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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Direction Not Taken

"What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?" Jack Kerouac

People with good intentions tell me that I should not dwell on decisions I made in the past. You can't change what you did, so leave it alone - they say. I wish it was that easy. I ended up not having a couple of relationships that I wish I have given the chance to succeed. And I had other relationships that, had they not occurred, had I not done that one thing, my entire life story would have been written differently. The regrets of choices made and directions not taken is not limited to love or romance, or jobs, but also involves decisions on investments made or not made and years of regrets over how I let little things screw up big dreams and plans for the future. And I bet a lot of my dear readers have gone through the same agony of regretting what you did and what you did not do.

In 1982 I made a cash offer on the above home located on Crestmore Drive in Denver. I offered a lot less than the seller wanted. The seller refused to respond to my offer. I went around my Realtor (nobody should do that!) and called the seller up myself. I told the seller I would pay full price. The seller yelled at me and said he would never sell to me. I had pissed him off so bad that I could never buy it. I learned not to insult a seller by making a low-ball offer.

I went back to Denver two years ago  and drove past that house and took the above photo. The place is still perfect. I don't know what course my life would have taken had I purchased that home. It certainly would have been different than the life I ended up having. I have made offers on other properties that I did not get, but this house was different. This loss stuck with me. I not only learned a valuable lesson in negotiation, but also feeling a self-inflicted wound of not getting something I really wanted and having the lingering regret over what I did to myself. 

If you are looking to take your life in a different direction by purchasing a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-76-2642 or contact me by email at I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. The only regret I have about moving to Key West is that it took me so long to do it.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

903 Eaton Street, Key West - Open House Today

You are looking at the front yard of 903 Eaton Street located in the Old Town area of Key West. A big front yard is not that big of a deal in many parts of the United States, but in Key West it is a mighty big deal especially when the lot is 50 feet wide by 106 feet deep or 5300 square feet.
The existing CBS home is a 2/1 with 761 square feet of move-in ready living space. Everything is nice and clean. The lot is so large you cannot see the house from the street. During previous open houses passers-by have commented "I did not know there was a house here."    

Here is the best part: this is the largest lot in Old Town currently listed for sale which may be legally torn down and where a new home may be constructed using new building materials such as impact windows and doors and Hardiboard siding which are typically not permitted in renovations in the historic district.
You can't beat the location. Two of the best bakeries in town are located within two blocks,  the historic seaport is a three minute walk, numerous neighborhood gyms, yoga studios, and even fine dining restaurants are also located within easy walking distance.World famous Duval Street is a short four blocks to the west.

903 Eaton Street
12:00 to 2:00 PM

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Brothers Key West - An Homage

My friend Ronny Bailey dropped by my office a few days ago to show me his latest piece of folk art, a wood cutting depicting 5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop located at 930 Southard Street in Key West. Ronny is a native Key Wester, a multi-generation Conch. He was a carpenter by trade until he retired a few years ago. He hung up his saw, stowed the hammer and began the second phase of his life as a folk artist. I don't think he started out to become an artist as much as he used his skills as a carpenter to create miniature versions of the facades of the old houses of Key West - the way they used to be - before the gentrification that is forever erasing memory of the past imperfect houses and their conversion into perfect tiny million dollar cottages. Later Ronny depicted larger homes and then added some commercial buildings. Most recently Ronny added added wood carving to his repertoire.
The 5 Brothers piece is Ronny's homage to the place and the people that go there each morning. If you drive by this place on any weekday morning you will invariably see a couple of cops, several healthy looking men who obviously work for a living (as opposed to guys who sit at a computer or who sell houses), some older guys who look like retirees, and some tourists. There are a couple of benches which are usually occupied. Many others stand and swap stories. A former neighbor of mine (who I will call "Norm")  told me what really goes on at 5 Brothers. Norm was also a general contractor. He said he and other contractors would meet there to discuss what projects they were working on or going to be making bids on that day or that week. He told me the same guys would meet after work at a bar and discuss the projects and prices they would quote so that they could distribute the work among each other and not get into bidding wars. I have to live here and can't tell the rest. Imagine "collusion".
Notice the three officers inside the store, two sitting on the bench, and the guy in the patrol car. Look carefully at the license plate which reads "SWEET H2O". The cop driving the car is Officer Sweetwater. Ronny chcukled with glee at his cleverness.
Ronny's depiction is more generous than Norm's narrative description. The wood cutting is three boards made into one larger piece which was then painted black. Ronny carved out layer after layer to create the building, the streetscape, the sky with helicopter, and the Key West people - each a real life Key West character.  Ronny referred to each person with the word "mister" before each person's name followed by some descriptive sentence about who that person was and why he is on that piece of art. You will notice the helicopter on the upper right side. The wood cutting depicts the real life helicopter pilot "back in the day" on a special ops mission for his Cuban coffee and cheese toast! When I saw the helicopter I was reminded of the scene in the the 1989 James Bond movie License to Kill which was filmed in Key West when Bond and his pal parachuted from a helicopter down to St. Mary's Catholic Church on Truman Avenue to attend Bond's pal's wedding. Ronny told me about the many "stories" that the pilot described from his life. I added an arrow directing your attention to the word Peace on the helicopter. Ronny adds the words Love, Peace, and Joy each piece of art he creates.
The building at 930 Southard Street has remained pretty much the same since the black and white photo below was taken in 1965. Note the cutout police figure in the lower right hand corner. The prop-cop was used to alert drivers to the Harris School located at the next corner. I found a similar roadside cop in a photo taken at 1200 White Street which warned drivers to slow down for the old Key West high school one block to the south.(Look at the far left side of the road to see the policeman) In today's Key West there are real life cops standing guard at every school in town, each adorned with bright neon yellow vests and whistles. I personally like the less expensive and more clever cutout cops. I'd slow down if I came upon one and smile for a block or two.
I looked through my old shoebox and found some photos I took over the years of 5 Brothers. I rarely go there myself. I drink way too much coffee when I get up. But I know a lot of people who do go there regularly. I stopped by 5 Brothers on my way to the office to snap a couple of photos of 5 Brothers. Those pics are at the bottom of this blog. Stop by the next time you are in town. Go inside where you will find the original Ronny Bailey wood carving. Smile to yourself as you see the Key West characters and the place that made them famous.
Photos taken May 26, 2017 below. The scene never changes. The characters do.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

3810 Flagler Avenue, Key West - Waterfront Estate

The listing broker describes the newly listed 3810 Flagler Avenue home in Key West this way:
"Stunning Key West waterfront home, recently renovated to perfection with exquisite attention to detail. The open concept floor plan and Euro wall of 9’ glass doors offer sweeping water views and seamlessly blend interior and exterior living spaces. The gourmet kitchen is furnished with high end appliances, including both convection and conventional ovens, a wine fridge, espresso maker, and more. 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths are located on the ground floor, and the entire second story encompasses the luxurious master suite with a spacious balcony overlooking the water. Set on a huge 1/3 acre lot, the outdoor features include a pool, spa and sunbathing area, a full outdoor kitchen located in a custom built gazebo, as well as an outdoor dining area and fire pit. This location is a boater's dream with access to the Atlantic Ocean just minutes from the backyard dock. New Azak deck, fish cleaning station, and 14K lift accommodates up to a 33' boat. There's even an attached air conditioned garage with car lift. Fully fenced and gated for privacy and plenty of space for additional off-street parking. This is the only Pinewood Construction home in Key West and a rare opportunity to own a luxurious waterfront property just minutes from the ocean and downtown Key West."
When the Euro doors are opened the indoor space flows out to the deck, pool and spa area, the outdoor kitchen and dining area, and the water beyond. When the doors are closed each public room and three of the four bedrooms have views of the Sunrise and Rivera Canals.  The 4495 square foot home was recently thoroughly renovated and expanded with attention to detail.  The house is located about 300 feet or so from the eastern edge the Island of Key West  The house sits behind a tall privacy fence with two gated parking entries. The grounds include video surveillance, irrigation, and illumination. All landscaping and pool design were done by Craig Reynolds, the premier landscape architect in Key West.
Readers who think of Key West as a little island city with lots of small cottages will be surprised to see such a large and dramatic counter point to Old Town. The two story entry leads into the public spaces.  The family room is located to the left of the main living space. That room flows into a space this owner uses as an office. Both of these rooms have water views.
As I get older I look for ground floor bedrooms thinking about the day climbing stairs might become a challenge. This home has a huge ground floor bedroom with sitting area and private covered deck which leads out to the outdoor dining area. The two room suite includes an en-suite bath and multiple closets. There is a second bedroom on the west side of the main floor living area. That bedroom has a view of the spa and the canal beyond.
The master suite occupies the entire second floor. There is a half-wall which separates the sitting area from the sleeping area. It is the view from the second floor terrace overlooking the merged Riviera and Sunrise Canals that will  capture anybodies attention. The master suite includes dual sinks, soaking tub, shower, lady's vanity, plus large walk-in closet. There is a morning kitchen located adjacent to the sitting area.
After viewing the inside of this remarkable home, I took a self-guided tour of the outside which includes the outdoor kitchen, dining area, open air sitting area with fire pit, pool, spa, sun deck, the dock with 14K lift capable of handling a 33 foot boat, and the 105 foot seawall. Imagine sharing your good fortune in life with family and friends in this stunning Key West waterfront estate property.
If you are an runner or bicyclist you will be able to walk out the front door and be able to jog or spin around South Roosevelt Blvd  in less than 90 seconds or so. And what a view you will have. The water is ever so calm in early morning. If you are a boater you can have your boat out in deep water within a matter of a few minutes as the Cow Key Channel is located about 300 feet from the seawall at this home.
 CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet and to view photos of 3810 Flagler Avenue, Key West offered at $4,950,000. 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.


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.