In most cases you can change the exterior colors of your Old Town Key West home if you go about it the right way. The process may seem a bit complicated, but it will save you time and money if you follow the rules and procedures. You will have to submit a completed application for painting/repainting to the Building Department counter at 1300 White Street—by the parking lot entrance to City Hall—along with a current photo of part of the house that will be painted, a photo of the structure from the street/sidewalk, paint chips, descriptions of painting to be done and the $10.00 staff approval fee for residential painting.
You can download the required HARC application at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/egov/documents.
The painting of Key West’s historic homes is overseen by HARC (Historic Architectural Review Commission). HARC’s design guidelines in Key West’s Historic District are intended to preserve and protect the architectural environment and unique character of its historic neighborhoods—Key West’s #1 tourist attraction. There are many structures outside of the historic district that are contributing to the historic district and HARC has jurisdiction on all exterior changes to the buildings.
HARC’s Historic Architectural Guidelines for the City of Key West are available on the city’s website at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov. To confirm if your home is under HARC regulation contact the HARC staff at HARC@cityofkeywest-fl.gov.
While most wood frame buildings in Key West were historically white or unpainted, the use of muted colors may be approved by HARC. The colors below are recommended by HARC as appropriate within the historic zones. Other colors may be used if supported by historical documentation, or by evidence of underlying paint.
TRADITIONAL COLORS OF KEY WEST
Doors: white, black, red, dark green, natural finished wood
Exterior Siding or Body: white, pastels, light gray, beige, buff
Exterior Trim: white, off-white
Porch Ceilings: light aqua, light blue, white
Lattice: dark green, white
Foundations: natural, gray
Wood Fences & Gates: white
Iron Fences & Gates: dark green, white
Masonry Walls & Fences: white, beige, gray
Railings, Balusters & Porches: white
Metal Roofing: silver
Asphalt Roofing: gray, white, black
Shutters: white, black, gray, dark green
HARC suggests when choosing colors to try and select a combination that will highlight the architectural details of the building. Typically, one color for the body and one for the trim will bring the architectural details into focus. Additional colors may be appropriate for subtle highlighting for porch ceilings, porch floors, foundations, etc. HARC recommends saving paint chips of significant contributing historical buildings so that a paint analysis may be done to determine the appropriate historical colors. To help preserve the cultural heritage of Bahama Village, the contemporary addition of brighter Caribbean colors may be acceptable within this neighborhood of the Historic District. Colors for new proposed additions that stand out from a contributing building or its neighbors are prohibited. If a new addition for a non-contributing structure proposes colors different from the main building, the colors need to be harmonious and like ones found within the adjacent urban content.
If you haven’t decided on your Key West cottage’s color scheme, you might want to wander around Old Town snapping pictures of historic homes sporting color combinations that speak to you. Pickup a selection of paint chips with HARC approved historic colors at Strunk Ace Hardware on Eaton Street and play with color combinations over a glass of wine with friends and neighbors. Once you have decided on the perfect color scheme head over to City Hall and get the permit process rolling.
THE TOWNSEND TEAM
Dean & Keith Townsend, REALTORS®
Keller Williams Key West Compass Realty
333 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040
305-942-1369 • www.DeanTownsend.com