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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

614 Elizabeth Street - Key West - Old Town Fixer Upper


Just listed, but not by me, a genuine Key West Conch House Fixer that is located on one of the better blocks in Old Town.  The photo above shows 614 Elizabeth Street and its 'sister house' next door. The sister house is the same basic Conch House except it has been thoroughly renovated.

The listing Realtor describes the property this way: "Fantastic renovation project atop Solares Hill. Two bedrooms with one bath and large laundry room. Intimate garden space with room for entertaining."  Let me elaborate.  First let's discuss the location.  Solares Hill is the highest point on the Island of Key West. That means the homeowner will not need to purchase flood insurance if he or she or they have a mortgage.  Second, the 600 block of Elizabeth Street is located just two blocks from Duval Street and three blocks from the Historic Key West Seaport.  A new owner who might want to rent the house as an occasional vacation rental would find this an excellent location because of its proximity to popular attractions but also because it is far enough away not to hear all of the hullabaloo.

The house as it currently exists has two bedrooms, one bath, two rooms that serves as living areas, and a large kitchen.  The spaces are very clean but not really what new homeowners expect in Key West house. That is why I think this property is best suited as a renovation project.  Here is what I would do. First I would seek HARC (Historic Architectural Review Commission) approval to remove the 1950s concrete addition that replaced the ordinal wood front porch. I'd replicate the front porch on the house next door.  I realize people shudder at the thought of getting rid of an existing space.  That space as it currently exists adds nothing to the house in my opinion. A new front porch would tremendously enhance the look and thereby the value of this home.After all work is done I would add a white picket fence and minimal landscaping so you could see the house and so that the occupants could sit on the front porch and watch all the jealous tourists walk by.

The Enclosed Front Porch as it Currently Exists
I did check the foundations and exterior siding behind the cement front addition. The siding looks to be in really good condition as do the piers.  That should save in any remodeling scenario.  A roof inspection by  qualified roofer is important in any purchase. The roof here looks to be in good condition from what I could see.  


It looks to me like the interior of the house was modernized in the 1950s of early 1960s.  The black and white photo above was taken in 1965. It shows the original siding and jalousie windows. The wood paneled ceiling that adorns many basements across America lines the walls in one of the bedrooms here. And then there is that drop acoustic ceiling.  I will bet you that the original Dade County Pine walls still exist behind the modern renovation of half a century ago.  
The kitchen and bath are nice and neat but they are dated.  A renovation would probably reorient the house with two bedrooms located at the front with perhaps two smaller baths of a Jack-and-Jill bath located between the two bedrooms. The kitchen and living areas would be located at the rear where new French doors would open out to the rear garden.
I don't know if the backyard has enough space to add a pool and a deck. There is certainly room for a nice deck and a hot tub. There's plenty of room for an orchid garden.  Not all houses have to have to pools. CLICK HERE to view all the photos I took of this home and imagine how you might transform this space into your dream cottage.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on 614 Elizabeth Street which is offered for sale at $499,000. Then 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 dream home in Paradise.


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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.