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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Irreplacable - 1010 Elgin Lane - Old Town - Key West

"Because Elgin produced so many watches and produced so many spare parts, they can still be easily bought and fixed, so even a 100 year old Elgin can be used, with care, on a daily basis. While mechanical watches can't compete with quartz watches for accuracy, there is something about having a watch that ticks that a quartz watch just can't replace." The Elgin Watch Collectors Site

I got an early preview of a new listing at 1010 Elgin Lane which was just listed in the Key West mls. I took some pics and thought I would share some with you here. I had been to the house before and snapped a pic that I have used as my identification at the end of some of my blog entries. You will see it at the bottom of this page. Whenever I see a bit of whimsy like the house number on the gate, I know from past experiences to expect more of the same on the inside of the threshold. Join me, please.

Elgin Lane is one of the slow lanes in Key West. It runs westerly two blocks from White Street to Grinnell Street. It is a one way only lane because it is so narrow. Many of the houses on Elgin actually front on Eaton Street, but some are located on postage stamp size lots of only 40' depth or so. The houses on the south tend to have larger lots in both width and depth. There are some remarkable little houses in these two blocks. Even if you are not going to buy one, you really need to walk down this lane. Most of these homes are fulled with full time Key West residents. When you take the time to walk down the lane, you will see how much the people that live there love where they live.

The front yard sits behind a smallish white picket fence with minimalist but very attractive yard. The first pic I took was of the front porch. It is a place to sit and read and watch the occasional neighbor or stranger pass. There is adjacent off street parking for two cars.

As soon as I walked passed the threshold and entered I "got it", the house, even before I had seen any other room. It was like "Wow!" this is gonna be great. And it was.

In olden days the owners might have called the front room the parlor. I could easily see this house had Dade County Pine walls and ceiling trimmed with a small crown molding. As I moved from room to room I noticed the floors were wood but some had a different finish or look. That made me determine that the way the rooms were used and furnished played off of the floors and the existing Dade County Pine. (These are real wood floors with wide pine boards. The patina shows the rich history of this old house.) The windows were old and original and not those new replacements that are made to look old. These are the real McCoys. A side hall took me to the rear where I was greeted by a sweet breakfast nook. It is part of the large kitchen that takes up the rear 1/3 if the house.The kitchen is a sawtooth addition to the main house. The kitchen is so simple, but it looks like something you might see in a Ralph Lauren Home Furnishing Store. What you don't see stainless steel or marble or granite. Thank God. The kitchen window over the sink opens onto a bar on the other side where there are a couple of bar stools that sit under a canopy. The kitchen cabinets look ancient but aren't. The room looks like it evolved over time. It didn't. The kitchen is a work of art.

The master bedroom is located downstairs and I forgot to take any photos of it. My bad! The bath is located there.

Then there is the dining room. It's another Ralph Lauren moment. Three doors enter into this former covered porch: one off the master bedroom, a second off the living room, and a set of French doors to the rear that open onto the rear living area. Look at the pic below and notice how the floors mimic the light colored wood deck on the outside. Notice the window outside and the bar stools beneath. You understand how the house operates and how things flow. Purposefully.

When you first enter the house you cannot help but see the steep old staircase located midway toward the breakfast nook. Upstairs you will find a shared bedroom area with two twin beds located on opposite walls with a nice little desk situated between. A separate bedroom is at the rear. If you look carefully you will see there are four scuttles (hot air escape hatches used in old houses-this house was built circa 1906). The house has air conditioning today. There is a large bathroom accessible by each space. While you are looking carefully, look at floors again. Another "Wow!" The floors and the little desk are another Ralph Lauren moment. Some people spend thousands of dollars to create looks like this. This house is filled with them-at no extra cost.

I only got to see everything that I just wrote about after I was made to see the outside. Now you will see what I saw first. There is a 3 0ver 5 glass pane door that leads from the kitchen to a covered rear dining area where you might take most of your meals. But what you really notice as soon as you peer out that door is a giant folly. And what a folly it is. This is the perfect place for a writer to write, a artist or create, a thinker to think, or a lover to - no that is the guest cottage on the opposite side of the pool.

The guest cottage is a two room symphony in how to make sweet love. I cannot imagine any place better to be with the person you love most. This room is so simple and comfortable. The compact size, wood walls, ambient light, and privacy invite intimacy. I guess you could travel to Bali and rent a place in a glen overlooking a deserted beach and find something better. Perhaps. But why bother when you can have your own Bali Hai moment every day.

The home at 1010 Elgin Lane is offered at $849,000. (Furnishings are not included in the sales price but may be purchased separately.) This is not my listing, but you can tell I really like this house. And you will too, but only if you promise not to put in stainless steel and new granite counter tops. If you would like to see this property, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Our office is the Lower Florida Keys exclusive affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. I would not call 1010 Elgin Lane an estate, but baby this place is really great. Just like a hundred year old Elgin watch, there is something about this place that just ticks.

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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.