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Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Homes - Different Views - The Sanctuary - Key West

The Sanctuary at the Key West Golf Course

I played golf once - with my dad and a few of the men he worked with. I was twelve or thirteen and felt totally inept and never tried it again. But that never stopped me from loving the beauty of the green links, the blue skies, and wonderful weather I associate with the game. Today I am writing about two nearly identical homes in The Sanctuary at the Key West Golf Course (square feet, bedrooms and baths) that are located just a few houses apart but that have differing views, lot layout, and asking prices.

269 Golf Club Drive - The Sanctuary - Key West

269 Golf Club Drive - The Sanctuary - Key West

Take a moment and consider the views from two comparable homes located in the Sanctuary at the Key West Golf Club. The two photos above were taken at 269 Golf Club Drive looking from the livingroom out toward the course and then from the deck towards the course. A small pond and mangroves protect this property from golf carts, errant balls, and talkative golfers. The scene from the livingroom and the deck is bucolic-almost as if the golf course was an after thought.

The listing Realtor describes 269 Golf Club Drive this way:
"Premiere property located in the Sanctuary at The Key West Golf Club. Simply the BEST location available and priced to sell, today! This wonderful home has it all, expansive decks, pool, space, privacy and ONLY one owner, who has lovingly maintained the property."
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database and to view more photos on 269 Golf Club which is priced at $549,000.

283 Golf Club Drive - The Sanctuary - Key West Golf Course

283 Golf Club Drive - The Sanctuary - Key West Golf Course

It's amazing the different feeling you get when you walk in the front door of 283 Golf Course and view the fairway through the French doors. It is stunning. There's no mistaking that view for anything other than a golf course. The homes on the opposite side of the course remind you that you are in Key West and not some other locale as the Key West architecture is par for this course.

283 Golf Club Drive is offered at $649,000. The listing Realtor describes this property thus:
"Exciting opportunity to live in Exclusive Sanctuary @ KW Golf Club! Separate gated single-family residence enclave w/in gated community. Superb location near Sanctuary gates, no need to drive thru entire loop! Magnificent vista, overlooks 16th fairway/green, peaceful lake, hammock preserve w/egrets nesting @ sunset. Lush landscaping to enjoy from delightful double-decker screened verandas directly off liv. rm. & master suite upstairs. Upgrades abound, Italian tile throughout, Berber carpet on steps, Corian countertops, Radiant range, natural wooden blinds, 2-car driveway, private covered carport, inground jacuzzi w/island tin roof & wooden latticed privacy walls. Meticulously maintained home w/only two separate loving snowbird owners!"
I included a view from the second floor veranda at 283 Golf Club Drive (see photo below). Both properties have them. It is just the views that are different. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database and to view more photos of 283 Golf Club Drive.

283 Golf Club Drive - The Sanctuary - Key West Golf Course

There are many similarities and several differences between these two properties. If you are looking for a recently built single family home in Key West, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these two homes (any maybe a couple of others) located at the golf course. They make a good price and feature comparison to other homes in the Key West metroplex.

I sold a combined total of 13 townhomes and single family homes at the Key West Golf Course last year. I'm no 'pro' on golf course properties, but I do think there are still some bargains there. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1518 United Street - Key West - Short Sale

We are getting to the bare bones of houses for sale at reasonable prices in Key West. I did a quick search of properties priced on a 'per square foot' asking price in the Old Town and near Old Town areas. I only found 14 priced below that of 1518 United Street. I have written about 5 of those properties before. They are all challenged a bit by location or condition or both. That's why they are priced so cheaply.

Tennessee Williams House on Duncan Street

That's why I decided to discuss the United Street property. The asking price is just $324,000 or $300 per sq ft. The listing Realtor (at Preferred Properties-that's where I work) describes 1518 United Street this way:
"Three bedroom, two bath mid-town home located next to the electric substation which is the quietest neighbor you could ever hope to have! Ceramic tile floors, wood floor in Master bedroom. Lots of windows, new kitchen cabinetry and the living area has glass doors leading to the deck and large yard. Very private and completely fenced."
Tropical foliage and brick pavers surround the property

1518 United Street next door neighbor to the east

The 3 bedroom two bath house has 1080 sq ft of living space and sits on a large 5025 sq ft (50'x100') lot. The house is a big rectangle with main entrance on the side. The livingroom is at the rear house. The livingroom has nice new windows and French doors that look out to the rear deck and lush tropical foliage. I think there is adequate room for a pool at the rear and certainly on the side. There is a large covered carport attached to the right front of the house now. A new owner might ditch that carport in favor of a bricked driveway and white picket fence. The Keys Energy power station next door to the east is probably turn off to a lot of potential buyers who decide not to look. That's a mistake bargain hunters make. They want perfect for near-free. This is a good house at a good price with a big lot. A buyer with the zeal for a deal and a good imagination, a sense of design, and a few extra bucks could turn this bare bones short sale into a very nice home within the matter of a month or so. It is worth the look. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls data base and to view more listing photos.

Bayview Park is our real and very useful city park

The Key West Police & Fire Departments are across from Bayview Park

Horace O'Bryant Middle School is nearby

Get your licks in at the DQ

This property is located in the Arts District east of White Street and south of Truman. Bayview Park is only a couple of blocks to the north. The Horace O'Bryabnt Middle School (across from Bayview Park) is in the process of being replaced by a brand new school within the next year or so. The MARC House is a couple of blocks to the west where you can find wonderful plants to fill your amazing new Key West garden. The one and only Key West Dairy Queen is a three block walk-you'll be surprised by how many famous Key West locals you will find there at night getting their licks in. The Atlantic Ocean is probably a seven to ten minute walk. Ride your bike; tote a beach chair; and tan for free.

The beaches are within walking distance

If you would like to see 1518 United Street or any other property in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

4 Pinder Lane - Key West - Life on a Really Slow Lane

4 Pinder Lane built in 1859

This Key West property is a singular sensation because of its unique history, architecture, location, and usage. The original part of the home was built in 1859 . It was updated and expanded with contemporary additions in the 1970s.

Sophisticated and understated contemporary addition to 4 Pinder Lane

I first saw this property about three years ago when it was listed (with an adjacent cottage that has since been sold) at the then asking price of $4.5 million. My buyers were so taken by this property that we required a second visit that night to see how wonderful this place shines in the Key West moonlight. Both visits were memorable. The property was just listed, but not by me, at the reduced asking price of $2,995,000.

I remember entering the front door of the original seemingly 'normal' old Key West house only to find the 'old' seemed more like the rest of the house which was contemporary addition built in the 1970s. This place is unlike any other house I have seen in Key West. And I have been inside of a lot of houses.

You know how so many Key West houses are referred to as 'quintessential Key West cottages'. This place isn't one of those. It is the opposite. It is big and sophisticated but at the same time intimate and inviting. This house is a 'party house' that was designed to entertain friends. But there are only two bedroom so your guests must go home at night. No sleepovers.

Seamless transition from livingroom to pool area

Romeo & Juliet balcony overlooks the livingroom

The main living area has an 18' vaulted ceiling with a glass wall of windows and doors that frame the entire room and that look out to the even larger pool and gardens. The design is so comfortable and informal that you immediately feel welcome in this wonderful living space. The brick floors of the livingroom make a seamless transition to the pool area which also has brick pavers. It is as if the outdoors is part of the indoors - only the outdoors 'ceiling' is boundless. The pool area and gardens at night just screamed to have a really swank cocktail party with a hundred of one's closest friends.

The kitchen and dining area are in a separate wing of the house which also has a separate vaulted ceiling. In most houses the kitchen is the 'gathering' where family and friends talk (and drink) while the chef cooks. The kitchen is extra large and designed for entertaining (read more later). The kitchen has French doors that open out to a separate and large garden area.

Both the living room and kitchen have what I call Romeo & Juliet balconies that look down from the second floor core of the house where the two bedrooms are located. I can just see a Jules or Juliet up in the bedrooms running from balcony to balcony looking for Romeo amid all the people below attending some big party.

The listing Realtor describes 4 Pinder Lane like this way:
"Sensational Old Key West history at its best! Dramatic 18' ceilings & multiple glass doors lead to a huge heated pool & tropical gardens, entertaining area, poolside bath & dressing room. Beautiful brick & hardwood floors, a fireplace, dining room & enormous new kitchen that boasts stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, 2 Bosch ovens, 2 Bosch dishwashers, SubZero refrigerator, professional ice machine and 2 commercial sinks. Master suite upstairs includes a sitting room/office, a large dressing room opening to the sundeck. The 2nd bedroom and bath are on the 1st floor. Brick walkways & lush gardens surround the property. There is off-street parking for three cars & a separate storage cottage with vaulted ceiling & French door."
The phrase "Sensational Old Key West history at its best!" refers to the legendary writers, artists, actors, and Key Westers that frequented this one-of-a-kind property over the years. Sharon Well's "See Key West" wrote the owner of Pinder Lane property "introduced Tallulah Bankhead to the island. Clad in flowery pedalpushers, she could sometimes be seen at Fausto’s Food Palace."

Pinder Lane is another slow lane in Key West located in the 500 block of William Street. It dead ends about 250 feet east of William Street where the lane ends at 4 Pinder Lane. Two other homes are located on Pinder Lane as well as a pretty fancy guest cottage that belongs to a main house located on William Street. If you buy 4 Pinder Lane you will have some mighty fine neighbors.

French doors open from kitchen onto a separate bricked terrace and gardens

Notice the second Romeo & Juliet balcony that overlooks kitchen

Interior makes a seamless transition to the pool area

Huge pool with poolside bath & dressing room

If you would like to see this property, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. This place is sensational!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ronny Bailey - Key West Artist

The Northwest Passage Lighthouse aka Hemingway House on Stilts

How would you like to buy a cigar maker's cottage made of real Dade County Pine for $2000 or less? Well, you can. Sort of. Ronny Bailey is a fourth generation conch that spent 30 years of his life restoring many of the old houses in Key West. A few years ago he started fooling around with some salvaged Dade County Pine and created his first new old house replica. His wife came home and exclaimed "I didn't know you could do that!" Ronny replied "Neither did I." And so began his new career as artist-carpenter where he creates miniature near replicas of real houses in Key West using salvaged lumber. Ronny stresses that he only uses old salvaged wood to construct the houses. He doesn't paint the pieces. Instead he relies on the ravages of our sun and the weather to create the natural patina that make each piece look so genuine. Ronny's inner artist comes out when he adds a bit of whimsy such as a rooster or a cat napping to his work.

Ronny dropped by my office a couple of weeks ago so that I could take photos of his new piece entitled "The Northwest Passage Lighthouse aka Hemingway House on Stilts". CLICK HERE to view a US Coast Guard photo of the real lighthouse. See the photos below of the artist and his rendering of the lighthouse.

The Northwest Passage Lighthouse aka Hemingway House on Stilts before completed

Photo of the lighthouse interior.
Note the real Dade County Pine wood walls and floor.

CLICK HERE to see Ronny Bailey's website with lots of photos and information on his one of a kind Key West art. Take a couple of minutes to go through the original miniature facades and the more affordable prints. Ronny does commissioned pieces as well.

Ronny Bailey will be exhibiting his works in this weekend at the Key West Craft show (Whitehead and Caroline Streets). If you are in town, you must drop by and view his work. You have to see Ronny's work in person. You cannot resist getting up close and personal with his art. You will be awed! Looks are free, prints cost a bit more, and originals are very expensive. Buying one of Ronny's original artwork facades and taking it back home is cheaper and safer than buying a trailer. We all know that God hates trailers.

Ronny Bailey - Artist
If you are looking to purchase a life size Key West house and are not yet working with a Realtor, please consider contacting me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. I sell real houses in Paradise.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1104 Angela Street - Old Town - Key West

1104 Angela Street - Old Town - Key West - Pretty in Pink

One of the great things about living in a small historic town like Key West is the knowledge that more things change in life, the more the houses tend to stay the same in Key West.

The Old Town area of Key West has been designated as a national historic district and houses in the district are supposed to be protected from changes that would significantly alter their street appearance. Now not everything stays perfectly the same. In recent years requests for change need to be approved by the Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) that is supposed to follow a set of guidelines that protects buildings from demolition or alterations that would change the character of the building in relation to its neighboring properties. But if we go back a few years and compare old houses that were updated before the HARC regulations went in place we may see a change or two on any given property.

The old house at 1104 Angela Street is a beautiful example of a simple Key West vernacular home that has stayed pretty much the same since it was built in 1933 - or maybe not. The property records for Key West were lost in a major court house fired. During the Great Depression (the one before the one we are currently in) workers in the WPA reconstructed property records for Monroe County. Many of the houses had no actual documents that proved an actual construction date. So somebody decided to give all of those houses the date of 1933 as the date they were built. Let me just say that many of the neighboring houses were built in the late 1800's. Look at the Monroe Property Appraiser's photo below and compare it to the photo above and see if you notice any difference other than the house probably was not painted pink when the black and white photo was taken in 1965.

1104 Angela Street in 1965

The listing Realtor describes 1104 Angela Street this way:
"Picture perfect Key West cottage - picket fence, chicago bricked driveway, heated pool and lovely landscaped outdoor space for al fresco dining and entertaining. This two bedroom and two bath home has an open floor plan with new kitchen opening into a large living/dining room with vaulted ceiling and multiple sets of french doors to the pool area and bricked side yard. There is a spiral staircase to a sleeping loft which is included in the 1324 square feet of living space. Old Town Location is superb - Olivia Street between Frances and Ashe Streets."
This home has just about everything a second home buyer is looking for: a large open living area with vaulted ceiling which has a charming and spacious loft accessed by a spiral staircase tucked into a corner. The loft would make a great kids retreat for a that secret bedroom or fort kids love so much. Two bedrooms plus two baths, a pool, off street parking, a good (and quiet!) location, a great price, and no work to be done. It is ready to move into so you can enjoy Key West's wonderful winter weather far from the freezing black ice in New Jersey (or wherever you live). This 1324 sq ft home which sits on a 43' x 63' (2709 sq ft) lot is price to sell sooner rather than later: $699,000.

CLICK MAP if you still can't place this old house. Then CLICK STREET VIEW for a view of the surrounding homes. Don't forget the scary Key West Cemetery is a block to the west. And the hoopla from Duval Street is several blocks away. Keep things in perspective and you will be content.

I remember when I would visit Key West searching for a place to buy. I would moan and groan at anything further than Margaret Street as being too far from Duval. Now that I actually live here I know for a fact that I hardly ever go to Duval even though my office is only 100' or so away. I go there when I need to but not because that is where people who live in Key West spend their waking hours. Duval Street is a destination or, for me, a point of reference. I mention time and distance to Duval for potential buyers to gauge the distance. That is all. If you are a homeless person or a street a peddler you might live your life on Duval. If you have a nice house in Old Town, you share your life with friends and family in your house or theirs. Duval Street is sometimes a place to meet, but not a place to live.

Neighborhood places near 1104 Angela Street include the Sunbeam Grocery on White Street where you can buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, the Coffee Mill on Pohlankski Lane where you can do Yoga or dance, the Chevron Station on Truman at White where Wes will fix your car, Old Town Fitness at 1010 Truman Avenue where you can turn your fat to fit, and Cafe Sole on Frances Street where you can get fat again.

The Coffee Mill on Pohlanksi Lane is just a block away

Add VideoSunbeam Groceries & Deli is a block north on White
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Wes can fix your car at Truman & White Chevron

Cortney can make you lose weight or get buff at Old Town Fitness on Truman

Stop by Cafe Sole a block away on Frances and put the weight back on!

If you would like to see the house at 1104 Angela Street or any other property in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or contact me by email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.


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.