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Intelligent Design

When Linda Sharp set out to design her current home in East Brainerd’s Council Fire, she already had dozens of home plans under her belt, having modified or drawn from scratch about 25 in Council Fire alone. For the home at 7716 Night Hawk Road, which she shares with her husband Ron, she would be the designer, builder, interior decorator and faux finisher.

“This home is a combination of about six house designs,” says Linda, whose task included fitting the footprint into the wedge-shaped lot. She calls herself a “home designer,” since she has never been educated as an architect but does essentially the same work under the company name Linda Sharp Designs.

She named this home “The Mediterra,” and its style leans more toward the Italian than the Spanish side of Mediterranean architecture. The interior’s cool, Italian limestone floors and Coralite stone columns are balanced by the heavy use of wood including an incredible cypress dome on the office ceiling and Douglas fir beams over the dining area. Pecky cypress was used for the tongue-in-groove ceiling on the front porch and second floor veranda. The cypress front doors were custom made for the home, heavily aged to Linda’s specifications.

Like the luxury homes of Italy, this one has a flowing floor plan that maximizes enjoyment of its outdoor living spaces with large rooms adjacent to a covered lanai overlooking a lake at hole No. 2. Fuss-free concrete floors on the lanai are stained to give the shape and impression of an outdoor rug that ties in an assemblage of wicker furniture. The lower level houses a patio pool and stainless steel grill.

A comfort-driven leisure room connects the lanai and the kitchen, which features a custom Coralite range hood. Over the hood, the duct cover is made from copper sheets that Linda distressed by exposing them to the elements for months at her parents’ farm. A furniture piece inspired the cabinet finish, maple with a heavy burnished glaze. Throughout the home, Linda’s extra finishes lend the ripened charm of an antique Italian villa.

Perhaps because she is a woman or because of her extensive experience, Linda executed her home’s blueprint uniquely and thoroughly. “I think about everything,” she says. Her thoughtful design has resulted in several rare highlights.

In the master suite, for instance, the shower is hidden behind a limestone tile wall. There are no doors, and the floor is sunken to keep water in its place. While effective and low maintenance, Linda’s design is also glamorous with three large, arched windows and a privacy wall just outside which is overgrown with vines. “It’s like taking a shower outdoors,” she says. A main floor guest suite features a similarly easy shower with a glass shield but no doors to clean and an easy-to-reach faucet control on the open side of the shower, opposite the showerhead.

While going to great lengths to customize and rarefy her home, Linda refrained from making it so personal that it wouldn’t appeal to the next owner. “If I can put a niche somewhere I do,” she says. Her tweaks also include tray ceilings in every room that either extend upward from the original 12-foot ceiling height or are formed by use of a soffit that drops down from the ceiling.

In a guest suite decorated with Egyptian papyri, Linda added a ledge near ceiling height that gives her extended space for wall décor. She treated the main floor powder room walls with fire engine red paint muted with a black glaze and patterned with a raised stencil done with tinted sheetrock mud. Her faux painting also embellishes several ceilings and floors.

It’s Linda’s cleverness that yielded such a remarkable home, but a Matrix home automated system she had installed gives the home its own sense of intelligence. Exterior lights automatically come on at sunset and interior lights are adjusted. At night, exterior lights are reduced to 25 percent, and at sunrise they shut off completely.

Linda can set the lights in vacation mode or party mode with the touch of a button. The Sharps are migratory, moving on from each home Linda has designed after a year or two to leave it for the fortunate family to follow. They have occupied The Mediterra longer than intended, maybe because this time, with a masterful combo of panache and efficiency, Linda has created an exceptional residence – an uncommon gem in her portfolio of great homes