On my desk is “The Mini Zen Garden,” a small sandbox with three
black rocks and a miniature rake. Whenever I need
to take a “tranquility break” during the
day, I gently rake the sand around the rocks, breathe
deeply, and try to relax. It’s a ritual I call
A permanent state of serenity, however, prevails in
designer Sue Strober’s Gulf Coast retreat on
Siesta Key. To achieve this peaceful aesthetic, Strober
retained architects Maho Abe and Rina Okawa, of ZEN
Associates, Inc. in Massachusetts, who specialize
in Asian design principles. Encompassing a main house,
guesthouse and meditation garden, this amazing sanctuary
is truly one with nature.
Worldly influences also shape an estate on Gem Island,
located near Vero Beach. Here, designer Thomas D.
Stringer conceived a refined interior for his client,
drawing inspiration from the “grand tours”
that young aristocrats used to take around the world.
The result is an eclectic décor that combines
a variety of cultures and styles.
Designer Janet Bilotti’s clients, Joan and Michael
Salke, are familiar with the fine art of living. Their
collection of museum-quality art comprises more than
200 paintings, sculpture and photography, which they
acquired with the assistance of renowned curator Diego
Cortez. At the couple’s request, Bilotti created
special lighting and an understated environment that
magnificently showcases each piece.
An artful blend of classic and contemporary styles
comes together in a home designed by Betsy Godfrey.
Neutral backgrounds set the stage for vivid accent
colors, such as paprika, cayenne and purple, which
pop up in the fabrics, art and accessories. Warm and
inviting, the interior exudes a “jewelry box”
These gems and many more color the pages of this issue.
Karen B. King McCallum