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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 Preservation Awards - Historic Florida Keys Foundation

I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 Historic Florida Keys Foundation Preservation Awards ceremony last Friday evening which was held at the Little White House in Key West.  Two buyers that I sold homes to received awards this year, and I felt honored to attend the event.

Five homes received a Certificate of Excellence including 909 Pohalski Lane shown below. This former house was significantly damaged by fire in 2011. The owner engaged noted local architect Tom Pope who designed a virtually new structure that incorporated the shell of the front part of the historic house which was totally rebuilt and expanded with a new two story addition at the rear. The original cigar maker cottage was part of the Pohalski Village of surrounding small homes. Congratulations to owner Mark Childress, Architect Tom Pope, and builder Key King Construction for a job very well done. What could have become rubble and might have been replaced with something mediocre has become little jewel for others to emulate.  I have seen a lot of houses that have burned in my time on this island. Nobody did a better job of saving a house damaged by fire than Messrs. Childress and Pope.

I accompanied Christopher Mario and his daughter to the ceremonies.  I sold 618 Grinnell Street to him a couple of years ago. I had written about the property at least once in my blog before he purchased the property. The big old house had been virtually untouched in years. Oh, it had been lived in, but it had not been remodeled in any significant way except that some former owner had taken out an interior wall on the ground floor which cause the structure to bend a bit and cause the second floor to be just a bit out of whack.  Chris engaged The Lineberry Architectural Group (which had designed another home for home for him) to design the restoration of his Key West residence.

The historic eyebrow house was jacked up and had a new pier foundation built. The rear "addition" to the house was totally rebuilt. Old partition walls were eliminated, the ceiling vaulted, and the sides opened with new windows or French doors. Decks were rebuilt, a bicycle garage was created, and a new pool was added which was complemented with a new garden comprised of native shrubs and trees. Chris Mario received a Ceramic Star for rehabilitation and restoration of the beautiful home at 618 Grinnell Street.
618 Grinnell St built circa 1889 as it appeared in 1965
new piers being built
nearing completion
nearly done
618 Grinnell Street - Cermaic Star Winner 2013
Also present on Friday night was Mr. Tom Hambright the County Historian for the Monroe County Library. If you are ever fortunate enough to buy an old home in Key West and want to learn more about the history of your property, Tom Hambright is the man you must see.  For his years of service to the citizens of Key West, Mr. Hambright deservedly received  the 2013 community Service Award. 

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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.