Keys Homes
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The strength of preservation

By BARBARA BOWERS Special to The Citizen

Historic Florida Keys Foundation is the only Monroe County-wide historic preservation organization, which since 1981, has recognized hundreds of property owners, architects, craftspeople and others responsible for outstanding preservation efforts. Last Friday, Melissa Kendrick, president of the non-profit organization, announced this year's Preservation Award winners.

"The criteria for evaluating applications are the nationally recognized Secretary of the Interior's Standards," said Kendrick. "Awards are available for preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, new construction and master craftsmanship."

Twelve entries received Certificates of Excellence, and six of those also earned a ceramic star, "the highest level of award, and the hallmark of the Preservation Awards Program," she said. "The Star represents the tie rod, which strengthens a structure, and thus symbolizes the strength of historic preservation in Key West."

For new construction, a Star went to 817 Waddell St.:

• Henry Holliday, homeowner

• Tom Pope, architect

• Mark Smith, building


This impressive new house was built on a vacant lot; its design and proportion, well-suited to the neighborhood recalling Key West's architecture of the past. The interior is formal, with large open rooms and cathedral ceilings. Beautiful crown molding shows attention to detail and historic traditions, while heart pine flooring, walls and an elegant staircase further enhance the look.

For new construction and rehabilitation, 313 Margaret St.:

• Scott Saunders, homeowner

•Michael B. Ingram and

Anthony Sarno, architects

• Ales Bursa, builder

This structure was originally built in 1954 as an industrial 'Caterpillar' sales and service facility. The new design preserved the original faÃßade elements and materials, and maintained the historic visual relationship to the street. Renovation included replacing pressed metal windows and raising the elevation of the floor to meet FEMA requirements. An adjacent rusty metal storage unit was transformed into a new addition that respects the property's industrial past.

For rehabilitation and restoration, 618 Grinnell St.:

• Christopher B. Mario,


• The Lineberry Architectural


• Kevin Melloncamp,

contractor/ builder

This "eyebrow" house, built in 1899, was largely untouched for 30 years. Although many of the original features and materials are intact, it was in poor condition when purchased in 2011. The renovation included rebuilding the rear addition, restoring the wood windows, siding, trim, and metal shingle roof.

Because the first-floor structure had deteriorated, the house was jacked up, foundation piers replaced and joists reinforced throughout. Interior Dade County pine walls were hand sanded and refinished.

To 1016 James St. for renovation:

• Jim and Maria Koch,


• Michael Miller, architect

• Mark Mayer of Florida

Key Construction

Also built in 1899, this "eyebrow" house was for many years derelict and tagged unsafe by the City building department. The new owners restored it with modern conveniences, mechanical systems and a hurricane resistant structure.

Originally built on landfill, it had settled into the ground and appeared to be "down in a hole" relative to the streetscape. A new foundation raised the house 24 inches and brought it in line with its neighbors. In addition to preserving and restoring the house, outdoor living includes pool and tropical landscaping between a new deck and garden cottage.

To 1227 Von Phister St. for renovation:

• Lee Sider and Greg

Stanton, homeowner

• Michael Miller, architect

• Scott Montgomery of Native


A local cigar maker built this historic cottage on Von Phister Street in the 1920's. The current homeowners renovated the kitchen and bathroom and extended the structure to provide room for guest quarters. The new addition, while more modern, continues to enhance the feeling of a classic Key West home.

To 426 Elizabeth St. for renovation:

• Jeff and Julie Cornfeld,


• Bert Bender and David

Salay, architects

• JARCON Construction, builder

This magnificent home was originally built on Duval Street, when the Kress Department Store (later, Fast Buck Freddie's) was constructed there. It was moved to its current location at the corner of Fleming and Elizabeth streets, circa 1910, on a rolling platform pulled by mules.

Numerous additions and alterations changed the property's character, many of them causing severe structural damage. This renovation stabilized the structure, restored historic elements and removed inappropriate modifications such as heavy trim, a false fireplace, a rear entrance and enclosed porch.

To 410 Truman Avenue, to Newman Methodist Church for restoration:

• Don Carey and Beverly

Green, pastor

• Donald Carey and Rudy

Rivas, project managers

• Michael Miller, Architect

• The stained glass artisans at

the Conrad Schmitt Studios of

New Berlin, WI

• Mark Mayer of Florida Keys


The stained glass windows of this church were originally installed when the church was built in 1888. Over time they suffered damage, most seriously in 1999 when Hurricane Georges blew out the crossing windows, the largest in the church. For 13 years they were covered with plywood, but the famous "Kokomo" stained glass windows are back in their former glory, after wood framing was replaced, artisans recreated the new stained glass windows based on the original designs and funding came from the City's Bahama Village Redevelopment Authority's TIF grant program.

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