WELCOME TO SOUTHARD COMFORT! As I mentioned on this post, our family tradition for the past few years has been to spend the week after Christmas in Key West, Florida. This year we rented a funky fresh house on Southard Street in Old Town Key West. The home, aptly named Southard Comfort, is a traditional conch house (pronounced ‘konk’), which is a style of architecture developed by the island’s Bahamian immigrants in the 19th century. The Victorian style of architecture that was popular during this time period was incorporated into many Key West conch houses. This is why you’ll see intricately carved corner brackets, balustrades, porch columns and fretwork applied to many of the homes lining the streets of Key West.
Like many homes in South Florida, Southard Comfort boasts Dade County pine, a wood that was often salvaged from the hulls of wrecked ships. Covered by a dropped ceiling when the current owners purchased the home, the strips of Dade County pine in the foyer contrast sharply with a traditional ceiling medallion.
Although I was enamoured with the glossy red front door as soon as we pulled up to the home after a long day of travel from the cold North, my attention was quickly diverted to, well, everything that was hidden behind it! A painted Harlequin black-and-white floor greets guests in the foyer, which is decorated from top to bottom with artwork and decor that embraces the eclectic people and quirky vibe of the Conch Republic. The full-length mirror covered in seashells hanging opposite a gallery wall reflects light throughout the front of the home.
With treasures filling every nook and color applied liberally to its walls, Southard Comfort is just what you’d expect to see in a traditional conch house. A heavy, traditional wood post grounds the stairs, while quirky corbels adorn each riser along the outside of the staircase
Immediately to the left of the foyer lies a sunny living room that flows into the pool area. During the cooler months, the doors to the pool are always left open to allow light and air to flow through the home.
A gallery of mirrors above a cozy sofa reflect the lush greenery that covers the outdoor space. Palm fronds in a tall glass vase and an earthenware bowl of spiny sea things add the perfect coastal touch to the rustic, wooden coffee table.
If you thought this place couldn’t get any better, just check out Southard Comfort’s outdoor oasis. A plunge pool complete with a bubbling fountain is the perfect place to cool off after a long day of Key West shopping and sightseeing.
Peeking into the living space from the pool deck, you’ll notice the original hardwood floors in all of their glorious imperfection. From this vantage point color is king, with shades of yellow, purple, green and red all working to create a funky, tropical vibe inside.
More eclectic touches steal the show in the neighboring kitchen. Salvaged cabinetry and a granite island make for a traditional meets contemporary space that blends beautifully with the rest of the home.
Open shelving in the kitchen shows off the owners’ collection of polish pottery, blue glass bottles and mason jars.
Upstairs are three guest rooms, including a master suite complete with attached bath. Matching chandeliers in the master add sparkle and shine to the exposed-beam ceiling.
A painted area “rug” covers the upstairs hallway, adding color and charm to the small space. Plantation style doors complete the tropical look of the home.
The remaining guest rooms share a small bathroom with a charming red clawfoot tub. A black-and-white traditional tile floor ties back to the Harlequin design in Southard Comfort’s foyer.
While my favorite thing about Key West is the endless sunshine, it’s also a fun place to be after dark. And you can forget about going out on Duval Street! At Southard Comfort, the glowing poolside is the perfect place to enjoy a night in with a classic mojito or a glass of wine!
I hope you all enjoyed your tour of Southard Comfort! With its flowing floor plan, weathered hardwood floors and intricate trim work, this place feels like a home-away-from-home rather than a vacation rental. If you’re planning a trip to Key West, it’s worth checking out as a place to stay!