Tours give glimpses into great homes

This is 1017 Thomas St.

Year after year, houses in Key West are renovated or expanded to suit the demands of modern living or desired lifestyles.

The Old Island Restoration Foundation begins its 57th home-tour season Dec. 27 and 28 with homes that exemplify different approaches to adapting cozy homes for occupancy now and through future. You can split your visits over the two days and see the homes in any order.

Each day’s tour is from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 on tour days. The featured houses:

▪ 307 Truman Ave.

The front section of this Bahamian house may date back as far as 1870. It has gone through several changes and additions over the decades to keep it habitable, the latest just completed within the past year. Fulfilling the contemporary desire for outdoor living was high on the list for alterations.

▪ 1017 Thomas St.

Do you think it impossible to have three bedrooms and three baths in 920 square feet? The clever yet minimal and low-maintenance 2014 renovation of this quaint Conch cottage proves it can be done.

▪ 623 Angela St.

A modest Bahamian cottage has perched near the highest point of city since around 1870. Its compact footprint was unchanged until 2015. Then, a detached bedroom suite addition expanded its living space.

▪ 805 Virginia St.

Was a 1900s cigar maker’s house totally reconfigured in the 1930s after being damaged by a fire? Its footprint was clearly altered at that point but old wood was retained. The two-level front porch and widow’s-walk roofline look appropriate for an earlier era but the second floor did not exist before a 1996 renovation.

▪ 1418 Johnson St.

Post-World War II, sturdy concrete block houses sprung up on newly created dry land. This mid-century modern home’s practical design proved to be a great canvas for a colorful tropical contemporary makeover.

Other house tours are Jan. 13 and 14, Feb. 17 and 18, and March 17 and 18.

For credit-card purchase of tickets, go to or call (305) 294-9501. Tickets are also available for purchase by check or cash at Capital Bank at 3618 N. Roosevelt Blvd. and 700 Front St. in Key West, mile marker 30.4 on Big Pine Key and 2348 Overseas Highway in Marathon; Royal Furniture at 3326 N. Roosevelt Blvd.; and the Oldest House, 322 Duval St. During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses (cash or check).