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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

409 Grinnell Street - Old Town -Key West

The two story Conch house at 409 Grinnell Street has been lovingly updated and looks picture perfect  The house first appeared in the 1889 Sanborn Fire Maps for Key West. I was surprised to learn that the adjacent Elgin Lane was named "Hidalgo Alley" in 1889.  As I looked through the old shoe box for photos of the property, I found a photo of a former resident that was taken in about 1918 - during World War I.  The photo shows Lawrence Higgs who was an inspector for the Florida East Coast Railway. The black and white photo below Mr. Higgs was taken in 1965 and shows how the house presumably looked for decades.  The color photo beneath shows the same property as it appeared in April 2011 - before the current owners purchased it. Note the metal louvers on the front and sides.  These louvers were replaced by real windows during the renovation. The owner told me that drywall covered two upstairs windows on the Elgin Lane side. New windows were added, the Dade County Pine walls were sanded, and the floors were sanded and refinished.  Two difficult small bedrooms became one large bedroom filled with light. Little changes were made throughout the house.  Living spaces became a bit more iser friendly for today's lifestyle. But the renovation kept the original character in tact.

The listing Realtor describes 409 Grinnell Street as:
"Beautifully renovated 2-story Old Town home located a few blocks from the Historic Sea Port. This grand Key West home displays Dade County Pine and a picture perfect interior. The 45' deep by 27' back yard includes an outdoor shower & plenty of room for a nice pool, decking, and garden."

I showed this property last week and told my buyers that this home looks quite similar to the way a lot of the older homes looked when I first started selling houses in Key West. That was before granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and designer baths became the rage. Things were more simple two decades ago.
Drywall from an earlier renovation was removed. Much of the original Dade County Pine walls, ceiling, and floors remained intact and in very good condition.  The original wood walls were sanded and had a clear coat added.  The trim was painted a crisp white to make the wood walls appear more robust.  The floors were all sanded and refinished. The house now has a uniform look throughout without having a "staged" look. Let me tell you there is a world of difference between original floors and some of the stuff retailers are passing off today. The closet under the elegant staircase became a wine storage room sans temperature control. It works - naturally.
The first floor has a bedroom which currently has an overly large bed and armoire that makes the room seem pretty small. The room is fine. It's the furniture that is perhaps too big for the room. The adjacent bath does "double duty" so to speak. The bath doubles as a guest bath. The bathroom is quite large. Notice the Dade County Pine walls and ceiling and the old style tiled floor. The bath tub hearkens bath to yesteryear as well. An opaque window provides lots of light and lots of privacy.
As soon as you enter the house your eyes are through the living area and then past the dining room where you see the kitchen. You see an old refrigerator and smile. Cute. Must be a gimmick - a piece of nostalgia.  Not so. When you look more closely you see the Crosley Refrigerator and the Kelvinator double oven stove with polished chrome top. The original temperature settings still guide the cook as the best method for making real meals (not the nuked kind so many people eat today).
The beautiful stairway leads to the second floor landing which then leads to three bedrooms on this floor. The bedroom on the Elgin Lane side was previously two small rooms where drywall covered the window at the rear. The interior wall was removed to create a new large bedroom.  The front covered balcony is adjacent where you might have your morning coffee while watching tourists and locals stop by the Old Town Bakery just across the street and down on the corner. If I lived here I'd be ever so fat. That bakery ought to be declared a sin for the pastries are sinfully delicious.)
A second bedroom is located on the south side.  The third bedroom is located at the rear. It is smallish and makes a good den for the current owners. There is but one second floor bath. It is, however, quite large.
The rear of this property is still pretty much a blank canvas where a new owner can create his or her or their vision of the idyllic Key West back yard with pool or whatever. The space is quite large and provides adequate room for a pool. There is room for pool contractor to bring in a equipment to build the pool via adjacent Elgin Lane. The laundry and a cute outdoor shower are located here as well.
CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of this cute Key West home.


409 Grinnell Street is offered for sale at $1,100,000 or $652 per sq ft for this 1688 sq ft four bedroom/two bath home. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to see listing photos. After you have looked at that, please contact 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.

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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.