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Fundraiser to feature tour of four island homes

February 16, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

An older remodel, and a new construction; within proximity of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and across from the Gulf of Mexico. Four island homes - each one special.

The Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva will host its 17th annual Peek at the Unique, a tour of four residences on Sanibel - on March 10 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Air-conditioned buses will depart every 30 minutes from Sanibel Community Church for an up-close look at each one over three hours.

Known to sell out, there are about 600 tickets available at a cost of $100 per person.

Article Photos

The blue-shuttered facade of “Sea Glass,” one of the 2018 homes, reflects a traditional style.

"Peek is a tour of four unique island homes," Barbara Beran, one of the co-chairs of this year's fundraiser, said. "A lot of people like to go to get home ideas and to get decorating ideas."

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida.

Nancy Dreher, president of the San-Cap club, explained that Zonta's mission is to empower women through service, advocacy and funding. Last year, $105,000 was awarded within Lee County.

"There are people that need our help," she said, adding that grants are handed out.

Locally, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva and Community Housing and Resources have benefitted.

"Ever year, we have a much bigger list (of applicants) than we have money for," Dreher said.

The club hopes to raise $130,000 again or more through this year's Peek.

"We'd like to be able to do more in the community," she said.

According to Virginia Jones, the other co-chair for this year's event, the selected homes have to have some striking aspect about them, such as their architecture, decoration and design, art collection or history. One previously featured had been an old one relocated from Captiva in three separate pieces.

"The requirement is that they are unique," she said.

When narrowing it down to the finalists, variety is also a consideration.

"We don't want to houses to look the same or feel the same," Jones said.

Because the hundreds of attendees are shuttled between the homes, they must be accessible by bus. Beran explained that it is a guided tour and each home has docents available to offer information.

"They can wander," she said of the visitors.

Sometimes, the designer or architect behind the uniqueness - even owner - is on hand.

One home on this year's tour is located at The Dunes.

"It's an old Michigan home that has been redone and opened up," Beran said, adding that the owner makes rugs and has picked up pieces from around the world. "She has all kinds of collections."

Sponsored by Gene's Books, the home also has an interesting collection of antiques.

The second home is on the far west end, near Blind Pass. Sponsored by Dan Hahn Custom Builders and John Grey Painting, it is the architectural elements - like a floating staircase - that make it unique.

"It's a brand new house that's on a canal," she said, calling the style "beach modern."

Builder Kevin Vertesch and the designer, Marya Teets, will be on hand.

"It's an interesting mix of modern and natural materials," Jones said.

Home three is located on a bayou near the wildlife refuge, surrounded by nature. Damaged in 2004 during Hurricane Charley, the home was remodeled and opened up, then packed with artwork.

"There is a lot of natural light," Jones said. "It is white and airy."

The decor reflects the location - birds, nature and more.

"They're collectors of artists," she said, adding that the owners will be present.

One room in the home, sponsored by Gulf Breeze Cottages, has a wood gazebo ceiling.

The fourth and final house is on West Gulf Drive, along the Gulf waters.

"This, architecturally, is really cool," Beran said.

The owners were participants in the 2015 Peek with their previous home, which was situated on the bay. When it came time to design and build the new one, she was traditional and he was modern.

Beran noted that the front of the residence's style is traditional, with light blue shutters.

The back, however, reflects the husband's taste.

"It's completely open and modern," Beran said. "Everything is in sea glass colors."

The sponsors, Architecture Joyce Owens and Sanibel Home Furnishings, will be on site.

Three years ago, the club introduced a VIP package, which included a smaller private tour and van, along with lunch. For the first time this year, a fifth house will be toured by the lucky VIP dozen.

"We replaced the lunch with a peek at a fifth home," she said.

Located on the bay, the older home has been remodeled in a "retro beach style."

"It's basically a brand new '50s home," Beran said.

The VIP tickets are sold out, but the club expects to do the same in 2019.

In addition to the tour, attendees can enjoy treats from island restaurants while at the Sanibel Community Church, as well as purchase $10 tickets for the "A Chance At The Unique" raffle and a shot at winning six prizes. Drawings will be held day of, and winners do not have to present.

The prizes include:

- Whitney's Fishing Charter for up to four, valued $550

- Food and Rum Lover's Delight, valued at $550

- A Sealife by Congress Jewelry Set, valued at $600

- Island Adventures for two and for four, valued at $850

- Goodies For Guys, valued at $750

- Goodies For Girls, valued at $1,000

Tickets can also be purchased from any Zonta member, as well as outside of Bailey's General Store, during the weekends leading up to the event and at the Sanibel Island Farmers Market on Feb. 25.

Peek at the Unique will also feature a silent auction for a five-night, six-day stay in a New York apartment overlooking the Hudson River. On the Upper West Side, it has a concierge and doorman.

Artist Marianne Ravenna, who created the event artwork, will likely have the piece for sale.

The fundraiser requires the help of close to 100 volunteers and over 200 sponsors.

"It's a year-long process planning it," Jones said.

Those who cannot attend can always support the club's mission through online donations.

"If you can't buy a ticket or can't be here, we can still use your support," Dreher said.

Peek tickets can be bought through Eventbrite or online at

Anyone in need of assistance purchasing tickets can email

For more information, visit

Sanibel Community Church is at 1740 Periwinkle Way.



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