photos by Barry Fitzgerlad
Key West Dreamin' vacation rental is a private historic home that is beautifully furnished and offers all the amenities of a luxury accommodation situated in a genuine Old Town Key West location. I love to trace our authentic properties to their historic significance and this home has a rich one that links us to our Cuban heritage back to the late 1800's. A stroll through this charming Upper Duval neighborhood is to rendezvous with an important part of our island's rich cigar and rum history.
A Little Bit of History: It is noteworthy that in 1876, one of our most prominent Cuban immigrants, Eduardo H. Gato, built a stunning marble Cigar Factory on the corner of Simonton and Catherine Streets to create the city's largest producing hand-rolled cigar factory. As the cigar industry boomed, so did the immediate need for neighborhood housing. Houses for merchants and workers alike sprang up side-by-side, right to the street, to form the Old Town Key West "Gato" neighborhood which includes Louisa, Catherine, Amelia, Virginia and Simonton Streets; indeed at one point this end of the island was once called "Gatoville."
Located just off Duval on Catherine Street, Key West Dreamin', is an important representation of how the history of our architectural culture is tied to the boom of the cigar industry in the late 1800's. Today the neighborhood is part of Key West's historic preservation district. So the front facade of the houses look very similar to how they originally looked, giving the wonderful effect of maintaining the charm of the neighborhood.
You don't have to smoke Cohibas (flagship brand of Cuban Cigars) or drink Cubra Libras (1.25 oz Rum, and fill with coke and always lime wedge), to enjoy the dynamic impact the early cigar and rum industries had on our architectural culture. Choosing to stay in this historic neighborhood will help take you back to a simpler time in history. Come and enjoy this authentic Key West house in this important part of our island. And why not have rum... And maybe even a cigar.
Interior Layout: As with most historic Key West homes, the interior of this property has been updated over the years to meet modern standards. In the 1990's it received a major make-over renovation for the specific purpose of redesigning it as a luxury vacation rental home. The floor plan was completely reconfigured to create a beautiful great-room towards the back of the house that is connected to a spacious back yard and pool. Two large luxury bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms were created towards the front end of the house where we begin our tour.
As you step into the front door, the "shot gun" style hallway leads from the front all the way to the back of the house to the great-room. Eyes are immediately drawn to the back of the house since the back wall is light-filled and gorgeous. A broad bank of French doors and cathedral windows span the entire width of the room and the whole effect is made even more dynamic with a soaring cathedral ceiling. The French doors adjoin the great-room to the lushly landscaped back yard and generous size swimming pool.
The great-room is comprised of an open kitchen / living room floor plan. Since the great-room is connected to the outdoors with French doors, the stage for the indoor - outdoor island lifestyle is set. Whether you choose to cozy inside or lounge around the pool you're always sure to enjoy the quintessential outdoor tropical scene. Just outside the kitchen door, the back yard offers a lovely dining room complete with an open beam ceiling and shuttered walls making this a unique open-air eating area that is delightful to enjoy all year around.
The two grand suite style bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms are just off the hallway that joins the front to the back of the house. Both bedrooms are made to more spacious with open beam cathedral ceilings. Facing the front of the house the master bedroom is to the right. This bedroom offers a king size bed, and in addition to a private bath the master bedroom has a set of French doors that connect it with the back yard and swimming pool.
The second bedroom is a similar design to the master bedroom in that it also has cathedral ceilings and a private en-suite bath. This bedroom situated off the hall to the left as you face the house. It offers two twin beds that can be joined to make a king size bed.
Grounds: The curb appeal is endearing with a white garden wall and wrought iron fence toppers. The symmetrical entrance is appointed with garden-basket wall statues and is gated with a charming wrought iron gate. Once inside the gate the spacious front porch invites you to pause and "sit a spell" on the porch swing. The front side and back yards are nicely landscaped and artful flagstone has been used to cover the entire grounds.
The original back yard is fully fenced with a white picket fence. A pretty garden trellis holds a showy tropical vine which flowers during different times of the year, and a wide variety of beautiful palm trees and colorful tropical foliage create privacy and a romantic tropical setting. The back yard garden was redesigned to accommodate a nice size swimming pool and flagstone pavers are set throughout the back to create a beautiful garden and sun deck.
Master bedroom - king size bed.
Second bedroom - 2 twin beds (can be made up as a king bed).
Great room - 1 Queen Sleeper sofa.
Amenities: Swimming pool, large flagstone deck, tropical gardens, front porch with porch swing, privacy fences. Fully equipped kitchen, central a/c, telephone, large flat-screen cable TV, stereo, washer / dryer. Linens and towels are provided. Catering can be arranged. Maid service can be scheduled.
Parking: Off - Street Parking for one standard or compact size car. "Big Rigs" won't fit.
Activities: Uptown Key West - Close to the Southern Most Point of the United States and Key West South Beach. Cafe neighborhood features art galleries, wonderful eateries and internationally famous fine restaurants (Camille's is just down the street), coffee and tea house, fine gift and clothing stores, Grand Vin wine tasting, flamingo Crossing home made ice cream. Start at the top of Duval St. near the Atlantic Ocean and can take the 20 min stroll to the Gulf of Mexico (remember it takes 3 to 4 Key West streets to equal the distance of a typical city block). Sailing, boating, diving, museums, nightlife.
Restrictions: Smoke free house. Only well behaved children. Smoking permitted outside only. Absolutely no pets. (Please don't ask!).