PHOTOS: Other half lives very well, thank you – Woman’s Club tours elegant Marco Island homes

— It’s always fun to take a peek behind closed doors. Saturday, 208 Marco women took advantage of the chance, during the 11th Annual Elegant Home Tour sponsored by the Marco Island Woman’s Club.

“People always drive by these homes and wonder what they’re like inside,” said docent Kathy Hansen. “It was so generous of the homeowners to let the woman’s club do this.”

After meeting at the Marco Island Yacht Club for a breakfast buffet, the participants headed out individually to tour five impressive island residences. All on the water, the homes varied widely in their individual styles.

“This is like a country club,” said Margaret Fuchs, sitting down to rest in the living room of Greystone Manor on North Copeland Drive. With 20,000 square feet under roof, the home boasts matching dining tables, each seating eight, under soaring, vaulted ceilings. Docent Susan Furek, whose home was featured on the tour last year, pointed out the architectural details and painting, which required a team of Italian artisans to relocate here for four years to complete.

Called “the castle” informally, the home is on the market for $12.9 million, and from “her” bathroom in the master suite to the massive kitchen, each room provoked oohs and aahs.

“I’d like to have this view for doing the dishes,” said Barbara Dines, standing at the sink and looking out over part of the sculpture gardens, “but if I lived here, maybe I wouldn’t have to do the dishes that much.”

On Bounty Court, homeowner Sandy Wallen greeted guests, in a home that is clearly an expression of personal taste. Hues of terra cotta and French blue dominate in the two-story house, with galleries looking down into the living area below, and sweeping views of waterways that converge from every direction.

“It’s earthy – it makes me feel alive,” said Wallen. Ceramic fish appear throughout, she pointed out. “The fish swim everywhere in the house,” she said, from the stairway (there’s an elevator, too) to the waterfall trickling down the wall into the pool.

At the north end of the island, Mikel and Keely Miller’s home on Ruppert Court has a comfortable, lived-in feel. Distressed antique furniture and a farmer’s sink add to the effect, although the kitchen is full of gleaming, high-end fixtures.

“This home is more casual,” said docent Phyllis Sudbay.

“I love the hominess, and the guest cottage. It’s a very livable house,” added fellow docent Penny Fraser.

Decorated in a tropical French island motif, Thomas and Judy Waltz’s home on Moon Court was purchased a year ago and filled with color. Like all the homes on the tour, it opens out onto the local waterways.

The Maly residence on Mimosa Court features a movie room, and multiple wet bars throughout. Built around the pool, it is open and airy, with tall windows and lofty ceilings. Along the route between the featured homes, some enterprising real estate agents had set up open houses at their listings, but the ladies who had paid $65 for the privilege of visiting the houses on the tour were not easily turned aside.

After they had seen enough home elegance, the “tourists” returned to the MIYC, where they enjoyed desserts, and a fashion show put on by Kay’s on the Beach. Chairman Judy Kenney and club president Susan Purvis thanked everyone involved, including the Calusa Garden Club, who provided floral arrangements, homeowners, committee members and models.

All proceeds from the event go to the club’s scholarship for “the cream of the crop” of Marco Island high school seniors, said Purvis.

“We don’t have all the final bills in yet, but we expect to make close to $7,000,” she said.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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