Inside a St. Armands Home That’s on the Market for Almost $12 Million
If the devil is in the details, he just might live in this St. Armands Key waterfront home, where he enjoys Sundays by an infinity-edge pool overlooking Sarasota Bay.
Located on a cul de sac, the gated home at 97 S. Washington Drive is loaded with carefully carved wall nooks and coffered ceilings scraping 26 feet, reminiscent of Old World churches. If that sounds good to you, it can be yours for $11,995,000.
Back in the ’90s, the homeowner John Knutsen and his wife used to have a vacation spot on Clearwater Beach. One day they took a day trip to St. Armands Circle and fell in love with it. “We decided when we retired, this would be it,” he says, “and 15 years later we were able to do that.”
Knutsen bought the waterfront corner double lot in 2002 for $2,075,000, back when it was a 1940s, 3,800 square-foot bungalow. But when he started on a remodel, he found that the original plumbing had disintegrated. A former home builder in New York, Knutsen opted to tear down the home and build something new with a few more upgrades.
“I’m into woodworking and the details,” he says.
Inspired by a John Cannon Homes model home they saw in Lakewood Ranch in The Lake Club roughly 20 years ago, the couple hired the local builder to “double” their home, Knutsen says. Built in 2005, it has travertine flooring, fireplaces, a 200-bottle wine room, a theater, an office and a five-car garage. There’s a heated infinity-edge swimming pool, and private bay access that includes a 14,000-pound boat lift on 150 feet of waterfront on Sarasota Bay.
Perched on more than half an acre, there are also five bedrooms and five-and-one-half bathrooms spread across two levels spanning 8,000 square feet, with water views galore. Don’t miss the bathrooms, when exemplify the epitome of a bubble bath with a view.
“That was Cannon,” Knutsen says. “I actually remodeled my home in New York after that bathroom.”
The total build took about a year-and-a-half—“back then there were no supply issues,” Knutsen says.
It’s been a tough decision to move, but since his wife passed away eight years ago, the house is just too big for one person, he says. And it’s already attracting home buyers teed up to buy such a home amid such a low housing supply.
Plus, it’s still more affordable than homes in Naples, Palm Beach and Miami, says Roger Pettingell, who is representing the seller. “Houses there that aren’t even on the water are $12 million,” Pettingell says.
Knutsen says he’ll miss the home’s location most. It’s just two blocks from St. Armands Circle and four blocks from Lido Beach.
That’s why he plans to downsize, but stay on one of the keys. He hopes to find a parcel on the water where he can build another new home—and he’s taking the boat with him.