Nine months after relocating from New York City to Sarasota in October, 2010, interior designer Richard C. Carpenter is well on his way to becoming the hardest working ‘reverse snowbird’ in town. “I’m so very fortunate to have great clients and active projects in both cities now,” says Carpenter, who returns to New York at least once a month to meet with clients there, assess projects in-progress and to visit designer showrooms. “I’m always shopping, for all of my clients, wherever I am,” adds Carpenter, with his easy, open smile, “but to be living now full time in Sarasota is my own dream come true.”

It’s a dream that Carpenter has persisted in achieving. When we spoke recently, Carpenter was working with clients who recently engaged him on two new residential projects in Southwest FL, one a 2,600 sq ft beachfront condominium on exclusive Boca Grande, the other a luxurious new 6,000 sq ft home in The Founder’s Club. Additionally Carpenter is working on the Boy and Girls Clubs Designer Show house, the Gala opening is on Jan 21, 2012 and runs through the month.

After living and working in New York City for 34 years, ultimately running his own business and teaching interior design at The Fashion Institute of Technology, Carpenter carefully planned for his big move to Sarasota for more than a year. He was attracted to Sarasota not only by its rich cultural diversity and pleasant living environment, but also in part due to “a unique opportunity that Robb & Stucky afforded me to become a consulting designer in their Sarasota store.” He adds, “Robb & Stucky and I agreed together that my 34 years of designing luxurious homes for a world-class clientele would directly benefit their customers in Sarasota. And we both knew that by meeting customers, I had a built-in opportunity to further develop my own local private design clientele.” But only four months after he started, Robb & Stucky was bankrupt and out-of-business and Carpenter was out on his own.

 

Carpenter’s limited time at Robb & Stucky was productive and fruitful however. “Robb & Stucky tapped me to design and furnish a spectacular modern house on Casey Key for the March 4th 2011 Sarasota Orchestra Association “Masterworks Showcase Tour of Luxury Homes.” “It was an oversold success and the response from visitors, realtors and the press alike to my work was universally positive.” (Carpenter’s Casey Key “Great Room” was The Observer of Longboat Key’s featured photo and front page lead-in to their article about the event.)

Carpenter describes his interiors as “sophisticated, even elegant, but always personal, expressly design for the real individuals who live in them.”

He add, “most of my clients already have their own sense of style and good taste. What I do best, in working with them, is to broaden their horizons. By introducing clients to carefully selected new objects, colors, thoughts and/or ideas, i pull together their own desires in a form that’s both new and refreshing but also comfortably reassuring.”

“I expected my transition from NYC to Sarasota to present some challenges,” Carpenter insists, “but I never anticipated the total loss of my new design home base within a matter of months!” Fortunately he minimized the impact of Robb & Stucky’s demise through his own vast network of design resources and showroom relationships in New York and elsewhere, developed over many years in business. “And thanks to new clients and new friends I’ve made here,” Carpenter reiterates, “I’m loving living and working in Sarasota!”

As part of developing his professional profile in the Sarasota, Carpenter networked with with more than 100 local realtors, encouraging them to introduce him to new home buyers. “I believe that I offer prospective Sarasota clients a unique opportunity to tap into a world-class designer to help them create a beautiful home right here in Sarasota.” In my presentation recently to the Gay Real Estate Executive Network I emphasized my experience satisfying the design needs of very wealthy clients, many of whom have extensive, museum-quality art collections. In meetings so far with similarly wealthy individuals here in Sarasota, I’ve realized that my extensive portfolio of work all over the country, from Palm Beach to the Hamptons, New York City to Vail and Houston and beyond, affords new clients great reassurance as they set about to design and furnish their own new homes with me.”

Carpenter is affiliated with both the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID Florida West Coast Chapter) and the NCIDQ (National Council of Interior Design Qualification). He’s also an affiliate member of SAR (Sarasota Association of Realtors), the Sarasota Architects Foundation (SAR), a contributor at The Ringling Museum and a member of the Art Center of Sarasota in addition to the aforementioned GREEN.

“To me, Sarasota is a community blessed with many riches both natural and man-made and I look forward to my ever-increasing participation in its many cultural offerings and institutions. ‘Giving back’ is essential part of my plan,” Carpenter concludes, “something that I believe is just as important as being an active participant.”

Principal, Richard C. Carpenter Interiors, Inc.