The term McMansion did not exist in design vocabulary in 1977 when Myra and Paul Steinberg decided to build a home on Siesta Key in the Roberts Bay Lane neighborhood. And even if it did, that’s not the kind of house they had in mind for their half-acre surrounded by water, sand, mangroves and cedars.
The custom house is made of wood (a lot of wood) in a simple ranch style with a boardwalk extending from the front of the house and many windows to embrace natural light and bring the outside to the inside. With three bedrooms and two baths, the 2,000-square foot home was the Steinberg family paradise for 44 years.
Now their youngest son, Bruce, who lives in North Carolina and is acting on behalf of his mother, has put the family home on the market at an asking price of $800,000. It is being sold through Deborah Nelson and Bernadette Caswell of Michael Saunders & Company.
The two-story home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the two main-level bedrooms is being used as a den/home office. Most of the rooms have hardwood flooring and stained wood for door and window trim. The spacious screened porch that opens off the kitchen has a wood floor, wood walls and wood ceiling. There is a gracious wood built-in buffet in the formal dining room and other wood built-ins.
The home looks much the same way it did when Bruce Steinberg’s parents worked with architect Charles Geisler to design it and both the kitchen and bathrooms are original, although the Steinbergs updated appliances and fixtures over the years. But, the home definitely reflects a certain time period and has distinctive character and personality.
Bruce moved with his parents when they relocated from New York to Sarasota in 1971. He was between 11th and 12th grade and was enrolled at Riverview.
“My father loved the beach and wanted to be on or near water,” said the son. “They first bought a condominium right across from the public beach at Siesta Key and were happy there for a couple years. But eventually they realized they were not cut out for condo living and wanted a custom house on the sand with some land.”
Bruce recalled that a family friend, the developer Ron Spector, steered them to a new community on Roberts Bay Lane.
“My parents picked a heavily wooded lot and then worked with architect Charles Geisler to design a house among the trees. They wanted to remove a minimum of trees and I think only had to take down two pines and a cedar to site the house. They were environmentally aware and wanted to disturb the trees as little as possible. The house is wood with a shingle roof so it fits right into the lot and surrounding environment. Theirs was the first new house built in the neighborhood, although there was an existing house in the area.” Bruce has the blueprints, along with the changes the owners made during construction.
“I remember there was to be a skylight in the kitchen and a laundry chute from my parents’ bedroom, but they must have reconsidered because those things never happened,” said their son. “They both loved wood and brought their prized pieces of wood furniture from New York and added more. I remember my older brother hand stained all the wood trim in the beach house and painted the inside for them, too. The whole time they lived in the house, my parents were absolutely meticulous about upkeep. They took great pride in maintaining that property. When the home inspector came to the house when we were ready to put in on the market, he was impressed with how pristine the house is and told us so.”
The Steinbergs were vigilant about the outside as well as the inside.
“They loved the natural landscaping and did not try to put in any sod,” said the son. “We had a shell driveway and shell paths and then just the sand everywhere else. My dad would go out every day and rake the sand into swirls and circles and neaten up the shell paths. It always looked perfect. I think raking the yard into designs was somehow meditative for him. He enjoyed it.”
A boardwalk and extensive decking on multi levels means there are several options for outdoor relaxing and entertaining.
The 20×20-owners’ bedroom (with en-suite bathroom) is above the oversized two-car garage. The other two bedrooms and bathroom are on the main level, but one of the bedrooms (off the living room) has been used primarily as a den/home office.
The large kitchen has an eating area at one end that opens to the big screened porch that has wood ceiling, floor and walls. The porch opens to the backyard, which descends to Roberts Bay. There’s a separate formal dining room with a door that closes it off from the kitchen. The living room, which has bountiful natural light from many windows, is a step-down design. Window treatments are wood-slat blinds.
The U-shaped kitchen has black appliances, solid-surface countertops, wood cabinets and a domed lighted ceiling treatment, which was a popular custom feature in the 1970s.
“My parents loved to cook and they entertained all the time,” remembered Bruce. “My mom’s cousins would come twice a year for an extended stay. I remember that my cousin Nancy had notecards made that said Steinberg Swanky Hotel. My parents loved that.”
Paul Steinberg died in 2009. Myra Steinberg decided last year that it was perhaps time to downsize to a retirement community and a smaller dwelling and she asked Bruce to prepare the house for sale.
“This family home expresses the design and style of a new beach house in the 1970s built by a couple who loved wood and the natural beauty of Siesta Key and who wanted to be on water, near the beach and the village of Siesta Key,” said their son. “It is vintage when you look at home design today, but the house has character and seems ideal for the kind of simple lifestyle my parents had in mind for their Florida house.”