Story By: Island Reporter
Peeking into adjacent homes “born" over 40 years apart is an innovation on this year’s 19th annual “Peek at the Unique," being hosted by the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva and set for March 14.
A treat for “Peekers": adjacent homes at a single stop in a quiet neighborhood, featured for the first time. One is a modest single-story, transformed after a masterful top-to-toe remodel, and the other is a brand-new Mediterranean “castle," three stories high. Both enjoy a lake view with a rookery island.
The 1970s “Michigan" style ranch had never been updated. Nearing retirement, globe-trotters Robert Randell and Kassie Witte wanted a ground-level abode. They purchased the property in 2015, and worked with S.A.M. Builders of Fort Myers and Island Home Service/Tree West of Sanibel to design a winter retreat – backdrop for their art and glass collections, with landscaping to enhance the tranquil lake view and bring the outside in.
When remodeling began, only the original cement floor, cinderblock walls and roof structure remained. With an elevated ceiling, Core-Tek flooring, reconfigured kitchen and a sparkling new pool, the home provides exactly the respite the couple sought. Roof solar panels provide energy to warm and cool the home, heat the pool and power a hybrid electric car.
“We rarely use air-conditioning in the winter months," Witte said. “We just open all the sliders and the front door, and enjoy cool breezes."
Next door, Laslo Csiki and Judy Csiki-Sarsby purchased the vacant lot in 2018, also seeking tranquility, in contrast to a vacation home in Orlando. Working with Beattie Development from Cape Coral, they created a family-size getaway with every convenience, and decor that pays homage to their European roots and global travels. They named it Strawberry Kastely – after the hair color of their young granddaughter, and the Hungarian word for “castle."
Peekers will enter a sleekly modern home that is also stylishly comfortable. Features include furnishings from Roche Bobois, a Miami company specializing in European imports; stained-glass panels flanking the front door; and a family TV room stuffed with Moorish-style sofas that unfold to create a pit. An open floor plan, oversize deck, bubbling pool and sweeping views of the rookery with abundant bird life combine to offer the peace the couple sought when choosing Sanibel.
The Randell/Witte home is sponsored by S.A.M Builders and by Island Home Service, and the Csiki home is sponsored by Beattie Development.
Peek tickets are available through www.EventBrite.com; they are $100 each ($90 for afternoon departures, if they are available), plus a small service fee.
For more information, visit www.zontasancap.com or follow Zonta Sanibel-Captiva on Facebook or on Instagram at @zontasancap.