As I stand on the front porch of this little Hidden Story-Book Cottage in the Old Town Key West, I could swear I’m in a neighborhood in the Bahamas on Green Turtle Cay. In case you didn’t know, Key West and Green Turtle are ‘sister islands,’ and this quaint neighborhood in the middle of the island, is a testimony. Hand crafted wooden cottages are quirky and whimsical and nothing lines up symmetrically. A gated walking path connects this hidden little cottage with Windsor Lane at the highest point of Key West … on the top of ‘Solares Hill,’ a whopping 14 feet above sea level! Giant umbrella trees and a variety of mature palms create an exotic tree garden providing welcome shade in the summer. And when you want to go downtown, the 500 block of Duval St., is only a five minute walk away.
Originally built in 1933, it’s as if a local resident picked this spot to live one day, gathered together the lumber and concrete, and went to work. Considering when and how it was built, that’s probably how it went. I met the 50-something grandson of the original owners of this cottage, and he explained that they built it with their own hands. The story goes that in the 1930’s, as more children were born, they outgrew their little curbside shotgun cottage. But rather than adding on more bedrooms, the father built this hidden little love nest for his wife. Today, it’s this kind of island history that created the endearing little architectural features - like the petite version a of Key West front porch, and saltbox roofline that make it a perfect little modern-day fairy-tale fantasy - a one-of-a-kind cottage that makes me say, “Oh, isn’t this adorable … I want to live here!”
As diminutive as it is, the Hidden Story Book Cottage received a total renovation several years ago, with impressive interior upgrades that give it a proportionately larger and luxurious feel. In January, 2017, the cottage received a complete cosmetic makeover. Outside wood siding was painted sunshine yellow with Caribbean blue trim. And - keeping with the island lore, the porch ceiling was coated with an authentic ‘haint blue’ to keep away the ‘restless spirits.” Full size sash windows and single pane French doors in the main living area bring in plenty of daylight.
At the front of the cottage is the main living area which encompasses the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Ceilings are snugged up to the center rafters giving the room an uplifted feel, and wide crown molding and recessed spot lighting give it a grandness. Exotic hardwood flooring and custom wooden blinds throughout the cottage integrate the living spaces and gives and rich feel. Interior walls are painted in soft relaxing earth-tone colors and rooms are furnished with a creative blend of contemporary furniture and a few cottage style pieces.
We start our mini-tour at the main entrance accessed from the front porch. The living room is staged on one side, grouped with a chic gray linen sofa, flower print easy chair, and coffee table. On the back wall, what is disguised as a built-in armoire, is actually a Murphy bed to accommodate guests. Open the doors, and a full size bed easily pulls down for extra sleeping.
The dining table and kitchen are opposite the living room. The custom U-shape kitchen is one of the most impressive features of this story-book cottage. Built with a chef in mind, nothing is compromised in this unexpectedly spacious design. Custom granite counter tops, ample wooden cabinets, and full size stainless steel appliances provide plenty of room and all the accouterments for creative cooking. A breakfast counter, stepped up from the main food preparation area, make it easy to eat and serve from the counter. But, when you prefer to sit down at a table and dine, a carved vintage wooden table and complimentary chairs, are nicely staged to look out a porch side window. I like it that the dining table has a drop leaf feature, making just enough space to set up for in-cottage dining. And when you decide to grill outside, double French doors, next to the table, connect to the little gated fenced-in side yard.
Returning inside, and moving to the back of the cottage, we find the bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom, is located at the right of the hall (just past the Murphy bed armoire). As with the kitchen, the upscale features of this room are surprisingly stunning for a cottage of this size! A double-size shower, custom-built with travertine marble and frameless glass, make an elegant statement that create the feeling of being in a much larger home. A window assures plenty of natural light, and a freestanding sink and beautiful bathroom fixtures complete look. Just out the bathroom door, at the very back of the cottage, is the bedroom.
The intimate bedroom, with overhead paddle fan, is just large enough for a queen size bed. Custom built-in wood cabinetry on one side of the room, and a full size closet beyond the foot of the bed, create space for dressing and storing your tropical wardrobe. Three windows, and a French door, bring in plenty of light in the daytime. A nice feature is the French door, which leads outside to the back of the fenced-in side yard.
Outdoor living areas in the side yard and front porch expand the cottage and unlock the doors to year-round enjoyment of Key West indoor-outdoor island living. With the tropical Caribbean climate you can expand your living space at least six months out of the year. I love the cockeyed layout of the little side yard, how it is wider at the front of the cottage and then comes to a point at the back, like a piece of pie. Nestled in a mature tree garden, long before there were grid neighborhood lines established on the island, the yard layout only adds island charm. While we are admiring the yard, it’s worth noting that outside bedroom French door, is a second gate leading to the back of the house where we find the laundry closet, with a full size washer and dryer.
An important aspect of renting this hand-crafted cottage is that you understand and appreciate it for what it is, including its history and location. This original ‘heart’ of Key West neighborhood is as authentic and historic as they come. Residents represent a true mixture of ‘Conchs,’ artists, writers, incognito celebrities, and Bahamian descendants living in a mish-mash of original quaint wooden cottages and houses. Remember, this island is more Caribbean than American in its aesthetic clashes with million dollar Victorians around the corner from humble conch shacks. We’re ‘One Human Family’ in Key West, and in this renovated romantic Bahama island style cottage you’ll really live like a local … in comfort and style a little askew from the norm.
• 1 Queen Size bed
• 1 Full Size Murphy bed (in the living room)
Amenities: Back off the street in mature tree garden. Beautifully furnished with comfortable contemporary and cottage antiques. A/C, flat screen TV with cable, internet, fully equipped upscale kitchen, upscale bathroom, linens and towels provided. Washer / dryer in back yard laundry closet.
Parking: There is no off-street parking. You can generally find a parking place on one of the lanes close by, and often near the gate to the path leading to the cottage. This neighborhood was built before there were any cars on the island. No whining if you can’t find a place to park.
Area: Heart of Old Town Key West in a beautiful residential neighborhood just a few streets from famous Key West Historic Seaport. This original heart of Key West neighborhood is as authentic and historic as they come. A hand full of walking lanes intersect with narrow driving lanes with names like Windsor Lane and Poorhouse Lane - each a reflection of a more innocent yesteryear. A five minute walk to the 500 block of Duval Street. Walk to the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration and the Key West Historic Seaport Harbor Walk in 5 to 10 minutes
Activities: A one minute walk to the little known Bill Butler Pocket Park in one direction, and the famous Key West Cemetery in the other, offering interesting historic green-spaces nearby. Easy stroll to art galleries, internationally famous fine restaurants, sailing, boating, diving, museums, nightlife. Beaches are far away.
Restrictions: Smoke free house. No pets please. We do not accept guests less than 25 years of age unless accompanied by a family group or guardian.
|Jun 1, 2019 - Jun 30, 2019||$3300|
|Jul 1, 2019 - Jul 31, 2019||$3300|
|Aug 1, 2019 - Aug 31, 2019||$3300|
|Sep 1, 2019 - Sep 30, 2019||$3300|
|Oct 1, 2019 - Oct 31, 2019||$3300|
|Nov 1, 2019 - Nov 30, 2019||$3300|
|Dec 1, 2019 - Dec 31, 2019||$3700|
|Jan 1, 2020 - Jan 31, 2020||$4550|
|Feb 1, 2020 - Feb 29, 2020||$4550|
|Mar 1, 2020 - Mar 31, 2020||$4550|
|Apr 1, 2020 - Apr 30, 2020||$3400|
|May 1, 2020 - May 31, 2020||$3400|
|Jun 1, 2020 - Jun 30, 2020||$3400|
|Jul 1, 2020 - Jul 31, 2020||$3400|
|Aug 1, 2020 - Aug 31, 2020||$3400|
|Sep 1, 2020 - Sep 30, 2020||$3400|
|Oct 1, 2020 - Oct 31, 2020||$3400|
|Nov 1, 2020 - Nov 30, 2020||$3400|
|Dec 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020||$3800|
Rates and Terms are subject to change without notice. Above rates do not include taxes and fees. Click here for more details on additional fees. Please contact us for specific pricing and to confirm rates. Rates in US Funds. (305) 294-7358 Ext 1 - firstname.lastname@example.org
VHKW offers promotional specials for purchasing trip insurance for stays between Aug 10 and Oct 20. Please call for more details.
“I couldn't have been more pleased with the experience I had working with VHKW from the initial inquiry and booking until I checked out after a 2 month stay. The staff was amazing and, even though they manage several properties, I always felt that whatever questions/requests I had were treated as a priority. I highly recommend VHKW to anyone looking for a vacation rental in Key West - in fact, I'm already reserving the same cottage for next year...it was perfect for me - clean, comfortable, and cozy - it truly felt like home while I was there.
“WONDERFUL LOCATION AND FACILITY..
* This property may not be available for the dates above due to other inquires and pending reservation.