The Gallianos—two doctors originally from New YorKhave made their “forever home” on Siesta Key in a newly built modern retreat just two blocks from a beachside village. Embodied in the décor is the couple’s warm family heritage, and the residence has quickly become a central gathering spot for visiting children and grandchildren.

At 3,200 square feet, the 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom structure (complete with a mother-in-law suite) was a collaboration between Tampa’s Traction Architecture, general contractor Ampersand Construction, Borden Landscape Design and interior designer Schuyler Galliano. The project was completed in 2018 on an idyllic, lightly wooded lot near the Gulf of Mexico. “The homeowners’ initial vision was of a modern courtyard house with Latin American and Scandinavian influences—a place where they could relax together, spend time with extended family and guests, and occasionally throw huge parties,” says Traction architect Ross-Alan Tisdale.

The Gallianos first considered making the Peaceable Way house a weekend getaway but ultimately decided to reside there full time. Karin Galliano, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who owns Peace River Psychology Center (with offices in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte). Her husband, Dr. Domingo E. Galliano, is a board-certified general and colon-rectal surgeon with Galliano Surgical Group in Port Charlotte. The two commute to work in Charlotte County, and when they both return home after their respective 45-minute drives, their custom-tailored space provides sanctuary.

“We wanted this house to reflect our combined heritages. My husband is of Italian descent but born and raised in Cuba, and my father was a displaced person who fled communism in Estonia,” Karin Galliano says. “So our home’s balconies and outdoor courtyard give it a Latino taste. And the Scandinavian encasings of cypress wood soften and enrich the stark, simple, modern design, and give it a Baltic stamp.”

Structurally, the Siesta Key house spills out onto its site from a set of stacked, interlocking volumes that hold interwoven spaces together. Organized around a central breezeway, clad in thin planks of warm wood, the spaces are split into two zones: a primary living area for the Gallianos, and a set of private spaces for the couple’s children and grandchildren.

The site’s location (in a flood zone) necessitated a six-foot elevation change between the first floor and grade, so Traction designed a courtyard at the first-floor level to connect the interior to the pool area. A series of concrete plinths cascade from the courtyard level gently back down to the land. Large glass panels create a delicate line between the courtyard and the interior living space, which disappears when the panels are opened, folded and stacked.

Upstairs, carefully placed openings capture the sea breezes and surrounding views, while a large window on the third floor filters northern sunlight into the main living spaces three stories below. Recessed, wood-clad balconies provide private exterior nooks for each bedroom and mitigate the effects of west-facing sunlight. Interior and exterior staircases connect the home’s spaces and culminate in a roof deck (where a Gulf view is visible through the treetops).

“The lot is actually a few blocks away from the beach, which gave us an opportunity to create inward-looking views onto the landscape and pool area. A series of steps bring the visitor up into a dramatic breezeway, which frames the views of a linear pool,” Tisdale says. “A delicate aluminum bar grate bridge spans over the breezeway and connects the main living area with the guest suites. I also love the stacking glass door system on the first level which, when opened completely, dissolves the boundary between the interior of the house and the pool deck.”

The design now accommodates the Gallianos’ lifestyle so ideally that the couple cannot imagine living elsewhere. They adore the proximity to the Siesta Key Village and the walkability of the district.

“As former New Yorkers, we like to walk around a neighborhood. I have a Bernese mountain dog named Axl and wanted an area where I could walk the dog and encounter other pedestrians and their dogs,” Karin Galliano says. “We are literally two blocks away from all the local restaurants and the heart of the village. We are in this quaint tourist town with its whimsical flair yet within a short ride to the hub of Sarasota with its cultural and historical richness.”

The Gallianos love to entertain and both come from large families, but their previous residence in Punta Gorda lacked the exterior patio space to accommodate crowds. At the Siesta home—which is actually 1 1/2 lots—the Gallianos often invite live music acts to perform on-site and boast plenty of room for guests to mingle and dance. The homeowners are avid cooks, so a spacious kitchen with a huge island and top-of-the-line appliances was mandatory. Having an open-concept plan with a seamless flow from the dining to the living area was also paramount, as were high ceilings with abundant light. An enclosed guest suite for family members and friends maintains privacy.

“The Gallianos wanted a space that they could feel comfortable in alone but could also accommodate long visits from family members, so the house is organized around the central breezeway that separates the couple’s primary living area and master suite from a series of spaces for guests,” Tisdale says. “The guest areas can be shut down when they are not in use so that the owners can relax in the main part of the house, which is perfectly scaled for two people. When children and grandchildren visit, the guest spaces across the breezeway give them privacy. And when it’s time to host a party, the owners can open up the entire home to the pool area, creating a dynamic space for dinners, music and dancing.”

With these deliberately separated spaces in mind, the grand entranceway to the house was equipped with two doors. The right door leads to the guest suite, the left door opens to the main house and there is an elevator from the garage to the roof.

“The guest suite is an ingenious private dwelling for family and friends,” Karin Galliano says. “They can sneak in and out anytime of the night without disturbing us.” Keeping the home tranquil was essential for the Gallianos, who look forward to their daily post-work unwinding routines. “Both of us spend a lot of time in our offices helping patients in our different ways. When we get home, it’s important for us to destress and recharge our energies,” Karin Galliano says. “Enjoying the outdoors is one of our favorite pastimes. Indoor–outdoor living allows us to enjoy the beachy breezes without living right on the water.”

When the Gallianos are savoring their out-of-office hours, they soak up the water views as well as the home’s built-in water features. “Our rooftop [overlooking the water] is a great place to watch the stars and sip a glass of fine wine while listening to our favorite tunes. Our bathrooms are funky and full of design surprises—true sanctuaries where you want to soak in a modern basin or linger in a shower that has numerous water spouts,” Karin Galliano says. “My husband insisted on an infinity pool; the edge folds over to a continuous waterfall. At night, the various bodies of water are set to different colors, which brings a South Beach element to our party atmosphere.”

The pool area and backyard has a vibe all its own. Originally, the plans for the house did not emphasize this outdoor space, but the Gallianos asked the architects to create a more dimensional area with different levels for groups to gather. Bifold doors now offer the option to completely open up the living and dining rooms, virtually putting both outside.

Inside, the artwork and furnishings are impeccable. The bulk of the furniture is from Scan Design and Restoration Hardware.

“I have a few favorite items. My entire family insisted I get a supercomfortable couch. The modular sectional sofa I purchased from Restoration Hardware is called the Cloud. The invitation is to sink in and stretch out [with two ottomans on the ends] and enjoy the TV or the dual gas/electric fireplace,” Karin Galliano says. “Relaxation is the theme of this home. Another favorite item is the dining room table by Scan Design. There are buttons that allow you to control the height of the table. The setting can be custom-fit for dining purposes or converted to a high elevated buffet table for party entertainment. This is an enticing feature, especially for the children in the family.”

The Gallianos did not want to play it safe with the home’s palette but rather lusted for bold splashes of color. “A basically all-white modern canvas screams for strokes of playful hues. Salmon pink, bright lime green and eggplant purple are our primary colors,” Karin Galliano says. “Purple columns stand boldly as front pillars for the house and a massive bright pink chandelier looms over our living room.” An impressive collection of modern art, mostly abstract, adorns the walls. “Every piece of art in this ultramodern home has to be abstract. And every work in this home has personal significance for me,” Karin Galliano says. “I like being surrounded by original creations of artists I personally know.” Some of the cherry-picked paintings come from New York City. There are multiple works by artists Cecily Barth Firestein and Olga Kitt (from Karin Galliano’s days in Manhattan and the Bronx).

“Florida brought an introduction to another local favorite artist, Raida Lopez [a Cuban abstract expressionist], who is a good friend of mine and recently exhibited her works at Art Basel in Miami,” Karin Galliano says. “Her two abstract original paintings are highlighted in prime locations in the living and dining room areas.” As much as the Gallianos wanted the house to be packed with color, they also made it the pinnacle of green. To be as eco-conscious as possible, they ensured that half of the flat roof would hide rows of solar panels. The home has an underground well that is strictly for irrigation purposes, designed to conserve water, especially during the hottest summer months. The garage is equipped with battery chargers for electric cars. The landscape, of course, is the home’s greenest feature and its own natural work of art.

“Living in our Siesta Key home is like living in a tree house. We have these clean, simple lines that are enveloped in green treetops, and the windows are frames for nature throughout the two-floor structure,” Karin Galliano says. “There is a rectangular window above my bed in the master bedroom that allows me to check out the stars and moon at night, and to awaken to the early morning clouds drifting over my head.”

Credits: Traction Architecture: 3412 W. Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813-992-2798, Ampersand Construction: 650 Central Ave. #1, Sarasota, 941-366-8899, Borden Landscape Design: 1348 Fruitville Rd. #203, Sarasota, 941-404-3161,