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Zonta reveals 'Yesterday: Today: Tomorrow' home in tour

February 20, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva recently introduced the third home to be featured on its tour, the 18th annual A Peek at the Unique, which is named as the "Yesterday: Today: Tomorrow" home.

The residence earns two labels, both new and historic. New because it was completed a year ago, and historic because the home features many treasured objects and connections with the homeowners' past, their travels and their family.

As they prepared to build on a canal-front lot in Shell Harbour, Jay and Angie Gerken studied Sanibel's history. In a book titled "Classic Cracker," Jay Gerken discovered the traditional four-square design of late 19th century Florida homes, with four main rooms and a stand-alone kitchen.

Article Photos

The guest pod features simple, classic furnishings inspired by a Charles McCullough print.

"We thought it would be a wonderful tribute to incorporate proven, 100-year-old methods," he said.

So he sketched a plan based on the ideas and worked with Dan Hahn Custom Builders and John Grey Painting, which are sponsoring the home for the tour, to bring the design to life. The high ceilings, 50-foot lap pool, sparkling kitchen and bathrooms, all are pure 21st century. In Jay Gerken's design, the living area and main bedrooms mirrored the four-square concept, and the separate element was a two-bedroom guest pod, accessible only via the covered deck.

Historic and family connections are found throughout: framed pastels by a daughter; pottery and wood carvings by family members; vintage cranberry glassware; heirloom quilts; and 100-year-old restored chests in the guest pod. A black-and-white photograph by Sanibel icon Charles McCullough graces a guest bedroom wall, inspiring the simple furnishings.

Set for March 16, the tour raises funds to be awarded, through the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida, in grants to local non-profits whose mission mirrors Zonta's own: empowering women and girls. Every year, four distinct and normally inaccessible island homes are opened to "Peekers," who ride in air-conditioned luxury buses, with a guide providing special insights into each of the homes.

Before boarding, guests are treated to "light bites" from Sanibel's finest restaurants, caterers and supermarkets. Tickets for the tour are $100 per person, plus a small service fee to EventBrite.

To purchase tickets, visit

Anyone uncomfortable using EventBrite may email

For more information about the Zonta, visit



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