photos by Barry Fitzgerald
Have you ever outgrown a favorite small space, and dreamed about transforming it into something larger and even better? Wishing you could somehow magically gain enough room to expand it so it offered twice the space, while keeping all its original charm? Well … that’s exactly what happened right here! This proud 1890's 'cigar maker's cottage that was so lovingly transformed into a stylish contemporary spa cottage just a few years ago, has been expanded to become a charmingly beautiful 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom spa villa.
Captivated by the weirdly wild yet wonderfully elegant Key West life-style, the owner created a fabulous balance of opposites that will now sleep 8 to 10 people. Opposites attract because they're not really opposite, but complementary. And in this Key West Spa Villa vacation rental you find the perfect complement of a refreshing and relaxing comfort zone just around the corner from the famous Duval Street scene.
A Bit of History:
Located just off Upper Duval Street, this property sits firmly in an historic Key West neighborhood that was originally constructed in the late 1800's as housing for employees of the infamous 'Gato Cigar Factory'. Affectionately known as "Gatoville", it was a bustling little area built by ship carpenters as a hodge-podge of Caribbean style cottages that charm the modern heart. Maybe because of its original diminutive stature, this place had been allowed to falter and drift into a quasi-state of disrepair over the years. But then, in 2009, a new owner came to the rescue. Recognizing its “good bones" and unfaltering charming attributes, the cottage was given a new beginning. A complete redo of the exterior followed strict Key West historic guidelines, while taking it to its maximum potential of sparkle and shine. For the interior, a local design architect promised clean modern lines, plenty of light, room to stretch out in comfort, and above all state-of-the-art amenities of a luxury home away from home. Now just three years later, the property owner has purchased additional space at the rear of the property to in effect, allow it to ‘grow up’ from a two bedroom cottage with a dipping pool to become a four bedroom villa with a dipping pool, a spacious deck, and a large Jacuzzi spa.
The entire interior was gutted down to bare bones and then re-framed to take advantage of every bit of available space. The overall effect is a chic and uplifting Key West Spa Villa. Wherever possible, new siding was fitted snug up to the roof-line creating an uplifting angular chine ceiling. Then, the entire inside was painted a soft pearl white and every floor was redone in a smooth sand-tone tile.
The main entrance for the villa leads into a hall, where you're greeted with an artistic invitation for a mojito or margarita. From there the rooms unfold with only occasional symmetry, their essence crisp yet calming. Turn left at the door and you find the great room, with the living room at the far end and the open kitchen dining area towards the center. One end of the living room features a box frame transom window built right up to the ceiling, which captures the sun and frames the tall banana trees in the garden outside. This entire living space is bathed in light from a variety of windows, recessed designer lighting, and a double set of single pane French doors that lead to the garden spa deck.
The little garden spa deck is a masterful creation, and the focal point of the living room. A trickling waterfall spilling from a blue glass tile backdrop is immediately captivating. The dipping pool scene creates a spa ambience that bestows laid back sophistication in the living room of this Key West Spa Villa. A realistic tortoise sculpture is posed on the deck as a gentle reminder that you're here to unwind and relax.
A local interior decorator has hand selected a beautiful grouping of furnishings that balance the relaxed earth tones of the home. Soft textures and sophisticated tropical colors are calming yet vibrant. The cushy sofa is the perfect place to curl up and read, gaze at the spa garden, or watch a movie after a soak in the dipping pool.
The living room transitions to the kitchen side of the great-room from an elegant granite top dining counter. The glistening kitchen is roomy, and the amenities are over-the-top. Textures and subtle hues of greens, blues, tans, and silver set a tone of sophistication. The glass-tile back splash and thick granite counter tops are handsomely combined to echo a palate of plaid and tweed. New state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances, crisp white cabinets, and designer woven-back bar stools make a clear statement of luxury.
Down the hall from the kitchen, on the opposite end of the cottage, we find the first two bedrooms and bathrooms. The architect exquisitely blended features of different eras and gave each bedroom a special feature. First, take the very roomy front master bedroom. Opposite the bedroom entrance, an exterior door leads outside to an unexpected sitting porch set with old fashioned wooden rockers. But once outside you realize that in another era, the sitting porch was the original entrance to the villa, and the front master bedroom (bedroom one in the floor plan in our slide show) was the original living room!
In the first renovation of the floor plan, the front master bedroom also got a luscious private en-suite bathroom (bathroom one). Sage green brick-shaped tile, an ebony river-stone fashion stripe, and pewter tone counter top feel spa-like and modern, as do the custom frameless clear glass shower doors and designer bath fixtures. The shower was built oversized so two can enjoy it at once.
Furnishings for the front master bedroom are traditionally tropical of white wicker complemented with earth tone designer table lamps. A colorful rainbow tone striped bedspread tops the king-size bed, and a flat screen TV and DVD player are set on the dresser for easy viewing.
Back out into the hallway off the master bedroom, you are lead down the other side of the villa towards the back. Along the way, you pass the laundry center that is tucked neatly into a closet for easy access. Across from the laundry closet appears the second bathroom. This bathroom is equally as beautiful as the master bathroom and repeats many of the luxury spa themes and designer fixtures, only in its own unique color palate and style. Here the brick shaped tiles are sand-tone in color and the river-rock fashion stripe uses blue tones rather than ebony. This bathroom also has a bath tub, and is enclosed with the same custom frameless clear glass shower doors featured in the master bath.
The second bedroom is located just a few steps down the hall from the bathroom, on the left side of the hall, and like the front master bedroom the architect created its own unique and unexpected feature. This time it's your own private single pane French door leading outside to the dipping pool and spa garden.
Furnishings for the second bedroom also bespeak the essence of Key West cottage-style all the way. Wooden head boards for the two twin beds and the bedroom dresser imitate the charming style of cottage wainscoting. Playful bright yellow is trimmed in brilliant white that make the bedroom feel jazzy and sun filled. Bedspreads with bold blocks of yellow, white, blue and red are the perfect accessories for the bedroom furniture. The two twin beds are set so they can be easily placed together to make a king size bed.
Continuing down the hallway, we find the brand new features that were completed December 2012. The new addition begins where the hallway ends, and bends to the right. Here we will find a spacious media room, two new bedrooms, two new bathrooms, a spacious deck and a large in-deck Jacuzzi tub.
The media room is simple and elegant, full of sunlight that is invited through a double set of siingle pane French doors that lead to the spacious deck outside. Furnished in beautiful tropical furnishings of blues and yellows, this room is designed for luxuriating in ultimate spa comfort.
Bedroom 3 offer two twin beds done in dark tropical woods and modern furniture accents. A full bathroom is just out the door to the right. A second master bedroom with king size bed and private en-suite bathroom is situated at the back of the house. Also done in tropipcal modern, the back master bedroom blends dark woods and sea-grass furnishings for a classic tropical chic effect. A wonderful feature of this bedroom is the glass doors with a view that lead directly out to the deck, just steps away from the Jacuzzi tub, a quintessential feature of an authentic, yet modern, Key West cottage-cum villa!
It's the little things in life that make the difference, and in this case it's the delightful petit spa garden and dipping pool adjoining the cottage great room plus in-deck Jacuzzi spa. Landscaped and manicured, it may not be a full-size swimming pool, but combined with an in-deck spa it's really all you'll need to unwind, relax, and renew. When you rent this villa, lounging beside the spa garden puts a whole new spin on things. And when you're ready to take in the Duval Street scene, all you need to do is walk around the corner where you'll find the most happening night life, the finest local art galleries, locally owned boutiques, the Butterfly Conservatory, South Beach Key West, and some of the best Key West restaurants on the island.
Everything about the front yard is pure Key West from the essential white picket fence, to the lathed porch posts, to the silver tin roof, to the traditional wooden shutters. The has has two front doors, with the center door serving as the main entrance. The other door (to the right of center) adjoins the front sitting porch which now serves as a private entrance to the front master bedroom. A professionally landscaped garden is balanced with a picturesque landscape of palm trees, native plants, and tropical foliage. A revered Key West feature is the private off-street parking for two vehicles is located directly in front of the house.
Front Master bedroom (bedroom 1) - king size bed.
Bedroom 2 - 2 twin beds (can be made up as a king bed).
Great room - 1 Queen Sleeper sofa.
Bedroom 3 – 2 twin beds (NOTE: can NOT be made up as a king bed)
Back Master bedroom (bedroom 4) - king size bed
Amenities: Dipping pool with spa garden and trickling waterfall, large in-deck Jacuzzi tub, private deck. Tropical landscaping, front porch with rocking chairs, privacy fences. Fully equipped designer kitchen, media room. Central a/c, internet, color flat-screen TV, stereo, washer / dryer. Linens and towels are provided. Maid service can be scheduled.
Parking: Private off-street parking for 2 cars only at entrance to the property. If you arrive by car, please plan to park it in your private parking space and forget about it. Enjoy walking or biking around the island.
Activities: Elegant Upper Duval St. - Close to the Southern Most Point of the United States. Cafe neighborhood features art galleries, wonderful eateries and internationally famous fine restaurants, coffee house, fine gift and clothing stores, "Grand Vin" wine tasting, "Flamingo Crossing" home made ice cream, "Banana Cafe" French food restaurant, La-T-Da restaurant, bars and entertainment destination. Here you 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).
Area: Upper Duval or ‘Uptown Key West’ has evolved into the “elegant end of Duval” and offers an exceptional variety of restaurants, beautiful boutiques, and art galleries. Close enough to South Beach that you can see it from the porch and the Southernmost Point of the United States is just around the corner. Walk to the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration in 15 to 20 minutes.
Restrictions: Smoke free property. Only well behaved children. This property is not "child-proof" and is really best for adults. 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 don't ask!) This home is offered as an exclusive vacation rental in the most requested location in Key West.