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Saturday, December 29, 2012

909 Pohalski Lane - Key West - Open House - Sunday

I will be hosting an Open House on Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 909 Pohalski Lane in Old Town Key West from 12:00 to 3:00 PM. If you are in the area, please drop by and see this cute as can be Key West "cottage" that has just been renovated and expanded into an 1120 sq ft home with 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a designer kitchen, and oodles of Key West charm.  This home was featured in the 2012 Christmas Home Tour.  Please take a sixty second tour of the home by watching the video below. Then you will want to see the real thing in person. Offered at $695,000.

Friday, December 28, 2012

45 Spoonbill Way - Key West - Bank Owned


Recently listed, but not by me, a very clean two bedroom, two bath town home located at 45 Spoonbill Way in the Key West Golf Club Community.  This 900 sq ft two story town home has main level and second floor front and rear porches which seem to enlarge the living space dramatically.  All of the porches on this property are screened. I personally would remove the screens, but that is a matter of preference. CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of this property.

This Bank Owned home is very clean and in basic move-in condition.  The listing Realtor describes the home this way:
"Island Style Living At Its Best In This Private Community! Key West Golf Club Townhome Only Steps From The Pool! Spacious Living Area On The First Floor With French Doors Leads You Outside To Enjoy Your Screened In Porch. Second Floor Has 2 Bedrooms, Each With Their Own Bath, A Laundry Closet On Main Level, And A Large Balcony Off The Master Bedroom."

45 Spoonbill Way is located about 50 ft away from the largest of the two Key West Golf Club swimming pools. You can see the pool while peaking through the trees from the back porch. The community fitness center is located adjacent to the pool.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this Bank Owned property which is offered at just $299,900.  But better than that please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this bank owned property.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

513 Margaret Street - Old Town - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 513 Margaret Street in the very heart of Old Town Key West. The listing Realtor describes this impressive home this way:
"This historical family home is located in the heart of Old Town Key West. Beautiful hardwood floors, natural light and spacious rooms provide the backdrop for an elegant Keys Lifestyle. The main floor is designed for entertaining with spacious living, dining and large family room. French doors extending from all rooms to the private and serene Debra Yates custom pool and tropical gardens. A chef's kitchen is easily accessible from the outdoor living area and amazing pool. Impressive crown molding and gleaming hard wood floors are just a few of the rich details that make this home a one of a kind. Five bedrooms and 5.5 baths provide a spectacular retreat that offers consummate privacy yet offers easy accessibility to all Key West to offer."

I dug deep into the old shoebox and found a photo taken in 1965 and then took a similar pic to contrast with the way the house, built in 1889, looks today.  You will note that the second floor porch is no longer "enclosed" and that the pure white exterior wood siding is now a soft beige punctuated by bright white trim and green shutters. The barren landscape has been replaced by specimen palms and lush tropical foliage.  In two words I would describe this home as "Picture Perfect". But this home is much more than a pretty facade.

 About ten years ago the original house was expanded and a guest cottage and pool were added.  The home as a very traditional look from the street, but the interiors have been updated for modern family living.  The house continues to have a formal living area on the first floor which is followed by either a family room or dining room. The master bedroom with en suite bath is at the rear. Just off the back is a secluded outdoor shower.  French doors open from the spacious master bedroom out to the pool area. This space is perfect for the laying in bed and reading the paper and sipping morning coffee or taking a late night dip before retiring. Since this bedroom is on the main level, older buyers won't need to worry about climbing stairs.

The guest cottage, built in 2002, has two bedrooms and two baths. One bath opens off the pool and doubles as a pool bath.  The guest cottage has a disappearing wall which gives it a lot of flexibility as far as use.  It offers great pool views, but from a different perspective than the master bedroom. Both the guest cottage and master bedroom have privacy in mind. With a house this beautiful, you might not want to rent it to strangers, but trust me on this, this home would make a perfect vacation rental.

The upstairs has a much more traditional layout with two bedrooms each with a private bathroom. The front bedroom is my favorite and for good reason. It has access to the fantastic front porch that has commanding views of Margaret Street.  You could sit up there and watch people all day long. And as we know, the people in Key West are among the most interesting in the world to watch.

CLICK HERE to view a slide show of photos I took of this wonderful Key West property that is now offered at $2,400,000.  This home has 2557 sq ft of living space under air plus front porches on the first and second floors, a huge deck, an 18' x 10' pool with waterfall, off street parking, guest cottage, and killer good looks. The home sits on a 54' x 101' sq ft lot. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet. You may also CLICK HERE to view the floor layout for this property.

We all know the value of location. This home is located on one of the best blocks in Old Town. It sits amid other stately homes and delightful cottages of superior value. A neighborhood vegetarian market is one half block away. The Historic Key West Seaport is two blocks further north. Michael's steakhouse is up on the opposite corner at Southard Street. And the Duval Street restaurants, shops, and nightlife are four blocks to the west.

If you would like to see 513 Margaret Street or any other home in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Santa Caper

Christmas is, for me, always a time for reflection. I look back to my childhood with such fondness for the way  things were back in the 1950s.  I live in the present and don't dwell on the past, but I cannot shake my memories of wonderful times past.

My parents were barely out of their teens when my sister was born in 19030.  Five years later my big brother was born. Those two kids got to live through the Depression and moved with my mom and dad from city to city wherever my dad could find work. I came along in 1947 and had the good fortune to live in a family who thought the Depression was still going on. Throughout my youth and teen years, my mother was as tight as old Ebeneezer.

Still I remember the cookies and fudge and divinity she made, the sprinkles and gum drops and hot chocolate too.  Even back then they sold Christmas trees by the foot.  She cheated and bought a shorter tree and placed it on top of our coffee table which made it look taller. There is an old photo of tiny me, looking up at that special tree. I remember one night so damned well, I pulled on an ornament, and down the tree fell. She screamed at wee me and I thought bloody hell, I'm done for.

A few years later on Christmas Eve day, I was helping my mother clean out the refrigerator to make room for our Christmas feast. I was perhaps eight or nine years old. I placed every single thing from the refrigerator on top of the blond drop leaf dining table with its extended leaf. (I must diverge a moment: years earlier I learned about electricity maybe ten feet away from that very table. I stuck a key into an outlet and across the room I flew in flash.)

My dad liked to try new things. He also liked to buy in bulk. I guess he thought the more you buy, the more you save. Once he took me to the store and bought an entire box of Peter Paul Mounds. One was great, two was wonderful, three was pretty good still, but after four the thrill was over. I was a little pig and ate the whole box, but I learned that too much of a good thing is more than enough.

Just before Christmas my dad found this new time saving can of concentrated coffee (the size of a big old tomato juice can).  The concept was simple: put a spoon of concentrated coffee into a cup, add hot water, and whamo you have hot brewed intensely rich coffee.  The last item I placed on the drop leaf table was the big can of liquid coffee. Back then tin cans had holes punched on either side to allow air pressure to let the contents flow: I guess resealable tops had not yet been invented.  At first the table leaf teetered, and then it tottered. I reacted quickly, but not quick enough. The table tumbled onto our brand new wall to wall carpet.  Bloody hell again!  I thought for sure I would die on this day. I raced to the phone and called my dad to come home quick, I told him my mom was going to kill me for my bad little trick.

I think it was the next Christmas that my folks last spent together. My dad had been in the hospital for some unspoken problem which I know think involved in prostate. I remember being surprised and so happy when he came home on Christmas Eve day.  I told him how much I missed him and loved him. I remember him hugging me so tightly that day.  A week later on New Year's Eve day we all awoke to a great fire. No, it wasn't at my house but we did not know where it was at first. The sirens were screaming in our little town. That sort of thing just did not happen back then. Sirens and cops and fire engines were foreign to me.  We looked out from our living room window to flames and smoke more than three blocks away. I remember it well, this truly was bloody hell. The next day was New Years Day, my birthday.  I walked up to the scene of the fire: a Safeway store at 38th and Benton. I remember people walking among the ruins. The front wall was gone and water was all over the floor. People were picking up cans of food as though they were souvenirs or something. Like a little fool I followed the adults inside and found a lime, which I kept as my prize.

By the next Christmas my mother and dad had divorced. My mother told me there would be no Santa Claus that year. She said I was too big. I was not too big: I was still a squirt. My big brother had told me continuously for years that there was no Santa. The year prior (when my dad came home from the hospital) I went shopping with my mother and grandmother.  My prying eyes spotted little toys and a 45 RPM record of Ave Marie that ended up in my Santa stocking on Christmas Day. So I reluctantly admitted to myself that my treacherous brother hadn't made this stuff up. Well, he was still being mean: he told me because he wanted to spoil Christmas for me. Not so fast, you big dick.  I'll teach you one last trick.

So on that Christmas Eve day when I was told not to hang my stocking, I decided instead to go Christmas shopping.  I went to Woolworth's and bought some candy and small toys including pieces for my Lionel train set.  (My Christmas stocking was always an old nylon hose of my mother.  Since we did not have a fireplace or chimney, I would hang it on the switch of a floor lamp in our living room. I made sure to leave the front door unlocked so so Santa could get in to give me toys and treats.)  After I completed my shopping, and while my mother was still at work, I found an old stocking which I crammed it the toys from my earlier day's work. I hid it in the garage. Before I went to bed that last Christmas Eve night,  I made a point of going into my mother's bedroom to get one final stocking. I hung it on the lamp. My mother said, it would be of no use. She knew not of my soon to be ruse. I went to bed, but not to sleep.  In the middle of the night through the house did I sneak  while my mother and brother continued to sleep. Then I crept to the garage to retrieve my shocking stocking. While my mother and my brother continued to doze, my Christmas trick replaced her old nylon hose.

For every year that I could remember, I would spring from my bed by dawn's early light, to see what Santa had left me that night. I remember on year my mother yelling at me from her bedroom with the door ajar, to get back into bed! So that last Christmas I stayed in bed until my mother and brother had arisen, and through the door, did I listen. She asked my brother if he had filled the stocking toys and treats not to be found in our house. No he said, had she? How could it be, did Santa exist after all? I finally got up and delighted with myself played with my Christmas stocking. I never  admitted to a thing.

Merry Christmas to my Dear Readers!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

909 Pohalski Lane - Open House - Today - Key West

If you are out and about in Old Town Key West this Sunday afternoon please drop by 909 Pohalski Lane between 12:00 and 2:00.  Look at the 60 second video below. You'll then wanna see this lovely two bedroom, two and one-half bath home in person. Offered at $695,000.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Present - Key West 2012

"Come in, -- come in! and know me better, man! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! You have never seen the like of me before!"
-- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 I normally write about the positive things in Key West. After all, I am trying to find buyers for houses in my little town. But today I feel compelled to warn of the worst nightmare new visitors and long time travellers will face in Key West this year and for at least a year or two to come: virtual gridlock.  "Balderdash!", you say. "Nay, 'tis the truth." I reply.  And I have pics to prove it.

The State of Florida Highway Department started a two year project to improve US 1 from the eastern entrance onto the Island of Key West to the corner of White Street and Truman Avenue at the west.  US 1 is now a one way (west bound) two lane road from the east of Key West to Palm Avenue.

As you approach Key West you will have two choices to make as to which direction to take.  Turn Right if you wish to drive to Old Town. This is still the easiest and fastest route. If you are staying at any of the Atlantic Ocean side resorts such as the Doubetree, Sheraton, or Casa Marina, turn Left and proceed on South Roosevelt Boulevard. Travel on South Roosevelt is not affected by the construction delays.

If you are headed toward Old Town be advised that there may be active construction on the right side of the roadway. A concrete barricade separates traffic from the construction, but the big equipment and commotion may serve as a distraction while driving.

 Businesses on the left side of the road are still open. Ingress and egress is much more difficult as traffic tends to speed by making turns more difficult. It helps to know where you want to go and to be ready to turn at the appropriate time.

Right after I took this pic a woman on a bike went to the ground

Finding businesses on the right can be difficult if you are not familiar with Key West. And even locals who know the general location of businesses may have difficulty finding turning lanes.  The highway department has installed blue signs that advise of turn lanes to specific businesses such as Home Depot Walgreen's. These turn lanes are small so you need to slow down to make the turn. If you overdrive the turn location, you may have to drive around the island to get back. This is not an overstatement.

When you make it to the intersection of Palm Avenue you have the option of driving forward on N. Roosevelt which becomes Truman Avenue about six blocks to the west (at the corner of Eisenhower Drive).  At this point the road becomes a two way street again.  Or, you can turn right onto Palm Avenue which becomes Eaton Street in about ten blocks. Either Truman or Eaton will get you into the heart of Old Town where you should park your car and leave it. 

Two lanes suddenly become only one going forward! And that lanes becomes two way traffic!
 If you must leave Old Town for fishing trip, a round of golf, or some shopping or dinning you need to be warned that going east is more difficult than coming into Old Town. Flagler Avenue is the only road that goes from White Street to the east side of the island.

White Street has become very congested, especially around the time when the Glen Archer School children go home for the afternoon or anytime when a Conch Train or trolley go through this busy corridor. Both the crossing guard and the tour operators slow normally slow traffic to a near standstill. Be prepared to wait.

When you get to corner of Flagler Avenue at 1st Street (which becomes Bertha Street) you will probably sit through one or two traffic cycles which take several minutes.  As you head east on Flagler be prepared to stop again as school traffic guards let the high school kids out and impose the 15 mph speed limit.

Look for the blue signs on Flagler that advise you where to turn to reach businesses on North Roosevelt.  Drive slowly as you will be going through residential neighborhoods with lots of stop signs and kids on bikes. South Roosevelt is an alternative to Flagler Avenue, but it does not provide any access other areas.

 Marley is still dead: to finish.  Key West is alive and a wonderful place to call home. If you have to drive here, be safe. When you get here, walk or ride a bike.  Have a Happy Holiday in-spite of the Ghost of Christmas Present that the Florida Highway Department has bestowed upon us. 


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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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.