718 Olivia Street is a must see for the buyer who seeks a great Old Town location where he or she can restore and probably expand a great Conch house and create tropical gardens, add a pool, and off street parking on the over-sized rear lot that is a rarity in Key West. The listing Realtor describes this property thus:
"A grande historic house built between 1899 and 1912. 5 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms. Large LR, DR and kitchen. Beautiful hardwood floors. High ceilings and 23 large windows create a steady flow of light and air. 9401 sqft lot with BIG 5525 sqft back yard. Build pool, pool house, garage, gardens. Easy walk or pedal to anywhere in Old Town."I found the above black and white photo taken of this property in the 1960s by the Monroe County Tax Appraiser. The Monroe County Appraiser notes that this house was built in the 1920s on one website and in 1938 on another. It's old either date. But the character of this old house still shines through. A huge Royal Poinciana tree dominates the front yard today. The front porch today still has the same wrought iron posts as shown in the 1960s vintage photo as well as the jalousie windows and the concrete block front fence.
I think this house would make for a stunning renovation project. First I would replace the dated jalousie windows the approved wood windows on the first and second floors. I would open the ceiling in the second floor front bedroom to incorporate the cupola fully into that space. I would seek permission to remove the wrought iron front porch and replace with period appropriate wood.
View from front door looking toward Olivia Street
Front porch suggestion: remove wrought iron and replace with wood
First floor front suggestion: seek permission to add center window for bay affect
Second floor bedroom suggestion: vault the cupola and ceiling for dramatic affect
Other interiors: remove and/or update the additions from prior decades
This home has worked just fine for the present family for decades. Now it may be time to rethink some of what worked well before and to recreate spaces that work for the way we live our lives today-especially the way we live them in Key West. That might include moving the formal and informal living areas to the rear. I'd suggest creating converting the second floor to a single master suite.
The rear half of the property is gigantic. There is room for a guest cottage, a very large pool, off street parking, and tropical gardens. That is 'gardens' as in plural. The space is enormous. A buyer with a green thumb will go bananas over this space.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and current mls photos of this home. You will note that the listing states this house has 1538 sq ft of living space. The property site is much larger than it looks in the photos. The front parcel where the house is located occupies only about 2600 sq ft of the entire 9401 sq ft lot. The remaining lot is located at west rear of the front parcel. That is the space where you would put in a pool and guest quarters.The listing agents advises that the seller and adjacent property owner will execute an easement to permit ingress and egress to the rear lot once a sales contract is in place.
I'd redo the back of the house to provide view of the pool and gardens. There is abundant space to add covered outdoor living area as well.
The photos do not do this space justice. I was overwhelmed by the size of this undeveloped lot. There are no protected trees or structures that would create impediments to doing something very creative with the space. You would only be limited by your imagination and budge. The good thing about Key West is that small plants and trees grow quickly so you can still grow a wonderful garden even on a limited budge.
CLICK MAP to help locate 718 Olivia Street. If you click the STREET VIEW you will see a mix of old cigar maker cottages, gentrified cottages, and the house next door CLICK HERE which is one of the prettiest homes on the Island of Key West. Duval Street is a four to five minute walk to the west on Olivia Street. Seven Fish Restaurant in only one block away. A small neighborhood convenience store is one block to the east. Olivia Street is a one way street that goes east. I don't recall having ever seen a Conch Train or Trolley car on this portion of Olivia. A lot of the neighbors have lived in the nearby houses for decades. This area really is a Key West neighborhood.
If you are looking for a renovation project in the Old Town Key West area this may be the house you have been searching for. The house certainly has street appeal and the yard space is just huge. Creating a viable plan for the property as a whole is the key to making a project like this work. We have lots of great local architects such as Matthew Stratton, Tom Pope, or Bert Bender that could help a buyer develop a winning concept for this one of a kind property.
Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a view of this property. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West in Key West, Florida.