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Friday, February 28, 2014

415 Margaret Street - Key West

415 Margaret St in 1979
Wikipedia defines the grammatical term 'present perfect' as a  combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect used to express a past event with present consequences.  The Old Island Restoration Foundation awarded a Ceramic Star for the renovation and preservation of 415 Margaret Street in Old Town Key West. This is an excellent example of present perfect in my opinion.

Roger Emmons at Truman and Company, the listing Realtor, describes his present perfect listing at 415 Margaret Street:
"This is one of those very special homes where all of the elements come together to create an incredible setting for the perfect Key West lifestyle. The home is a beautiful combination of historic restoration and superior renovation with a wonderful floor plan that includes three ensuite bedrooms including the master suite which is located in a private wing overlooking the landscaped gardens and 40 foot pool. At the rear of the property is a spacious guest cottage complete with living room, kitchen, bedroom and secluded hot tub. Thoughtful details include large shady porches, Chicago brick patios and pathways that meander through the tropically landscaped gardens. Very private with off-street parking."
 Bricked Off Street Parking

 Gracious Front Porch that Wraps Around the House

 25 Foot Entry Hall that leads to the Family Room and Pool Beyond

I searched the Sanborn Fire Maps and found 206 Margaret Street on the 1889 map. In 1912 the street designation was changed from 206 Margaret to 415 Margaret Street.  A second cottage appeared for the first time on the 1912 map at the rear of the 201 foot lot.. This structure was identified as 415 1/2 Margaret Street.

The home was thoroughly renovated and expanded in 2000. A generous addition was built at the rear of the original house which included an expansive new master suite.  A separate guest cottage with a mini-kitchen, living room with vaulted ceiling, bedroom and bath was built at the far rear of the lot. (The total lot size is quite large for Old Town - 56' frontage by 201' depth or 10,679 sq ft.) The present structures include multiple porches, loggias, two outdoor showers,a 40' heated swimming pool, and other amenities folks in the late 1800s would not have imagined. The result is gracious home which blends formal rooms from the past and new spaces designed for the indoor-outdoor Key West lifestyle.

 Formal Living Room with French Doors onto Wraparound Porch

Formal Dining Room

Rear Addition includes Family Room and Kitchen

 The stairway shown above leads to two bedrooms with en suite baths.  Both play off the simple original design of the historic house.

 One of the two guest bedrooms with en-suite baths

The master suite is located in the new addition adjacent to the original house. You enter the suite just off a private alcove. The bedroom has a tall vaulted ceiling that give the room a very spacious feel but yet provides intimacy.  French doors open out to a private porch that overlooks the pool and gardens.  The extra large en-suite bath includes his-and-hers sinks, shower, bathtub, and plus an outdoor shower.

 Master Suite with Private Porch overlooking the Pool and Gardens

Entry Alcove

Imagine Waking Up to this View!

 An Outdoor Shower is a Key West Essential! This One is Present Perfection!

The Guest Cottage is shown below

With a Guest Cottage this sweet, your friends and family may never leave. And when they sit on their front porch in the morning sipping coffee, they get to look onto the pool and the main house and dream what it might be like to live here all the time.  CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of more photos I took of this incredible Key West property.

View from Guest Cottage Porch

415 Margaret Street is indeed present perfect. The main house and guest cottage offer a total of 3459 sq ft in living area that includes four bedrooms, four and one-half baths, two kitchens, and gracious interior and outside living spaces both formal and Key West casual. This home is offered at $2,495,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this property.

If you would like to see this perfect Key West home please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to arrange a showing.  This is the type of Key West home many people dream of owning - someday. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

810 Elizabeth Street Key West - A Solares Hill Renovation Project

I first wrote about 810 Elizabeth Street, Key West nearly two months ago when it was first listed for sale.  This property is currently configured as two legal units but could become a single family home.  The listing Realtor, not me, has a letter from the Key West City Planner stating such. The property is in good condition as is, but it could be renovated into something much greater. The listing Realtor describes the property as:
"Perched near the crest of Solaris Hill, this 1,541 sq' legal duplex on a 3,192 sq' lot features a 3 bedroom 2 bath down & 2/1 up (approx 560 sq'). It is located 2 blocks from Duval St, Zone X which does not require flood insurance. Separately metered (electric/water/sewer). Could be converted into single family. Possible room for off street parking & dip pool. When renovated this rough cut diamond could be a crown jewel!"
Elizabeth Street is a one-way street from Truman Avenue to the south until it intersects at the corner of Angela Street and Windsor Lane.  Many of the houses on this three block stretch have been updated over the years, and some, like 810 Elizabeth Street, await a new buyer to bring the old house into the 21st Century. Look at the photo second above. That house at 819 Elizabeth Street was listed and put under contract in just six days this February.  I got a chance to show it to prospective buyers. It is great, but it is gone!  As I left the property after showing it I looked across the street to 810 Elizabeth Street and said to myself "someone is going to get a good deal if they buy it".  Project houses like 810 Elizabeth Street take a lot of time and a lot of money to complete. But when done right they can provide a satisfaction to a new owner that buying an already done house may not offer. That is because the new owner gets to decide what he or she wants to do.
I dug into the old shoebox and found a black and white photo of 810 Elizabeth Street as it existed in 1965. I also went to the Sanborn Fire Maps. I found 810 Elizabeth Street listed in the 1892 edition.  I found what I believe to be 810 Elizabeth in the 1889 map but houses had different numbers then. The house has been updated and maintained throughout the years. The county property records show the rear addition was added in 1994. 

CLICK HERE to view photos I took of the house, yard, and crawl space under the house.  The piers appear to have been updated, new joists installed, and other structural elements attended to over the years. A qualified home inspector would need to inspect any property a new owner desires to purchase. 
As currently configured there are three bedrooms, two baths, a laundry room, living room and kitchen plus rear deck on at the rear of the ground level living unit.
The second floor unit is presently configured as a one bedroom apartment with normal three piece bathroom plus an adjacent laundry room. Property records show this apartment as being 560 sq ft.

The houses as it exists is dysfunctional as to the way modern Americans use their homes - especially in Key West. I suggest a new owner would hire a designer or architect to reconfigure the spaces entirely.I envision taking down all existing interior walls and the existing outside stairway.  I would try to get permission to add on to the house where the stairs currently exist. This would provide new space to create an interior staircase to make the two units into one.  I would create two first floor guest beds and baths and make the rear a great room with living/dining/kitchen. I would make the second floor the master suite with en-suite bath. I would add a pool at the rear and try to convert the existing shed into a small cabana bar. Keep the bar simple and not confuse city officials who might think it would become a sleeping area. As it currently exists the space is too small anyway.
When completed a renovated house like this could make a wonderful vacation rental. The property is located two blocks from Duval Street to the west.  The Historic Seaport is eight blocks to the north and St. Mary's Basilica is three blocks to the south.  Returning vacationers will love the location because they can walk to their favorite haunts within a few minutes. A new owner will love the location because he or she won't have to buy flood insurance.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on 810 Elizabeth Street which is offered for sale at $695,000.  Better yet, 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. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

903 Washington Street - Casa Marina Area - Key West, Florida

Just listed by Preferred Properties, that's where I work but this is not my listing, 903 Washington Street. This Casa Marina Area listing has two houses for the price of one. I dug down into my old shoebox and found photos taken in 1965 of the two original homes that sat on this large and wide lot (40' X 112') that is located just five blocks from Higgs Beach and the great Atlantic Ocean. The old homes were demolished in 1996, and the rebuilding began. I remember riding my bike past this property for a couple of years as I watched the new houses being built.  I thought the construction would never end. But it did and the properties were completed in 1999.

Lovers of Key West architecture may recognize the coral rock house (located at the corner of Reynolds and South Street) seen immediately behind the rear house.

Today there are two distinct houses, one big and one not so big that share this wonderful location.  The listing Realtor describes the properties this way:
"Situated in the heart of the Casa Marina is this wonderfully bright family compound. As you enter the foyer, you are immediately drawn to the tropical setting surrounding the pool, complete with a large covered lanai and guest house. The main house consists of a bright open living space and a lavish master suite with 2 walk-in closets and huge bathroom. Joining the 2 bedrooms is a cathedral ceiling with a skylight. On the other side of the main house is a wonderful guest suite with a full bedroom and bath, and an adjacent living room, bath and kitchen, which can easily function as a second bedroom. Off street parking is framed by a beautiful rolling gate. Considered the best street in the Casa Marina. 4 blocks to Duval and Ocean."
The main house looks like an updated version of a large Conch house you might find in Old Town. The two story home first and second floor front porches.  This home has a front foyer, a feature not seen in most new homes. The foyer makes a statement of arrival at an important property - you don't just want into the living space but gradually move toward it.  Stained glass panels above the front windows add a bit of nostalgia. 
While the main house has a old Conch home look, the interior is designed for modern living where the living/dining/and kitchen areas occupy a shared space. Clever partitioning separates the spaces just enough to make each area special.  Oh, and that pool view is killer!
The guest bedroom has a special bonus - a second floor balcony where you can sit and watch the world go by. The master bedroom is located at the rear.  The room is quite large by Key West standards.  The vaulted ceiling adds height to an already over-sized space. There is an owner's lockout closet in the room as well. I mention this because a lot of second home buyers consider the possibility of using a property as an occasional vacation rental.
A beautiful pool and tropical garden separate the main house and rear house.  Both homes have great views of the pool from the living areas.  A very nice privacy fence marks the property on all sides. Fences like these with a gated street entry are often seen in the Casa Marina Area.
I took a lot more photos which you can view if you CLICK HERE.  903 Washington Street has a great location in the Casa Marina Area. I think it could make a great occasional vacation rental. The two houses provide good private living spaces and enough separation for two couples traveling together to have a wonderful Key West getaway experience. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet for 903 Washington that is offered for sale at $1,650,000. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up a private showing.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.


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.