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Friday, March 29, 2013

It's a Crying Shame - Key West

Longtime readers will recall that I have written several blogs that have chronicled some of the ongoing renovation or remodeling of older homes and the infrequent construction of new homes.  I have been taking photos and have been planning on doing an update in the very near future. To my deep dismay I saw an item in Thursday's Key West Citizen that totally shocked me. The newspaper reported that one of our lovely remodel projects had been damaged by fire. I drove past the house twice that day and went back this morning to take a couple of pics to share with you. What happened here is a crying shame to those of us who love the old houses of Key West.

I wrote about 319 Grinnell Street many months ago when it was offered as a bank owned property. Many buyers looked at the property. I showed it several times during the short time it was available.  The house had been turned into three separate living units, illegally, of course. That happens a lot here.  I remember the back half of the house had a newer kitchen and a couple of sets of French doors that looked out to an old cistern that had been converted into a plunge pool. A little shed was in the backyard. It might have made a cute cabana for some new owner.


Several months passed between the time it was listed for sale and the time it actually closed. I would drive past the house on occasion to see what, if any, activity had begun. Then one day I was surprised to see that the house had been jacked up and the old failing piers were being replaced by new ones. That to me was the first signal that the new owner was going to do a substantial remodel. Hooray!  Too many people cheap out and do a minimal fix and leave things undone (and unsaid).

Last week I took the photos below. Was I impressed? Yes I was! Look how crisp and clean the old girl was looking. I was so excited to see the place being treated properly.  Lovingly.


I took the photos of 329 Grinnell Street on March 29th, the day after the fire. So sad. 
It looks to me like the majority of the damage was in the front part of the original house. When I took photos last week I did not see any drywall so I assume most of the damage was to the wood framing.

Whatever the cause, I hope the owner will be able to salvage the building and complete the renovation.

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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.