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Sunday, December 27, 2015

1316 Villa Mill Alley - Key West - Your Own Private Shangra-La

I often write about the charm of buying and owning a home on one of the slow lanes in Key West. Since most of the Old Town lanes are often sandwiched in between large blocks, the houses on the lanes are often cottages as opposed to larger homes. These homes are ofttimes located on smallish one-way streets that may only one or two blocks long. Some locals probably could not tell you where many of these little lanes are located because they are tucked away from view.  Such is the case for the new listing at 1316 Villa Mill Alley. Villa Mill Alley is located about one half block east of Simonton Street just south off United Street. This is a small enclave of very expensive homes with  location few people know exists situated just on the edge of the Casa Marina Area. 
I found an old aerial photo of the Casa Marina Area that was taken in 1930. I added an arrow to show where the original home was built several years ago. Upper Duval Street is located a block and a half to the west. The lot measures 110' X 80.26' or 9,775 sq ft. According to the Monroe County Property Appraiser shows the square footage of the property as 2200 sq ft. The property was just completely renovated and expanded. I think the property appears to be much larger because of the connective walkways between the buildings which make up this incredible Key West home.
There are two entrances to the home both of which are located on Villa Mill Alley and both of which are shown above. The formal entrance is located immediately to the left of the two story bedroom building centered above. The informal entrance is to the right side and adjacent to the double garage.
Instead of walking into the home, you enter a covered walkway that connects the living area on the north and the master and guest bedrooms on the south. No matter which location is your destination, your eyes are immediately diverted to the lush tropical gardens, koi pond, pagoda, and pool. Like I said, this is no Key West cottage.

The great room is designed for very relaxed and informal Key West living, but at the same time exudes a sense of dramatic style. You'll quickly notice architectural and building elements like the wide wood floors, the impact glass doors and windows, extra-wide horizontal wall boards, and vaulted ceiling. These elements are carried throughout the property. The glass doors retract and open out to the covered deck that looks out to the dramatic courtyard.
The third bedroom and bath (or as currently used den) is located just on the far side of the great room. It likewise has doors which open out to garden and the adjacent pagoda.
The master suite is located on the first floor of the bedroom pavilion. Imagine waking up in the morning looking out to the garden and hearing the babbling koi pond and viewing the tropical foliage. While the bath has all the latest in high end bath fixtures, you may be more likely to take your morning shower in the adjacent outdoor shower. A spiral staircase leads to the second floor guest bedroom.
The guest bedroom really is tucked away and located out of sight up the spiral staircase. There is a morning kitchen located just inside the entry so that guests won't have to go down the steps for coffee or cocktails unless they really feel the need to socialize. Otherwise, they can make cozy up in their own private luxury suite. The doors open out to a huge deck from which they can view the grounds and dream what it must be like to own such a wonderful retreat. CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of this property.
1316 Villa Mill Alley is offered for sale at $3,495,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this one-of-a-kind Key West property. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let's go take a look. Perhaps this could be your own private Shangra-La.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary....we love reading your are super in your visuals and your photographs are often better than what most realtors capture in their own listings....concerning this home, Villa Mill is how many blocks long and where does this house situate itself ?
We always look forward to your opinions and great eye!
Happy Season.

Anonymous said...

price is completely out of line

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anons (both of you),

Villa Mill Alley is just one block long. It dead-ends (appropriately I guess) at the rear of 707 South Street. That's the house where James Bond's best friend was murdered in "License to Kill" filmed in 1989. The house at 707 South Street is being totally renovated and expanded. I used a couple of pics in my last Projects of Key West post that showed the house as of that date. I Have been taking new pics and will updated that house soon. The owner of that house have added a carriage house at the rear which you can see from the second floor guest bedroom at Villa Mill Alley. I have not talked to anyone about the 707 South project, but think it's going to be spectacular. They have added so many quality components that it just oozes money.

The house next door to the east at 711 South Street is currently listed at $4,800,000. That property is equally large and also has a Villa Mill Alley entrance at the rear.

I don't know at what price either 1316 Villa Mill Alley or 711 South Street will eventually sell at, but the price on each will be very, very high. These are both incredible properties.

I think it is easy to make a dismissive statement about someone else's property. I perhaps should delete the comment. I have gotten in trouble with one Realtor who won't let me write about her listings because I did not delete a stupid remark somebody who thought they were being cute wrote. I believe in letting people speak their piece (to a certain point). So I will leave the negative comment for other readers to consider. I think a buyer with enough real money to buy either house will have the business acumen to decided for himself or herself what either property is worth to them. As for me, I would be quite happy to live at 1316 Villa Mill Alley. It is a very comfortable home with a wonderful garden and pool. It would be like having my own private resort.


Anonymous said...


Didn't mean for my comment to be dismissive regarding the property. It is stunning to say the least. At no point did I knock the home's fit or finish. However, I can see how it could be interpreted as such. Feel free to delete it. Greed has taken over here in Key West. Typical for the start of sales season. Once sellers see that buyers aren't willing to pay these prices they will drop them to more appropriate levels. I would be MORE than happy to live at 1316 Villa Mill Alley as well. Even though you can't say it, I tend to think that you wouldn't pay this price for this particular home in this particular location any more than I.

In the end it's not anyone's opinion that matters. The market will dictate the price any home sells for. Furthermore, I can't even imagine a world where this house at this price would even come close to comping out. Maybe I'll be eating crow in the end but I don't think crow is in my future.

Again, exquisite home.

Happy New Years

Anonymous said...

To follow up on these comments, I had heard that there is or was a probation office on Villa Mill?
Also, that South St. and Reynolds can get pretty rough?
Can you elaborate on any of this?
Thanks Gary.
A Very Happy New Year

Anonymous said...

Can't be sure of the probation office but there's a pretty sweet trailer park right across the street as you pull in/out of Villa Mill Lane. Exactly what anyone paying $3.5M for a home would expect.

I agree with one of the previous posts. The price is absurd.

Gary Thomas said...

Like I said earlier, it's easy to write something dismissive about some other person's property. Please consider this: this is the home of the current owner.

Whether a buyer is going to pay $400,000 for a house or condo or $1.2 million, that buyer is going to consider who his neighbors may be. People can and do see things that bother them all the time. A lot of potential buyers won't consider houses by the cemetery. Some don't want to be on a busy street. Some don't want to be near a school because they don't want to hear children laughing (translate: making noise). Some don't want to be near trailer parks or office buildings. That leaves three of four streets where there will still probably be an eyesore of a house located within a couple of hundred feet of a beautiful home.

When I first visited Key West I remember walking over to the Old Plantation (gay bar) located at the corner of Southard at Thomas. The old Monroe County office building is across on Southard and Truman Annex (opposite on Thomas) had not been built. The location was seedy and scary at night - especially for a nerd like me. I remember the big old trees outlined by the street lights and thinking somebody could be lurking ready to jump me. Nothing happened. Today thousands walk or drive by this location daily without a thought about safety. Key West is a very safe place for people to live. Period.

Around the same time as my first trip to Key West, United Airlines and Continental Airlines were engaged in a competition for dominance in Denver where both had major hubs. For about a year I could book a flight from Denver to LAX for $39 round trip - not a typo. I remember driving on Sunset Boulevard as it meandered through Beverly Hills westward. I wondered why someone would spend millions of dollars to own a house where there was so much traffic day in and day out. That was over thirty years ago. Prices have gone up and those houses are still in great demand. I guess buyers can decide for themselves the value of any location and what things they are willing to accept as part of the bargain they agree to pay for buying into any particular neighborhood.

I think the chances are pretty good that the sweet little trailer park on United Street will probably be gone in a few years. Florida law protects trailer residents from developers to a certain extent. That ground is really valuable. I think the people that live there won't be doing so in the not so distant future. I think a lot of lower priced housing is going to get taken over in other areas. The demand for second homes to quote Trump is "HUGE". Expect to see the Key West of today become something quite different in the next 30 years. If you think prices are high now, wait to see what they will become later.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to All:
Concerning this area, and any of the streets close to gulf or sea, what does a hurricane like Wilma do regarding flooding and how high?
I read your blog awhile back about High Tide Alley and was surprised. I had never heard of this and was grateful for the info.
I guess my question would be, which are the streets with heaviest flooding and how bad does it get, for example, like Wilma?
What areas should a potential buyer avoid?
And how close to the water can you be without being devastated.
(Key Haven was badly hit?)


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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.