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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

617 Ashe Street, Key West - Quixotic Old Town Home

I know I'm not the only person who upon arrival in Key West the very first time was amazed at the number of incredible old homes packed together in the Old Town area. I walked the streets up and down and back and forth looking at the  houses. I took pictures of the places I thought were amazing as if to build my dream book of places I would like to live someday. I took pictures of forlorn places thinking they could be fixed up and made right. Key West back then was much different than it is today: there were more houses that needed saved than houses that had been renovated. Like many first time visitors I stayed on the main streets and did not venture too far from Duval. It wasn't until maybe ten years after my first visit that I even heard of Ashe Street. I saw a house on Ashe Street in the mls book. Remember the old days when Realtors had to carry around a mls listings book with one tiny black and white photo with scant information each listing? My Realtor drove me to Ashe Street tucked between White Street to the east and Frances Street to the west. Ashe is accessed off Southard Street to the north and ends at Olivia Street at the south. It's a narrow street with parking allowed only on the west side. I loved this little hidden street partly because I knew I'd never see a Conch Train or trolley car nor would I see many tourists - the street just seemed to be reserved for the people who were fortunate enough to live there.
Just Listed by Preferred Properties Key West - 617 Ashe Street. The listing Realtor describes this quixotic home this way:
"Located in one of the most desirable and prestigious streets in the Key West Historic District. The property is landscaped for privacy with the most magnificent arched bougainvillea, accenting the front facade. As you enter the serene setting you see stunning wraparound front porches to spend your lazy afternoons. Greeted by a spacious floor plan with tall ceilings, antique tile floors, Dade County pine walls and French doors that open to the heated pool, lanai and guest cottage. There is one gated off street parking."
I dug around in my old shoebox and found the black and white photo below which shows 617 Ashe Street in 1965. The two dominant architectural features clearly shown in the photo are the symmetrical design and the almost lace-like gingerbread trim. The design suggests the house was built in the latter part of the 19th Century. I went to the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps to see if I could find the approximate date of construction. While other houses on the 600 block of Ashe are shown in the 1899 and later maps, the map creator chose to put a compass point right smack dab where 617 Ashe Street was probably located on each map. So the maps are useless. But the Victorian style meshes with five other houses on this particular block which I suggest is a bit atypical for Key West where plain cigar maker cottages, vernacular houses, eyebrow houses, and grand conch houses are more frequently seen around Old Town.
 The house itself sits behind a white picket fence and is elevated just a bit to give the old girl a bit a "presence". Today tropical foliage blocks a clear view of the houses itself. The porch wraps around the old fashioned front room. Notice the gingerbread trim on the porch and screen door. Today many houses are built as cheaply as the developer can put them up and find someone to buy them. Spaces are often small and trim and adornment is often minimal. Other times developers build huge Mc Mansions with lots of space but I think a lot of these houses offer little character or charm. That's not the case in this old house which has lots of ornate trim throughout this 2106 sq ft home. This place just oozes charm left over from two centuries ago. The good thing is that the old style charm and the solid construction of this old house make it a very good buy for today's discerning buyer. There is gated off street parking to boot situated on this 5400 sq ft lot (60' X 90').
The front room has large windows on three sides. Since the porch wraps this room, views of the outside are muted just a bit. You won't be seeing blazing rays of sunshine projecting through the windows. Instead the muted tones of the sky and greenery will provide a serene view of the outdoors. Inside, the symmetry of the front room gives this space a certain dignity in style. Crown molding and bright white trim set the tone that carries throughout this somewhat formal abode. The front room folds into the extra wide center foyer which provides access to the guest bedroom on the north side and the den and master suite on the south side.
The kitchen and adjacent dining room are next. A beautiful chandelier marks the center of the dining room which has French doors with transoms above and sidelights which provide views of the guest cottage, pool, and sunny deck. Another set of French doors opens out to the rear dining portico. I took more photos of this home which you can see if you CLICK HERE.
The guest cottage provides additional bedroom space.  You will note the guest cottage, master bedroom and kitchen/dining rooms are additions to the original house. The additions reflect the earlier style but do not copy it. These new additions provide more open spaces and taller ceilings than often found in old homes. The pool provides a large, sunny, and private space for getting a great Key West tan.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos on 617 Ashe Street that is offered for sale at $1,800,000. After you have taken a look online please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a look in person. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How come the links to the MLS, Homes you've sold, Preferred Properties have disappeared from your blog?

Gary Thomas said...

I have no idea what happened nor how to fix it.

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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.