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Six weeks celebrating Sarasota architecture

by Roger Pettingell

Two events show our love of architecture

Let the design festivals in Sarasota begin this weekend

1070 Westway Drive, Sarasota
Lido Shores Walking Tours - Architects Don Chappell and Guy Peterson designed this home overlooking Pansey Bayou sold this year.

Two upcoming events by different architectural organizations in Sarasota show how much we love our home building designs. The first is a month-long celebration that begins Thursday presented by the Center for Architecture Sarasota in partnership with the AIA FL Gulf Coast Chapter. The second is SarasotaMOD the weekend of November 6 by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, an organization that promotes awareness of the Sarasota School of Architecture.

Now in its third year, the month of Archtober has been changed to the Architecture and Design Month, and runs through October 28. Throughout the month there is free admission to the McCulloch Pavilion at 265 S. Orange Avenue, but a fee will be charged for the lectures and special events which includes the opening ceremony on Thursday. The pavilion is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

On exhibit at the pavilion in the headquarters is “Dialogue in Details”, with panels of work by architect Toshiko Mori. Mori is the former chairperson of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Mori has designed homes around the world and will present a Casey Key home on October 17, available only to members of the CFAS.

Mori’s totems will be shown for the first time in the Western Hemisphere here. Totems are full-scale replica cross-sections of design complications that were solved by her architecture. Mori will also lecture on October 16 that is open to the public and discounted for members.

Other special events start this Saturday, “Kids at the Center, Architecture 101.” Children 5 to 13 will use Legos for building designs. The following Saturday there will be a walking tour of the Laurel Park and Burns Court areas, “130 Years of Sarasota’s Architectural History”, led by John McCarthy. McCarthy is the executive director of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence). The month concludes with an “Atelier Talk” by concrete designer Jack Brady at 614 Florida Avenue on October 28.

Throughout the month there will be an online feature, “A Building a Day” displaying homes that were important to the development of architecture in Florida.

Restoration of the Umbrella House, originally designed by architect Paul Rudolph
The Umbrella House designed by famed architect Paul Rudolph will have four timed tours on November 7. A current renovation project restores the umbrella.

Lasting only one weekend starting the following Friday, SarasotaMOD celebrates architect Paul Rudolph. Rudolph’s Umbrella House was featured in last year’s Archtober. There are four timed tours of the Umbrella House during SarasotaMOD on November 7, currently under renovation to restore the umbrella over the pool.

Also that Saturday, there will be walking tours of contemporary Lido Shores homes by Jonathon Parks, co-founder of Solstice Architects at 10 a.m. and Halflants+Pichette designer David Morrison at 2 p.m. The vintage Lido Shores home tours by Ringling College of Art + Design professor of architecture and design history, Christopher Wilson, and Sarasota Herald-Tribune real estate editor Harold Bubil are sold out. Two of the four trolley tours are sold out but there is still space on a bus tour to St. Petersburg that Monday, November 9.

There will be parties all three nights with the opening night and Sunday closing night BBQ at the Walker Guest House replica. A celebration of Rudolph will be on Saturday at the Sarasota High School, 1000 South School Ave.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We are building a good inventory of luxury waterfront homes and condominiums to choose, including these two residences added last week.

469 E. Royal Flamingo Drive $1,499,000 Video Photo Slideshow
603 Longboat Club Road, #503N $879,000   Photo Slideshow


Preparing your home for sale with the photographer

by Roger Pettingell

Advice from a real estate photographer

Best practices to get the most out of home photography

Best practices from a professional home photographer
Best practices - You can get great home photography results with these tips from a pro.

We have many ways to get showings for our clients. The more showings, the more opportunities for offers. One good way to keep a potential buyer interested is with good photos. Professional photographers can create the best first impression for a home when the first view is on the Internet or in print. And like you stage the home for a showing, you should also stage it for photography. I received these tips from local professional home photographer, Detlev von Kessel. He first advises that you should clean and declutter the home. If you have lived in a home for a while you may not recognize some of the clutter that made your home unique to you.

He said to look at everything around the home, anything from papers and pens on counter tops, to pet cages, toiletry in bathrooms and small rugs in the bathroom and kitchen. Remove or hide loose cables and shoes laying around on the floor. Remove anything in excess and organize all you can. Ask in advance if there are any rooms that will not be photographed. Most likely a photographer will not photograph closets, utility rooms or garages unless there is a unique feature to those rooms. There are many websites that offer advice on this topic and professional stagers can help.

Trimming shrubs and power wash sidings and walkways are also a good idea. A little thing that can be unnoticeable while walking through the home, is guaranteed to show in the picture.

If the home is furnished, stage it. Show some flowers or candles but don’t overdo it. He recommends staging the home with anything that will make the place more inviting, while keeping it neutral that will appeal to a wider audience.

Professional photographers have several photoshoots a day, particularly in peak season. For the best experience arrive at the property before the appointment to make sure it is ready for photography. This is a good time to make sure all rooms are staged, curtains are open and lights are on. All ceiling fans should be off.

The exterior is important too. Dawn or dusk photos are dramatic, and aerial photos show a different angle that can be exciting for a buyer. Therefore, turn on all exterior lights including pool lights. Remove cars from the driveway and front of the house. Remove any debris from the entrance or patio doors of the home and visualize how your home will look from overhead.

Many times I will use video when I think the residence is a good candidate for the media. Think about anything moving that might be distracting if shown on video. This is the result of a video shoot at a wonderful new listing at 309 Ringling Point Drive in Sapphire Point on Indian Shores, near the Ringling Museum of Art.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. You can help out a friend or neighbor who is also looking to buy or sell. If you are moving out of state and require a professional REALTOR® in the new location, Coldwell Banker has a great referral system so that they can receive proper representation. Call our office and we can arrange a referral.

309 Ringling Point Drive, Sarasota $3,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Recreational Parks in Sarasota - Part II

by Roger Pettingell

Area park system attracts many visitors

Part II covers local City, County, State and National Parks

Ted Sperling Park on Lido Key
Ted Sperling Park - There are good opportunities for water sports in this park on South Lido Beach.

There are many good public parks in Sarasota for so many activities. They cater to an active lifestyle, family gatherings or just for relaxation. Last week I wrote about the wonderful parks on Longboat Key that are maintained to preserve the natural environment and highlight the wildlife on the island. This week I expand out to the local, state and federal parks that are in Sarasota and the surrounding area. To begin, there are good resources on the Sarasota website to cover some of the 160 county parks in Sarasota.

Last week I started with a trip north on Longboat Key up Gulf of Mexico Drive. Today I head south from our office to City Island and Ken Thompson Park just over the New Pass bridge. There is boat access and boardwalks through the natural habitats in this 92-acre waterfront park. Lido Key support two parks, Ken Thompson and the 100-acre Ted Sperling Park on South Lido Beach. There are many activities to enjoy at Ted Sperling Park that are family related on land, and water activities that include swimming, fishing and kayaking. It is also a good spot to practice on a paddleboard.

Head toward Sarasota to the Ringling Causeway Bridge, but before crossing look for the small Bird Key Park on a narrow strip of land as you look to your left. Many joggers and walkers use this park as a starting point to traverse the Ringling Bridge with its great views of the city or sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. The park is pet-friendly as many are in Sarasota. Just some common sense adherence to the rules is all they ask for everyone to have a great experience. Continuing over the bridge you will arrive in Sarasota, where your world opens to 55,000 acres of county parkland remaining.

Sarasota County parks map
Sarasota County parks are shown on this map.

One of the first county parks you will find is Centennial Park, which is just north of the Ringling Causeway in downtown Sarasota on Tamiami Trail. You will first notice the Municipal Auditorium built with federal government funds during the WPA years of the Roosevelt era. The Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club is next to it in the park with open bowling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Centennial Park is also the setting for many of the activities and the launch point for the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix competitions each Independence Day weekend. The festivities begin June 25 in 2016, with races July 3rd and 4th.

South on Tamiami Trail is Phillippi Estate Park, east of Siesta Key, on the shores of Phillippi Creek. The park is a great place to canoe, look for local bird varieties and fish. In the park is the Edson Keith Estate, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and named for the retired millinery businessman from Chicago. The estate grounds is a great location for wedding ceremonies, and tours of the home are daily from October through May.

Head east on Fruitville Road, toward Interstate 75 and you will find Fruitville Park with soccer, softball, tennis and multi-purpose fields on 23 acres of recreational grounds. Outside the confines of Sarasota city are county parks in Venice and Englewood. Lemon Bay Park is on 200 acres with nature walks while Woodmere and Twin Lakes Park are devoted more to sporting activities.

Siesta Key beach
Number One Beach in the World - The Crystal Classic is held each November on Siesta Key Beach.

We sometimes forget that Siesta Key Beach is a public park and we know it for its white sandy quartz beach, rated highly over the years as the number one beach by TripAdvisor and Dr. Beach. Every November thousands of visitors attend the Crystal Classic international sand sculpting festival, this year scheduled for November 13-15.

Many county parks are pet-friendly and labeled paw parks. In each of the paw parks in the county there is a respect for wildlife and visitors so follow some basic rules so everyone can have a good experience. Some paw parks are fenced to let your dog run free while others require dog leashes and a proper clean-up are expected. There may be additional rules so it may be worth reviewing before taking your pooch for a walk or swim in the parks. The county parks have a website page devoted to their regulations. It also lists those locations that are paw parks. Click the link for a list of all the Sarasota County parks.

Two state parks are high on my list of places to visit when you look for extensive walks in nature with much to see and do. Myakka River State Park was another Roosevelt era project started under his alphabet soup administration CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps, and formally dedicated in 1941. This is a great place to camp and spend a couple days hiking the trails, touring the waterways or riding your bicycle. Overnight stays include opportunities for primitive camping to cabin rentals, currently under renovation that will raise them above the flood stage. There are even areas of the park accessible on horseback. One of great features is its treetop canopy tours with wooden tower at a height of 76 feet that overlooks the 37,000-acre park. It is one of the oldest and largest state parks and is near the Myakka Islands Point county park so there may be some confusion.

Myakka River State Park
You can view most of the 37,000 acres of Myakka River State Park from this 76-foot observation tower.

South of Sarasota city on Tamiami Trail is Oscar Scherer State Park, a 1,381-acre park with 15 miles of trails. It is great for the outdoor recreational enthusiast or wildlife observer. You can canoe, camp and hike here or fish and swim at Lake Osprey within the park. Lester Finley Barrier Free Nature Trail is handicap accessible. You can gain access to the park from Venice through Legacy Trail, which is very scenic for walking, biking, jogging or rollerblading. In 1955 Elsa Scherer Burrows, daughter of Oscar Scherer, bequeathed her ranch to the state of Florida and it was opened one year later.

If you think you have exhausted the park system here in Sarasota, you can visit the ever expanding 487-acre Robinson Preserve near Palma Sola on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton heading out to the beach. There are miles of paved bike and hiking paths with a tower that overlooks the park. De Soto National Park in Bradenton memorializes conquistador Hernando de Soto and Emerson Point Preserve with its observation deck across the Manatee River in Palmetto are also two good choices for parks to visit.

These parks I have reviewed the past two weeks attract visitors from many nations and one of the reasons visitors turn to buying homes here after their visit. Homes here are in high demand including this new listing at 245 Bird Key Drive in Sarasota. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

245 Bird Key Drive, Sarasota $1,095,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Recreational Parks on Longboat Key - Part I

by Roger Pettingell

Nature is Preserved Through Park System

Part I is devoted to the parks and preserve on Longboat Key

Overlook Park at the base of the New Pass drawbridge
Overlook Park - This Longboat Key park is ideal for families to fish and picnic. There is a wooden walkway to Quick Point Nature Preserve shown here.

When we think of parks on Longboat Key and Sarasota we think of white powdery sand beaches first. They are there and nearby every beach you can typically locate a lush garden public park, each unique with its variety of plant life and wildlife. Some parks have tennis courts, with baseball or softball diamonds. Some parks are designated as a playground for children while others are strictly for dogs to play with owners and socialize with other dogs. You can launch your boat from some of the parks. Residents here love to kayak and there are plenty of opportunities for that. Best of all, they are open year round because our weather is conducive to warm winter activities too.

We can start our visit of the parks on Longboat Key with the first location near our office in the Chart House restaurant building at the Gulf of Mexico Drive island's southern end. Looking out our window we have a good view of the mangroves, the boat channel where dolphins are playful, and the multi-million dollar homes beyond the channel. To the left we have a good view of the bridge at New Pass, below which is the picnic area for Overlook Park. Overlook Park is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation but maintained by the town of Longboat Key. It is also the gateway to Quick Point Nature Preserve through a path under the New Pass drawbridge. This nature preserve is home to some of the area’s most beautiful wading birds, but also predator birds. Ospreys make their nests here for its exclusivity to perches and plentiful supply of fish for their diet in the shallow waters of Sarasota Bay. Quick Point is wonderful, but it is also a park where you leave your puppy at home.

Quick Point Nature Preserve
Quick Point Nature Preserve provides benefits to wetlands and mangroves on Longboat Key.

The preserve is also a protection of the wetlands from erosion and there is a man-made tidal preserve at Quick Point. It was formed partially from the mangroves and the natural lagoon. This tidal preserve is a lagoon that was excavated to different land levels to attract a wide variety of animals in the pond that was created from the excavation. Walk among the mangroves for another variety of plants and animals. There you may learn to identify the differences in the red, black and white mangroves that grow there. There are two upland areas at Quick Point, created from dredging project soil deposits. An entire ecosystem of plant-life exists in the uplands, including an invasive species of pine trees.

Next, drive up Gulf of Mexico Drive to the Town Hall area of Longboat Key and to the north gate of Bay Isles near Publix shopping. Travel by bicycle and you will find a great rest stop at Bicentennial Park. The one-acre park was dedicated on July 4, 1976 and deeded to Longboat Key through a cooperative effort of the bicentennial committee and Arvida Corporation in 1978. This park is designated as a Florida Model Garden and kept beautiful by such organization as the Longboat Key Garden Club.

Just a little past the halfway mark of Longboat Key you will find the Bayfront Park Recreation Center. This park is run by the town for recreational facilities and picnic areas to be enjoyed by all. There is a playground for children to exhaust their energy. There is a multi-purpose field for soccer and softball as well as basketball, tennis and shuffleboard courts. A community building can be reserved by clubs and businesses for a variety of functions.

Just under two miles north of Bayfront Park on Gulf of Mexico Drive there is a park to help preserve wetlands and forest areas on the island. Joan M. Durante Park is just past the Longboat Key police and fire station on the right. James Durante, husband to his late wife, Joan, donated the initial funds in her name and the first phase of this wonderful park was completed in 1995. Over the years the park was enhanced through funds, grants and donations from local and state organizations. These funds were used to remove invasive species of plants and replaced with native plants that helped restore the ecosystem on this 32-acre site. The money was also used to construct a wooden walkway over the dunes that were created to help stabilize the coastal area of the park on Sarasota Bay.

There are many opportunities to enjoy nature and participate in recreational activities on Longboat Key. Next week I will continue my tour of parks in the area by heading south from our Coldwell Banker office over the New Pass bridge for parks on Lido Key and in Sarasota.

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day holiday weekend. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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Roger Pettingell?


  • Over 33 years as a top producing REALTOR® on Longboat Key and in Sarasota.


  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
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  • Ranked among the top 250 agents in the country for 2014, 2016 and 2017 by REAL Trends as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.