Even Better

Sherri and Mark Lyden used to get away from it all on their 56-foot yacht, but then an offer came along that turned them into land lovers. 
After eight or so trips to a stone supplier, she finally found it — a giant slab of quartzite called Taj Mahal that looked just like marble, with the added benefit of a bit of sparkle when the sunlight hits it. “I almost started to cry,” she says. “Only an interior designer would do that.” 

Even the lighting was selected with the views in mind. While there are two large chandeliers hanging above the dining room table, they hang a few feet higher than typical lighting fixtures and are made of glass so that they don’t impede the view for people working in the kitchen. “I just wanted it clear so that you don’t notice it,” Sherri says. 

Mark deferred to Sherri on design issues, but did insist on one thing — as little maintenance as possible. The house is sided with HardiePlank and all the exterior trim is by Azek. Inside, the flooring is made of pre-engineered wood that won’t expand and contract with the temperature fluctuations of a home left unoccupied over the winter.

With a steady stream of guests — including eight adult children and two young grandchildren between the two brothers and their wives — the furniture had to be up to the task as well. The sofas are covered in a soft blue Sunbrella fabric that Sherri personally tested by dousing a swatch with dirt and red wine. The Stanley end tables are finished in a distressed gray, eliminating the need for coasters. “I think the room looks elegant,” Sherri says, “but it’s indestructible.”

The great room doors open up to a stone patio, fire pit and a small crescent-shaped beach that Sherri calls “my own Pebble Beach” with a laugh. She selected chairs that recline fully so that everyone can watch the stars at night. 

During the day — when you can see out to Middle Bass, Sugar and Pelee islands — the Lydens bring out their kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for fun on the water. Or they might hop on their two golf carts and take guests to the heart of the island for tennis, golf or just lounging at the pool. Dinner at the five-star Golden Pheasant Inn, where chef Jesse Spears will prepare anything members ask for, is always a good option. 

Part of Mark still misses his Sea Ray, but he and Sherri were able to transfer the good times they had on the boat to life inside the house. “We all just hung out,” Mark says. “I just wanted to do that all over again.”