Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty spends some very special moments visiting a remarkable new home of immense warmth and spirit on Longboat Key, Sarasota, Florida.
I sat under the chickee roof beside the pool beside the Gulf of Mexico. Ahead was glassy stillness to the horizon – only interrupted by the odd pelican flying past. Behind me was one of the most extraordinary, beautiful and tactile houses I have ever had the pleasure to visit.
Perched on the beach facing the sunset on Longboat Key, Sarasota, Florida, building has just finished at Ohana. It is the brainchild of brilliant local architect, Guy Peterson, and the construction of Sarasota builder, Michael Walker, and his hugely skilled team of craftsmen. Taking themes from Polynesia, Hawaii, South Africa and other far-flung places, the result is an astonishingly beautiful home formed by three interconnected pavilions and a separate, magical beach house. Peace and serenity rule. I think it would be impossible to be angry or loud here. If Zen could be described in the form of a building then this would be it. Whether the property is best expressed as a house or a small, intimate and very private southeast Asian inspired super-spa, Ohana has soul – lots of it.
You can see all the wonderful pictures of the interior and exterior on the fabulous brochure prepared by the excellent Michael Saunders & Co marketing people – just click on the image above. Better still click here for the superb video.
But what you can’t do, unless you go there, is understand really how Ohana feels. You have to touch this house. You have to feel the pitted coral stone and smooth white oak beneath your bare feet. You have to open your eyes to the detail of the materials that are in total harmony with one other. You have to listen to the silence. You have to finger the deep but smooth undulations of the utterly exquisite walnut doors: I experienced many emotions visiting Ohana but perhaps the strangest was one I had never had before – door envy!
For a thousand years travel has broadened and influenced the minds of house builders and architects. At Ohana this process continues. From across the world ideas and materials combine here in a unity of spirit so vivid that it takes one’s breath away. This is a place for self but perhaps above all it is a gift for family. For family is what Ohana means in Hawaiian.