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Monday, September 30, 2013

Tropical Luxury in Key West - 1617 White Street

1617 White Street - Key West, Florida
Situated on a prime stretch of land in beautiful Key West, 1617 White Street is a luxurious tropical retreat that rests on an unusually large  and private lot encompassing 32,213 sq ft (which includes guest cottage offered separately).  The property is located across the street from a park and one block from Higg's Beach and the great Atlantic Ocean.
Lush tropical foliage conceals this Key West residence from the rest of the world and offers a cool place to rest outside the main entrance. The front veranda features an elaborate front door, decorative crown pediments, and double sets of windows on either side of the front entry.

The listing Realtor at Preferred Properties describes this property thus:
"This splendid tropical estate rests on 25013 square feet of land and extends from White Street right through to Sirugo Avenue. The completely renovated elevated residence has ocean views from the cupola and rooftop deck and a dramatic vista across the pool and lawn to the spectacular waterfall. In addition to the luxurious poolside master suite and two guest bedrooms with en suite baths, there is a charming study in the tower and a very efficient office overlooking the pool. This home was featured in the Oct. '01 issue of Architectural Digest. There is a whole-house generator and a hurricane protection system. For additional money, an adjoining property of two units having a total of 3 bedrooms,3 baths and a pool may also be purchased."
 The entry and staircase with original fretwork balustrade.

The present owner purchased the main house in 1997 and engaged local architect Tom Pope and  interior designer Thomas Achilles (who had designed other projects for the owner). The trio collaborated to transform the original house into something truly unique. The most prominent feature visible from the street is the widow's walk. Historically, widow's walks were places where sailors' wives would climb to look out to the sea to search for the returning ships.  Wireless radio made those roof top perches needless. Since the original house was only built in 1983,  the widows' walk was more a folly than a necessity when built. The owner and his design team expanded the widows' walk to include a rooftop sundeck. What a perfect place to this must be to view the glorious Key West sunrises and sunsets.
The palms at the front of the residence now obscure much of the front facade and widows' walk from public view. But the widows' walk is still the most prominent feature when viewed from the rear.
This property was featured in the October 2001 issue of Architectural Digest where the owner was quoted as saying "Key West has Cuban sensuality and a Caribbean irreverence. At the same time, the island has a distinctly American individualism and a clear-stated preference for charm and history that can only be European. We tried to make sure our home blended all of these elements."

The home has 3259 sq ft of living space under air that includes formal entry, elegant living area with views to the front and rear,  three bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, and the roof top widows' walk with its 360 degree views of the Island of Key West. The interiors are rich in design and color. The designer used used a color pallet of tans, caramels, creams, and magenta that were set off by crisp white trim. The entire property is fenced and lighted. There is bricked off street parking for several vehicles.

Although the main entry is Key West casual, you know upon entry this is not s typical Key West property. The front door opens into the entry which then expands to the right where the living room is located. That space is quite large and has multiple sitting areas. The fireplace, one of three in this home, is the focal point of this area.
The rear wall of the living room and adjacent formal dining room is actually multiple sets of French doors that open out onto the covered veranda that wraps around the rear of the home. Note the bay window effect of the French doors in the dining alcove.
Bay window off the dining alcove

The master suite (below) has multiple sets of French doors that open out to the rear loggia as well.  The suite as presently configured includes a large office area which might easily become a media room, the bedroom chamber with fireplace, luxurious master bath, and an adjacent mini-kitchen for morning coffee or late night munchies.
View from office
View from the master bedroom
There are two bedrooms on the second floor each of which has an en-suite bath.  And finally there is the widows' walk and sundeck which offer amazing views of the south end of the island, the nearby ocean, and the beautiful park-like garden to the rear.  Guests here will truly never want to go home.
After completing the renovation and expansion of the main house, the owner purchased abutting properties to the rear. The existing houses were razed to expand the rear of the property where a park-like botanical garden was created complete with massive waterfall plus an nearby bandstand for large gatherings. 
When you enter the home your eyes are immediately drawn through the house, past the pool, and pulled toward the sputtering waterfall at the rear of the garden literally located a block away. You don't see sights like that in Key West nor most places. The effect is quite dramatic.
The waterfall demands attention. It commands first time visitors to walk through the garden to the foot of pond where the water collects. While wandering toward the fountain  I passed a myriad varieties of fruit and citrus trees, flowering trees, and palm trees of all kinds.
Ten foot tall waterfall at the rear of the palm grove
Of course there is a huge swimming pool with its own waterfall, a Jacuzzi, an outdoor shower, an outdoor kitchen, and a pool laundry (for pool towels, of course). A sunny deck  surrounds the pool. The expansive loggia provides ample entertaining areas for many guests.  Hillary Clinton was a guest of honor at a campaign event held here in 2008 where about five hundred supporters were present.
Please take a moment and view the YouTube Video for additional information.

1617 White Street is a listing of Preferred Properties Key West, but not my listing. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this property which is offered at $3,750,000.  The adjacent guest cottage may be purchased separately. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

510 Margaret Street - Old Town - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 510 Margaret Street - Key West. The two story main house and cute guest cottage have a combined square footage of 2052 sq ft at one of the very best locations in Old Town.  The lot is an irregular rectangle of approximately 22.5' x 65'. The lot runs from Margaret thru to Scheppens Lane at the rear. The entrance to Scheppens Lane is located on Fleming Street.

The listing Realtor describes 510 Margaret Street this way:
"This beautiful home has been completely and perfectly renovated with superior finishes and quality craftsmanship. The property includes 510 Margaret Street and adjoining 3 Scheppens Lane. The 3BR, 3BA main house has a large vaulted great room opening onto the rear yard and pool with stacked stone waterfall, Dade County Pine walls and hardwood floors throughout, magazine quality kitchen and gorgeous baths. The 1BR guest cottage has a full bath, fully equipped kitchen and living area. Both houses are designed for entertaining with light filled living areas opening through glass doors to the rear yard. This fantastic property is located in one of the most desirable blocks in Old Town between Fleming and Southard Streets."
As has been my recent custom, I went to the old Sanborn Fire Maps to see if I could determine when this home was built. Our property records were destroyed in the great fire and workers from the WPA created new ones. Unfortunately, they did not research the dates and gave us erroneous or maybe incomplete information. Anyway, I found what I believe to be 510 Margaret Street on the 1889 Sanborn map which also shows the cottage on Sheppens Lane.  Coincidentally the house next door at 512 Margaret is shown as well. These two houses are nearly identical and finding both on the same map reaffirms my belief as to the earliest record of their existence. I dug really deep into the old shoebox and found a photo of 510 Margaret Street that was taken back in 1965.  Compare it with the facade in September 2013. 
This home is the archetype that would-be second home buyers search for in a grand Conch house. The house sits behind the required white picket fence where three palms lets you know this traditional home is not located in the cold north. There's a bit of gingerbread but not so much as to distract from the simple and clean lines of this home. The home boasts front porches on both first and second floors either of which are perfect perches for people watching.

Inside the formal entry lets you know you have arrived at a special home. A spacious guest bedroom with en-suite bath is located just off the entry. Two doors allow this space to open more fully to public view is used as an office or study. But when the doors are shut, this space provides comfortable sleeping accommodations.

The main living area includes a newer addition to the rear of the historic house. The living space includes a vaulted ceiling and rear window wall that allows light filtered by the palms to illuminate the area during the daytime. Cooks will relish in the posh pastry palace.  
The home opens out to the pool with waterfall, the deck, and the guest cottage. Guest staying the guest cottage have private access from Scheppens Lane. So they won't need to awaken you after a long night on the town. (Note the gate in the second photo below. It provides access for the pool man.) The cottage comes complete with small living area, kitchenette, bath, and bedroom. The cottage is the epitome of what all guest cottages seek to be: perfect!
Dade County Pine walls are a distinctive feature throughout the main house. They provide rich texture to the rooms on which a new owner can add art to personalize each living or resting space. Speaking of resting, the two bedrooms on the second floor provide wonderful spots for nightly accommodation. The front bedroom includes access to the front balcony. Both bedrooms have separate en-suite baths.
This home would make a wonderful Key West vacation rental. It could accommodate three couples in the main house and a fourth couple in the cottage. The location is within a short walk to Duval Street or the Historic Key West Seaport.  Michael's Restaurant and Mangia Mangia are nearby as is the neighborhood fresh produce market down on the corner at Fleming Street. Some of the more expensive homes in Key West are located nearby as well. It is Key West where old buildings are treasured and newcomers are welcomed. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this home.
If you would like to see 510 Margaret Street or any other property in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your home in Paradise.


The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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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.