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TROPICAL LIVING IN THE FLORIDA KEYS - FALL/WINTER 2019

Aqua Villas STYLISH LIVING ON THE WATER

Orchids everywehere TIPS FOR HAPPY, HEALTHY PLANTS

Living in paradise THE BEST OF KEYS DESIGN


FURNITURE• INTERIOR DESIGN • WINDOW TREATMENTS

KITCHENS • BATHS • FLOORING

All work performed by LOCAL, LICENSED & INSURED contractors.

Stunning design. Worry-free installation. Amazing results! Carpet

Wood & Laminate

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

Call 305-481-1790 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation, or stop by any of our three stores:

KEY LARGO

MARATHON

KEY WEST

305-451-5700

305-743-4397

305-295-6400

MM 99 Median

MM 50 Oceanside

Searstown by Publix


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Kitchens! We are your Local ONE stop shop for ALL of your Construction needs! • SPALLING EXPERTS • NEW CONSTRUCTION • REMODELS • KITCHENS • BATHROOMS • DOCKS

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Our Services & More Metal Roofing, Metal Shingle Roofing, Flat Roof Membranes, Tapered Insulation, Asphalt Shingle Roofing, Roof Maintenance program, Coatings

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A KEY WEST FAMILY TRADITION IN FINE FOODS SINCE 1926

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LISA FELICIANO Mortgage Banker NMLS# 378048 mobile: 305.766.0643 lfeliciano@centerstatebank.com

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Established in 1997, All Area Roofing expanded it’s quality roofing to the Florida Keys in 2012 with an office in Marathon, adding a second location in Key West the following year. With both offices we can service the Middle and Lower Keys.

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522 FLEMING STREET 1105 WHITE STREET WWW.FAUSTOS.COM


THE AQUA VILLA’S AT MANGROVE MARINA

CONTENTS AQUA VILLAS Living on the water

STAY ON THE WATER!

ABOUT THIS ISSUE 8

Publisher Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com

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Managing Partner Britt Myers britt@keysweekly.com

COOLING CARE Proper TLC for your AC

HERBAL REMEDIES Medicinal plants at home 14

ORCHIDS Types and growing tips

EAT, DRINK, SLEEP THE KEYS! 305.852.8380

200 Florida Ave. Tavernier | MM 91.7 on the Bayside MangroveMarina.com

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LIVING IN PARADISE Keys design projects

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BUILDING ADVICE The experts weigh in

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Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Sliding Glass Doors Hard To Open? ar 3 Yea n t y ! r r Wa

Investing in the future

HOMEGROWN Backyard bounty

IT CAN BE REPAIRED!

Account Executives Lesley Aaron lesley@keysweekly.com Nola Acker nola@keysweekly.com Stephanie Mitchell stephanie@keysweekly.com Leah Weiss leah@keysweekly.com Staff Writers Jim McCarthy jim@keysweekly.com Sara Matthis sara@keysweekly.com

KITCHENWARE The beauty of basics

Editor Sarah Thomas sthomas@keysweekly.com

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Art/Design Javier Reyes javier@keysweekly.com Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com Irene de Bruijn irene@keysweekly.com Office Manager Char Hruska char@keysweekly.com

Roller Maintenance Track Maintenance Security Pins Published MMXIX

Door Alignment

The Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, FL. 33050 P. 305-743-0844

Security Locks & Handles

’s Andy

PROFESSIONAL - RELIABLE - INSURED

Sliding Glass Door Maintenance

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A recent Keys project by D’Asign Source lets the light in. D’ASIGN SOURCE

Key West office 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL. 33040 P. 305-453-6928 Tavernier office 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P.305-363-2957 www.keysweekly.com


WE PRICE MATCH THE BOX STORES AND WILL NOT BE BEAT. WE SPECIALIZE IN RETAIL, NEW CONSTRUCTION AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT.

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By Jim McCarthy

Aqua Villas

Located just north of Tavernier Creek at MM 91.7 on the bayside, Mangrove Marina is home to the unique Aqua Villas. With beautiful views of the bay and a tranquil setting, it’s a spot to let you experience the adventure of living on the water.

2 1 Calypso’s dining and kitchen area has plenty of room to entertain a sizable group with a granite wet bar, a dining table and a full-sized, stainless steel refrigerator. 2 The master bedroom inside Calypso, with its queen bed, has a view of the bay with sliding doors. 3 When you want to take the party or the lounging outside, Calypso’s rooftop deck is the place to go with ample seating and bay views. 4 One of the two bathrooms inside Calypso. This one has grey-colored walls and a stand-up shower. DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

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In Homer’s Odyssey, Calypso attempts to keep the fabled Greek hero Odysseus on her island to make him her immortal husband. At Mangrove Marina, the houseboat rental Calypso, pictured left, is representative of that mythology. Calypso has 800 square feet of dining and living space. The three bedroom, two bathroom luxury floating house features an open concept upon entry, and can accommodate up to six people. Pictured right, the elegant Dolphin, which occupies up to six. These houseboat rentals and more at mangrovemarina.com

1 Dolphin can sleep up to six with a queen bed, a queen sofa sleeper and two twin beds in the loft. 2 The kitchen and lounging space upon entering Dolphin. Just look at that ceiling. 3 The Dolphin houseboat is everything you want when seeking something unique and different. 4 It’s luxury houseboat living when walking into Dolphin houseboat at Mangrove Marina. Pictures by: DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 9


Keys B at Furniture Reclaimed & renewed 100% from old fishing boats

INDOOR/OUTDOOR FURNITURE EVERY PIECE IS ONE OF A KIND www.keysboatfurniture.com | 305.849.7760 | shipping & delivery 30313 Overseas Hwy. Big Pine Key MM30 (next to Ace Hardware)

A full-service landscape company offering design, planning, contracting, implementation, and maintenance services.

design 10

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WE ARE LOCATED IN KEY WEST 305-797-0633 KEYSECOSCAPES.COM LICENSE NUMBER: #SP-3507


SOUL HOUSE

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TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP THAT A/C SYSTEM HUMMING IF THERE’S A COMFORT THAT’S VERY MUCH A PART OF OUR LIVES, IT’S AIR CONDITIONING. TO KEEP THAT COOL AIR FLOWING THROUGH YOUR HOME, WE SPOKE WITH THE PROFESSIONALS FROM HOUSTON AIR TO HELP YOU STAY CHILL. By Jim McCarthy WHAT’S A GOOD MAINTENANCE TIP TO KEEP THE A/C SYSTEM RUNNING AND IN GOOD CONDITION? Rinsing the outdoor unit. The environment conditions that are present here in the Keys, such as salt and coral dust in the air, can cause buildup on your outdoor coil no matter how close or far you live from the water. Lightly rinsing the exterior of your coil with a garden hose nozzle on the “shower” mode once or twice a month will help rid it of excess buildup. Gunk can lead to coil damage and cause refrigerant leaks, resulting in costly repairs. WHERE ARE THE BEST SPOTS TO LET THE AIR-CONDITION UNIT DRIP? This is something that should be determined at the time of installation of a new unit, but could possibly be altered on an existing unit if not adequately performing. The best scenario would be to have the drainage exiting into soil or grass, and at least 1 foot away from the foundation. Make sure that your drain line is always visible, and the exit is never covered by soil, rocks or any other items that will not allow it to drain freely

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SHOULD I BE WORRIED IF MY AIR CONDITION IS LEAKING CONDENSATION? Yes. This also could be caused by various reasons, including improper insulation or possibly a mechanical problem with your system. Again, we suggest that this should be checked by a professional service company. HOW CAN I TELL IF MY AIR CONDITIONER IS BROKEN? It’s HOT! Although your HVAC system may seem to be running, it could have potential issues that are causing it to not cool properly. Things to be on the lookout for could be: • Constantly running and not shutting off • Unusually loud noise • Electric bill much higher than normal • Home won’t cool until the evening hours HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY AIR CONDITION SYSTEM SERVICED? Two to four times per year. To keep your system running properly, we suggest having it serviced twice a year if the property is occupied year round. If vacant for part of the year, we suggest four times a year as things could arise in your absence.


For those on a journey

Your home is more than a building or an address. It's where you experience life, connection and growth. The real estate team you chose to represent your property should be as exceptional as you are, and as your next chapter is going to be. In the Florida Keys market, only Ocean Sotheby's International Realty offers unrivaled service and limitless opportunities.

oceansir.com 305.712.8888 81888 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, Florida MMXIX Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated. Sotheby's International Realty and the Sotheby's International Realty logo are registered (or unregistered) service marks licensed to Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC.


By Sarah Thomas

HERBAL REMEDIES AT HOME GROWING HEALING AND HEALTHFUL PLANTS Herbal remedies were relied upon for centuries before modern medicine was developed. Shennong, the first emperor of ancient China, is said to have been one of the first practitioners of agriculture and an early apothecary who experimented with herbal drugs. Shennong Ben Cao Jing, or “The Classic of Herbal Medicine,” is a book on agriculture and medicinal plants that was written in approximately 200 AD, featuring uses of plants and herbs recognizable for those properties still today, among them ginseng, cinnamon, cannabis, cucumber and ginger. While we’re grateful for the ushering in of penicillin and vaccines, there are still many healthful benefits—and even remedies—to be gained from nature at our fingertips. Here, we’ve listed some plants that grow well in the tropics and have healing properties, so that those of us with backyard gardens or even small indoor herb gardens can enjoy the limitless benefits of natural medicine. If you aren’t a green thumb and would rather pick up oils or extracts of these wonderfully effective and potent plants, check out local purveyors of natural medicines and foods, like Sugar Apple in Key West, The Good Food Conspiracy in Big Pine and Food For Thought in Marathon (ask for Blair!). While Mother Nature is a wonderful resource, always check with your doctor before introducing something new into your regular diet or self-care routine.

ALOE

Let’s start with the familiar. Aloe grows abundantly in the Keys climate and is incredibly soothing for sunburned skin. It aids healing of all kinds of burns and superficial wounds. Aloe products can additionally aid digestion, clear acne, and promote oral health and curb gingivitis, according to a 2017 study by India’s Department of Public Health. Simply cut aloe branches close to the base (of a mature plant) and remove the skin with your fingers or a knife. Apply directly to affected skin, or put in a blender for a smoothie, balm or toothpaste.

PEPPERMINT It’s not just for mojitos! Mint has one of the highest antioxidant qualities of any food—which means it can help slow damage to cells, helping the body restore itself and even prevent damage. Mint also has high levels of vitamin A, as well as fiber, iron and folate. It is even been found to improve digestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Mint leaves can be plucked and used in drinks, brewed in teas, or added to salads for eaters to enjoy the benefits.

LEMON BALM Perhaps the least familiar on our list, lemon balm is a fragrant herb that can be brewed in teas and used in cold drinks or taken in capsule form. Research has shown it to have positive effects on mood and cognition, including reducing anxiety and nervousness and even improving mental performance. It also has been shown in clinical trials to aid insomnia and sleeplessness. It’s also been shown to aid nausea and menstrual cramps. What can’t lemon balm do? That said, before jumping into a daily lemon balm regiment, check with your doctor—some people have allergic reactions to it.

ROSEMARY Sure, it tastes wonderful in a roast or on some potatoes, but rosemary also has some fantastic health benefits. Rosemary is part of the mint family, and it is a hearty plant native to the Mediterranean, happy indoors and out. It’s also a great source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B. Studies—including a groundbreaking one from Northumbria University—have shown rosemary to boost memory. It can be digested or boiled to release its aromatic oils. In ancient Greece, students were even known to wear garlands of rosemary to exams!


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keysweekly.com | fall / winter 15


By Sarah Thomas

EVERYTHING IS COMING UP … ORCHIDS While the hibiscus is perhaps the most identifiable Keys flower, it’s the elegant orchid that has dominated the most enviable backyards and gardens in recent years. Orchids put up with a lot—they don’t need as much water as many other flowering plants and can be quite happy just hanging around, literally, from fences and trees. But orchids come in a wide variety—there are around 30,000 different varieties—and thus have different needs for care. We checked in with Rochelle Eannanno, orchid whisperer and resident expert at the MARC House Plant Store in Key West. Rochelle started studying physical education, but after visiting a friend who was growing an avocado plant from the seed, she was inspired to study horticulture. Years in the field later (in Key West, she’s tended the plants of MARC House, the Butterfly Conservatory, Home Depot, and before that, Scotty’s). She also has her own bountiful orchid garden at home, which swayed, bent, but didn’t topple after Hurricane Irma. Only a few plants succumbed to the stress of the storm, and her considerable collection is again blooming. Rochelle’s garden houses around 900 plants, including a broad swathe of orchids, from a 27-year-old beauty she moved to the Keys from Chicago, to miniature orchids no bigger than your thumb. Rochelle walked us through the idiosyncrasies and preferences of these diverse beauties, and offers tips on how to keep your outdoor or indoor orchids happy and healthy, for years to come. Here, we offer guidance on light and watering, but keep in mind that all plants, orchids included enjoy a bit of fertilizer from time to time.

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PHALAENOPSIS (fayl-eh-NOP-siss) or The Moth Orchid Sun: This highly recognizable and adored, many-colored and oftstriped (the harlequin) beauties don’t like direct sun. They’ll be happy inside, in an east, west or shaded south window. Water: These are the orchids that are relatively low maintenance: they can be watered once a week inside, or twice a week in the increased light and heat of outside. They should be allowed to dry out a bit between waterings. Tip: Dark green, limp foliage on indoor orchids means they aren’t getting enough light. $18-25 at MARC House Plant Store

DENDROBIUM (den-DROHbee-um) or The Spray Orchid Sun: Dendrobiums are also common in shops and familiar to sight, with a colorful “lower lip,” and a higher tolerance for sun. They like about 50% sun—you can interpret that as a strong morning or late afternoon sun, but not all day. Water: Keep them evenly moist with once or twice (again outside) a week watering. These respond well to the “ice cube trick:” put two ice cubes in their pot once a week and allow them to melt. It is good for them to dry out completely between waterings. Tip: Rochelle points out that they don’t like to be overpotted. “It’s like putting on too big of shoes,” she said.” Select a pot just a bit bigger than the root ball—six or eight inches wide at most. $15 at MARC House Plant Store.

VANDA (VAN-dah) Sun: It’s wise to keep in mind that Vandas come in different varieties that require different care: strapleaved, semi-terete and terete (the semi-terete is a hybrid, so when considering care, imagine it to be a compromise). Strap-leaved vandas do not like the sun and do much better in 50 to 60% shade. Teretes, on the other hand, like nearly full sun (but careful not to burn them in the Keys). Water: Vandas like water more than their sister orchids, especially while growing. But take care not to let the roots rot—vandas are good candidates for hanging or for stalled—wood baskets. Tip: Feel the leaves of vandas in the sun to see how hot they are. If they are hot to the touch, you can bet they are burning, so give them some relief in the shade. $40 at MARC Plant store

ONCIDIUM (on-SIH-dee-um) or The Dancing Lady Orchid Sun: The spray of delicate blossoms of oncidiums like diffused light: think a shaded window with blinds or light curtains, and east or west windows that don’t get sun all day. Water: In regular conditions (ie—not too sunny), oncidiums only like water about once, at most twice a week. You can also use the ice cube trick with these lovely ladies, and let them dry out between waterings. Tip: Surface wetness may be deceiving—poke a pencil or chopstick into the soil to see if it’s wet 2-3 inches below the surface, and if so, give it a few days before watering again.

If you need help, go see an orchid expert like Rochelle at MARC House. They also have a great deal for the adventuresome green thumbs: half off all orchids that aren’t blooming. A great deal, and an even better surprise when they bloom.

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 17


OPEN FOR LUNCH, HAPPY HOUR & DINNER 7 DAYS A WEEK! 11AM – 10PM DAILY SATURDAY & SUNDAY Regular Menu Available and

BRUNCH items including Chorizo Breakfast Burrito, Guava French Toast, Crab Benedict and BOGO Mimosas and Glasses of Champagne 11am - 4pm

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Tuesday: Jumbo Gumbo Bowls Tacos & Tequila LIVE Music Wednesday: Wine Time Wednesday ($15-$20 bottles) LIVE Music Thursday: Prime Rib Night LIVE Music Friday: Start of the WEEKEND Saturday: Mini Brunch / BOGO Mimosas LIVE Music Sunday: FUNDAY LIVE Music 11:30-3 BRUNCH, LUNCH & BOGO Mimosas Spaghetti & Meatballs Night

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www.sparkyslanding.com • 305-363-2959 MM 53.5 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida • Waterfront Location Adjacent To Holiday Inn Express


By Sara Matthis

LIVING IN PARADISE

LOCALS INTERPRET KEYS COASTAL

The Florida Keys has its own flavor when it comes to coastal design. It doesn’t look like North Carolina, or Maine, or Hawaii. Talented designers take their cues from the colors of our waters, the shape of our flora, and the texture of our lives while creating an aesthetic that is true to the reality of space and light of the island lifestyle.

MANGROVES One of the signature aspects of this Middle Keys major design rebuild and renovation, on an island off the Middle Keys, are the mangrove root-inspired railings. The homeowners incorporated the feature on exterior balconies and interior staircases. The railings are welded aluminum with a powder coat of bronze paint. “The railings become an architectural element.” — Destin Barkley, D’Asign Source

SHIP-SHAPE Designer Ben Teague doesn’t believe in a monochrome color palette. Everything — colors, textures, fabrics, furnishings — must complement one another without competing. The major hurdle in the remodel of this Key West villa, he said, was reconfiguring the 16’x30’ room that incorporates kitchen, dining and seating elements. “We overcame a lot of placement issues by closing off the staircase railing and making it into a knee wall. That allowed for a sofa on that side, and the TV on the opposite wall.” — Ben Teague, Ben Teague Design

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BLUES & GREENS Chris Elwell embraces the colors of the Keys. This Lexington settee in a Key Haven home reminds us of sea grass, a life force in the islands, and is actually a combination of high performance fabrics in different textures. The colors of coastal chic — turquoise, silver, blue — are popular nationwide right now; we’re lucky that in the Keys it works doubly well. Plus, we can play with the greens found here in nature and this vignette has all of that. This conversation area is part of the TV and family room. It’s a place set apart; a spot to read and look out on the beautiful view of a bay.” — Chris Elwell, Royal Furniture

THE LIGHT Designer Liz Samess said this Key Colony Beach home had so much spatial volume that the first order of business was to tackle scale. The kitchen cabinets are a charcoal grey that recedes into a secure hold on the room. With tall ceilings, the homeowner chose a wide array of lighting to highlight the formal dining table, kitchen island, and informal seating. “With voluminous ceilings, you really need bold lighting.” — Liz Samess, Liz Samess interiors

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 21


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An important message from the Florida Keys Contractors Association 5190 O/S HWY • 305.922.2033

Monroe County requires all contractors to hold a Certificate of Competency (aka Contractor's License), Worker's Comp and General Liability insurance.

Protect Yourself, Your Home Ask your contractor • Do you have a Monroe County License? • Do you have general liability and workman's comp insurance? • Are you familiar with Monroe County Building Regulations? • Will you pull a permit if my work requires it? • Have you done this type of work before? • Are you self performing the entire project? • Will you supply releases of liens for your subcontractors & suppliers?

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Florida Keys Contractors Association

Florida Keys Contractors Association (305) 743-5984 • admin@fkca.org floridakeyscontractorsassociation.com


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Permit Permission Professional advice on how to avoid a red tag … and how to get through the permitting process stress free

Patti Childress

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SHEILA DENONCOURT, CHIEF BUILDING OFFICIAL, ISLAMORADA

PATTI CHILDRESS, CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER, MARATHON

There are several things to keep in mind to keep the process as stress free as possible. The Village of Islamorada Building Department and Chief Building Official Sheila Denoncourt say there are a few steps to follow every time you come to apply for a permit. “First, make sure you’re reading through the procedures for applying for a permit that are listed on the village website. Make sure plans are compliant to the current building code and signed and sealed by the design professional. Also, make sure the approved plans are on the jobsite for every inspection, and follow the approved plan or submit for a revision.” As to what not to do? The Building Department and Denoncourt say don’t cover up any work until it has been inspected.

Patti Childress can distill her advice into three salient points: One, hire a licensed and insured contractor. She said many handymen advertise on Facebook who say they are legally qualified to do the work, but are not. “I can say I’m licensed and insured, too … but it’s a driver’s license and car insurance.” Second, almost everything requires a permit. “There’s a myth going around that if the work is under $2,500, then it doesn’t require a permit. That’s not true,” she said. The only exceptions are (residential) painting and tile work. Finally, if you get caught … come clean. “My job is to help guide people into compliance. I will work with you in good faith to get through the process,” Childress said. A red tag doesn’t go away on it’s own!

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TERRENCE JUSTICE, BUILDING DIRECTOR, KEY WEST Terry Justice offers things to keep in mind in Key West that may differ somewhat from the general Florida building code: you need permits for almost all building projects beyond painting, unless it’s less than $1,000 of interior work only. While elsewhere in Florida, an outdoor storage building is okay without a permit, not so on our little island. Even painting the outside of your house in the historic district—aka Old Town—means you need to get a “certificate of appropriateness” from HARC. Bottom line: “When in doubt about a permit, ask!” Justice also recommends that homeowners look out for themselves by only hiring licensed contractors and being sure the contractor not only finishes the work, but has the final inspection and properly closes the permits. “We have Realtors coming to our counter and saying ‘Oh my God, we have a closing on Friday, and we have four open permits!” He recommends checking for open permits on your property if you’re thinking about selling. It’s easy to do so on the city’s website: go to the Building Department’s “eTRACKIT” link and enter your address.

Terrence Justice


305.969.8470

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| Home & Garden


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Museum & Nature Center

WE CAN MEET OR BEAT ANY LOCAL COMPETITOR’S PRICE! BRING US THEIR QUOTE FOR YOUR BEST DEAL!

DESIGNER SHOWROOM Bath | Faucets | Moulding | Vanities | Doors | Lighting Toto | Emerson | Cuzco | Panasonic

FULL SERVICE PAINT GALLERY SPECIAL ORDERS, IF WE DON’T HAVE IT WE CAN ORDER IT! SERVICES Delivery | Cut Keys | Re-Key Locks Custom Chainsaw Chains | Rebar Cutting/Bending

WE ARE NOW AN ACE HARDWARE SHELL LUMBER COMANY 305.451.0311

CUSTOM FRAMING | GIFTS | LOCAL ART | JEWELRY | HOME DECOR

MM 102.5 Oceanside | www.klishell.com

8333 OVERSEAS HWY | SOUTHWIND PLAZA OCEANSIDE@MM 51.5 | 305-743-2040

Monday-Friday 7am - 5pm | Saturday 7:30am -5pm keysweekly.com | fall / winter 27


THE BEAUTY OF THE BASICS By Sarah Thomas

Binchotan charcoal gets back to the basics of water purification. Rinse, boil and place in a pitcher of water, and it naturally absorbs the impurities. Binchotan Charcoal sticks $22 at Besame Mucho A basic grill pan is a revelation in a household without an outdoor grill. Get it good and hot and enjoy the slightly charred, smoky flavor it brings out in steak, chicken and fish (especially on a gas stove). Grill pan $16.99 at T.J. Maxx This brass ice cream scoop fits perfectly in the hand and makes the user feel like royalty. It adds a touch of luxury to a dinner party’s dessert course. Brass ice cream scoop $98 at Besame Mucho Fun and functionality? This pig paper towel holder is a festive focal point and also dispenses the goods in a smooth-as-silk manner. The ends are easily removed for replacement. Pig paper towel holder $45 at Fast Buck at Home A mortar and pestle set is both functional and stately. The smaller sizes can work well for seeds and spices, while a larger one works for a guacamole or chimichurri, and doubles as a serving dish. $42 at Besame Mucho

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Kitchen accessories don’t have to be complicated, they just have to work. It doesn’t hurt if they’re pretty, too. Do you remember the first time you chopped an onion or trimmed a steak with a real knife? Not the flimsy one in the back of your parents’ utensil drawer, but a proper chef’s knife with a well-sharpened blade, a smooth handle and some weight to it? That, to me, is a singular experience of the joy of cooking and, as an extension of that, the satisfaction of having a well-appointed kitchen. We are often drawn back to the comfort of the time-worn frying pan and the favorite threadbare apron with pleasure. What makes these pieces so special? Often, it’s the kitchen accessories that marry utility and aesthetics. They may not be gilded (but they can be), and they appeal to both the eye and the hands. Here, we offer locally available items that make great buys for the lowtech epicurean. Hopefully, they will join those existing favorites of the kitchen that you return to time and time again.


By Jason Koler

Investment in energy ALL THE JUICE ON SOLAR POWER

With the Florida Keys literally at ground zero for climate change and sea level rise, and with tax programs and rebates catching up to the technology, solar power is becoming a legitimate investment for any homeowner who wants to lessen their carbon footprint. Although there are several local providers, SALT in Marathon has installed the larger systems throughout the county including the solar carport at the Key West City Hall, the array on Pigeon Key and a 110 KW system for the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District. SOLAR BASICS A typical residential South Florida solar installation requires engineering to meet local building codes. the benefit? The rail systems used to anchor the solar panels to a home’s roof actually increase the structure’s ability to withstand tropical storm force winds. Once installed, any excess power may be sent back to the electrical grid via a bi-directional meter. This net metering allows a solar home to generate its own power and also draw power from the local system as needed. When a home produces an excess of electricity, the electric utility provider buys the power back from the member-consumer at price

set by the utility. FKEC buys back at full retail; KEYS Energy purchases at lower rates than it sells for. Through the end of 2019, the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows the solar customer to deduct 30% of the entire system cost from their federal income taxes —further offsetting the system’s cost. Some solar components now come with a 25-year warranty, and when combined with the federal tax credit and offset by the lack of a monthly electrical bill, the system is typically paid for in 10 to 12 years, leaving anywhere from 13 to 15 years of net profit while still in the warranty period. Since the expected life of a quality system is 30 – 40 years, this provides another 5 to 15 years of energy savings. MYTH A home with a solar array installed will be the first to have air conditioning in the event of a power outage – such as a hurricane. FACT In the event of a transmission line failure, code requires the inverter will be de-energized to ensure safety on the transmission line. With batteries and special inverters, homes can produce power for their own use, including energy efficient air-conditioners.

THE MATH Estimated electric bills for two types of solar systems The Bill: 18,500 kW-hrs of power in 12 months, $185 per month (on average) The System: 30 Sunpower, 360 watt panels with inverters, racking and monitoring Installed Price: $40,000 After Fed Tax Credit: $28,000 Annual Power Value: $2,220 Power Offset: 100% System pays for itself in 12.5 years Return on investment at least 8% - tax free, guaranteed for 25 years The Bill: 36,720 kW-hrs of power in 12 months, $350 per month (on average) The System: 60 Sunpower, 360 watt panels with inverters, racking and monitoring Installed Price:: $70,000 After Fed Tax Credit: $49,000 Annual Power Value: $4,400 Power Offset: 100% System pays for itself in 11.1 years (assuming no electric rate increases, shorter with increases) Return on investment at least 9% - tax-free, guaranteed for 25 years

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 29


FROM KEY LARGO TO KEY WEST... YVETTE SELLS THE KEYS

FREE ESTIMATES CALL US TODAY! 305.896.3599

PRECISION PAVERS

From From Keys Keys Dock Dock to to Keys Keys Mansion Mansion

Yvette Toledo-Baste

Your Florida Keys Real Estate Specialist Holds Holds the the Keys Keys to to Your Your Paradise Paradise Home Home LICENSE # SP3102

BRICK PATIOS | RETAINING WALLS | DRIVEWAYS POOL DECKS | CLEAN AND SEAL

HORIZON HOMES REALTY CORP (786) 472-0626 WWW.YVETTESELLSTHEKEYS.COM

PLAN BEFORE YOU PLANT PROTECT YOUR PIPES MAINTAIN PROPER PLANTING DISTANCES Planting sites should be a minimum of 10’ away from the pipe or no closer than the edge of the mature candy spread, whichever is greater. This will prevent root intrusion and uprooting of pipes during storm events.

FKAA.com 305-296-2454

CANOPY SPREAD PLANTING DISTANCE

10’ MIN FROM PIPE 30

| Home & Garden


License #SP 4337

TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE! BEST REPUTATION IN THE KEYS!

• Serving all the Florida Keys • Free Estimates • Hablo Espanol • 6” K-Style Gutters • Half round • Copper • Custom

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 31


KEYS TROPICAL WINDOWS & DOORS Commercial and Residential Serving Monroe, Dade, Broward, and Lee County Since 1991

SCC131151434

Locally Owned & Operated! Come Visit our Showroom 91880 Overseas Highway Unit #9 Tavernier 305-853-1124 • keystropicalwindows@yahoo.com

Paver Installation Cleaning & Sealing

License #SP3573

305.741.7688

paverdaveinc.com

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| Home & Garden

Retaining Walls Repairs


Your Island Style

Finest in Design Fast Buck’s at Home 726 Caroline Street, Key West

DOES THE HOME YOU WANT TO BUY LOOK LIKE THIS? With a renovation loan you can refinance or purchase a home that needs repairs. The renovation money is included in the loan, so you don’t have to use your valuable savings. It’s easy to qualify because the loan is based on the after-renovation value of the home. And with currently low mortgage rates, now is the perfect time to repair that fixer-upper. What are you waiting for? Wouldn’t you like to live in the home of your dreams now?

Tewes Mortgage

Most referred to mortgage broker business based in the Florida Keys. Tewes Mortgage NMLS#1453791 • NMLSConsumerAccess.org

Call 305-453-6476 for a FREE consultation www.TewesMortgage.com

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 33


By Sara Matthis and Jim McCarthy In the Keys, the growing season is flopped. “It’s a bit of a learning curve for newcomers who are used to growing in the summertime. Typically, our vegetable growing happens in the winter and fall,” said Michelle Leonard-Mulartz, an environmental horticultural agent who works with the county’s extension service. She said she knows many success stories ranging a wide range of backyard edibles: tomatoes, eggplant, kale, peppers, bell peppers, mangos, bananas, and citrus. “I love growing eggplant, and herbs … lots of herbs,” she said. She said fruit growers should position plants and trees to get eight hours of “early” sun and not the afternoon rays when the landscape is already heated. These folks already know:

KEYS FOOD GROWERS ARE FEEDING THEMSELVES, FRIENDS THE BANANA KING To be clear, Marathon resident Jeff Pinkus doesn’t calls himself the Banana King. But, right now, he has about a half dozen varieties on his lot. Before Hurricane Irma there were more than a dozen. He’s choosy, though. “If I don’t like ’em, I tear out ‘the mat’ and start something new,” Pinkus said, his long ponytail swinging as he leads a tour through his veritable jungle in the neighborhood behind the Marathon airport. A mat is a stand of banana plants, which grow incredibly fast — sometimes six inches in one day. “You can watch it happen,” Pinkus said. Pinkus grows Grand Naim (“giant dwarf”), Viente Cohol (“20 snails”), Mona Lisa, Goldfinger (a hybrid Cavendish), Alua Moa, Jamaican Reds and more. Some

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are tiny, some are fat, some are mature when the outer peels are still green. The raceme — or bunch of bananas — can weigh up to 75 pounds. What, in the Banana Republic’s name, does he DO with all of those bananas? “I take them to classes, and conventions,” said Pinkus, a Taoist Tai Chi instructor. “I also freeze them, I bake them, I dry them.” He doesn’t just grow bananas, though. He also cultivates different varieties of bamboo, dwarf pomegranate, pineapple, papaya, peppers, sour sop, sugar apple and calamondin. Pinkus took out his lawn in 1992. “I wasn’t getting anything out of it,” he said. He’s added layer after layer of mulch since then and now boasts a foot of black dirt; in the Keys that’s not easy to achieve. He’s feeding his family, friends and community with the proceeds.


THE KEY LIME EMPEROR And no, Mark Gregg doesn’t call himself the Key Lime Emperor. But off Old Highway on Plantation Key, rows of Key lime trees situated on the Gregg property are beginning to bear some fruit. While limes are produced yearround, the peak season usually spans from August to September. Back in the day, Johnny “Brush” Pinder farmed pineapples and limes on his Plantation Key property. Mark Gregg, a sixthgeneration descendant of the Pinder family, did a little research

on the early agricultural practices in the Keys and spent time reading up on the crops grown. Gregg says he was looking to do something that’s sustainable, organic and doesn’t require extraordinary irrigation. “There’s a few varieties of limes, and from my research, the original settlers grew the longthorned lime,” he said. “Those are the ones with the longest history down here.” In March 2016, Gregg planted 50 lime trees, many of which were laid over at a 45-degree angle after Irma. But they’re coming back strong. Not only do the trees

serve as an income generator, but it’s also a hobby for Gregg, who has a farming background. Gregg takes care of the trees with his brother, Barry. Gregg says limes aren’t picked off the tree; rather they are gathered once they fall to the ground. They’re then sent to restaurants. The most pristine limes are known as centerfold — perfectly round, visually appealing and popular at wedding and dinner events. The odd-sized limes with blemishes, referred to as prime, are perfect for pies and juice.

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 35


“Lincensed & insured” #SP33799 & MV62849

RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL • 305-743-7800

SERVING SOUTH FLORIDA FOR OVER 30 YEARS! Nothing is more important than the structural integrity of your home, and its repair requires a specialized process and a high level of expertise. We work closely with engineers and designers to carefully remove, repair and reinforce the structure so you can be assured of a sound home.

SERVING THE FLORIDA KEYS FOR OVER 15 YEARS • Sales & Installation of PGT Windows and Doors • Tub & Shower Enclosures • Safety & Tempered Glass • Mirror & Mirror Walls • Plexi-glass & Lexan

Authorized Dealer

As with any steel reinforced concrete structure, exposure to the elements can cause irreversible, cosmetic as well as structural damage. Let us evaluate your seawall or dock, and give you expert recommendations for its repair.

We specialize in concrete repair and replacement. Each of these is a specialized process and requires a high level of expertise to achieve optimum results. When you work with Randy and his team of professionals, you will be assured that your job will be completed correctly and with no detail overlooked!

SPECIALIZING IN IMPACT WINDOWS AND DOORS & SHOWER ENCLOSURES 88005 O/S HIGHWAY, PLAZA 88, ISLAMORADA, FL

FULL SERVICE SHOP AND INSTALLER 9121 OVERSEAS HIGHWAY MARATHON FL, 33050

info@Rhendrickconstruction.com 36

| Home & Garden

MONDAY - FRIDAY 9AM - 5PM (CLOSED FROM 12:30 TO 1:30PM)


ARTIC TEMP, INC. Sales, Service & Installation

AIR CONDITIONING COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION ICE MACHINES

Florida Keys Mosquito Control kills millions of mosquito larvae before you get to work in the morning. For Service Requests, www.keysmosquito.org or 305-292-7190

Covering All The Keys

305-743-5288

9699 Overseas Hwy., Marathon (across from the airport, corner of 97th Street) Lic & Ins. Contractor #CAC 053827

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES HAVE DROPPED! REFINANCE & SAVE! SIMPLE PROCESS NO LENDER FEES

NMLS 376205

KRISTEN EKLUND MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR NMLS 371443 | 305.587.4403 kristen@c2cmortgage.com

MEET YOUR LOCAL LENDING EXPERT: KRISTEN EKLUND Since 1998, Kristen has created the best home loan scenarios for her clients with her industry knowledge, creativity and expert advice. Kristen lives and works in the Florida Keys. Call today and find out why Kristen and her team are so successful. Because when you lead the way, there is a reason...

keysweekly.com | fall / winter 37


FL Solar & Electrical Contractor CVC56734, EC13008657

www.saltenergy.net

Meter Based Surge Protection

From Key West to Key Largo Commercial & Residential, Remodeling Sewer Installation, Excavation, Repairs

To defend your entire home from power spikes have FKEC install a meter mounted surge protector. The device is a collar added to your meter and uses red indicator lights to show it is working properly.

Drain Cleaning, Grease/Sewer Pump Outs New Construction, Water Jetting 305

872-BLUE

305

296-BLUE

FLAkeysplumbing.com Locally owned and operated 305

RF #11067168 keysbluewater@hotmail.com

Learn more at www.FKEC.com or Call 305-852-2431 38

| Home & Garden


PARADISE F UND. S E R V I N G

T H E

F L O R I D A

K E Y S

71 N BOUNTY LANE KEY LARGO, FL

$2,149,000 | 3/3 Elegant bayfront home with bay views from every bedroom in prestigious Buccaneer Point. TEXT US FOR HDR VIDEO BJ & HEATHER BORN 305.619.0240 | 305.394.0716 BJBORN@RESF.COM HEATHERBORN@RESF.COM

64 N BLACKWATER LANE KEY LARGO, FL Under $2MM | Tri-level waterfront on 13,200 sf oversized lot. 120± ft of deep water frontage with easy access to Blackwater Sound. TEXT ME FOR HDR VIDEO DINORAH GUERRA 305.305.0300 DGUERRA@RESF.COM

821 BONITO LANE KEY LARGO, FL

$1,460,000 | Brand new construction. 5/3 with storage, pool, 60’ dock with lift. Room for all your toys and direct access to the ocean. TEXT ME FOR HDR VIDEO RALPH SAM 305.302.5645 RALPH@RESF.COM

128 OLD FASHION ROAD TAVERNIER, FL

$785,000 | Direct ocean access CBS home with concrete roof, 2/2 upstairs, grandfathered 1/1 downstairs on large low maintenance lot. TEXT ME FOR HDR VIDEO PUBLIO FRANK LAZCOS 305.525.2580 PUBLIO@RESF.COM

1 0 1 4 1 5

O V E R S E A S

H I G H W A Y ,

K E Y

L A R G O ,

F L

LOCATED ABOVE PUBLIX SUPERMARKET AT TRADEWINDS SHOPPING PLAZA | RESF.COM / ISLAND-PROPERTIES

FIND YOUR SP T 814 PONCE DE LEON BOULEVARD, 503, CORAL GABLES, FL 33134. 305.392.1497 © 2019 Real Estate Sales Force, Inc. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert.


REIMAGINE

REVAMP

REFRESH

Whether searching for that perfect piece of furniture, ready to remodel, or looking to design your dream home and outdoor entertainment space—D’Asign Source is your onestop shop. With over 59 years of excellence in the Florida Keys, we look forward to helping craft your inspiration into a beautiful and functional reality. Stop in today! Architecture • Interior Design Landscape Design • Furniture & Accessories

305-743-7130 | DAsignSource.com | 11500 Overseas Hwy, Marathon | MM 53

Coastal Home Decor & More!

Local, Fully Licensed Contractors #CGC026675, Architects #AA26001284, Interior Designers #B26000844 & Landscape Architects #LA6667217

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