“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Joining in on Marianne of East of Malaga’s One Trip Every Month Challenge, come with us as we walk the quiet side streets of Old Key West admiring the “Conch” architecture and the lush tropical vegetation that surrounds each abode. Dating back to the 1900s and earlier, these homes are a mixture of styles that have several features in common: metal roofing, gable porches with lattice and or gingerbread trim, and perhaps a cupola or turret. Oh, and an abundance of white fences. All in all, it adds to the Caribbean feeling.
The main styles include classic revival with gabled roofs and columned porches. Many are private residences while some have been converted to B & Bs.
The eyebrow house, a style unique to Key West, includes a roof that overhangs the top-floor windows to keep the sun out.
There are still some Bahama style homes with wraparound porches and floor-to-ceiling windows to best ventilate its interior.
The Queen Anne has a pointed turret.
One of the most common is the shotgun, single-story house also known as cigar maker’s cottages. These are popular and many have been renovated and used for vacation rentals. At one time, owners stuck to a pastel color palette, but some are much bolder, now.
This bungalow is joined to its neighbor giving it a contemporary look. A lovely walkway lies between them. Creative use of stained glass mixed with bright blue shutters has curb appeal.
One house has metal black crows attached to its roof. I wonder how many people have stopped, wondering if they will fly off.
Weathered houses and worn shop fronts are filled with history and stories of their own.
We noticed how popular gable brackets are which give a plain house some island character of its own. House and shutter colors are pleasing to the eye and harmonize with the tropical foliage. Carved wooden front doors are unique as well as porch decor and yard art.
Key West doesn’t wake up until noon making walking these side streets easy. The couple we traveled with love architecture and history, so it made for great company as we discovered quaint or funky alley ways and beckoning garden paths all laid out in this island paradise known as the “conch republic.”
“Houses are like people – some you like and some you don’t like – and once in a while there is one you love.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs