Key West, Florida

Visit this eclectic Key West rental for the ultimate post-holiday getaway.
Text by Kelly Brown Tomas

You deserve a break after the hectic pace of the holidays, and Sea Shell Cottage offers the perfect respite―peace, privacy, and lush greenery, all within walking distance of Old Town Key West.

Owner Amanda Richardson turned this one-bedroom cottage into an artful retreat―cozy enough for couples, but large enough for a small family. Drawing inspiration from the sea, she filled the house with funky ocean accessories. In the living area, a glass coffee table with a coral-shape base provides a focal point, surrounded by bold paintings and pillows that accent furniture slipcovered in white. A narrow ledge with a collection of conch shells crowns the room. Hundreds more hand-placed shells form a textured backsplash and crafty wall art in the kitchen. "It's fun to vacation in a colorful, tropical space―a different environment from day-to-day living," Amanda says.

The seashell theme continues upstairs, where scallop shells frame the master bath mirrors. Mini aqua tiles line the sink and spa tub. "Everything is wavy and lends the feel of water and tranquility," Amanda says. Luxurious white linens pop against aqua walls in the bedroom, where a skylight enables stargazing from the comfort of a king-size bed.

The surrounding gardens nearly hide the house, ensuring maximum privacy. In front, a canopy of bougainvillea over a flagstone path sprinkles guests with confetti-like blooms. The backyard garden is filled with bulnesia, frangipani, hibiscus, and coconut palms leading to an enticing pool.

Measuring just 4 miles from end to end, Key West offers a variety of restaurants and activities within blocks of the cottage. Guests can rent kayaks near Old Town or visit Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park for stellar beaches, snorkeling, and bike trails. Given all that, and the rental's secluded setting, Sea Shell Cottage makes a great place to warm up this winter.

(published January/February 2008)

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