photos by Barry Fitzgerald
Grande Dame Key West – (The Watson House) vacation rental estate is an impeccably detailed 3-story Classic Folk Victorian home with 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. An award winning renovation of this stately Victorian mansion has achieved an impressive balance of timeless charm, classic elegance, and modern convenience, making this property both aesthetically alluring and delightfully comfortable.
Originally built by the Watson Family in the 1840's, this mansion has kept the Watson name as homage to the original owners Susan and William Watson. Today this home is one of the most beautiful and unique licensed vacation homes of this size and stature on our island. It is the perfect place for the family or small corporate group with discerning tastes. Located right in the heart of Old Town Key West's historic section of beautifully restored 19th century mansion homes, this vacation rental is situated in the 500 block of Simonton Street, just steps away from famous Duval Street. From here you can easily walk to all features in the historic island village.
If you are familiar with this property, or have stayed here before, we are pleased to announce that during 2012, it received new owners who are giving it many new refits and upgrades. During of Fall 2012, the existing 3 bathrooms on the 2nd floor were renovated to modern luxury standards, with a contemporary style that compliments its historic period.
There was one significant change made in the layout of the estate during the first two weeks of December, 2012, in that the cottage next door is no longer included in this property. The next door cottage was divided from the property with an attractive privacy fence, and in its place the large Victorian home has received a 4th bathroom on the 2nd floor, giving the 2nd floor 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms. The 3-story house now provides a total of 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Additional upgrades include new central a/c throughout the home.
Another new feature is an additional bedroom that was added to the 3rd floor. We now recommend the entire 3rd floor, which is set up as a suite complete with kitchen and bathroom with in-tub shower, as an ideal place for a ‘honey moon couple’ traveling with a group who desire a separate private space as described below.
The interior of this wooden vernacular Victorian home provides 3 stories of living space. The first floor is comprised of a traditional Victorian parlor style living room, "game-room" style family room, full dining room, and a fully renovated chef’s kitchen styled with granite counter tops, tile floors, and stainless steel appliances.
Ceilings throughout the 1st floor are an impressive 12+ feet height and the original ceiling architectural detail still exists. There are two bedrooms and two full bathrooms on the 1st floor. One bedroom provides an en-suite bathroom, and is done up in a charming New Orleans style, with a fashionable metal queen size 4-poster bed. The 2nd bedroom on the 1st floor, is set in the original mansion ‘sun room,’ a beautiful architectural space complete with Cuban tile floors, and provides a king size bed. The bathroom for the 2nd bedroom is located just steps from the bedroom.
The graceful 1890’s banister staircase topped with elegant chandelier, leads to the 2nd floor to 4 more bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. All bedrooms on the 3rd floor are styled differently. The spacious front bedroom has a queen size bed and French doors that open to a porch that spans the entire width of the home with a beautiful view overlooking historic Simonton Street. The west side bedroom features a queen size pencil-style four poster bed off-set with knotty pine wainscoting, original Dade pine planked wood floors, and large sash windows to let in plenty of sun light.
The east side bedroom is in honor of Susan Watson, and features vintage white wicker furnishings and a queen size white wicker bed. The back bedroom is more modern, offering a king size bed and double sets of French doors leading to a large covered terrace with a dramatic down-look view of the courtyard garden, and swimming pool below.
Moving up to the 3rd floor, we find a beautiful private split-level ‘pent-house style’ suite with lounging sofa, large screen TV, small kitchen, bedroom, an additional sleeping space, and a full bathroom with tub. Since the upper level of the 3rd floor also provides all these amenities on a private floor, it is an ideal place for a couple who are traveling with a group to find a private “love nest.”
The focus of the space is the media area with lounging sofa and large screen TV on the first level. The scene is set with beautiful hardwood floors. It is built-out to feel spacious with soaring ceilings that are set right up next to the roof line. Double sets of French doors lead to a private verandah and the additional height from the 3rd floor captures even a more dramatic view from the terrace outside that overlooks the courtyard garden swimming pool below.
A split-level floor plan inside gives it added character and dimension. It offers an entertainment area with large screen TV and lounging sofa, and a few steps up to the upper level are a cozy bedroom, an additional sleeping area, the kitchen and the bathroom.
The 3rd floor bedroom is neatly tucked into an alcove. It’s cozy, but becomes an adorable little intimate hideaway space when the double set of doors is closed. It offers a trundle bed that can be made as a king size bed or 2 twin beds. Outside the door, on the opposite side of the room, a 2nd trundle bed, that can also be made up as 2 twins or a king size bed, offers a 2nd sleeping space.
An added feature of the house, is the exterior switchback staircase that starts at ground level from the back yard and leads to 2nd and 3rd floors. Both the 2nd and 3rd floor offer a verandah that expands the width of the house in the back.
One of the nicest features of the back yard is the expansive ground level sun deck and swimming pool scene that connects via French doors to the kitchen. This creates an ideal setting to move comfortably between the deck and kitchen for pool- side dining and entertaining. The back yard grounds are completely fenced for private pool-side lounging and sun bathing.
The front of the home has beautiful curb appeal with large front porches on the first and second floor that overlook the estate neighborhood of Simonton Street, expansive brick driveway courtyard, and private off street parking. An historic wrought iron fence graces the front of the property.
First Floor - 1 king size bed, 1 queen size bed
Second Floor- 3 Queen size beds, and 1 King size bed
Third Floor – 2 trundle beds (can be made to 4 twin beds or 2 king beds)
Amenities: Upscale renovation. Swimming pool, large deck and courtyard, gardens, covered terraces, expansive porches, and privacy fences. Fully equipped kitchen, central a/c, color cable TV, stereo, washer / dryer. Linens and towels are provided. Off street parking. Catering can be arranged. Maid service can be scheduled.
Activities: Heart of Key West's designated historic district. Walk to all old town features, no need for a car. Just one short street from Duval St., close to Mallory Square, and a few short streets from Historic Seaport and retailers. Sailing, boating, diving, museums, nightlife, family activities. Conveniently located to gourmet grocery shopping with excellent wine selection, sushi deli, and butcher. Close to shopping, art galleries, a variety of national and international restaurants, coffee shops. Close to the beach.
Area: A residential street in the tiny section of Key West that is the “island urban” area. A beautiful stand of grand residential homes are in this area. When you stay in this tiny district it’s amazing how much there is to see. One street from the mid-point of Duval Street in Old Town Key West that grew up as the central downtown area in the late 1800’s. From this home you can walk to the famous Key West Historic Seaport and the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration in 10 to 15 minutes.
Restrictions: While this property is ideal for families and groups to unite, is not suitable for staging loud parties. Only well behaved children are welcome. This property is not "child-proof". We do not accept guests less than 25 years of age unless accompanied by a family group or guardian. Smoking permitted outside only. Absolutely no pets please.