ST. PETERSBURG — With all due apologies to the interior designers, no one cares what the rooms look like at the Florida Orchestra Guild designer show house that opens this morning at 400 Beach Drive NE. • All anyone will be looking at is the view. • And a spectacular view it is from the units on the 26th and 21st floors of this downtown luxury condo tower. From the living and dining areas it's a sweeping view of Tampa Bay, from the Tampa skyline across the bay to the Vinoy to the Pier, the marinas, Albert Whitted Airport, south to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and beyond. • From the west, the view continues to the Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa in St. Pete Beach and the Gulf of Mexico. • But if you can tear your eyes away from the view, there's plenty to look at inside. The 26th-floor unit — 4,300 square feet, priced at $2.475-million — has been furnished and decorated in a traditional style. The 21st-floor unit — 3,295 square feet, priced at $1.79-million — is done in a contemporary style.
The designers have done a good job of staying out of the way of that spectacular view. "The view is like a great painting," said Jean Losier of Robb & Stucky, the lead designer: It is the focal point. She painted the walls of the 26th-floor living-dining area a soft blond that doesn't compete with the view but invites the outdoor light in. The silk window treatments are "the color of an old penny," she said, a deep copper, that frame the windows simply "but don't obstruct the view." A rich curved brown leather sofa has been positioned to catch the views.
On the 21st floor, she kept the furniture height "as low as possible so as not to impact the view." The leather sectional is low-slung, there are no window treatments, and the walls are painted a crisp celery green that is "very bright and fresh," Losier said. An area rug reflects the dark colors of the adjacent high-gloss zebrawood dining table and console.
Throughout the two units, designers have used restful, soft colors, but amped them up with metallic finishes or glazing or subtle striping. They've contrasted angular metals with soft materials. A guest room on the 26th floor by Designs of the Interior is painted a glazed shade called Spa Blue and its windows draped in iridescent sheers. On the 21st floor, in a tiny bedroom by MJ Designs and Doma Home Furnishings, a forest of bamboo stands in as a headboard.
So do notice the designers' work. And when you look at the view, thank our forebears and city leaders of generations gone by who had the wisdom and vision to allow no one to block off the waterfront with a condo canyon. These high-rise units reveal a spectacular signature view that any other city would envy.
Judy Stark can be reached
at email@example.com or