“We moved here from Montana and immediately felt the power of design when done by gifted architects,” says homeowner Mike Goodman. After interviewing several architects and builders in the area, Mike and wife Becky decided to go with principal architect Mark Sultana, AIA of DSDG Architects and Rob Dynan of Dynan Construction. “We had a custom house built in Kentucky and in Montana the same,” he says, “but we’ve never experienced the level of professionalism that we did here.”

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WHEN THE GOODMANS DESCRIBED their vision for a mid-century modern design with touches of earthy accents from out west, Sultana needed no further explaining to know exactly what the couple was looking for in their newly purchased lot located far enough away from the Sarasota city bustle to enjoy acres of land and peaceful privacy. Nestled on the other side of I-75, Dynan had to first tear down a poorly built, dilapidated house of exposed wires—rumored to be a witness protection property for a one-armed woman since disappeared, but what manifested was Goodman’s elegant rancher retreat—full of inspiration from Mike’s hobby woodworking replica furniture and Becky’s admiration for Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called Organic Architecture. 

“Our new home represents the clean lines and purity of mid-century modern—we are all pretty proud of it. East of the interstate it’s a rare sight,” says Mike. “Mark calls it organic-modern, as we incorporated interior pieces that reflect Biedermeier, F.L. Wright, Van der Meer and others. To a certain extent the house was designed around them.”

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And hailing from a state defined by diverse terrain ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, its wide-open spaces including vast wilderness preserves, endless snow-capped peaks and alpine hiking trails, it was no surprise that Becky, an animal lover and avid farmer/gardener, needed a lot of persuading to leave her beloved home in the woods, surrounded by her horses and Montana landscape—but Mike promised a new life near the beach, with infinite nice restaurants and plenty of Vitamin D. The deciding factor was that they would work together to build the perfect home for them to grow in their new environment, and bring along cherished pieces of furniture and mementos of their western abode to be included in the construction of their new one. “I had a man who actually listened to me!” Becky quips of Sultana’s keen sense for her custom-built master bathroom and every woman’s dream of a walk-in closet. 

Sultana was sure to give the couple a “kick-back” room as well, to spend devoted evenings in repose—surrounded by family heirlooms, traveled souvenirs and special belongings. Interior designer April White assured the couple she would integrate these, while also assimilating a fresh, coastal-modern theme with touches of American history—including a pristine white Brno flat bar chair set, designed in 1930 and one of the few chairs to be exhibited in MOMA. Becky’s photography decorates the office and her collection of gemstones/crystals cameos throughout the house on marble countertops, while Mike’s handcrafted wooden bookshelf commands the entire length of the bedroom wall custom-designed to accommodate his large collection. 

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“It was a real collaborative effort between Mark, Rob and April and us,” Mike says. “We knew that we had certain pieces of furniture that we wanted to bring, and they were able to incorporate them accordingly.” A vibrant and abstract composition of paneled stained glass made by an artisan in Asheville for the couple has been with Mike and Becky for 30 years, so the team seamlessly designed a front-facing window tailored to the glass’s dimensions within the dining room to fit exactly the framing of the piece. The couple also described to Sultana a feature they were particularly fond of from their previous home, which the team recreated with square windows trimmed with specially-stained cypress wood edging the entire infrastructure as part of the roof—provoking premium natural lighting and catching summer lightning spectacles. “I was sitting on the couch watching TV one night, and all of a sudden I looked up and saw a shooting star go by right in front of me,” shares Becky. 

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Surrounded by lush greenery, including the Goodman’s garden of bamboo and crops, along with their chicken pen, the expansive back patio is equipped with marble flooring, upscale-coastal patio furniture and an in-ground swimming pool. To fully enjoy the warm Florida weather, the entire back wall of the house was fused with a swath of floor-to-ceiling glass panels that slide completely open to give the house an open-air setting for guests to easily intermingle inside and outback. With an open kitchen floor plan furnished with an island for party snacks and hi-top seating, as well as a built-in liquor bar closeby, the Goodmans can host intimate gatherings as they like to do (including a reunion party this past New Year’s Eve with all their friends flown in from Montana). “When I looked at the blueprint drawings, I was worried,” admits Becky. “I kept asking Mark, ‘Are you sure I can get some people in here?’ He assured me not to worry—sure enough it was perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted any more or any less space. I had over 30 people in here and it wasn’t crowded at all.” 

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The sleek, white facade of the house’s architecture dances up into the tree canopies, while the horizontal roof lines keep it grounded. The human-sized aloe plants in the front garden skirt a geometrical Cory Fizer sculpture, welcoming visitors with an exquisite pebble stone and concrete lily pad walkway—leading to one of Sarasota’s distinctly modern imprints inhabiting a multicultural flair. “We hope that the excellence of design encourages others out here to realize that there are more options than Spanish or Caribbean [architecture],” says Mike, “and to draw on Sarasota’s strong modernist heritage.”

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