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A re­verse floor plan fuses this Sani­bel home with stun­ning views of the is­land’s na­ture sanc­tu­ary

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY PA­TRI­CIA LETAKIS

House Wide Open

Ahouse on an is­land with breath­tak­ing views of sooth­ing blue wa­ter and calm­ing green land­scapes is a dream home for many. It was for Ken Gill and Karen De­Witt. The cou­ple was search­ing for a beach house back in 2015 when Re­al­tor Va­lerie Tu­tor showed them the 9,000-square-foot spec home in The Sanc­tu­ary at Wulfert Point, a cov­eted neigh­bor­hood tucked on the west end of Sani­bel Is­land.

“Ev­ery house I ever bought, I made the de­ci­sion at the en­trance,” says Gill. “Look­ing in, the ini­tial vista is re­ally cool. Up the stairs to the sec­ond-floor liv­ing space, you have front and back vis­tas—east to the bay and west to the fair­ways—with decks on both sides.” It was the ideal home for en­ter­tain­ing, and he was sold.

The cou­ple bought the two-level home, with five bed­rooms and six baths built by He­len­brook Homes, for $2.6 mil­lion and hap­pily took on the task of mak­ing a spec home, their home. Gill, who had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in the food ser­vice and equip­ment in­dus­try, was no stranger to de­sign and con­struc­tion. An en­tre­pre­neur, he opened and ran a suc­cess­ful mul­ti­lo­ca­tion restau­rant and started one of the food ser­vice in­dus­try’s lead­ing equip­ment deal­er­ships.

Gill called in Jay Jenk­ins of the in­te­rior de­sign firm Jenk­ins Baer As­so­ci­ates based in Bal­ti­more and the builder David He­len­brook; to­gether they turned their fo­cus to the house’s re­verse floor plan, which of­fered won­der­ful de­sign op­por­tu­ni­ties. The house’s lower level was com­prised of four guest suites and a morn­ing kitchen, while the up­per level had all the liv­ing space, plus the mas­ter bed­room with a closet and bath, and served as the per­fect van­tage point for tak­ing in the sur­round­ing views. “We live on one floor,” adds Gill.

To en­hance the liv­ing space, they re­moved a ban­quette that served as a wall and turned the kitchen-and-

“Ev­ery house I ever bought, I made the de­ci­sion at the en­trance. Look­ing in, the ini­tial vista is re­ally cool.” — Home­owner Ken Gill

din­ing area into an airy open space. Then a long hand­some en­ter­tain­ment bar, cus­tom made of wood by Clive Chris­tian, a fur­ni­ture com­pany in Eng­land known for its 300-year-old cab­i­netry build­ing, was in­stalled to create a wel­com­ing spot where guests could eas­ily min­gle and the cou­ple could en­ter­tain seam­lessly.

Another out­stand­ing el­e­ment in the home’s de­sign was the wood­work, ev­i­dent in both the ceil­ings and cab­i­netry. The liv­ing room’s ceil­ing, a blend of wood and sky­lights, cre­ated a feel­ing of be­ing out­doors, and the mas­ter suite boasted an en­tire wood ceil­ing mar­ried to French doors that grace­fully opened to a bal­cony and framed the inky wa­ters and man­groves in the dis­tance.

Next Gill and De­Witt wanted more win­dows so they could uti­lize nat­u­ral light and show­case at ev­ery turn the gor­geous panorama—the shim­mer­ing pool, the golf course’s lush third fair­way, and the keys dot­ting the bay be­yond. When they fin­ished adding the en­hance­ments that cost about $500,000, they had cre­ated a home that Tu­tor de­scribes as: “There’s no other house like it on Sani­bel.”

The re­al­tor ad­mits that The Sanc­tu­ary neigh­bor­hood is for a spe­cific buyer. “You can’t put a boat in your back­yard, and you can’t step out your door and be on the beach,” Tu­tor said. How­ever, she pointed out that th­ese homes have the same ap­peal as the lux­u­ri­ous homes found in Naples, but in an un­hur­ried, laid-back set­ting. Plus they are sur­rounded by an abun­dance of na­ture, which is rev­ered and well pre­served on Sani­bel.

Gill and De­Witt never lost sight of their dream beach house though, and while vis­it­ing friends on Cap­tiva Is­land they found prop­erty that of­fers both beach and bay views—some­thing too good to pass up. “I am from An­napo­lis, Mary­land, and spent years with a dock and boat in my back­yard,” ex­plains Gill, who is ex­cited about once again hav­ing such ac­cess to the wa­ter. In fact, he ad­mits that he’s al­ready gone to the boat show and picked out a beau­ti­ful boat. As for their re­cently pur­chased house on Cap­tiva, Gill says that it needs work and Jenk­ins is on it. As for his Sani­bel home, he told Tu­tor that he wishes he could build the ex­act same house on Cap­tiva.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Sani­bel home, which is listed at $3,195,000, con­tact Va­lerie Tu­tor at your­sani­bel­homes.com.

Next Gill and De­Witt wanted more win­dows so they could uti­lize nat­u­ral light and show­case at ev­ery turn the gor­geous panorama—the shim­mer­ing pool, the golf course’s lush third fair­way, and the keys dot­ting the bay be­yond.

A wel­com­ing five-bed­room home in The Sanc­tuar y at Wulfert Point on Sani­bel Is­land, this prop­erty blends luxur y with na­ture, uti­liz­ing the land­scap­ing to frame the house.

Clock­wise from top left: The sec­ond level’s out­door area of­fers a view of the fair­way; the mas­ter suite has re­mote-con­trolled draperies; the wine closet is a bonus fea­ture; the re­verse floor plan po­si­tions all the liv­ing space on the up­per level; the cus­tom-made bar is ideal for en­ter­tain­ing.

From top: Scenic views are en­joyed from ever y an­gle of the house; the lower-level guest suites open to the pool area; The Sanc­tuar y community’s sur­round­ing wa­ter, man­groves and golf course.

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