photos by Barry Fitzgerald & VHKW
Strikingly set in the oft-missed Key West Beachside neighborhood, we find Island Elegance ~ Near the Beach, making a seriously smart curbside statement showing a tall white privacy wall topped with shimmering green louvers. Completely renovated in summer 2012, to modern luxury standards, this island home is a fabulous display of tropical-modern with the perfect touch of Caribbean-Colonial architectural detail.
Over the course of the past two years, many houses in this block have received major renovations. Directly across the street from Island Elegance ~ Near the Beach, several beautiful new homes were built in 2012 giving a fresh new lively feel to the block.
A little history and a new beginning: Like most houses on the tiny island of Key West, this one has an interesting story all its own. Originally built during the real estate boom in the 1970’s as a ‘tropical-ranch’ style home, it sat with houses of a similar unassuming design until 2005, when Hurricane Wilma brought an unusual storm surge of historic proportions into this Beachside neighborhood. As a post “Hurricane Wilma” re-creation, it is impossible today to imagine that this paradise property was once ravaged by the wrath of that horrible storm. But as inspired opportunities are often born from untold tragedy – there is always a “silver lining” just waiting to be embraced.
In this case it was for a Key West house that stood as a “clean slate” made ready for a fresh identity. A steadfast Beachside neighborhood home with “good bones” is now transformed to become an inspired new island home that is modern + traditional + luxurious + paradise + state-of-the-art spa amenities in the back yard.
The setting of this elegant home is perfect for persons who are searching for their own island hideaway. Fully enclosed on a spacious Key West lot the unique tropical setting is made private* with a combination of tall walls and tropical landscaping inside the gates. Situated well away from the “hubbub,” on a well-loved local’s street, this home is close enough to Old Town that you just go straight down the street and around the corner to eventually run into Duval Street.
Living room and Kitchen / Dining Room:
Refined island elegance is pervasive inside as well as outside this property. Walk through the gates to the front yard and you’re surprised with spacious front yard and a gorgeous river rock wall displayed at the entrance. Step inside the house and you immediately find yourself in the spacious living room made to feel even grander with the high open-beamed ceilings. Gable windows at the peak of the exterior wall invite in the light and show off the beautiful sky above, while mahogany beams set against the ceilings are in perfect contrast to walls painted the color of sunshine. Comfortable and beautiful upscale furnishings are tropical modern mixed with traditional classic design, fabrics echoing the patterns and textures of the island landscape. A large flat-screen TV is prominently placed for indoor downtime.
To the right, a large square arch, which is beautifully lit by an oversized photo of the face of Michelangelo’s David, connects the living room to the long hallway leading to the bedrooms, bathrooms, and the den / office. A traditional mahogany highboy and drop leaf desk perfectly balance the space. Another archway, topped with colonial crown molding, points to over-the-top designer kitchen.
Continuing our tour into the spacious kitchen, we find every chef’s dream. Earth tone granite counter tops and tumble marble tile are in striking contrast to the glistening top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances and traditional maple wood cabinets. Modern designer lighting bounces off the shiny surfaces in a nice contrast to the natural muted color tones. Towards the back of the house, the kitchen blends seamlessly into the dining room through a colossal mahogany ceiling beam held with matching columns with capital posts. This beautiful architectural detail is reminiscent of sitting on a Victorian porch in Old Town Key West or a dining room in Havana, Cuba. The dining area is beautifully appointed with a casual wood and wicker dining table topped with glass and lit with a contemporary chandelier.
Discretely placed just off the dining room / kitchen, we find a spacious laundry center, complete with oversized washer and dryer. Directly behind the dining table, single pane French doors lead to the covered back deck. But before we step outside, let’s address the bedrooms, office, and the luxury bathrooms.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms:
Bedrooms, bathrooms, and the den / office, are located off the nicely lit tiled hallway running the entire length of the house. Bedrooms and den are deliberately minimalist and aesthetic while the bathrooms are over-the-top luxurious; each room reflecting unique tastes of the owners, each room displaying a custom and creative feel. Texture, color, and light play an important part in the design from floor-to-wall-to-ceiling. From white wood plantation window shutters throughout offset by stone tile surfaces balanced by wooden furniture, soft bedding textures and earth tone walls, from glistening glass tiles set against custom glass fixtures – the effect is at once relaxing and stimulating. Light bounces all around in all the right places.
Starting at the front the house, we look to the right, and begin our tour with the master bedroom with en-suite luxury bath. For sleeping the handsome master bedroom offers a king size platform bed done in dark wood. Matching furniture is carried to the bedroom dresser and bureau, and the double sink bathroom vanity. Luscious chocolate colored walls are in bold contrast with crisp white trim and plantation window shutters. Tumbled stone tiles surface the master bathroom that offers an awesome clear glass steam / shower room for two.
The comfy den / office is the next room in line down the hall. Business travelers and E-Bay lovers will be thrilled to find the owners’ have not only supplied the room with internet, but also a computer and printer. Walls are painted a soothing blue-slate grey, and a day bed is placed in the room for extra sleeping with the added feature of a trundle bed that converts to two twin beds or one king size bed. When made as a king size bed, a kit is available to hold the mattresses securely together.
Moving down the hall, we find the second bedroom that provides a queen size bed. A refreshing leaf green color with white trim was chosen for the walls in nice contrast for the beautiful mid-century maple bedroom set. Just out the door and a few steps away, is the second luxury bathroom.
As ingenious as it is functional, the second bathroom glistens with sea-green, sky-blue, and sand tone glass tiles. Re-done with artistic fixtures, an artistic abstract pewter mirror set against the tiles over the white modern vanity is so captivating and refreshing, you’re sure to take many a long soak in the over-size bath tub. It almost feels like you are in the sea the way the light bounces off the colorful glass tiles.
Stepping back into the dining room, we find the French doors leading to the back deck, yard, and spa-room. The builder used top-of-the-line composite decking for the covered back lounging deck. Nice quality outdoor furnishings and garden wall art have been placed to create an indoor – outdoor lounging room. Step off the deck and turn to your right to find the compelling spa room, enclosed on three sides and a roof, complete with free-standing cedar steam room, and very large Jacuzzi tub. It’s safe to say, that while this home does not have a swimming pool, this Jacuzzi tub is as large as some of the dipping pools around the island.
Before we finish our tour, let’s walk back around to the front yard of the property. The owners of the home love landscape design and are having fun bringing in a variety of palm trees and tropical plants and exotic flowers. The roomy covered front porch is a one-of-a-kind blend of contemporary and classic design, is set with a table and chairs for garden gazing. You’ll certainly want to ‘pull up a chair and sit a spell.’
Master Bedroom - King Size bed
Bedroom #2 – Queen size bed
Office / Den – Day Bed converts to two twin beds or a king size bed with a converter kit.
Living room - Queen Sleeper sofa.
Amenities: New Gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Privacy Wall surrounds the entire property. Tropical gardens and landscaping, outdoor dining deck, BBQ. Central air conditioning, washer / dryer. Linens and towels are provided. Maid service can be scheduled. Large Screen TV’s, Audio Visual Systems, DSL Internet. Catering can be arranged.
Area: Beachside Neighborhood on the south shore of the island. Down the street from the White Street Gallery neighborhood where you find Faustos’s Fine Food Palace, shopping, galleries, and more restaurants. All Old town Key West features including, museums, sailing, boating, snorkeling, diving, theatre, night life, family activities an easy bike ride away.
Activities: So what’s to do now? This part of the island feels like a Caribbean town beach neighborhood with light ocean breezes, and it's not unusual to see people walking or biking to the beach in bathing suits, a towel and cooler under arm. Just two short blocks away you not only find popular Higg’s Beach, but in less than 5 minutes you can walk to marvelous landmarks. These include the stunning Pre-Civil War Fort West Martello Towers (home of the tranquil Key West Garden Club), the never crowded White Street Pier where you can stroll several hundred yards out over the Atlantic Ocean, Salute Restaurant, Rest Beach, Bocce Ball Courts, Tennis Courts, secure and enclosed small children’s park with cabana tables.
Restrictions: Smoke free house. Only well behaved children. Smoking permitted outside only. This property is ideal for professionals, executives, and families who have discerning tastes looking for a luxurious accommodation. It is close to all Key West has to offer but understand that it is not suitable for loud partying. We do not accept guests less than 25 years of age unless accompanied by a family group or guardian
Pets: Small pets may be possible with prior approval and additional pet fee.
*Notes: Next door to the right of this property, as you face the house, is a wall with gated entrance that leads to the stair case for a very small 2nd floor walk-up apartment located at the very back of the lot for this property. This small apartment is has no access to the front or back yard of the house.
The layout and location of this home makes it ideal as a seasonal or monthly rental for a professional, a couple, or small family. This home is offered as an exclusive vacation rental. The property is very upscale and exclusive. Only very well behaved children are welcome. This property is not "child-proof". This is a smoke-free home. NO SMOKERS PLEASE! We do not accept guests less than 25 years of age unless accompanied by a family group or guardian.