This home has all the luxury touches a buyer expects from The Lake Club. But it’s the details of its design that truly surprise and delight.
Even in a prestigious community like The Lake Club, this home is a standout. Set amidst the Tuscan-inspired landscape, it boasts every feature you would expect in a home valued well into the millions.
But there’s always a twist, a little extra thought, an unexpected luxury. The enormous shower in the master bath, for example, with its eight shower heads. Or the extra laundry room thoughtfully located in the guest wing. Or — our own personal favorite — the dedicated doggie bath in the main laundry room. It’s the perfect touch for a home built around family living.
The home is definitely the creation of its owners, Randy and Susan Mallitz. “It’s a white paper house,” Susan explains, meaning it was designed from scratch, just for them and with their input at every step. They even rented an apartment at nearby Watercrest (they were moving from Indianapolis) so they could be there at every step of the creation.
The Mallitzes were the perfect couple to build such a dream house. Randy is an investor, recently retired from a career in the field of acoustical technology. His companies were involved in the production of everything from Army helmets to Gulfstream jets. With a background like that it’s no wonder that the home is so meticulously thought out. Everything works, every piece fits just right.
But it’s Susan who’s responsible for the home’s elegant style. After a career in mental health counseling, she made a radical change and became a personal shopper for Nordstrom’s. From her comes the home’s look — no gimmicks, just timeless good taste. The faultless color scheme is a good example of her input. It’s composed of the lightest greens, yellows and neutrals, allowing not only the view of the lake to shine through, but the shimmer of the lake as well.
Not surprisingly the home has a premium location. “We loved it the minute we saw it,” Susan says. Located on a small peninsula, the lot is well over half an acre and has water on two sides. Everywhere you look is a slightly different vista.
But still, the home is the star. The public rooms are high-ceilinged — 26 feet in the entrance hall, 22 feet in the living room and dining room — but the spaces are so well proportioned that you don’t feel dwarfed by the scale. The living room is almost intimate, in fact, with a gas-lit fireplace and a wall of windows overlooking the pool and the lake.
Off the living room is Randy’s office. It’s paneled in wood, even the ceiling, and momentos of his career are on display. The custom woodwork was crafted by Tony Myers of Naples. It’s just one of the special touches throughout the home. Most of the walls, for example, are faux-painted. Look closely and you’ll see the slightest texture and design painted in. Since the home was built at the height of the recession in 2009, the Mallitzes had first pick of the area’s prime subcontractors and artisans, and the results show an extra level of luxury that would be difficult to achieve today.
Oddly, for such an elegant house, it’s not the formal spaces that contain the wow factor. That honor belongs to the family room, an enormous vaulted space that contains everything you need for the ultimate Florida lifestyle. A lanai — with fireplace — adjoins the room, and when the sliding glass doors that disappear entirely are pulled back the space becomes one big indoor-outdoor living area. There are several different eating areas — four that we counted — and what may well be the largest kitchen island in Sarasota. “I can serve the most elaborate buffet and not run out of space,” Susan says.
The formal dining room seats 19 but it’s this informal family room and lanai that give the home its unique ability for large scale entertaining. The Mallitzes have used it to further the local causes they’re interested in, including the Jewish Housing Council and the Jewish Family and Children Services.
Still, Randy explains, their favorite form of entertaining is one of their “movie nights” when they invite over a group of 10 or 12 friends. He picks a film that fits the group’s interests. First though, dinner is served at the large square table. Then it’s into the adjacent home theater for the film. Two types of seating are available: leather recliners down front or a plush banquette in back. There’s even a candy counter to add to the ambiance. After the film, it’s back to the family room for a discussion led by a local film scholar.
The Mallitz home was created by a team of professionals that include Landmark Builders, architect John Cooney and interior designer Luisa Shafran. “We were all on the same page from the very beginning,” Randy explains.
The attention to detail can also be seen in the home’s private spaces. The master suite, for example, occupies its own wing, with wide hallways and the home’s signature high ceilings. There are two room-sized closets; not surprisingly, Susan’s is the larger one, complete with an island and space for jewelry displays.
The home is also designed to pamper guests. “The problem we have is getting people to leave,” Randy jokes. There are two guest suites in a wing all by itself, each with its own bath and the aforementioned guest laundry. One has a water view, the other, with celadon green walls, is equally plush and a little more subdued. And to top things off there is even a guest house. Called the “casita,” it is attached to the main house but remains separate; there is no direct access from the main house. This makes it perfect for friends and relatives who may be here for a longer stay. It would also be ideal for live-in help should the situation arise.
With their five grandchildren growing up, the Mallitzes have decided it’s time downsize. They’re exploring apartments at the Ranch or perhaps something downtown and have put their home on the market for $3.35 million. But there is no doubt they’ll miss their Tuscan villa. Sitting in their family room with the sliding glass doors pulled back to let in the country air, they still marvel at how quiet and peaceful it is. “There is a part of us that doesn’t want to leave,” Susan says wistfully. “We made a lot of memories here. It’s been a dream fulfilled.”
Sale of the home at 16509 Baycross Drive is currently pending. It is listed by Stacy Hanan, with Michael Saunders & Co.