Champagne and Caviar
March 15-16, 10 am to 4 pm
Old Island Restoration Foundation’s last home tour for the 2018-19 season pairs art and architecture as perfectly as Champagne and caviar. Mostly concentrated in the Casa Marina District, it may take both days to savor the museum-like art and decor to visually take in the stunning houses and compounds.
1. 711 South Street: Whimsical sculptures add to the landscaping and gardens in this 11,202-square-foot lot. Equally mesmerizing is the art and décor inside the large, single-story home—easily enough room to double as a museum. Then there is the detached guest house and garage, garden pool and verandahs, all made for strolling and sipping a glass of Tokaji Essencia from Hungarian winemaker Royal Tokaji.
2. 1119 Johnson Street: A crisp contemporary house built in 2015. Travertine patios, glass walls and spacious rooms boast intriguing art objects: Bronze statues, canvases by Peter Vey and Mario Sanchez, primitive baskets and a whole lot of Cuban paintings. Architect Bert Bender designed the house for luxurious indoor-outdoor living that includes a sexy walkway over the swimming pool.
3. 1418 Laird Street: An exotic mix of art and architecture, antiques and artifacts, which don’t fit into any mold. The many collections range from fine oil paintings to African textiles to environmental artifacts displayed in everything from apothecary cabinets to a master suite walk-in closet/bath that’s roughly the same size as the bedroom. Even the 1950s structural reconfiguration into a 2015 architecturally designed 2-bed/2-bath house fits no mold.
4.1500 Von Phister Street: An artistic compound indoors and out. While not all the buildings are open to tourgoers, the central courtyard alone affords hours of viewing pleasure. Surrounded by three contemporary stark-white, ground-level houses, the wealth of garden sculptures and art installations feature local and international artists. The pool, fountains and yes, lighted outdoor-dance floor, are central to the primary residence, two guest houses and private movie theater. Yes, movie theater.
5. 1412 White Street: Swimming pool and sculpture garden centers the primary residence and guest house that were rebuilt and redesigned in the late 1980s. The compound’s Old Key West ambiance transitions perfectly into a platform for the homeowner’s contemporary art collection ranging in style from a Brutalist sculpture by William Tarr to Cuban works of art.
6. 526 Angela Street (The Gardens Hotel): Note! Tickets are not available for purchase at this location. You probably won’t find a rare $40,000 bottle of Essencia at the Gardens Hotel’s wine bar, but other treats await you there. The fabulous Peggy Mills home-turned-hotel is the bonus sixth property on the tour. Its beautiful grounds, pool and outdoor bar pair wonderfully with after-tour chats about art and architecture, Champagne and caviar.
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 on tour days. For credit card purchase, buy tickets online HERE or at the Oldest House (322 Duval Street, 10 am to 4 pm, closed on Wednesday and Sunday). During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses – cash or check – or PAY BY CREDIT CARD AT HOMES #1 AND #2.
If you are walking, houses may be viewed in any order over the two days between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Also note that the free Duval Loop bus provides convenient access to most of the homes.
No smoking, pets, food/drink or photographs will be permitted in the tour homes.
OIRF is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of architectural treasures in the City of Key West and the celebration, honor, and recognition of the historical achievements of the Island. Funds raised from the tours will be used for the Foundation’s grants program and other endeavors furthering our preservation goals.