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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

622 Grinnell Street Key West - Back on the Market

I have written about 622 Grinnell Street in Old Town Key West in four prior blogs. It went under contract at the end of March and just came back on the market. This house is in about as original condition as one can get in Old Town.  The extra wide Dade County Pine walls on the first floor tell this is a very old house. The planks are much wider than seen in houses built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. As old growth lumber was used up, builders started using newer woods with planks not as large. After all the Dade County Pine was used up, builders had to import woods from other areas.

The house has been used as three separate living units since it was purchased by the current owners' family in the 1930s. There is no interior staircase - in fact I am not sure there ever was an interior staircase.  The property consists of the main house and a separate cottage that fronts onto Canfield Lane. The main house is divided into two units. The ground floor is a chopped up two bedroom. It has use of the front porch and a side porch that looks out to Canfield Lane.   
 The second and third floors are rented as one living unit although both floors have small kitchens and baths. The second floor is laid out just like the first floor but it shows much better. The second floor has exclusive access to the second floor balcony that has a commanding view of Grinnell Street. This is one of the best balconies I have ever stood upon. For some reason this house stands so much taller than other homes. The third floor is accessed via spiral staircase on the south side exterior staircase. The the third floor landing provides an almost 360 degree view of the area. You can see the towers of St. Mary's Basilica and the roofs of smaller Conch Houses all over Old Town.
The house has an almost imposing presence on the street. It stands so tall compared to other houses on the block.  I think this is one of the best properties for sale in our market at this time. If you are a buyer looking for a project house, this may be the one.

Consider the listing agent's description:
"Wonderful, original conch home with three legal units. Great location and superb street presence. Access to the rear cottage is from a lane.Possible conversion back to single family and would be a really spectacular property as such. Opportunity to work with a property that has been maintained while leaving a Key West flavor."

The rooftop deck on the main house has an incredible view of the area. You can even see the spires at St Mary's Basilica. Most of the lot is covered with tropical foliage and red brick pavers. The house itself has been maintained. It would, however, benefit from a total renovation.  Inside the rooms have the character that people who love our dear old homes seek. The house is filled with Dade County Pine and old glass with ripples. There are little cubby holes and scuttles and treasures galore throughout this old house.

The second floor is shown below when I photographed it when the owner lived in the property.  It was about as quintessential Key West as you can get.
The listing agent states that the property as a whole has 2740 sq ft of living space and sits on a 57' x 83' (4683 sq ft) lot. I think the highest and best use of this house is to convert the property into a single family home and use the Canfield Lane cottage as a guest cottage.  CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of photos of this property.

This block of Grinnell Street is one of the quietest blocks in Old Town because it ends at Angela Street which is the northern border of the Key West cemetery. That means the Conch trains and trolleys will not be passing this house because they cannot torn onto Angela Street. Your life will be quieter because of this. Instead, you will see the occasional tourist on bike or many a neighbor walking a dog to the Grinnell Street Pocket Park up on the corner.

Five Brothers is located down the block at the corner of Southard Street. The Key West Historic Seaport is located three blocks further north and Duval Street is located five blocks to the west. Most of the gyms and yoga studios are located within a five to ten minute walk.
622 Grinnell Street is offered at $1,200,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls data sheet on this property. Or better than that, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Monday, April 28, 2014

2 Fletchers Lane Key West ~ One of the Slowest Lanes in Key West

You won't likely find a slower lane in Old Town Key West than Fletchers Lane. The lane is only one block long and dead ends to one of three houses at the end. Fletchers Lane is sandwiched  between Grinnell Street to the east and Margaret Street to the west. The entrance is just off Eaton Street. The lane is populated by only a few houses. Most people have never heard of it because few houses located there ever get offered for sale. 2 Fletchers Lane (not my listing) is your opportunity to purchase a really special property that I consider to be a really good value.

The listing Realtor describes the property this way:
"Wonderful, turn-key, 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 after 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!".

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 created) those records were approximations of 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. It shows 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 photo below shows the gated entry and the entry to the home.
The main living area is located near 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 master bedroom area to second floor rear balcony that overlooks the pool and guest cottage to the rear. This is an ingenious mix of old school charm with contemporary design.   
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 when this home was first built is now used as an office. A full bath is located to the rear of the office. A second stairway provides access to the second floor front bedroom.
The front porch is still a fine place for sitting and watching - pretty much of nothing. Only a few 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 $926,000 or $494 per sq ft. 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.

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. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

3B Nassau Lane, Key West, Florida - Just Listed

Just listed, but not by me, 3B Nassau Lane in Old Town Key West
3 Nassau Lane - Old Town Key West

The new listing at 3 B Nassau Lane in Old Town Key West ought to excite buyers who want an affordable single family house in a great location - the asking price is just $399,000. The listing Realtor describes the listing like this:
"The definition of Key Westy. Quaint, comfortable, in the most strategic location for one that wants to walk to all the good places. This home comes turn key, completely furnished and you'll agree it is fashionably impressive. Look no further."

I found the photo above taken in 1965 of 3B Nassau Lane.  I added an arrow to distinguish it from its neighbor, 3A.  A recent owner did significant renewal to this little gem. The house is move in ready.  All you have to do is bring your toothbrush because it is offered fully furnished as well.

I searched the historic Sanborn Fire Maps and learned that this house was in the 1892 edition and that Nassau Lane had been previously been called Cologne Lane. 
This comfy cottage home would make a great second home for a buyer that wants an inexpensive Key West getaway.  The cottage has been tweaked to near perfection. There is a welcoming front porch followed by the comfortable living area, kitchen and then the bedroom. This place has all of the creature comforts buyers expect neatly tucked into a compact space of 468 square feet. The outdoor area is just 20' x 48' (940 sq ft) which means there is just enough outdoor space to enjoy while you are here but not enough garden to cause you maintenance pains when you are back up north.

3B Nassau Lane is 'done', so a new owner can move in and not worry about having to renovate or spend more money.  Everything inside and outside looks pristine. Smaller homes are usually less expensive to maintain and to insure than larger properties. If you anticipate having a lot guests, there is a nearby guesthouse at the corner of Fleming Street. If you think about it, it would be cheaper to put your friends and relatives up in a guesthouse for a week than it would be to spend an extra couple of hundred thousand dollars to buy a place with a second bedroom for occasional use. 

CLICK HERE  to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet and to view listing photos of this property. Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to set up a showing before this place is gone. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.


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.