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10 Refreshing Features of Traditional Key West Style Homes

Have ever drank the kool aid of Key West?

Image Credit to Home

No, I'm not talking about the actual drink- I'm speaking metaphorically about the emotion, the belonging, and the persistent memory that consumes you after you spent time in the Southernmost point of the Unites States, Key West. Well if you haven't, now is a good time to consider it.

Key West is an awesome place to visit, and probably even better to live; but because of the small amount of real estate, and the high demand; living in the Keys is un-affordable to most.

Plus, unless you are a tour guide, fisherman, turtling, or in salt manufacturing; or can run a business not associated with the above solely through internet, than finding a job in the keys may be a challenge.

So what many people do is bring 'the Keys' back home with them, and often times enjoy the style, influence, and representation of this memorable location to the design of their home.

Here are a few examples of some of our favorite Key West designs, selected solely on the premise of what generally represents Key West style residential exterior designs. Lets take a look.


In this design, we get a first peek at the light, airy color tones used. While we will explore some more dramatic tones later in this article, a very common thread throughout Key West design is the coastal color palette, representing sky and ocean sea blues combined with whites, and lighter shades of earth tones.

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Another common thread found throughout the Keys is the porch style appendage on the building. Perhaps obvious, but the Keys are one of the closest points of the United States to the earths equator. As such, especially during the warmer seasons, the sun gets quite close. Heating up the home, and also facilitating an atmosphere for sunburn conditions.

Historically, porches provide a place to 'cool off' while a/c wasnt yet main stream, and also offered a shading device. In addition, the large overhang of the porch would block the sun from bearing on the walls and windows as much, making the home slightly cooler.

In modern times, porches honor the architectural approach, but they still make for a great design, and fun place to people watch.

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Speaking of historical, Key West has plenty of history. Fore one, this Ernst Hemingway house , whom was a well renown Nobel Prize winning novelist, and journalist lived in this Key West home in the 1930's. This home featured Key Wests large overhangs, earthy tones, shutters, and a wrap-around porch.

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President Harry S Truman stayed in this historically significant home in Key West which was once a submarine base naval station and converted to a residence in 1911. Other renown people such as William Howard Taft, and Thomas Edison stayed at this location as well.

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Porches ceilings are often painted Jack Frost Blue to ward off spirits and bugs, supposedly. Historians agree that this may tie back to African descendants in the West Indies where they would paint their porch blue to confuse the spirits whom were coming from the oceans, and therefore would avoid entering the house.

On the less theoretical side, the light blues and whites again speak to the light and airiness of the design to be open, coastal, and bright.

Also, many homes featured the use of wooden siding, decorative wood balustrades or guard railings, and open structure; representing the the simplistic yet appealing design and construction methods.

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Aside from the coastal themes, Key West also has departures that make the atmosphere fun, and cultural. With common themes of pastel colors, its not uncommon to see hues of the lighter colors such as pinks, yellows, greens, and purples.

Due to the constricted real estate space, homes are often grouped tightly together, and have thinner but longer floor plan layouts with highly efficient use of the interior spaces.

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Speaking of colors, this is one example of many homes sprinkled throughout Key West with a less subtle approach on color themes.

Many vacation homes, timeshares, AirBNB, and transient locations will attempt to catch the attention of the pedestrians.

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Others will be more bold with highlighting their structure as an alternative to bright colors. This particular home boasts and accentuates the open structure of the home, and its decorative details highlighting its character, history, and sense of transparency and fun.

As a more modern interpretation of the Key West style, this home also uses transom windows for light, and more prestigious entry gates and columns, and special attention to the details of its fenestration or openings.

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Across the array of Key West style homes, includes some of the more modern designs which may include open porches, or pergolas. Whereas the porch was once used to obtain relief from an un-air conditioned house. Now that air conditioning exists, this architectural interpretation still provides for that sense of enclosure or canopy, while opening it up to enjoy the sun, light, and air.

This house also entails a bit of a craftsman style influence with its detail around the columns, window muntins, and gables roofs.

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Last but not least, this beautiful rendition of a Key West style home includes all kind of modern interpretations to this older style. Some of these include the decorative transom over the doors and windows, darker blue hues, more attention to detail over the fenestration, exposed and open rafter tails, and more modern material roofing.

The older features include the wrap around porch, the lush landscaping, and stairs. The shutters, wide windows, open porch structure, hip roof, and use of white accent. Check out our sister site where you can find other things to do while visiting key west such as Jet Ski Rentals Orlando, Kayak Rentals, Paddle Board Rentals Orlando, and more.

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Hopefully this guide has shared context related to the features and styles that represent this great regions design. If you are looking to build a home, or remodel an existing; try bringing your favorite features of this style to your home.

Did you know the can begin your design for free? Check out our super affordable design packages that will provide you with a Key West Style home of your dreams.


Continue reading about House Plans, and other top styles by visiting our Style Selection Page or learn more about our previous projects, inspirations and highly affordable packages at our Custom House Plans.

We design and customize house plans from scratch to fit your unique criteria.

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