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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2 Fletchers Lane - Key West, Florida

The listing Realtor of 2 Fletchers Lane in Key West describes this hidden gem thus:
"Wonderful 2 story Old Town home with beautiful Brazilian cherry floors, custom kitchen cabinets & Dade County pine walls. Obviously built by a ship builder, you can feel the custom woodwork quality throughout. Each bedroom enjoys lots of privacy with a split floor plan plus a guest cottage. Totaling 3 bedrooms & 3.5 baths with a great room that opens completely to the outdoors. Tropical landscaping and new Trex decking surround the heated pool & spa. The third bedroom cottage can double as guest quarters or a bar entertaining area with accordion style windows that open it up completely. Fully fenced for privacy & located between Grinnell & Margaret Streets, you can walk to everything from this unique property."
The good thing about owning a house on a lane that hardly anybody even knows that it exists is that you probably will not have many drop in guests, Fuller Brush salesmen, or other ne'er do-wells knocking on your door. You probably won't be serenaded as the bars close when locals and tourists find their way back to their homes, apartments, guest houses or hotels. You'll miss out on lines like "Babe I love you!" or "I hate you! Get out of my life!".
 2 Fletchers Lane in Key West is hidden away on just such a little lane that few people even know exists.  If you have a big ego and want everyone to see your big house and talk about how much money or whatever that you may have, this is not the place for you. However, if you want a slice of Old Key West that has been updated and tweaked just ever so nicely, this may be the place you have been looking for.

As frequent readers know the Key West mls is auto-filled with data that comes from the Monroe County Property Appraiser database. Unfortunately, the historic property records were destroyed in the great fire many years ago. Members of the WPA recreated (with an emphasis on the word create) those records but made guesses as to when many of our old homes were built - including the home at 2 Fletchers Lane which the official record says was built in 1924.  I looked at the Sanborn Fire Maps for Key West and found what I believe to be this property which I have marked with an "X" on the map below. That map was made in 1890 which tells us the house and rear cottage existed prior to 1899. You will note that the house appears to be placed on an angle.  That was not uncommon in olden days. Some houses were not placed at perfect right angles to the lot or the lot.  Some houses are still sit like that. This house has been re situated so that it now sits parallel with the lane.
I dug into the old shoebox and found a photo of 2 Fletchers Lane taken back in 1965. Compare that with the photo which I recently took..
The black and white photo shows 'scuttles' located on the roof. Scuttles are vents used in historic construction that allowed warm air to vent out through the roof..  The first house I sold in Key West was built around 1824. It had scuttles. I will never forget that house because of its simple but beautiful construction. Note also that the front porch still functions as such, but the main entrance has been relocated just past the gated side entrance which is barely visible in the above photo. 
The main living area is located at the rear of the home.  The kitchen, dining, and living areas form one great room which has sets of French doors on two sides that provide ample daytime light that is filtered by the palms and tropical foliage on this and nearby properties.  The Brazilian cherry floors, the extensive wood trim, and the custom cabinets in the kitchen make the main floor living space extra cozy and comfortable.
The ceiling in the living room soars two stories high.  Your guests will be amazed to see a second floor glass walkway that extends from the bedroom area to second floor rear balcony that looks out to the pool and guest cottage below. This is an ingenious mix of old school charm with contemporary design.  I seriously doubt that our current HARC would ever permit something so ingenious to be built today.  
There are two bedrooms on the second floor. The master suite is located at the rear of the house. The space is evenly divided between sleeping area, sitting area, dressing room, bath and that incredible glass walkway and rear balcony.   
What must have been the original living room in the olden days is now used as an office. The space reminds me of an old house that has been treated with care for generations. The second bedroom is accessed from a stairway from the office area.
The front porch is still a fine place for sitting and watching - pretty much of nothing. Only a couple of other homes share this tiny little lane. There is no off street parking here. You can drive your car up the lane to unload groceries and things. But you will need to park on nearby Eaton or Grinnell Street. The listing Realtor tells me the owners have parked in the same spot on Eaton Street for as long as they have owned this house.
I don't know if the guest cottage is the same cottage shown on the old Sanborn map or if it was built new. But I know its current configuration is pure genius. I have never seen any structure like this in Key West. You enter the cottage by stepping down a step from the pool deck level into this exquisite space. The cottage almost feels like a cabin in the woods except it is located in Key West, Florida! Windows on two sides open out from the bar to the pool where you and your guests can lounge in luxury. Please CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this home that is offered for sale at $1,123,000.

CLICK HERE to view more photos which I took of this really charming Key West property. But better than that, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. This is a truly incredible home. Don't miss this. 

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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.