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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Less Is More




Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said, "Less is more." And when I decided to write about a little house on Elizabeth Street, that phrase came through so loud and clear.

The house at 514 Elizabeth hasn't changed much since it was built in 1922--according to county records (which are notoriously incorrect!). It's facade certainly hasn't changed since I sold it ten years ago as a second home to a couple from New York. Yesterday I happened to see the owner trimming the shrubs by the front porch. We talked for a bit and he invited me in to see the pool that they added to the property.

I had forgotten how utterly charming this little 1 1/2 story home is. As I walked inside I was immediately transported to another time when material honesty and structural integrity were more important than marble, granite, faux finishes, designer cabinets, stainless steel appliances, name brand this and that. The simplicity of design and the materials used was breathtaking.

The floors are painted, not stained. The windows, doors, doorknobs, hinges and other architectural relics are from an era gone by long ago. The rooms are small but not tiny. They serve their intended purpose. The bedroom on the second floor still has its scuttle, a small hatch with a movable lid in the roof that permits the warm air to rise to the outside. There are two additions to the house. The kitchen and living room were additions built by the previous owner a little over 10 years ago. And the current owners built a small cottage next to the new pool and deck. There is also a small terrace below the deck that is dwarfed by the majestic trees from Nancy's Secret Garden located next door.

Many potential buyers look at homes as projects to tackle and rebuild. If every owner had messed with the house at 514 Elizabeth Street, it would not be the quiet little charmer it is today. Sometimes it is better off to leave things alone.

I personally don't think all houses need granite counter tops, marble baths, or odd looking bowls that sit on a cabinet that are to be used as a sink where you shave and brush your teeth. This house certainly does not. It would look ridiculous and totally out of character.

There are some splendid little houses like the one at 514 Elizabeth Street looking for new owners. If you are looking for such a house, please give me a call at 1-305-776-2642. Or CLICK HERE to search all of the Key West mls listings.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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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.