• Mel Dick

Colorful Key West Homes.











Spent most of the day wandering around the Key West historical district's residential areas. Some great pictures of the many colorful homes. As I was taking pictures I started wondering why so many colorful homes? You might ask "Who the cares"? This is an important question....one that needs to be answered!!!


Many coastal cities like Key West have deep ties to fishing. Fisherman would paint their boats various colors and extra paint could be used on their homes. Local fisherman would often be at sea for several days at a time, but if they were close enough to shore, they wanted to be able to identify their home. Another functional reason is that lighter colors tend to absorb less sunlight and as a result the homes are cooler inside, an important factor before the advent of air conditioning. Lastly, as fishing towns become vacation destinations, locals realized that tourists wanted colorful pictures to take home to show others, thus colorful homes have become the norm.


In Key West, painting of home exteriors is heavily regulated. Only colors on a pre-approved list are allowed and then only after approval by the City of Key West. The painting of Key West’s historic homes is overseen by the Historic Architectural Review Commission. The Commission's design guidelines are intended to preserve and protect the architectural environment and unique character of Key West's historic neighborhoods considered to be Key West’s #1 tourist attraction. Lastly, for those that care deeply about the question of why so many colorful homes, it should be noted that in 2012 Key West was named as one of the 12 “Prettiest Painted Places in America” in a national competition sponsored by the prestigious Paint Quality Institute, which no longer exists!!!

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