By BARBARA BOWERS Special to The Citizen
You gotta love 3713 Pearlman Terrace for its interior spaciousness -- 2,300 square feet inside a concrete block and stucco house built in 1985, hidden behind the front garden's free-standing portico -- and that doesn't even include the garage.
"I wanted a garage for my two convertibles," said homeowner John Johnson. "If I couldn't find a house I liked with a garage in Key West, I was moving to Fort Lauderdale."
Johnson owned a condo at La Brisa for nine years before he found the garage, and its 12-foot-wide door. But before he bought the New Town property in 2007, "I graphed the garage and cars to scale to make sure both fit into it at the same time."
They fit, and you know, you gotta love a guy who loves his cars this much.
"He loved the shell of the house, too," said Dennis Holub, who is Johnson's partner and occasional roommate. Even though he has retired from his position as director of the South Dakota State Arts Council, Holub still calls that state home.
Johnson, a former real estate attorney, appraiser and tax administrator in South Dakota, says he instantly liked the layout of the 3-bed/2.5 bath house on Pearlman, particularly because he knew he wouldn't have to move walls: "I just had to paint the walls, all of them, all the way up to the 10-foot-high ceilings," he said.
It took 24 gallons of white paint to cover the lemon yellow in the foyer, the peach and aqua walls in the master suite, the lime green trim in the living area. In fact, you gotta love the present day white spaces in the open floor plan, where 16-foot-wide glass doors slide into pockets, enhance the light and bring the pool and garden into the kitchen-living and dining room.
This 28-by-35 foot room was surely designed for parties like Johnson's and Holub's fourth annual New Year's Day open house: the bar setup was on the angled island that defines the big kitchen corner; across from the food spread on the beveled glass-top dining-room table.
"I cut the coral for the table base," said Johnson. "All the coral pieces and pedestals in the house were designed and cut by me after I bought all the leftover coral at Fletcher's going-out-of-business sale a few years back."
Johnson says he bought the table saw and air compressor needed for his artwork right after he bought the house. They're treasured almost as much as his convertibles; at least, they share space in the air-conditioned garage.
A single door to the garage opens from the kitchen section of the great room, and double doors to the master suite open between dining and living room.
"Until now, I never owned a house with a bedroom off the living room," Johnson said. "I like it."
The spacious master suite includes a doorless step-up into the dressing room and segmented bath, where the entire exterior wall is made of glass brick. The natural light doesn't just enter the water closet on one side of the Jacuzzi, or the shower on the other side, it flows and bounces all over the place because the spa is also made up of doorless, interior glass-brick walls.
"I don't just love glass bricks, I have a fetish for them," Johnson said.
The dining room also has a glass brick wall that separates it from the foyer. These designer features were already in place, as were the entire walls of drawers and cabinets in each of the three bedrooms.
But Johnson's a hands-on kind of guy; he laid new bamboo floors in the master suite and his adjoining office, oak parquet floors in the guest suite, which has a private entry at the front of the house, and inlaid granite tiles into the wall-to-wall carpeting in the dining and living room.
When he's not traveling with Holub, he's working on the house -- new outdoor shower, sink and two-tone deck added to the existing pool and garden -- or in the garage, where Johnson sculpts and paints and designs raku pottery.
What you really gotta love about Johnson's house, though, is that in all this space there is no television set anywhere to be found.
Barbara Bowers is a Key West writer and host of a radio talk show about owning and maintaining property in the Florida Keys. To suggest a home to be featured in the Keys Homes section, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Homes listed for sale may not be considered.