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Monday, November 24, 2014

1227 Von Phister Street - Key West

Just Listed, 1227 Von Phister Street, Key West. Local architect Michael Miller designed the renovation and expansion of the bungalow style home and Scott Miller of Native Landscape designed the gardens. Their design earned a Ceramic Star for preservation from the Historic Florida Keys Foundation.
The listing Realtor describes the property as:
"Fully restored and winner of the 2013 Historic Preservation Star. This craftsman style, is a one level home with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, office, salt water pool and outdoor shower. Located in the heart of Midtown, Key West, within convenient reach to Downtown, the airport and beach. The newest addition to the house is an oversized master suite complete with custom built-ins, and sliding doors revealing the tropical landscaping. The feel good ambiance of the cozy living/dining /kitchen,with stainless steel appliances provides maximum functionality. Privacy fence surrounds the outside living areas."
I think craftsman style homes are so very easy to understand. Unlike the Victorian and Queen Anne homes at the turn of the Twentieth Century which had all kinds of architectural drama going on, craftsman style homes were simplistic in design. Whereas a Queen Anne might have drama columns on a rounded front porch entry, a craftsman house like this one has simple linear columns which support the porch roof. When you enter this house light from the rear garden at the rear demands your attention: you feel compelled to move through the house to see what awaits beyond.
The architect didn't fool around with the traditional craftsman layout. The living room flows into the dining area which opens into the very large and inviting kitchen. A breakfast bar provides an informal place to eat for the homeowners or a place for guests to sit and watch meals being prepared or drinks being poured.  The home office is located just off the kitchen.
I took these photos on a rainy-on-and-off day.(CLICK HERE to view all the photos I took.) When I headed to the house, the sun was ablaze. When I got there, five minutes later (no place is far away in Key West), the sun was hiding under clouds. I apologize because this garden is absolutely beautiful.  I walked to the far side of the pool and was amazed in the variety and size of in the plant and tree selections. A small stone path leads away from (or to depending on where the walk begins) the pool to the new master suite. This is a Garden for Adam and Eve or Adam and Steve.
The master bath has dual sinks and a shower large enough for two. However, if you become the owner of this chic abode you'll probably use the outdoor shower more often than you'd imagine right now - especially if you live in the snowy northeastern part of the United States. But you will. Trust me!
1227 Von Phister Street is offered for sale at $1,050,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing of this wonderful home. If you act now, you could own this home by Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

812 Jonhson Lane - Open House Today

Open House Today at 826 Johnson Lane
 Key West, Florida

Please stop by to see this totally renovated Key West Cottage with separate Guest Cottage, Pool, and Off Street Parking that is offered at just $795,000.

Johnson Lane is located between midway Truman Avenue and Olivia Street. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

1711 Atlantic Blvd. Key West - New Lower Price - New Higher Height

1711 Atlantic Boulevard in Key West was originally offered at $680,000 just before Christmas in 2013. The price was reduced to $630,000 in April 2014. The asking price on this mid-century modern home was just reduced to $590,000

The listing Realtor, not me, describes 1711 Atlantic Boulevard this way:
"40,000 PRICE REDUCTION! Motivated seller! This solidly built concrete home is unique on Atlantic Blvd. as it was built on top of 5 feet of fill making this the most elevated lot on Atlantic Drive. A nature preserve is the only thing separating this home from the Atlantic Ocean and ensures privacy from the front.This home is large and currently has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and was built in the mid-century modern style of architecture. The home is surrounded by a concrete wall with iron access gates at the front. There is a two car garage and as an added bonus, there is a very large shed/workshop in the rear yard that could be converted into a guest bedroom or artist studio. Even with the shed, there is room for a nice sized pool."
The house sits on a large lot  8050 square feet (70' X 111') across from the City of Key West Nature Preserve which is located between the Key West Beach Club Condominiums to the west and 1800 Atlantic Condominiums to the east. Nothing will ever be built on the nature preserve - no houses, no condos, no nothing.
It is all the land, all 8050 square feet of it, that makes this property so intriguing either as a renovation project or as a tear-down and build new site. While most of the houses in the Old Town and Meadows Area  cannot be torn down to create a new building, there is no such prohibition in this area of the city.  Key West voters passed a referendum that now allows property owners to build houses up to forty feet height limit which would give a new house on this location an unparallelled view of the ocean. I was not in favor of the law, but now that it is the law, developers are sure to exploit lots like this so build dazzling homes with water views. And with the nature conservancy located across the street, there is never going to be something built to interfere with the water view.   CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of the house and grounds. The entire house is a total redo in my opinion. The photos will help you see what you have to work with. The house is very solid. Don't let the dated interiors deter you from taking a look.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this property. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this property.  I am a full time Realtor and a buyers agent at Preferred Properties Key West.

Click GOOGLE MAP for a view of this home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Key West is the Opposite of Ohio

While speaking at the Key West Literary Seminar poet Mark Doty said that although “he was never actually here,” Hart Crane “loved Key West.” Crane loved Key West because by all reports it was the opposite of Ohio.*
Hart Crane

A while back I watched HGTV's Urban Oasis giveaway of a sleek high rise condo at Miami's Paramount Bay.  I mused about winning the $900,000 condo and then thought to myself "Self, if you win, you will have to pay income tax on that thing. Do you really want to own a condo in Miami where people get shot and killed daily for no reason? Do you want to live in a place where most people don't speak English and have a culture that is alien to you? Do you really want to live up in the sky?" I must confess that I filled out the online registration. I figured if I won I could sell the condo and make a few bucks because I really, truly, would never want to live in Miami just as much as I would not want to live in Ohio.  

If you live in Ohio, please don't be offended. I'm sure that a lot of nice people live there. I sold houses to two different Ohio couples in the past.  They area really nice people who really didn't like living in Ohio in the winter when it was so cold and miserable. And they didn't like Ohio much more in the summer when it is so muggy. No, they dreamed of owning a little house in Key West where they could live a much more comfortable climate and a lead a less harried pace of life. One young couple bought a house I wrote about in my blog. I saw the mom and the two girls in their stroller one Sunday morning as I was taking photos for my blog. I asked how things were going, and she responded "I'll never leave Key West!" The other couple is older and don't have children. They bought a house a quintessential Key West cottage. I saw them driving their Key West convertible with the top down.  They were in the turn lane at White and Truman. I asked how they were doing and they said something like "loving life".  

Another couple from the northeast decided to buy a big lot in the Casa Marina area where they  built their dream home from scratch.  They hired a noted Key West architect, an accomplished landscape architect, and a very competent builder to turn their vision into reality.  The photos below show the view from their master bedroom and the new pool and gardens.  The pool view is a dramatic alternative to the view from the high rise Miami condo. Which place do you think Hart Crane would have preferred?

If you are thinking about buying a place in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.  Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

*CLICK HERE to read this most interesting account about Hart Crane written by Key West's Mark Howell in ABOUT THE BEATS.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

812 Johnson Lane - Old Town - Key West

It's time to talk turkey about 812 Johnson Lane in Key West. This Old Town cottage style home was completely renovated earlier this year. Just about every part of the inside was replaced or updated including all a new kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops; new floors throughout; new bathroom with travertine marble shower and floor; new whole house air conditioner; and crow molding. A bath and laundry room were added to the guest cottage at the rear which also includes an outdoor shower. Finally, the front of the property now offers bricked off street parking for two cars.
There is a heated kidney shaped pool and sunny deck that separates the main cottage from the guest cottage. A gate on the side allows guests to come and go without having to walk through the house.
 CLICK HERE to view more photos of this cute three bedroom, two bath property that is located in the X Zone for flood insurance purposes. That means your lender will not require you to purchase flood insurance. The house is located three blocks east of Duval Street and just one half block north of Truman Avenue. You can get to just about any place in Old Town within a matter a few minutes. This home might make a great little vacation rental as it has the bedrooms, bathrooms, pool, and parking a lot of vacation renters require.
Please CLICK HERE to see the Key West mls datasheet on this property that is offered for sale at $795,000. I am the listing agent on this property. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

416 Margaret Street, Key West - An Old Town Beauty

The house at 416 Margaret Street really is one of the prettiest homes in Old Town. The listing Realtor, not me, describes this Key West home this way:
"Two blocks from the Historic Seaport and 4 blocks from Duval, this classic home embodies the charm of Old Key West. With original Dade County Pine throughout, the first floor features 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths, living and dining area, and kitchen with granite countertops and top of the line appliances. The lovely covered lanai is the perfect spot to relax poolside. The upstairs studio has a kitchenette, full bath and private entrance -- perfect for visitors. Enjoy cool evening breezes and people watching from the vantage point of the extra wide front porch. Awarded the ceramic star in 2009, this beautifully renovated and maintained home is truly a prize and even has off-street parking and is elevated ABOVE base flood level."
I remember this home before it was renovated. A woman doctor from New Jersey came to Key West at least twice to look at this particular home. Back then the house was a genuine "fixer" that so many potential buyers think they want to buy. She wanted to buy it but found a dozen reasons not to buy it because of all the work she thought it needed. The house was purchased and thoroughly renovated. The renovation was so good, in fact, the the gents that did the renovation were awarded a ceramic star acknowledging the finished home. 
I looked in the old shoebox and found a fifty year old black and white photo of the house plus a picture of a prior owner, Mr. John Lopez.  If you look at the black and white photo you will see a car and a house located behind 416 Margaret Street. That car got to that house by driving down Lopez Lane which still exists today. (The historic Sanborn Fire Maps show 416 Margaret as existing as early as 1889. The 1912 map shows Lopez Lane as then being called Lippitt Ct.) The exterior staircase to the second floor has changed somewhat since the black and white photo was taken. The boxed in landing is now open and a white picket fence with trellis now provides a bit of privacy from passers-by on the sidewalk. You will also note that the house is elevated high above street level. When you sit on the front porch today, you have the perfect perch to people watch.
The house is laid out with both downstairs bedrooms located at the front of the property.  The living room, dining area, and kitchen are located at the back side of the house. This is typical Key West living for the modern age where public spaces are located at the rear of the house where many homes open out to rear porches or decks and pools.
A beautiful covered lanai is located just past the double French doors at the rear of the house. Another door in the kitchen also opens out to the lanai where there is plenty of room for socializing next to the pool and rear garden. There is a sunning area just off the covered portion of the lanai. A rear entrance from the off street parking spot passes by the outdoor shower. A separate door off the dining room provides access to the stairway to the second floor third bedroom efficiency and also alternative exit to the parking space.
The third bedroom is located on the second floor of this home. The only access is via an outdoor straircase. This space was originally a separate apartment. Today the city recognizes that space as being a part of the main residence. Hence, it is not supposed to be rented.  I was informed the prior owner used this space as the master bedroom. The bedroom is like a garret with precious window views of nearby homes set amid the angled room. The space is quite large and very beautiful. 

This1609 sq ft home sits on a 3300 sq ft lot mid-distance between Eaton Street to the north and Fleming Street to the south. The immediate area is a blend of high priced single family homes, guest houses, and some small commercial businesses. The historic seaport if two blocks to the north and Duval Street a five minute walk to the west. This home would make a great vacation rental for a buyer who wants some income to help pay a portion of the purchase price. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view more photos of this thoroughly renovated home that is offered for sale at $1,275,000. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. Don't make the same mistake the woman doctor from New Jersey made several years ago. Buy this house before someone else does. This is a one-of-a-kind home.


The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.