15 December

A Yen for Zen

Nick Churton of the Michael Saunders and Company, London office, meditates on the qualities of a uniquely serene waterside home in Florida.

The Property: 8017 Marina Isles Ln, Holmes Beach, FL.

The Broker: Michael Saunders & Company

The Agents: Kate Enis and Stacy Haas

Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I was up in Anna Maria Island, the last pearl in an exquisite string of barrier islands that stretch north from Sarasota to Bradenton on the west coast of Florida.

There are many great homes to choose from in these delightful neighbourhoods – grand oceanfront mansions, condos – large and small – and chic chalet homes. But there is only one 8017 Marina Isles Lane.

I was entirely unprepared to open the front door and step over a carp canal by way of a polished wooden surfboard to enter what I can only describe, as a cool, marble-floored Balinese style pavilion. One may quickly think of this house as an indulgence or one man’s flight of fancy. But after only a few minutes, one realises that it is neither. In those few minutes, a calm has overwhelmed one. So too has a level of deeper understanding that this is how one should like to live. This building is not a folly, in the architectural sense of the word, but a meaningful home for mind and soul. It is a retreat that touches all the senses. It is a way of life away from a busy world – but not isolated from that world. Forget possessions: pyjamas, for modesty, and a toothbrush will just about do it here.

Of course, this is a high specification building that uses only the finest and most beautiful materials. But it goes much deeper than that. The layout flows, like the carp canal, offering a paired down but sophisticated lifestyle. The kitchen is fantastic, and you should see the master suite with a to-die-for bath and shower room. There is a second-floor guest suite that would make a rod for your own back because you would have to prise your guests away, kicking and screaming.

Outside there is an extensive deck flanking an infinity pool with views over the Intracoastal inlet – think osprey, dolphin and manatee. There is a dock. The water isn’t deep, so no yacht space. But I doubt that is what you want if you desire this home. A paddleboard, kayak or shallow-draft dory will do the trick for fishing, picnics and just messing about in boats. But then they would also get you to a yacht moored in the marina opposite, if that is your thing.

I love this house. I love its look. I love how it made me feel. I love the promise of peace it silently made me. I was not expecting that.

Excuse me while I fetch my pyjamas and toothbrush.