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SELLING YOUR ISLAND COTTAGE? COLOR IT KEY WEST!

Key West colors first entered the world’s consciousness in the 1970’s, when free-spirited locals began painting their historic cottages a spectrum of tropical hues. Today, buyers looking to purchase their Key West dream cottages expect them to be painted to match the colorful, idealized images that have been imprinted on their minds over decades.

Beautifully painted in Key West colors, the quintessential conch cottage at 1127 Packer Street radiates captivating curb appeal.

Beautifully painted in Key West colors, the quintessential conch cottage at 1127 Packer Street radiates captivating curb appeal.

We have found that our clients respond less favorably to cottages that are painted in the traditional (white with black or dark green shutters) Key West color scheme. They immediately see dollar signs when they strongly feel the necessity to paint a home’s exterior to make it look like the “cute” conch cottage of their dreams.

1127 Packer Street before it was colored Key West.

1127 Packer Street before it was colored Key West.

Although buyers often make the declaration that they are purchasing a property because it makes financial sense, the overriding reason is that it makes emotional sense for them. Frequently used to represent and elicit emotions, colors connect with individuals on a subconscious level. The house colors of Key West have come to represent the island’s lighthearted and carefree lifestyle that is envied around the globe.

Key West colors not only enhance a cottage’s curb appeal, they greatly increase the home’s web appeal. Realtor.com and Zillow.com primarily utilize images to market real estate on the smart phone in the pocket of nearly everyone looking to purchase property. Bland, white or beige, shotgun cottages—that look like they could be easily transplanted anywhere—do not capture the attention of online shoppers looking for their island dream home.

If you are planning to sell your conch cottage, wander around Old Town snapping pictures of the quintessential Key West cottages sporting color combinations that speak to you. The coastal colors that garner a positive response from you, will undoubtedly grab the attention of buyers as well. Pickup a selection of paint chips (with HARC approved historic colors) at Strunk Hardware 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 to get the painting permit process rolling.

The former white and dark green color scheme on display at 1711 Von Phister Street did not command the attention of potential buyers.

The former white and dark green color scheme on display at 1711 Von Phister Street did not command the attention of potential buyers.

Painted to reflect the scolors of Key West, the cottage's personality shines.

Painted to reflect the soft tropical colors of Key West, the cottage’s personality shines.

When successfully selling any product, you must give buyers what they want. Key West cottage buyers want them to look like their fantasy. Reflect the tropical hues of the island’s sea, sky, and flora in the exterior colors you paint your home, and you will not only capture the imagination of eager buyers, you will get your cigar maker’s cottage sold quickly and for the best price.

We strongly encourage our sellers to color it Key West before they offer their cottages for sale. A tropically painted island cottage makes a winning first impression every time.

—Dean & Keith Townsend, The Townsend Team

TAKE A PEEK INTO YOUR KEY WEST HOME’S PAST

Back in 1965, the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s office took on the arduous task of taking a Polaroid photograph to document every structure in the county. The resulting group of 4,470 architectural images offers an extraordinary glimpse into a time in Key West history just before homes and commercial structures began to be restored en masse. It is surprising (if not shocking) to see how rundown much of the island’s buildings were at the time. The collection serves as a testament to the commitment of countless individuals that have—over the past fifty years—invested their money, blood, sweat, and tears into returning Key West’s historic structures to their previous glory.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965;  1405 Olivia St.; built c1906; Tract 7, Sqr 2, Pt Lot 13

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 1405 Olivia St.; built c1906; Tract 7, Sqr 2, Pt Lot 13

1405 Olivia Street as seen today.

1405 Olivia Street as seen today.

The treasure trove of photos was endowed to the Monroe County Public Library in Key West. Luckily, the library has made the entire collection available online at http://bit.ly/keyspix.

Click here to visit the website and you will be able to explore a vast array of historic Keys photographs. The 1965 Property Appraiser’s Polaroids have been grouped together in the album The Way We Were—Key West 1960’s.

You can search for the 1965 picture of your Key West home by clicking on the search icon just above the photographs (not the Flickr search icon at the top of the page). Type in the number and street name only. Do not include Street, Avenue, Lane, etc. Undoubtedly, you will be delighted to see how your home looked over fifty years ago. Download the image to your computer and share it with family and friends. Frame a print and proudly hang it on the wall of your Key West dream home. The peek into your home’s past will surely spark many memorable conversations.

—Dean & Keith Townsend, The Townsend Team

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 1209 Knowles Lane; built 1920's; Gwynn Sub, Pt Tract 13

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 1209 Knowles Lane; built 1920’s; Gwynn Sub, Pt Tract 13

Today, beautifully renovated 1209 Knowles Lane shines brightly.

Today, beautifully renovated 1209 Knowles Lane shines brightly.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 719 Eisenhower Dr. aka 720 Eisenhower Dr.; house was originally located on the water @719, c1975 house moved across the street to 720 Eisenhower; Tract 7, Lot 5

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 719 Eisenhower Dr. aka 720 Eisenhower Dr.; house was originally located on the water @719, c1975 house moved across the street to 720 Eisenhower; Tract 7, Lot 5

720 Eisenhower Drive has changed a great deal in the last half-century.

720 Eisenhower Drive has changed a great deal in the last half-century.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 813 Frances St.; built 1920's; Tract 6, Sqr 4, Pt Lot 10 & 11

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 813 Frances St.; built 1920’s; Tract 6, Sqr 4, Pt Lot 10 & 11

Beautiful 813 Frances Street today.

Lovely 813 Frances Street captivates today.

Photo taken by Prpoerty Appraiser's office c1965; 530 Grinnell Street; built 1923; Sqr 46, Pt Lot 1

Photo taken by Prpoerty Appraiser’s office c1965; 530 Grinnell Street; built 1923; Sqr 46, Pt Lot 1

One of the most charming cottages in Old Town Key West, 530 Grinnell Street as seen today.

One of the most charming cottages in Old Town Key West, 530 Grinnell Street as seen today.

1010 Elgin Lane, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $1,200,000.

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Among the sweetest perks of selling Key West real estate are the array of invitations, to tour the island’s hidden treasures, that come across our desks. After experiencing the captivating cottage at 1010 Elgin Lane, we felt like we had discovered a pot of gold.

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Tucked away on a hidden Old Town lane, this historic, 3 bedroom/3 bath, property can best be described as personality plus. With quintessential Key West curb appeal and a front porch tailor-made for whiling away the hours, the home lays out an unforgettable welcome mat.

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Crossing the threshold, one is immediately struck by the cottage’s storybook charm. The art-filled living room lends itself to whispered confidences and joyous celebrations. Wonderful artistic details delight at every turn.

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The generous, cottage-style, eat-in kitchen offers views of the beautiful garden and pool.

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Downstairs, the master bedroom and adjoining sitting room are awash with dappled light.

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Custom features create a tropical island paradise in the home’s main bath.

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Born from a childhood fantasy, an enchanting secret garden awaits in the backyard.

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Guests will long to stay forever in the coastal guest cottage overlooking the sparkling pool.

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Reminiscent of a British architectural folly, or a New England summer house, the unforgettable octagonal pavilion offers a peaceful retreat from the world’s cares.

Undoubtedly, the magical island escape at 1010 Elgin Lane has captured our hearts. We bet you will fall in love with this not-to-be-missed home as well.

—Keith & Dean

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1022 Roberts Lane, Key West, FL—SOLD $699,000.

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If you have enjoyed fantasies of owning a charming Key West cottage, tucked away on one of Old Town’s historic hidden lanes, then the beautiful island style home located at 1022 Roberts Lane is your dream come true. We love everything about this meticulously renovated 1 bedroom/1.5 bath corner of paradise.

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Stroll down tranquil Roberts Lane (off the 600 Block of Frances Street) and you will discover this unforgettable cottage nestled at the end of the lane. Artisan-crafted features abound in this truly one-of-a-kind home. Entering to inviting open-plan living, you will be captivated by the spacious kitchen’s beamed ceiling, handcrafted copper countertops, and reclaimed Dade County Pine bar. The gorgeous living room’s exquisite teak floors and soaring bamboo ceiling echo South Pacific dreams. French doors carry you to a private side porch overlooking the lush tropical garden. Nirvana.

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Beams grace the ceiling of the lovely and serene master bedroom. The light-filled master bath is unforgettable. With its vaulted ceiling, double vanity and shower, and magnificent windows, it rivals a five star spa. A bright Balinese inspired powder room opens to a wonderful sundeck, outdoor shower, and enclosed laundry.

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As REALTORS®, we do not always have the opportunity to sell a home that has captured our hearts. 1022 Roberts Lane is not only a listing we are more than proud to have, we wish we were buying this adorable island style cottage for ourselves.

—Keith & Dean

Click here to enjoy a virtual tour of this beautiful island style cottage.

Click here to see THE TOP 10 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT 1022 ROBERTS LANE, KEY WEST, FL.

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The Year of the Key West Cottage

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With our sales of five charming island cottages since the beginning of the year, 2016 is turning out to be The Year of the Key West Cottage. While it is not unusual—among our closings of historic Classical Revival mansions, stylish oceanfront condos, and tropical mid-century homes—for us to sell an Old Town cottage here and there, more and more of our clients are choosing cottage living. Since we happily dwell in an 1890’s cigar makers’ cottage, it is not hard for us to expound on the joys of cottage life. We are delighted that cottage living seems to be the Hemingway cat’s meow in Key West.

So what is it about quintessential Key West cottages that is attracting buyers? Yes, they are quaint, charming, and adorable, but we believe people are being drawn to them on an even deeper level. Among this year’s contentious presidential primaries, the Syrian refugee crisis, and terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, individuals and families are longing for a simpler, less chaotic time. (Not long after the attacks of September 11th, Dean sold his home in Chicago and bought his first Key West cottage.) The trademark white picket fences, welcoming front porches, and Victorian gingerbread adornments of Old Town’s historic cottages evoke the cherished, uncomplicated lifestyle lived by our grandparents and great-grandparents. Only a distant memory in most places, Key West cottage living offers a lifestyle of strolling to dinner, visiting with neighbors, and watching the world pass by from a porch swing.

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While the Florida New Urbanism communities, of Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Celebration have worked to recreate the best of small town America, Key West is the real deal. The Charter of the New Urbanism begins with: “We advocate the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrates local history, climate, ecology, and building practice.” Sound like Key West? Investors have been backing these developments for over three decades because they know they offer what buyers are looking for. Key West has obviously inspired more people than us.

Taking up residence in a century old cottage can take a lot of getting used to for those that are accustomed to the space allotted to many of the country’s suburban homes. Although challenging, adapting to living less large can be freeing, and can certainly lead one on a path to a simpler life. (Many Old Town cottages have been renovated to make it easier, not only maximizing space, but reflecting the best of modern living and design.) It is the Siren’s call of Key West’s laid-back, authentic, small town lifestyle that is capturing the hearts and minds of our cottage buyers and makes adapting to a different way of living well worth the effort.

Cottage living in Key West has given us the uncomplicated lifestyle that we see our clients longing for. We bet that they will love living in a tropical island cottage as much as we do. With a new listing of an exceptionally renovated Key West cottage coming our way, and clients deciding on which charming shotgun cottage to make an offer, 2016 will surely continue to earn The Townsend Team’s title of The Year of the Key West Cottage.

—Dean & Keith

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