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Sunday, March 19, 2017

1403 Catherine Street, Key West, Florida - La Casa Roja

Just Listed, but not by me, La Casa Roja, the red house, located at 1403 Catherine Street in Key West, Florida. This is one of my favorite houses in all of Key West. Let me share with you some pictures and a couple of stories about this place that makes it so special.
I dug down into my old shoebox and found the black and white photo taken in 1965.  I found another color photo from a previous mls listing before the house was renovated by one of Key West's premiere architects for his own use. The current owners purchased this home five years ago. I was the buyers' agent. I remember the home inspector meeting with us after looking at the house for a couple of hours. He said something like "This is a first.  I could not find anything wrong!  I have never seen a house this well done!" It's the same today. And it remains picture perfect. CLICK HERE to view more photos.
This simple little house is simply just that: a simple little house. But that is an understatement of grand proportion. It is elegant in its simplicity. The new wide oak plank floors were custom milled as were the extra-large crown molding and the extra-wide baseboards. New cedar doors were custom made. The original windows were restored to retain their character.
Doors and floor patterns in the original house were reworked to make the house flow efficiently. The relocated kitchen for example opens onto the hallway adjacent to the living room. The kitchen windows tilt and provide access to the covered outside veranda bar. I would not call this home a "party house", but it was certainly designed for an owner who loves to entertain in style. The kitchen is the heart of this home. And the several social gathering spots flow from or toward the heart of this home.
 What was once the kitchen is now the master bedroom which has its own private covered porch with hot tub. The master bedroom features two sets of French style doors and screens which allow the room to open up to the back yard. Mirrored pocket doors conceal the generous ten foot long closet. Paneled wainscoting and coffered ceiling add depth and interest to this cozy retreat.
And then there is the two story carriage house. It's the perfect place to house your classic Key West car or the perfect place for your own gym, workshop, or studio. Upstairs there is a secret retreat that is just as simple and just as elegant as the rest of the main house. Some people skimp on things that are barely seen. Here, the barely seen is treated as a treasure for the very few.
Not only did the former owner not paint the house white like nearly every other house in town, he turned the house and lot into an ingenious show piece of how one could reinvent an old house.  What might have been a walkway on the east side of the house became a covered bar.  A small deck off the master bedroom became a cozy outdoor living space. The old garage became a third bedroom. There is no wasted here.
I dare the reader to walk around the outside of this property and find something amiss or something not done. Every place you look you see solutions to everyday issues. The front door hurricane panel (photo below) was turned into a whimsical work of art and greets guests near the bar.
This house and and all of its components were designed to standout from the crowd and function properly. It does. Indeed. Some readers may say "I could do that." Perhaps. But most of us see a home like this and admire it with awe. That is why I discerning buyer will seize the opportunity to own a property of this caliber. You won't find anything like it in this price range. I promise you that!

I have sold several houses in this immediate area in the past few years. This little part of town is on fire right now with renovation.  Speaking of fire, in a couple of months all of the Royal Poinciana Trees in town will be ablaze with color. This particular area has a treasure trove of these magnificent trees.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS for 1403 Catherine Street. 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. Some very lucky person is going to buy this little treasure and experience the elegance of living Paradise.


Joseph Graham said...

Hi Gary. I've walked/driven/scootered by La Casa Roja hundreds of times over the years. From the outside it's really beautiful. I remember when it was for sale 5 or 6 years ago. I wanted to make a play for it but waited and lost out. My mistake. Now it's for sale again. But at 1500 bucks a square foot? Wow! I know the Key West market is pretty hot right now, but 1500 a foot just strikes me as really high. What's your take on it?

Gary Thomas said...

Joseph, The owners bought it from me sight unseen. I called them the day it was listed. They were in the Gulf of Mexico. They went ashore, signed the contract, faxed it to me. We closed in about ten days from list to closing. They got the deal of the year maybe the deal of many years.

There is no other house like this. The inspector said it about the building. Matthew Stratton was the former owner. He is very talented and he did this house for himself as a long term home. He did not do it to flip. Whoever buys this is getting something most people cannot afford.

Let me give a couple of examples. I have two different buyers who "borrowed" the kitchen widow flip used in this house. Look at the photo of the outdoor table. That was specially built by the Matthew. It has a center metal tray which can be filled with ice to keep food and beverages cold while dining. There are all kinds of little things on the outside that have duel purposes - things you don't see and would not appreciate until you understand the genious behind the design. The interiors are like a showroom in a Ralph Lauren home store - not the furnishings, the vignette.

I met with the owners before the house was listed. I suggested that they increase the listing price because this house is worth more.

Old Town is great but it is getting really crowded. There is more space in this little neighborhood. Our big city park in one block away. The Dairy Queen is a couple block walk at night. Fausto's Grocery is a couple of blocks. These are places real people use on a regular basis. This is how we really live.

The carriage house is not included in the price per square foot calculation because it is not shown in the mls. Beyond that, forget about the price per square foot and look at the property as a whole - the look, the design, the house, the carriage house, the multiple outdoor living spaces. This house is more than the sums of all the parts.


Brooke said...
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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.