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Friday, April 20, 2012

1403 Catherine Street - Key West

1403 Catherine Street - Key West - La Casa Roja

Just listed, but not by me, 1403 Catherine Street in Key West. I dug deep into the old shoe box and found a photo of the house with the notation that the home was built in the 1920's. The Monroe County Property Appraiser website says the house was built in 1943 (but that was during World War II and nothing was being built then but tanks and jeeps). I think the photo reference makes more sense. I found the smaller color photo that shows the property just before the current owners purchased it - complete with the while clapboard siding and chain link fence. It fit right into the neighborhood. But a very creative young architect and his partner bought the house and transformed it into a work of art. The interior of the original house was thoroughly and thoughtfully moved around to spaces function they way we live in our modern world. New living spaces were added on the outside including a lounge off the master bedroom and an open-air dining alcove near the pool. A bar was added just off the kitchen. The two story carriage house with upstairs loft was added. Each room or area is rich in architectural detail and quality construction. There is nothing left "undone".


1403 Catherine Street before renovation

April 2012

This simple little house is simply just that: a simple little house. But that is an understatement of grand proportion. It is elegant in its simplicity. The new wide oak plank floors were custom milled as were the extra-large crown molding and the extra-wide baseboards. New cedar doors were custom made. The original windows were restored to retain their character.

Extra wide oak plank floors

Doors and floor patterns in the original house were reworked to make the house flow efficiently. The relocated kitchen for example opens onto the hallway adjacent to the living room. The kitchen windows tilt and provide access to the covered outside veranda bar. I would not call this home a "party house", but it was certainly designed for an owner who loves to entertain in style. The kitchen is the heart of this home. And the several social gathering spots flow from or toward the heart of this home.

Kitchen with window that tilts outward over the newly added bar

What was once the kitchen is now the master bedroom which has its own private covered porch with hot tub. The master bedroom features two sets of French style doors and screens which allow the room to open up to the back yard. Mirrored pocket doors conceal the generous ten foot long closet. Paneled wainscoting and coffered ceiling add depth and interest to this cozy retreat.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom with lounge (lanai) beyond recessed pocket doors

En-Suite Master Bath

Guest bedroom

Second bath

The lounge area is like an outdoor living room

And then there is the two story carriage house. It's the perfect place to house your classic Key West car or the perfect place for your own gym, workshop, or studio. Upstairs there is a secret retreat that is just as simple and just as elegant as the rest of the main house. Some people skimp on things that are barely seen. Here, the barely seen is treated as a treasure for the very few.

I dare the reader to walk around the outside of this property and find something amiss or something not done. Every place you look you see solutions to everyday issues. The front door hurricane panel (photo below) was turned into a whimsical work of art and greets guests near the bar.

The hurricane panel turned piece of art

This is the kind of house a second home buyer should consider because the present owner designed the house and all of its components to standout from the crowd and function properly. It does. Indeed. Some readers may say "I could do that." Perhaps. But most of us see a home like this and admire it with awe. That is why I discerning buyer will seize the opportunity to own a property of this caliber. You won't find anything like it in this price range. I promise you that!

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this property. I took a bunch of new exterior photos of the house this morning. CLICK HERE to view exterior photos.


La Casa Roja is offered at $750,000. If you would like to see this simply elegant property, please call me, Gary Thomas, at 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Some very lucky person is going to buy this little treasure and experience the elegance of living well...in Paradise.

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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.