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Saturday, July 2, 2016

1108 Grinnell Street, Key West - A Fixer-Upper with an Upper!

I recently showed 1108 Grinnell Street which is listed by Preferred Properties Key West - that is where I work but this is not my listing. I was intrigued by this house because some of the architectural elements are incongruous with the CBS front fence and front porch. The CBS porch and fence have a stucco overlay. However, the main part of the house has asbestos siding which I think was probably applied over the original wood siding. The front porch sits upon a concrete slab foundation whereas the main part of the house rests upon what looks to be original coral rock piers. And that got me to thinking this house was not built in 1948 as the Monroe County Property Records indicate. Besides the jalousie windows, wrought iron trim, and asbestos siding were fads of the 1950s when homeowners across America used these materials to renovate their old homes.
I dug down into my old shoe box and found photos of 1008 and 1110 Grinnell Street which show the front porch addition at 1008 Grinnell and the front CBS fence still in the process of being completed. These photos were taken in 1965. The lower photo shows the original one story house located behind the new addition. I then searched the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps and learned that what is now 1108 Catherine Street was shown on the 1889 Map when it was then identified as 128 Grinnell Street. The street numerator was changed to 908 Grinnell on the 1892 map and changed to 1108 Grinnell on the 1899 map. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were cigar maker cottages (shotguns) with a long narrow hall on one side with all rooms located to the opposite side. Case closed. But not quite all the way.
The Property Appraiser records show the main and second floor as being a total of 1269 square feet. Access to the second floor is via the outdoor stairs. There is and probably never was an internal stair case. If I bought this house, I would seek permission from HARC to take down the CBS fence and front "porch" and rebuild a new open wood front porch consistent with other cigar maker cottages. I would remove the asbestos siding and replace with wood siding. I would gut all interiors and hope to find Dade County Pine walls and maybe ceilings in most places. That wood is as hard as stone now. I really doubt the renovation of fifty or sixty years ago included removal of that wood. And I'd let go of the vintage range. I would add an interior staircase and rearrange interior spaces so that I would end up with a nice main floor bedroom and bath at the front of the first floor followed by an open great room at the rear with French doors opening out to the new pool.
There appears to be plenty of room for a pool at the rear of this 2462 sq ft lot  (26.33' X 93.5').  If the wood stairway was removed, it would be really easy to put in a pool. Otherwise, it would have to be hand dug, but it could be done. The little CBS building could be re-clad with wood siding and it could be uses as laundry or maybe as a little pool bar or cabana.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view more listing photos of 1108 Grinnell Street in Key West Florida. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this fixer-upper. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

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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.