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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I’m Back…Even Key West Has Touches Of Old Paris!

I’m finally home from a magical Valentine’s week in Key West, FL.  I must admit it was hard leaving sunshine and 80 degree weather heading back to 30 degrees and cold. Brrrrrr.

My husband says everything reminds me of France and that I seem to find “Frenchiness”  everywhere I go.  Could that be true?  I’m reminded of Côte d’Azur here in the Keys!


My husband and I love the laid back island living lifestyle with lots of shopping and delicious seafood (my personal favorites are stone crab and lobster & conch bisque).



I always love looking at and studying the architecture of places I visit.  Key West’s historic area known as the Old Town District is very charming indeed.  Those of you who have been know what I mean.


Many of the houses were built by shipbuilder-contractors and cigar manufacturing barons mostly from 1886-1912.  There is a combo of Victorian, Bahamian, and New England traits that create a unique colloquial Key West look.


The basic features include wood-frame construction of one- to two-and-a-half-story structures set on foundation piers about three feet above the ground. Exterior characteristics are peaked roofs, horizontal wood siding, gingerbread trim, pastel shades of paint, side-hinged louvered shutters, and covered porches. balconies, or verandas along the fronts of the houses.


The photo below reminds me of New Orleans.



One thing I really enjoyed was visiting Ernest Hemingway’s house.  You may have heard of him…lol!


It’s a very striking Spanish Colonial style with it’s green plantation shutters and black iron balcony and railing.  The house was built in 1851 and Hemingway lived there from 1931-1940.  It is made entirely of limestone excavated from the property.


O.K. Paris Story:

Ernest and his wife, Pauline lived in Paris in the late 1920’s and collected many antiques while there.  Ernest had a passion for 17th and 18th c. Spanish antiques.  Pauline was particularly fond of European crystal.  As the story goes, the first thing she did when they moved to their Key West house was to remove ALL the ceiling fans to have her European chandelier collection installed.  The local Key West folks thought it was odd and kind of funny since there was no air conditioning and these electric lights emitted lots of heat!  I’m just happy I got to see some great French antiques!!! lol

Below is one of a pair of French bronze and crystal chandys that hang in either end of the living room.  Note also the Victorian and Spanish influences.


This French all crystal beauty hangs in the master bedroom.


Foyer waterfall example from Paris’s La Belle Époque era.


And the fanciest was this Italian example made entirely of Murano glass.


I love this type of design where all of the windows also function as doors to be opened up onto the porches and balconies for breezes and fresh air living.


The master headboard is an antique Spanish gate still having hinges on the backside.



And this was in the garden.  A large Spanish olive jar used as a fountain.  The French versions are very similar.  See…the first thing I thought of when I saw this was a French biot!



For all you cat lovers out there, I was fortunate enough to snap some shots of the “polydactyl” cats that roam the property (or should I say taken over the property!).  They are all descents from Hemingway’s 6-toed cat Snowball.

See his extra toe?


The extra toe actually looks like a thumb!


Here’s another quirky thing about Key West…..the feral roosters!  Yep….they’ve been here a long time and kind of have a free run of the place.


You never know where you might see one!  Again, I couldn’t help but think of France.


And what’s a trip to an island if you don’t run into Jack Sparrow? 


This was a view from our balcony.  Maybe he sailed in on this?



You all know Johnny Depp lived in France quite awhile when he was with Vanessa Paradis?  French thoughts again…I can’t seem to stop myself!

Well, it’s back to blogging and catching up on reading all your wonderful blogs.

I’m glad I’m back.




NanaDiana said...

Oh-I am so jealous, Kim. I love Key West. I moved from FL to the Midwest when I married my hubby but my heart has always been down there. I am glad you had fun and I love that you found so many French influences- xo Diana

Anne said...

What a fun trip!I miss going their.We have family that live in the Keys.It is fun to visit and stay.A few years ago we were there in the summer.Oh boy was it hot!
So funny to see Jack Sparrow ...he is everywhere.What sweet cats too!
Beautiful photos!
Thank you for sharing!

Sooner Laura said...

We spent an afternoon and evening in Key West (cruising). I loved it there. It's on my list of places i would like to visit again.

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

What a fun trip and EXCELLENT timing to get away from more snow and cold, yay!

So glad you enjoyed yourselves.

Thanks for "taking" us with you!

chateau chic said...

Thanks for the interesting little tour of Key West. The architecture is beautiful! Sounds like a wonderful getaway.
Mary Alice

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

So glad you had a wonderful time in Key West...I have such fond memories of "The Florida Keys"...and of course you would find the "french influence" ... I have always felt that Key West and New Orleans were so similar in feel....

Sarah said...

Key West looks like a lovely vacation spot. Thanks for taking us along.

The 2 Seasons said...

I loved seeing the pictures. My mother in law was just in key west and I have not seen her pictures but this will hold me over till I do. I am sure it was a wonderful time.

Bliss said...

Sometimes I couldn't stop myself thinking about Johnny Depp either, till I read he hates to shower.


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