A few months ago I received an exciting email in my inbox. I had written an article about Joseph Marini and Tony Pruitt’s gorgeous home in Atlanta, GA a few years ago and Joseph was writing to let me know they had moved to St. Petersburg, FL and wondered if I’d like to see a few images of their new home. I could not say ‘yes, please!’ fast enough. Joseph is a lifestyle blogger, shop owner and home economics guru. His love for entertaining and creating hospitable spaces translated into a gorgeous house in Atlanta, and I was not surprised to see that same intention present in his new home.
When looking for their new place, the couple knew they needed an office for Tony’s financial advisory firm like they had in their previous house, but they would also need space for the newest member of their household — Joseph’s mother, Nancy, a self-described seasoned and retired homemaker ready to relax. “We knew when we moved to St. Petersburg that we wanted a unique home, one with provenance that had a sizable property for gardens and entertaining space,” Joseph shares. They found a gorgeous brick Georgian-style home with all of the tradition and space they wanted in the city of St. Petersburg. When they discovered the home had been built in 1965 by another entertaining aficionado, Norma Jean Harris — heiress to one of the first Cadillac dealerships in the US — the grandeur and incredibly thoughtful space for hosting made sense. “She was an inveterate homemaker and was known for her gracious entertaining,” Joseph notes.
The house had been left undisturbed by the changing trends of the last 50 years and was ready for the care and respect Joseph and his family would give it. “The home, while dated, felt warm, welcoming and very loving. It literally just felt like home. Upon entering the front door you get an overwhelming sense of the size of the home and the exacting details that were considered when the home was built,” Joseph says. “The pièce de résistance was the door that leads into a walk-in ‘prop closet’ — a room with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry that stores an overwhelmingly [large] amount of dishware for entertaining. The kind of dish pantry you would only find in estate homes in Europe. On top of all of this, the grounds were established with raised brick beds, slate terrace and original fountain.” For a family that enjoys entertaining, gardening and curating beautiful things for their home, this house feels almost custom designed for Joseph, Tony and Nancy.
Joseph’s refined eye for design and deeply rooted belief that home economics has a place in the modern world has refreshed this already impressive home. Instead of seeing this blank slate as something to completely renovate, Joseph considered every piece carefully when determining what would be removed and what would be restored. “Within hours of closing we were in the home taking down all of the dated drapery and ripping up the carpets. Because most of the home was kept original — including the kitchen cabinetry — we had to clean everything before deciding if it could be kept or had to be replaced. You learn a lot about the quality of construction when you have to spend an inordinate amount of time removing things to clean them and reassembling them. Our process was to preserve and then to decide what to replace with new,” Joseph shares. The honor and care Joseph and Tony have taken with this lovely home enliven it with the same purpose it’s always had — to gather with loved ones. After all of their hard work, they get to enjoy the inviting, thoughtful and truly beautiful home they have found. —Lauren