This week we are in Sarasota finalizing Steve (DOS’s) house before it goes on the market next Monday. It’s both a nostalgic and a bit bittersweet visit for him, as he sells his house of 20 years, but as he now resides with me in Orlando full time, and we don’t want to maintain two houses, it was an easy decision to make.
DOS had been delaying selling the house for over a year since his Father passed away on New Year’s Day 2020, due to the work required to bring it to the market. His Dad lived into his 10th decade, and died just shy of the 100 year old milestone, at 99 years old. DOS’s Dad had been living there for the last few years (as well as his Mother previously before she passed) while DOS and his team of home health caretakers assisted them over the years. His most recent home health care assistant, “Queen”, came by to see the house and couldn’t believe the transformation since when she had worked there.
God bless DOS, as his house had become a nursing home of sorts for his parents over their final years. DOS never complained about caring for his parents in his own home, and really enjoyed talking with his Dad about our worldwide travels.
Fortunately, DOS could not have picked a better team of people to renovate and sell his house – they were all outstanding! Starting with his Realtor, Mugsy, she arranged for some stellar contractors she has worked with to meet with DOS and decide what needed to be done. The house had not been updated in nearly 20 years, and really needed a whole house makeover due to some of the accommodations DOS had made when his parents were convalescing there over the years, and in and out of the hospital and therapy.
The renovation team was led by Chuck and Tom and they presented DOS with a couple estimates; one a very simple nearly ‘as is’ with trash removal and housecleaning, to a very detailed full-house renovation. DOS wisely chose the full house renovation, which will bring the house up to the current housing designs of 2021. Before starting the work, Chuck and Tom asked DOS how much input he wanted with the renovation, and he respected their judgement, basically giving them free rein on the updates (within the approximate price-point they had agreed to.)
We both trusted their judgement from their years in the field, and I can’t imagine the house turning out any better if we had micro-managed every detail, or even hired a designer or project manager to do the work. Chuck and Tom were absolutely awesome to work with, and their attention to detail was incredible. The interior of the house was basically completely remodeled, literally from the ground up! New flooring, new quartz countertops, new kitchen cabinets, updates in both bathrooms, relocation of a closet for better floor space, pool and screen repairs, roof updates you name it! Most of the furniture and clothes were donated, while the remaining clean out, cabinet removal etc, was disposed of in a large bin dumpster they had delivered to the house.
I’ll show some renovated house pics in a moment, but first a quick schedule of our week here in Sarasota. We drove the two and a half hours to Sarasota from Orlando on Sunday, and once again stayed at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota downtown overlooking the Gulf. We have stayed here several times, and the staff always welcome us back, and put us on the top (10th floor) which offers excellent views of the Gulf or pool area (this time the Gulf view), as well as a nice upgrade to a suite.
Each morning we had a nice breakfast in the main level dining room (complimentary thanks to my Hyatt Globalist status), before heading out for the day’s activities.
On returning to the hotel the first evening, Hyatt even surprised us with this complimentary gift bottle of red wine setup, which included chocolate bars, marshmallows, and s’mores sticks! Hyatt really knows how to treat their Globalist members well! Thanks Hyatt!
Most days during our Sarasota week, we would first stop at DOS’s house to check on the nearly completed work, followed by some sightseeing time in the afternoons, most notably at the John and Mable Ringling Museum Complex, which I’ll do a separate post on later as it was so amazing!
The complex was so large we visited it over a couple afternoons, but really needed additional time to see it, so we bought an annual membership to The Ringling Museum. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (complex) is definitely a must-see if you are in Sarasota. I was always a big circus fan, and I guess by purchasing an annual membership you could say “we joined the circus!” LOL!
We had lunch one day at The Ringling Grill, which was a full service onsite restaurant near the entrance to the complex. The Grill Room was quite nice with a full service bar, and was casual chic with white tablecloths, good food and great service. And best of all it had great air conditioning and nice chairs to rest our feet from walking so much in the hot summer Florida sun!
We went back to the John and Mable Ringling Museum the next day, and this time toured Mable Ringling’s extensive Rose Garden (and statues) as well as the first floor of their mansion, CA’D’Zan, circa mid 1920’s. (The second floor is currently closed due to COVID, but hopefully will open back up in November.). The mansion is like something out of the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island and deserves its own post, but here are a couple photos.
Back to DOS’s house, while not nearly as massive and grand as the Ringling’s it too had been renovated into museum-like quality; of course on a much less grand scale. (LOL!). The first time we walked in DOS’s house after the renovations had been nearly done, we were blown away by the transformation! The house was completely empty at this point and looked huge and brand new! There was still some work to be done in the kitchen, pool, and touch up, but the now empty and updated house felt completely new and fresh (with the new house smell!).
The carpet and tile was replaced throughout the house, as well as kitchen appliances replaced, and a quartz countertop added, both bathrooms remodeled, pool pump replaced and pool deck resurfaced and the pool cage refinished, while the garage flooring had an upscale and ‘sparkling’ look. Compare the garage to the earlier photo with all the trash and the dumpster!
The living room looked much more open now as the front coat closet was removed (never really used), while another closet was added in the office area, effectively allowing for a third bedroom if desired. All of the lighting fixtures and ceiling fans were replaced, giving a much more modern and airy look.
We were truly amazed at the turn-key clean-up and remodeling done by Chuck and Tom. They worked magic on this house, and truly took pride in their workmanship and creativity. Chuck and Tom kept us updated throughout the project via photos and phone calls, which was very helpful as we live in Orlando 2 1/2 hours away. Chuck and Tom – thank you so much! You guys deserve your own home remodeling TV show! You really do – you are amazing! Chuck and Tom even took us out to dinner the night of our first viewing since the work began.
Later in the week, DOS’s realtor Mugsie Quinlin (who had initially arranged for our contractors with Chuck and Tom), had the house professionally staged and photographed. Coupled with the work Chuck and Tom, the staging work by Julie and team was the icing on the cake! The ‘new’ house looked like a model home and was stunning – what a design talent Julie has for decorating. At first we didn’t think the house would need staging, but it brought the home to a new level and provided prospective owners with some excellent ideas on furnishing it and making good use of floor space. Thanks Julie of Angel Staging!
Julie even staged the master bedroom closet (with ladies clothes – LOL) and the baths with nice toiletries and robes.
The pool area had not been used much while DOS had lived there, but was now set up for a leisurely relaxing enclave and entertainment area.
We had the official “unveiling” on Friday, which was essentially a neighborhood word-of-mouth event which DOS and I, Julie the decorator, Chuck and Tom the contractors, and Mugsie and family all attended.
The unveiling was very well received, and it a fun, social, and educational event for his neighbors in this 55 plus community. While DOS’s home wasn’t specifically marketed to his neighbors, the word of mouth transformation of his home was invaluable, as well as providing the neighbors with the value of their own homes and redecorating or upgrades they could have done as well. It was basically a free party with neighbors, and a sort of going away party for DOS.
Mugsie really knows how to do things up, and she provided hors-dourves from a upscale catering company, as well as margaritas, white wine, and a couple different cases of beer! (No red wine she said as she didn’t want anybody spilling it! Great advice, and no one did with the other food and drink.). It really was a good time for all in a no-pressure environment, and really a celebration of the work that had been done, and would could be done for others in a similar situation.
And yes the margarita dispenser was empty by the end of the party!
While I didn’t take many photos during the unveiling party, after it was over, we all breathed a sigh of relief and toasted the evening and all the hard work people had put into making this happening!
On our last night in Sarasota (Saturday) DOS and I took Chuck and Tom out to The Capital Grille for dinner, which was still featuring The Generous Pour Wine Event. We had previously taken Mugsie and her husband Howard out to The Capital Grille earlier in the week, and although I only have a couple photos of that night, Mugsie and I both agreed we LOVED the Château Lasségue Bordeaux Blend from Saint-Émilion, France.
I’ve written about The Capital Grille’s Generous Pour Event before, and it’s always a fun night out, especially if you like nice wines without paying the exorbitant mark-up fees most fine dining restaurants charge. On this our last night in Sarasota, it was Tom’s birthday, so I made him a photo birthday/thank you card, and we had a great excuse to go back to the Capital Grille once again!
DOS isn’t a big drinker, but did have a toast with us for the success of the project. Meanwhile the rest of us got our $28 a person wine charge easily by the first course, and by the end of the meal (regular priced items) our table was full of different wine glasses and varied by appetizer and course! Cheers to Chuck and Tom!
On Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Orlando, while Mugsie was having an official and published (on MLS) Open House.
Mugsie phoned us later that night, and told us the house would sell with multiple offers, and should wrap up the offers by Tuesday, (well above asking price which it did), two days later. Mugsie was an awesome realtor, and her work truly shows what value and experience hiring a good realtor can do for a property. Thanks Musgie!
Our week in Sarasota was exciting and fun, and even though DOS was moving away from Sarasota, we both agreed we would come back whenever we wanted to, without the worry of keeping up a second house. After all, we are annual members of the John and Mable Barnum Circus, well officially called Art Museum! LOL!