Classic romantic 1800’s Key West architecture has inspired a superbly executed renovation of this extraordinary historic Victorian estate. Displaying a perfected cosmopolitan flair, the owner / designer has artfully intertwined a look-back into architectural history with a sophisticated contemporary Caribbean charm. Classical gingerbread railings, an abundance of louvered sash windows, and the essential white picket fence reflect the historic authenticity of the house.
Situated on renowned Elizabeth Street, in the historic seaport neighborhood of Old Town, this home is steeped in a colorful lore and seafaring history – so much so, it is sometimes referred to as “the pirate house.” Originally built by the French Count/Doctor Odette Philippe, when the island was swarming with merchants and nefarious characters alike, the home became a legacy that managed to remain in the family for over 100 years.
INTERIOR LAYOUT - DOWNSTAIRS:
The center entrance hall leads to the living room and kitchen where a blending of old and new sets the tone for an understated-elegant Caribbean décor.
Downstairs back and left side: To the left of the staircase, the hall leads directly to the kitchen, living room and dining area which naturally flow from one space to another. The unification of the interior with the garden is made with multiple sets of original French doors that frame the pool-garden scene. A vaulted ceiling in the outdoor dining pavilion and 12 foot ceilings inside the house accentuate the spaciousness of the property. A combination bathroom / laundry room with a sink, shower, commode, and washer / dryer is conveniently situated off the outdoor dining room.
The modern minimalist Scandinavian-style kichen offers all the upscale attributes you would expect, including top-of-the-line stainless appliances. A wooden breakfast bar, plus traditional round dining table and wood antique china hutch, make the kitchen complete.
Stepping into the living room feels like an island estate somewhere in the Abaco Bahamas or West Indies. Blue and white woven upholstered furniture is perfectly paired with vintage tropical bentwood and bamboo, and blended with impeccable family antiques. Set as a family room, complete with large screen TV, this is the place to kick back and relax.
Downstairs front and right side: Two bedrooms and two bathrooms are located on the 1st floor. Bedroom 1, located toward the front of the house, is a luxurious 1st floor master bedroom. Heirloom wood and bamboo furnishings, that Tommy Bahama strives to recreate, are set against original heart pine walls. The en-suite bathroom with in-tub shower, carries the same vintage charm.
Bedroom 2 with private en-suite bath is hidden, tucked away at the back of the house, connected to the kitchen through a camouflaged passage. With the pirate lore of the house, it seems like a perfect hiding place. Proximity to the kitchen makes this suite an ideal nanny or ‘mother-in-law’ quarters. Painted a modern deep blue-grey and furnished with an antique wooden double bed creates a refined look.
GROUNDS AND GARDENS:
A feeling of exclusive intimacy has been masterfully created in the grounds with lush gardens and indoor-outdoor living spaces. A dark-blue bottom swimming pool creates a lagoon feeling. The professionally maintained gardens are made very private with high fencing.
INTERIOR LAYOUT - UPSTAIRS:
On the 2nd floor are the three additional bedrooms, a den, and two full bathrooms. The designer has taken a minimalist approach in decorating the rooms, and the effect is hushed and relaxing.
Bedrooms 3 and 4, are situated on the front side of the house. Original double hung sash windows let in plenty of light and an enviable view of Elizabeth Street below. Bedroom 3 is on the left as you face the house. Painted pretty in pink, it was once the owner’s childhood vacation bedroom. It provides two twin beds that can be made into a king.
Bedroom 4, just across the hall, is the 2nd floor master bedroom. A comfy overstuffed chair and ottoman upholstered in white, king size bed topped with soft cotton duvet, and white washed side tables are a picture of casual seaside luxury.
Bedrooms 3 and 4 share an ultimate classic luxury bathroom. Retaining the spirit of the original architectural details of the house, the luxury bath was designed to reflect an opulent vintage style. A separate clear-glass frameless shower and white marble topped vanity, modernize the room.
The last rooms in the house are bedroom 5, the den, and additional 2nd floor bathroom. We present them together, as their chic design creates a spacious separate suite offering versatile usage. Located at the back of the house, please take note how this suite of rooms can be accessed from two points – one from the interior and the other from a separate outside entrance. From inside, it is necessary to pass through bedroom 4, the 2nd floor master bedroom. A door, opposite the bed, enters the den. To maintain privacy in bedroom 4, there is easy access via an exterior staircase leading up to a 2nd floor outdoor deck, then into the den. The deck is worth a special mention since it provides an ideal place for sunning and enjoying a tree top view.
However you decide to enter the suite of rooms, the perfect minimalist design sets a serene artful scene, a flawless balance between the old and new. A masterful use of soft color and texture ruled out the need for many accessories. A wet bar on one side of the room is the perfect place to stage cocktails or tea. A twin size trundle bed on the opposite wall can be used as a sofa or for sleeping up to 2 people. A short hall connects the den, bath, and bedroom in this suite of rooms.
Bedroom 5 is at the end of the hall, tucked away for ultimate privacy. Furnished simply with a fluffy king size bed and cane headboard, and white wood traditional dresser, the bedroom is refreshing and inviting.
Overall, the feeling this home brings to heart is special. It has a bone fide island vibe to it, somehow capturing the essence of old Key West in a refreshing updated fashion. It’s been owned by the same family for two generations and is a collaborative effort of the owner / designer and local builder who is passionate about historic Key West houses.