Science Institute. He currently works with our government partners including the Sarasota County Administrative Center and Bradenton Area Convention Center to lead our region forward. Steve is an active project architect who is passionate about the development of our community. Steve serves as a Board Member for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and Leadership Sarasota class of 2016.

bouncing o conversations about what could a place like Lakewood Ranch be—what are the things that you need to create identity?


HENDERSON: I think they started with some guidelines on what they wanted to see out here, which was almost ranchy, and had sort of a natural stone look to it. That really evolved. It’s a beautiful community. There are some gems of buildings that are out here, and I really enjoy the diversity of the architectural styles that are here, from LECOM, the two buildings halfway up Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, to the lodge that we had done a couple of years ago, Rick Fawley’s last project. And I was proud to partner with him on the design of that, it’s beautiful and gets a lot of nice remarks. Now too, Waterside place. So it’s really an evolving, healthy, evolving community design-wise, from an architectural standpoint.


HENDERSON: Some communities are blessed with the ability to have a blank slate and start with a strategy and a plan. Others have to evolve, and they fi nd these areas that people remember about the community. So here, I think the forward-thinking planning of

Lakewood Ranch, Main Street, Waterside, and then where maybe the medical component might be, the entertainment, and sports area. I really love the diversity of the buildings that are around. I think that Lecom, standing large on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard is memorable, and the beginning of a nice campus language. Premier sports, we had little, playful buildings out there. It’s not meant to be about the buildings at that point. And then the country clubs, that sort of identifies di erent areas and maybe even mindsets of going to the marble floors, a grand stair of the main clubhouse, the beautiful back area that we were lucky enough to participate in, to design the fi re pit area back there in the coverage area. And then, really I think the thing that people remember is the high quality of Waterside Place. The high quality of the thinking, the execution of the design, and the wonderful community spaces that come together. The quality of the landscaping and landscape architecture is just fantastic. And then the events and the vendors that come in there in addition to the shop owners, all very high quality. And I think that’s going to last for a very long time and people are going to enjoy going there. PADGETT: Yeah, I think one of the easy answers is, it’s grown so much and it’s been so successful in planning. They’ve created diverse buildings and developed neighborhoods that people will want to go to in Lakewood Ranch for those di erent experiences.



WHAT ARE THE AREAS THAT YOU FOCUS ON? HENDERSON: At Fawley Bryant, we started with the educational model. We did a lot of schools with Rick and Mike. We had a great relationship with the Pittsburgh Pirates,

ultimately IMG. We started to do some work there. Rick was the fi rst one to do some work there as well, so we took those relationships and really tried to drive those home. Lots of sports work, we do about 50% in sports. We do a lot of government, municipal work, and education is still something that we enjoy doing. Those are the primary markets, and about 50% lands in sports.


HENDERSON: In a lot of ways, it’s a conversation. We’ll ask, what have you seen that you’ve liked? What would you like us to look at when we come to work with you? So you might get some insight there into what their perspective is in general. We try to fi nd out what the building should be and make sure that that works within budget. But in a lot of ways, we try to understand, the project may not be about the building. The project is about serving the clients, it’s about a backdrop for sports. So it’s not the place to spend money. We want to make sure we’re being very good stewards of the finances of the total project, not just the architectural component. So if it turns out that it’s a background building, as we call it, it may just have an interesting paint job. It’s not really about major architectural forms and glass and cavaliers, it may be about being simple and e cient and beautiful in that way.

PADGETT: I think a lot of it is just really what the image of the client wants. Some want to be conservative and they want to be a little bit conservative with their spending and some want to make a statement. They want a signature


building, they want that to attract them. But in all cases, it is their identity. So a lot of that conversation is, what do you want it to be?


HENDERSON: At Fawley Bryant, we do work outside of the area as well. One of the benefits of doing that work outside of the area is we can bring that knowledge home, where it can be found in our projects to serve schools, which serve our kids. In government work, it serves everybody in the community. And then sports, it’s translating what we’ve done maybe in other areas, back into what we do here at home. We did have a client up in New York, where it was all about the cost, so we had to be very cost conscious. The client really was a visionary and wanted to push us in a lot of ways to do better work. In that case, it was fi nding the right solution fi rst. So material-wise, you may immediately think, “Well, marble’s too expensive” or “granite is too expensive,” but if it’s the right material for the qualities and properties of the job, then he would want that in the project. So we still were very good stewards of his money, but he did push us to expand our thinking, and serve the university more, and at one point, he said, “I think this composition needs a little more over here.” To which we replied, “Of course it does.” So we added to the program and kept the design going. So really, it has to be a beautiful project, and one of the projects that I’m most proud of for our company to pull together as we did and make it work.


LAKEWOOD RANCH HAS BEEN ONE OF THE FASTESTGROWING COMMUNITIES. SUDDENLY, IT FEELS LIKE ALL OF FLORIDA IS GROWING LIKE LAKEWOOD RANCH. THE GROWTH IS AT A PACE NONE OF US COULD HAVE IMAGINED AFTER THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS. FROM WHAT YOU GUYS GET TO SEE IN TERMS OF FUTURE PLANNING, AND OPPORTUNITIES, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY AFFECTED THINGS? PADGETT: Well, I think one of the benefits that we have is that with technology and remote work and other ways to collaborate, people can pretty much work where they want to be and not where they have to be. And I think this area’s been a major attraction for people that are getting out of areas that they don’t really want to be in, whether it’s because of family, because of weather, because of the job, or whatever it may be. So I think this has been a major attractor that’s been planned for 15 years. So right time, right place. And that’s given us a lot of flexibility and freedom with the work that we do. They’re public places in most cases. So sports work, government work, education, those are things that are going to support the people that live here. And that placed perfectly into our portfolio and the services we provide. So a little bit of a win-win.

HENDERSON: I’ll look at this from two sides. Our response to the technology and being more remote, it plays into our strengths that we had already started with anyway. So we had already started with teams and video conferencing and working internally with that software, we had already used virtual reality to communicate with our design team and our internal review of a building, to walk through it before it’s ever been built. That

translated into communicating with clients in much the same way. So it’s allowed us to have our fi rst fully-remote teammate and collaborator as a project manager, not just sort of an admin role where they might be able to do tasks but to communicate and work. And I think, by and large, that focus on the technology that we utilize and how we collaborate has, in a lot of ways, created better buildings. We’re able to visualize them, walk through them, and communicate about what we see, not just internally, but with our clients. So the technology of the buildings feels like it could always be more sustainable. We could do a lot more with that, but budgets and fi rst costs are very expensive for some of the sustainable materials that we would like to use. So in a lot of cases, they get removed. But I think that there are deeper, more fundamental strategies to sustainability that we employ that are not a green roof or photovoltaic, but they may have to do with energy conservation, they may have to do with building orientation and location. And all of that stu , again, is the overlay of technology that allows us to understand those technologies and those strategies before the buildings are even built.


of the building and around the building in our community. So we take that very seriously, and we would hope to continue to see more buildings like we are designing, which meet or exceed the wind code, obviously, but they’re both durable and beautiful. So I think as a foundational aspect of our company, making smart, beautiful spaces that are also very safe and sustainable is really what we’re after. PADGETT: I think inherently, safety is important, and the building code’s done a good job of keeping up with that. If you go back and look at the history of storms and see the damage that’s been done and what’s been saved, the newer buildings have survived incredibly well. The hard part is, there’s a cost to all that. Construction is increasingly more expensive. I think, on our side of it, what we’ve always done, but now with the cost, we’re increasingly looking for ways to be more e cient in everything. So it may be with the roofi ng materials, maybe the exterior materials, it may be just reducing unnecessary circulation. It’s trying to be as e cient as we can at the core of all design. And that saves money, that saves time, that gives people the ability to put more into the buildings that they really want. So it gives them opportunities to really explore di erent ideas. And I think the communication will give clients an opportunity to be part of that conversation and that discovery of the design, and then they have ownership in it. And it makes your job a whole lot easier. LL


A Slice of Heaven

WITH ITS WELCOMING ATMOSPHERE AND ARTISANAL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH OFFERINGS, Atria Cafe in Lakewood Ranch has quickly become a local hotspot since it first opened in September 2020. Fans of this food-focused, family-run restaurant have been hungry for more of Atria’s thoughtful cuisine, and have urged owners Jim and Weyli Angus to expand. Instead of opening up new locations, the Angus family met this demand by maximizing their current space and opening for dinner. Now Atria Cafe is also open five evenings a week, serving up specialty pizzas done in their own singular style. In order to appreciate what makes Atria’s pizzas so noteworthy, it’s important to understand the restaurant’s philosophy about food and community in general.

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Above: Pizza at Atria Cafe bursts with flavor, starting from the sourdough crust all the way through the housemade sauce and fresh ingredients.

“Our whole goal for Atria is to build community through food and beverage in its simplest form. The vision for Atria was born because we want to connect people with what they eat and drink,” says Jim Angus. “We want to provide a really high-quality food and beverage experience.” This means the team at Atria crafts as much of their food inhouse as possible, from their scratch-made bread and pastries to their dressings and sauces to the syrups that flavor their coffee drinks. What they can’t make themselves, they source from carefully-selected purveyors. These values are exemplified in the pizzas at Atria.

The foundation of an Atria pizza is a sourdough crust made inhouse from the same starter that is used in the cafe’s signature sourdough bread.“We want to highlight the dough, which means that the sauce can’t be overpowering,” Angus explains. “We need something very simple, so I get really nice canned tomatoes from Italy and just add some good sea salt. Then we just take fresh basil and rip it up so it gets nice and fragrant. And that’s it. Between the flavor of the sourdough crust and the simplicity of the sauce, pretty much everything else that we put on top really has its own way to shine.”

Simplicity is the key word here. At Atria, the Neapolitan-inspired pizzas are dressed with classic ingredients that have been treated with the utmost care. “We find good products, but find ways to do a little bit extra to make them the best,” Angus says. “I tried, I want to say, eight different types of mozzarella until I found the one I was looking for. Even then, we take the extra step to cut it and let it drain overnight to remove excess moisture so it doesn’t sog out your pizza.”

That’s just one example of how Atria takes an ingredient from ordinary to extraordinary. They don’t stop at just using heirloom tomatoes; they char the skins with a flamethrower to enhance the flavor. They take a similar approach when preserving the shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms that top their Fun Guy pizza by cooking the mixture down with a mushroom-infused oil.

“We’re getting good products in, but using our skills and our culinary prowess to take it up to another level,” Angus says. “It’s kind of ridiculous and over the top, but those are things I feel make our pizzas really special.” Atria Cafe is serving up pizza Tuesday through Saturday evenings between 5 pm and 8:30 pm. You can pick yours up to go, or dine in and check out their rotating list of natural and organic wines. Atria is also open daily from 8 am to 2:30 pm, offering up coffee drinks as well as a wide array of breakfast and lunch options. LL

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This page: Atria Cafe is serving up pizza Tuesday through Saturday evenings between 5 pm and 8:30 pm.
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