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Saturday, June 25, 2016

611 Southard Street #5, Key West - Transient Licensed Condo in Old Town

Just Listed 611 Southard Street Unit #5, Key West, Florida. A total of eight unique units make up the historic Hollinshed House Condominiums located at the tip-top of Solaris Hill in Key West. This 577 sq ft third floor garret is one of five units in this building. There are three additional units located next door at 609 Southard Street. The historic building was built circa 1874.  The unit is an unpretentious one bedroom with lots of space for relaxed living. It has all of the modern amenities but retains the charm of the historic house.  And it has a very valuable asset that few condominiums on Old Town have - a transient rental license which allows an owner to rent the unit on a daily every day of the year.
611 Southard St as it appeared in 1965
The listing Realtor describes this property thus:
"Great opportunity to own an Old Town well established transient licensed apartment. The Hollinsed House (circa 1880's) was converted to 8 condominiums many years ago and has been well maintained and managed since then. Unit #5 is a large one bedroom unit on the third floor of the property. It has a queen bed, sleeper sofa, dining area, and private porch. Hollinsed House has a heated pool and lovely patio area and is conveniently located near the corner of Southard and Simonton St."
If you take a couple of moments to study the photos above you'll soon discover that the building is a Key West eyebrow house. Look back at the top photo of today's blog. See the multiple sets of windows located above the French doors on the second floor front porch. Those windows permitted the occupants of the historic house to have ventilation in the days way before air conditioning and probably before electric ceiling fans were invented. The covered porch allowed air to move about while still keeping water from getting inside the space. They also shaded the interior which otherwise might get warm.
Notice also the Dade County Pine walls and ceiling. So many places today have been gussied up so much with drywall, crown moldings, and engineered floors that we forget how quaint the old houses really are. Their simple beauty is what attracts many returning guests to come back to Key West year after year. I know a lot of people like the amenities offered at luxury hotels, but there are those other travelers who prefer to stay in a place that is unapologeticaly simple. This unit is for that owner or that traveler.
The bedroom is located in the rear addition of the building.  Skylights were added to bring light into this space. The guest closet is located at the side rear and the owner's lockout closet is at the far rear.
The living room has a little niche off to the left where French doors open out to the rear "deck". This is the emergency exit but it is also a really private space for gathering one's thoughts.
CLICK HERE to view more photos that I took of this unit and the grounds.  The bricked courtyard includes a small semi-covered area with a bar-b-que, access to the laundry, plus two first come first served off street parking spaces.
611 Southard Street #5 is offered for sale at $525,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up a private showing of this transiently licensed condo located near everything. You just cannot ask for a more convenient location. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

734 Amelia Street, Key West - Price Reduction!

The new lower price on 734 Amelia Street really is something to shout about, because it makes the newly constructed home an even better value.  Few vacation visitors and locals probably don't recognize this location. This stretch of Amelia Street runs east from Simonton St to Windsor Lane. It was omitted in the Historic Historic Sanborn Fire Maps from 1889 through 1912. St. Mary's convent school yard was and still is located across the street where a tall stone wall insulates the school yard from public view. The convent burned years ago and much of the yard remains open today.  One of the maps referred to the entire area as "tropical gardens". I found the black and white aerial photo below taken in 1960. I added a notation to show the location of the home that was located at 734 Amelia at that time. I also found a photo of the former house that was razed. The lot sat vacant for as many years as I can recall. The vacant lot explains how the current owner obtained permission to build a new house in a town where old homes are treasured.
The original house was razed many years ago.
The listing Realtor describes 734 Amelia Street this way:
Historic design w/modern, new construction amenities. 2,100sqft home & 3,939sqft property features 3 large, en-suite bedrooms, including 2 masters, one on the 1st floor. Rooms designed for maximum privacy & high-end living. 2nd floor master boasts double closets & private balcony. The 2nd bedroom also has a balcony. The 3.5 bathrooms are equipped w/shower wands & Bluetooth audio. Main floor designed for perfect indoor-outdoor living & entertaining. Open floor plan flows onto the Trex composite deck w/ its wrap-around, covered entertainment area near the spa that tumbles into the pool. Hand-scraped, engineered oak flooring leads into chef's kitchen featuring quartz counter tops, an induction cook top, built-in microwave drawer, a high-power, ultra-quiet dishwasher & extra-large 34-cubic foot refrigerator. Entertainment center & outdoor kitchen w/ a commercial-grade ice maker. X Flood Zone & w/ no-maintenance Hardie siding, built to withstand 180 mph winds. Gated, off-street parking.
The first things I noticed were the handsome wood floors and the stylish  staircase that leads to the second floor. My eyes were then drawn to the rear of the home where the great room is located. This  area is bright and welcoming. Two sets of impact glass doors open out to the partially covered rear deck. Another door opens to the east side deck. Windows on either side provide garden views. The entire living area is bright and cheerful. I had to touch the quartz counter-tops which are impregnated with just a touch of color. What I thought was a simple French door refrigerator is actually a large refrigerator with normal cold food storage on top and frozen fools on the bottom. The built-in breakfast bar will keep the chef a part of whatever is going on inside this area. The guest powder room is located off the kitchen. Note the crown molding, extra large baseboards, handsome real wood doors.

Interior furnishings provided by Ben Teague Design, Key West. Ben is a talented young designer with a great sense of style. And he has a real gift for selecting the right colors and fabrics to change ordinary into extraordinary. 
The covered deck, pool, and garden area will probably be an integral part of the living which occurs in this home. The covered deck wraps around the rear of the house. The mini-bar is on the east side. It has a built in refrigerator, ice machine, storage, and bar sink. Of course there's a grill as well. The pool side deck.  There is a built-in automatically elevated television system where the TV will rise out above the cut stone base. Recessed lights and classy Trex deck systems add to the ambiance of this outdoor living area. Note also the old school design of the new fangeled impact windows and doors. These doors and windows not only sound proof the house, but also greatly reduce the wind insurance premium year after year after year. Remember also this home is located in the X zone for flood insurance purposes. That means a lender will not require flood insurance here. 
There is a built-in automatically elevated television system where the TV will rise out above the cut stone base. Imagine sitting on the deck at night watching TV and taking a quick dip in the pool or sitting in the spa..
There is a first floor bedroom which is large enough to serve as a master bedroom in later years when climbing the stairs may become a challenge. Windows on two walls allow generous light to enter this space. The en-suite bath is large and comfortable. Each bathroom is unique as to vanities, shower enclosures, and tiles. All have select porcelain floors.There are two very large guest bedrooms with ensuite baths on the second floor. The master bedroom has a deck which over looks the pool below. The front guest bedroom has a covered front porch with views of St. Mary's Basilica through the church grounds.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and more listing photos of 734 Amelia Street that is now offered at $1,595,000.  Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

1022 Roberts Lane, Key West - Charming Little Cottage on a Quiet Old Town Lane

I often write about the virtues of owning a home on one of the slow lanes of Key West. These homes are often small cottages tucked away from public view on lanes that have limited public access. Some people view the prospect of this much seclusion as desirable while others prefer to see people walking by.  After you take a look at 1022 Roberts Lane in Key West, you may opt-in to opt-out of people watching. Please take a few moments as I share with you this lovely little cottage offered for sale at $750,000. The listing Realtor describes this home this way:
"Nestled at the end of a tranquil Old Town lane, this unforgettable island style cottage welcomes you to paradise. Artisan-crafted features abound in this meticulously renovated 1 bedroom/1.5 bath home. Entering to inviting open-plan living, you will be captivated by the spacious kitchen's one-of-a-kind copper countertops and Dade County Pine bar. The living room's beautiful teak floors and soaring bamboo ceiling echo South Pacific dreams. A Balinese inspired powder room opens to a sundeck and outdoor shower. Beams grace the ceiling of the serene master bedroom. The gorgeous light-filled master bath showcases a double vanity and shower. Overlooking the tropical garden, the leisurely side porch is a Key West dream come true."
One of the virtues of living on a small dead-end lane like Roberts Lane is that you will never have a trolley car or Conch Train traveling down the street with the loudspeaker blaring the same story about whoever used to live in your house day after day after day. Your home probably won't end up on Instagram or YouTube either. That's because the lane is too narrow for automobiles and dead-ends a few feet from the front entry gate to this home. Few tourists and fewer locals will wander down the street to take photos.

In researching the history of this house I learned that Roberts Lane is also known as Cates Lane. Earlier today I found an online reference to another house on this same lane identified as being located on Cates Lane.  In 1980 Mr. C.W. (Billy) Pinder created a pamphlet for the City of Key West fire department which described how to find all of the lanes in Key West. Pinder identified five houses on this dead-end block numbered 608, 610, 614, 1022, and 1025 Roberts Lane. I don't know how they arrived at that odd numbering system. The Historic Sanborn Fire Maps identify Roberts Lane as Darwin Ct and not as Cates or Roberts. I was happy, however, to see the 1899 Sanborn Map shows all five houses or cottages as existing as of 1899. (The 1892 map does not show any houses this block but it shows houses on surrounding blocks. My conclusion is that the houses probably existed prior to 1892 but the cartographer omitted them for some reason.)
 I went to The Streets of Key West: A History Through Street Names written by J. Wills Burke who offered three different theories as to which of three Roberts the lane was named after. Burke concluded he could not conclude any specific person.
French doors at the front open into this magic little home. It's amazing how much house was packed into the 708 square foot space. The owners took down old walls and opened the combined kitchen and living areas into a common area that is anything but common! Wow! And Wow again! The teak floors capture your attention as you enter the home but milli-seconds later the wood beamed kitchen ceiling calls for your attention as well. Then the soaring bamboo ceiling in the living area shouts out "look at me!"

This house awes at first sight and does not stop as you move from room to room and continues to the outdoor areas.  The listing agent told me the owners took this house down to the bone and rebuilt everything over a period of about five years. This was a labor of love and it shows. He said so much of the original house was in bad shape that the owners saved what little they could and rebuilt everything from the ground up to the roof. The removed and saved as much of the Dade County Pine as possible and replaced those wall with new batten walls. The windows, doors, trim, and so on are all new - not salvaged, caulked, sanded, and painted.  So even though this place looks incredible, it is functionally new and will have years of  use ahead. Instead of fixing an old hovel, the new owner could be writing the next great American novel.
This house is unique. I know that word is over used, but it's truly one-of-a-kind. The salvaged Dade County Pine was used to create the breakfast bar counter-top. You won't find copper counter-tops like this at Home Depot or any high priced kitchen design stored. The hanging light fixtures were crafted from finds the owners made. Piece by piece the owners imparted their design aesthetic throughout this home.
This home has but one bedroom. The low wood beamed ceilings compact the space into such a cozy cocoon. The master bath is opulent by comparison. The shower will accommodate two people at one time. The owner Incorporated a long window just above eye level in the shower and put three more windows over the dual vanities. The also installed a door with opaque inset glass which opens out to the rear (not shown). The guest bath (above) also has a door that opens out to the east side of the house where there is an outdoor shower located next to the laundry.
I am not being flip as I write this (well, maybe a little). God made hotels for the occasional guest. A new owner could have a sleeper sofa in the living room which could provide a place for someone who must stay in the house as opposed to a hotel room.  
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this truly lovely home. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Disclaimer

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.