As explained in my previous post, I am spending the majority of this month soaking up sunshine in Key West. Specifically, I’m staying 500 yards off the coast of KW on a private island known as Sunset Key. My love for this beautiful place is boundless (helped by the fact that I got married here three years ago!) and I just can’t get enough of the adorable houses hidden behind all of the lush foliage – something Pittsburgh lacks this time of year.
Sunset Key was first developed for the hotel cottages and private homes in the early 1990s and new homes are still being built today. Currently there are 48 single-family homes and 21 vacant lots. The cost of having your neighborhood be it’s own private island is pretty steep with townhouse starting at $1.6 million and ocean-front mansions coming in over $6 million.
In order to talk about the architecture on Sunset Key, you can’t ignore what has happened over the years on Key West. Key West has a long history and has always been a melting pot of culture and diversity – Victorian, Bahamian, and New England homes can all be seen along any street. Additionally, the fact that a lot of the homes on Key West have survived hurricanes, floods, termites, neglect, etc. is a testament to the quality of workmanship of the shipbuilders who originally built the homes.
Residents of Key West are very proud of their island’s history and architecture. In recent years, many of the homes have undergone tremendous transformations and always there is tribute paid to the past. The houses on Sunset Key are no different. Although they are new construction, the Key West island style has made it’s way to the private island. Elements of Key West Conch Houses are found in the homes on Sunset Key, specifically the front porches, low gabled roofs, timber construction, and sash windows. Additionally, steeply sloped roofs, common in Key West “eyebrow” architecture provide needed shade over front and back porches.
But life on Sunset Key is different than Key West. For starters, there are no cars on the 27 acre island. As a result, most residents own golf carts and have a small ‘garage’ at the front of their home. Exterior space is also limited on the small island so many homes have what are referred to as ‘cocktail pools’ instead of full-blown swimming pools. Although each home has its own unique characteristics, the tiny island neighborhood presents itself as a study in paradise living.
The quiet island is only a boat ride away from all of the crazy night (and day!) life of Key West, but you’d never know it standing on any part of charming Sunset Key. I look forward to visiting every winter, it is the perfect place to escape and relax. This year’s visit was lovely, but I’m ready to get back home to finish the nursery and hopefully figure out our exterior renovations before the baby arrives.
See you soon!