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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

315 Virginia Street, Key West- Just Listed

Just Listed, but not by me, 315 Virginia Street in Key West, Florida.  This home has recently been renovated into a really charming two bedroom two bath with new salt water pool. It is located just two blocks west of Duval Street and within easy walking distance to nearby Ft Zachary Taylor Beach, the Hemingway House, and all of Old Town. I looked in my old shoe box and found  the black and white photo below which shows this home as it appeared about fifty years ago. The color photo below that shows a similar view of the house as it looks today.
The house first appeared on the 1892 Historic Sanborn Fire Maps. Much of the immediate  area was vacant of homes or commercial buildings at that time. In the  "Autobiography of Stephen Moreno Whalton" I found the passage below which speaks about this particular area which Whalton refers to as "the woods":
"Another event in my life that I have never forgotten happened when I was about seven years old, at that time there were a very few houses on the Southeast side of our Truman Avenue, most of that part of the Island was a wilderness, my grandfather and my father raised quite a number of horses in the woods of Key West, and my grandfather gave me a horse and my father had him broken to harness and saddle, this was a stallion, and somewhat mean. The only time that I was put on his back, was on a Sunday morning, when one of my father’s hired men put me on him without a saddle, as soon as he got out of the yard, he started to run, and I was too small to stop him, there was a man coming up the street who stood with his arms open,but when my horse got near this man, he made a quick turn to go by him, and landed me on a flint rock, I recovered from that accident in about six weeks, but I never had a chance to get even with that horse, as my father sold him before I became old enough to handle him. This was the end of the events of my early childhood, which have remained fresh in my memory down through the years, due of course, to the fact, that they made a great impression on my mind at the time of happening."
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Key West
The black and white photo teaches us a bit about the history of this house. The front section with the louver windows and door was the original house. Note the gable roof midway. That was likely a kitchen addition. In earlier times cook houses were not attached to houses because of the threat of fire.  The black and white photo shows a second addition at the rear with a flat or shed roof. Today, the rooms are arranged with the two bedrooms located at the front of the home off the hallway that leads through the house to the living room at the rear. The kitchen is located in that earlier addition, but it looks nothing like it did more than half a century ago.
This newly renovated two bedroom, two bath home has 1026 sq ft of interior living space. It looks sharp and contemporary even though wild horses ran in nearby woods more than a century ago. One more thing, there is a pool in the rear. They didn't have pools in the old days.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet on 315 Virginia Street, Key West offered at $1,150,000. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing. I ama buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. This home is currently used as a monthly vacation rental. Showings are available until March 1st. This could be one of those snooze you lose houses. Best to see it while you can get inside.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Trujillo Grocery as Remembered by Ronny Bailey, Key West Folk Artist

I have written several blogs over the past few years touting the folk art of Ronny Bailey, Key West's "artist of residences" so to speak. Ronny is a fifth generation Conch (local who can trace his ancestry for five generations who have lived on the Island of Key West). Ronny  built houses for a living until his retirement a few years ago. Not satisfied with watching re-runs on TV, Ronny emerged from retirement to build tiny houses - very tiny houses, the kind you put in a box and take on a plane back home up north. The houses he builds are re-interpretations of actual houses in Key West. His artwork is an homage to the way these places looked when Ronny he was growing up.
The black and white photo at the top shows the Trujillo Grocery as it appeared about fifty years ago. The simple wood building was located at the corner of  Windsor Lane and Olivia Street (800 Olivia Street) in Old Town.  Most of the homes in this area where vernacular like this building, but others were cigar maker cottages and some two story grand conchs. The Trujillo Grocery building was razed and replaced a couple of decades ago by a new 4167 square foot concrete block structure. The cute and quirky wood frame structure was was replaced by big and efficient concrete box. The Trujillo Grocery business continues to operate at the same location today.  Ronny Bailey's recently completed folk art piece shown in today's blog is an artistic tribute to a part of Key West that once was.
Each of Ronny's projects involves sourcing of materials to replicate the original buildings.  On this piece Ronny used salvaged Dade County Pine wood which he ripped into small pieces which resembled original planks which he assembled to create a physical structure  He builds the tiny structures using the same kind of framing and building techniques used in the real houses. The patina on the wood is the result of careful selection of used lumber with real paint that peeled away after decades of exposure to the sun and rain in Key West. This particular piece of art incorporates a new skill Ronny developed.  Ronny told me he had to figure out how to bend actual salvaged metal roof to simulate the "crimp" portion of a genuine V crimp roof. He found a nicely rusted sheet of old metal roofing, perfectly bent it multiple times, and then secured it in place. Prior to perfecting the use of real metal roofing, Ronny would paint a wood roof to look like metal.
I'll bet Ronny was a bit of a mischief maker when he was in school because he is one now when it comes to his art. The Trujillo Grocery piece incorporates nostalgic advertising signs with a lounging cat, a pecking chicken, and a cigar smoking Conch inside the store. The old gent on the inside has a lit cigar in his mouth as he looks back at the modern day people who stare into his world of yore. When you look down through the glass window you will notice loaves of bread on the shelves and a six pack of bottle COKE.
Ronny is a big man and a gentle man. He is a man of faith. He incorporates three watchwords of his faith into each of his creations: peace, joy, and love. See if you can spot them in the photos. CLICK HERE to view more photos of Trujillo Grocery.

You can view the Trujillo Grocery artwork in person January 27 and 28 at the 33rd Annual Key West Craft Show (free to attend). Location Whitehead at Caroline Street 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Go meet Ronny.  You could save yourself thousands and thousands of dollars if you buy one of his tiny houses. Of course, you will be denying me the opportunity to sell you a place you could actually call your home.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

618 Whitehead Street, Key West - Price Reduction

The asking price on 618 Whitehead Street, Key West was just reduced to $1,860,000. This historic property has had several uses over the years, but most recently has been successfully used as a monthly vacation rental. In fact the property has consistently generated annual revenues in excess of $100,000. Let me share with you why this property has become so popular.
618 Whitehead Street is a big house - 2354 square feet. The wainscoted hallway leads to the open concept living area at the rear which opens out to the magnificent pool and sunning area. Who wouldn't fall in love with this home?
This home has five bedrooms and five and one-half bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms are on the first floor. While the living area seems bright and modern, the bedrooms reflect the historic past of this property. Note the exposed Dade County Pine walls. These rooms are quite large especially when compared to little condos over in the Truman Annex.
The staircase leads to more bedrooms on the second floor. The rear bedroom runs the width of the back of the property. The vaulted ceiling adds more dimension to the space which by itself seems quite large. French doors on the side open out of a private terrace with treetop views of the pool below.
There are two additional guest rooms at the front which can share the views from the second floor front porch. Guests love to sit on porches and watch the other "tourists" as they walk down the street and look up at the stately home and imagine what the house must be like on the inside.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet for 618 Whitehead Street now offered at $1,860,000. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up 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.