A beachfront mansion on Longboat Key designed in the lavish style of a northern Italian lake house with European influences detailed both outside and inside has arrived on the market for the first time. It is being offered by five siblings for the asking price of $ 10,880,000 through Judy Kepecz-Hays of Coldwell Banker.
The traditional Italian three-level villa is similar to those bordering Lake Como. It has a red tiled roof and stucco exterior, five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and a garage that can accommodate six cars. Located away from the road and partially hidden by a low stucco wall and ornamental iron gates, the property sits on nearly an acre of land and includes 100 feet of private white sand beach.
The house was built in 1993 by a retired vice president of European sales operations for Ford of Europe. Queen Elizabeth II conferred him membership in the Order of the British Empire, OBE, in 1969 for services rendered to British exports. His wife was an award-winning gardener and designer.
They had five children and lived all over the world before deciding to move to Longboat Key and build a large, year-round family home that ultimately welcomed five children, their spouses and 19 grandchildren. The wife died in 2005 and the husband last summer at the age of 94. He was an active member of the Audubon Society of Sarasota, the Sarasota British Club, and he was a well-known personality on the island. Since the five children now live in Hawaii and California, they decided it was impractical to keep the Florida estate, although they have many wonderful memories of the place they all considered. like their second home.
“My sister and I got married on the property,” recalls Johanna, the eldest daughter. “We had our ceremonies on the beach and the reception around the pool. It was absolutely magical. We have all gathered frequently from different parts of the county at the Longboat House for vacations, family vacations, and family celebrations. I particularly remember gathering around the fireplace in the living room to take pictures. I have three decades of photos of us by the fireside.
She remembers the construction of the house. “There was a reference architect, but my parents worked with builder Bill Roberson on the overall design of the house and the building materials,” Johanna said. “Our family came to Longboat Key in 1989 when Mom and Dad bought the land and cleaned it up. We rented a house nearby and came to see the 69 stakes that went into the ground for the foundation. Dad insisted on the best quality and safest house by the sea that could be built. He was meticulous about the construction and has always had such pride of place regarding this property. Everything had to be perfectly maintained. When we made a list of the things we needed to do before we put the house on the market, there was virtually nothing except painting a few rooms to make the color scheme consistent throughout the house. Everything else was perfect.
While her father focused on building materials inside and out, her mother focused on design. “My mother was a talented gardener and a natural designer. In England, she finished first in a national competition to design a family home and was honored at the Ideal Home Show at the Earls Court Exhibition Center. It was something. When she collaborated on the design of the Longboat Key house, she was inspired by the great houses we saw in Italy located on the beautiful lakes. It was my mom’s idea to add the tower to the Longboat house and she designed the front entrance stairs and wanted the paver drive to ground the house visually. And my parents took advantage of the view of the water. Dad was a sailor and we’ve always had a boat. He loved living on the water and being on his boat.
The master bedroom is on the main living level with access to a private terrace, pool and outdoor dining areas. An elevator and circular staircase lead up to the guest wing on the third floor and offer a split plan with two of the bedrooms / baths and a gallery seating area that overlooks the living room. The upper level bedrooms have oak floors, large windows, balconies and patio doors.
The kitchen, family room and informal dining room are arranged in an open concept floor with stunning views to the outdoors. The floors are Spanish tile and mahogany with arched French doors and windows open to the deck, pool, and beach. The wrought-iron balconies and staircases refer to the house’s classic Mediterranean feel. There is a separate library, a formal living room and a formal dining room. The overall character of the interior space is a balance between European elegance and the casualness of a Florida beach house.
The kitchen is white, contemporary in style with dark granite counters and sand colored glazed tiles. Double wall ovens, two islands (one for dining, one for food prep), additional storage space, double stainless steel sinks and a large double door refrigerator make it easy to cook for a crowd. The owners liked to receive family but also European friends and retired Ford Motor executives, some of whom had settled in Naples.
“After retiring to Longboat Key my parents took trips but most of the time they were absolutely happy living in this beach house year round,” their daughter Johanna said. “In the evening, my father liked nothing better than to sit on the deck with a beer in hand and watch the sunset and the birds. He said he had traveled the world and now had truly found his paradise and he knew it.