Downsizing the house, but not the lifestyle

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One of Siesta’s most prized residences enters the growing luxury-home market as the Crouses stay on the Key but get closer to the city

By Jane Bartnett

“I grew up along the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey. I like being near the water,” said Siesta Key resident William Crouse who, along with his wife, Elaine, listed their dazzling waterfront Siesta Key home last month for $21 million. “We spend winters here. We’re not moving out of the area.”
They are, however, downsizing to a smaller Siesta Key home that is less than 6,000 square feet. Like their current 7,800-square-foot Sanderling Club home, located at 8250 Sanderling Rd., it was also designed by the renowned Sarasota architect Guy Peterson.
The couple’s new residence will be “a little closer to the city,” Crouse said. Citing easier access to the north bridge, Crouse said that the move will allow the couple easier access to downtown Sarasota and less traffic.

Elaine and William Crouse in their Sanderling Road home, posing in front of their collection of vintage glasswear and cocktail shakers. The home (below) also features an impressive art collection with an emphasis on art deco posters. (submitted photos)

While they value the privacy that their life on Siesta Key affords them, they also maintain a busy social calendar. “We go into town almost every night for dinner and we participate in social functions and charitable activities,” said Crouse.
The couple has been avid collectors of art deco posters, glassware from the 1930s, and cocktail shakers for many years and share a fascination with this iconic and celebrated art form.
Elaine Crouse is a Ringling College of Art and Design trustee. Earlier this year, she and her husband opened their Siesta Key home to Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College supporters who viewed the Crouse’s extensive collections.
A venture capitalist and former worldwide president of Ortho Diagnostics, William Crouse is the author of two art deco poster books. Antiques and Arts Weekly, a highly regarded arts world publication, heralded Crouse’s The Art Deco Posters: Rare and Iconic, as “a feast for the eyes. This book is a wonderful study of an important graphic design genre,” wrote a critic. His second book, Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco Posters, the Complete Collection: The Art, the Artists and the Competition, 1929-2009, also won accolades for its text and beautiful photographs.
He takes great pride in the collections that he and his wife have built over the years, which include works by French commercial poster artists Cassandre, Jean Carlue, Charles Loupot, Paul Colin and Sepo. The couple also own a work by Spanish surrealist artist Joan Miró. The Crouses’ collection, he noted, include “the rarest and most important works” of the genre, and “100% between the two world wars.”
Currently, more than 50 posters from the Crouses’ collection are being shown at an exhibit called Art Deco: Commercializing the Avant-Garde, at Poster House, a New York City museum in Manhattan that is open to the public. The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 25.
The couple, who had previously owned a home on Casey Key, purchased their five-bedroom, five-bathroom Siesta Key Sanderling home in 2014 for $9 million. They conducted an extensive multi-million renovation on Peterson’s 2000 design that included landscaping and interior redesigns to better display their art and to make the home their own.
Crouse said that he has no concerns about having less space to display the couple’s posters in their new home. Many pieces, he said, are currently in storage and others will join them there.
When not on Siesta Key, the couple plans to divide the rest of its time between homes in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Luxury market: robust to steady
The Crouses’ Sanderling home listing is in keeping with the strength of the luxury and ultra-luxury marketplace on Siesta Key. Realtor Joel Schemmel of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, who is the broker for the property, noted that the market has become more balanced and that there is more from which to choose.
“The pace of sales for the luxury and ultra-luxury market is back to normal, vs. the COVID years,” he said. “Average prices in the luxury and ultra-luxury market have remained steady from 2022 to 2023. On Siesta Key, in the $4 million-plus range, there have been 14 sales, year to date, vs. 17 in the same period last year.”
Also commenting on the post-COVID-19 real estate boom on Siesta Key, Natalie Gutwein of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Judie Berger Team said that she has seen a dramatic increase in prices over the past five years. The increase in remote workers and an influx of affluent buyers from New York and California are the biggest reasons.
“They peaked in 2022 and prices are steady now,” she said.
Mirroring William Crouse’s thoughts on why Siesta Key, with its easy access to Sarasota’s cultural and philanthropic offerings, is so appealing to the luxury and ultra-luxury buyer, she said that people are simply drawn to this community.
The Crouse listing marks the second time this year a Siesta Key resale property listing has hit the $20-million-plus plateau. In February, a listing of Schemmel’s, located at 3799 Flamingo Ave., hit the market at $22 million.
In mid-November, another notable Siesta Key home entered the market. New York Times best-selling author Glenn Cooper’s 6,827-square-foot residence at 749 Freeling Drive on the northern end of Siesta Key was listed for sale for $7 million. Schemmel is the listing agent for this property as well.

Ned Steele contributed to this report.

A view from above and a view (below) of the exterior. (submitted photos)
Jane Bartnett
Author: Jane Bartnett

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