Osprey House, Osprey, Fla. Architect: Sweet Sparkman Architects, Sarasota, Fla.

Builder: Michael K. Walker & Associates, Sarasota

The Florida climate adds ambient warmth, and the house is built around a courtyard, so the place opens easily to the outdoors. The owners talked of wanting to be “immersed in the landscape” and to have a deep sense of “living on the water, in the trees, and in the garden.” A covered terrace, balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows accomplish their desires beautifully, although the reality of living in a hurricane-prone area still looms large. As a result, the entire structure is elevated on piles, per FEMA requirements.

Materials can go only so far in making a house feel warm. With a large modern home like this one, scale can make or break the friendliness factor. Sparkman broke the house down into a sequence of smaller spaces that feel human in scale. As with the best modern floor plans, the rooms flow into each other, yet carry a sense of enclosure, thanks to details such as varied ceiling heights, wood cladding, and freestanding elements that help open rooms feel more defined. Feeling crafted and contemporary is a tricky balancing act, but this home does it, while avoiding pigeonholing in any one style.

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Learn more about markets featured in this article: Bradenton, FL.