Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Visual Inspiration: the Hemingway House

I apologize in advance to the WAD readers with slow internet connections, as this post has a lot of pictures. Guy and I toured the Ernest Hemingway house in Key West last weekend, and Lawdamercy it was lovely. Originally built in 1850 by Ada Tift, a ship captain, Hemingway bought it in the early 1930s with his second wife Pauline. (The brothers of Asa Tift moved to Georgia, where they founded Tift County and Tifton County, no kidding).

Hemingway in his hospital bed during World War I. Unable to serve in the military due to some sort of heart condition, he served in the Red Cross instead. At one point, he took a couple hundred shrapnel hits and spent time recuperating. Naturally, 19-year-old Hemingway fell in love with his older nurse, who spurned him. She later showed up in "A Farewell to Arms," where she was killed. Never piss off a novelist.

The front entry of the house.

The whole house is lovely, but as an architect, 'tis the bathroom that makes me swoon. Pauline and Ernest met in Europe where she was an editor for French Vogue, so Sista had taste. She picked the fixtures and tile for the bathrooms.


Here's a view back at that bathroom from the veranda. Oh, to shower and then step right onto the balcony through a window with working shutters!! At one point, Hemingway had a walkway built from this veranda to his writing studio, 12 or so feet off the ground, so he could he could walk straight out of the bedroom (on your left, in this photo) to the studio without having to go downstairs. Very straightforward, just like his character and setting descriptions.

Another veranda. Oh, lawd... [fanning self]

The legendary kittehs of the Hemingway House, five-toed and polydactyl, were hiding from the heat and snoozing during our visit, which coincided with daylight, an inconvenient time for kittehs to be up and about in the 97-degree-674%-humidity of Key West. This one is conked out in the master bathroom floor. They said he's like 16 or so years old. I think his name was Ambrose Bierce. (All the Hemingway kittehs are named.)

More feline chillaxing in the garden. The tour guide told us that if a Category 3 or high hurricane is coming, the kittehs are boxed up, put on special trucks, and taken to Daytona.

This one was curled up by the pool under a bench that Guy sat down on. No one wanted to show me their kitteh thumbs for the pictures, rly sry Miss Kitteh.

Meanwhile, Hemingway's writing studio, on the second floor of a garage/shed building. WANT. This gives me such creative EPIC WANT. Evidently, after Hemingway and Pauline split up, she didn't touch this room, and she sold the house with his stuff in this room. They have the entry fenced off so you can only lean over to take pictures, can't go inside. WANT.

Even the writing studio's toilet room is marvelous. Looks like Pauline's been in here, too!

The pool--his studio overlooks the pool. The Hemingways bought the house for $8,000 back in the early 1930's, and when Paline found out Heminway was cheating on her in Europe, she spent $22,000 of his cash on this pool (replacing the boxing ring that he'd had here). Never piss off a wife.

If you'd like more info on the Hemingway House, go here.

Finally, a lovely shot up the Key West Lighthouse Tower, which is across the street from Hemingway.

More later--we've got South Beach photos and a tour of the Key West cemetary.


Miss Kitty said...

WOW. Those are some awesome pix. Now I'm wanting to go to Key West.

Anne Jo Lee said...

Is it ok if I use this picture in the documentary "America's Lost Treasure" about the dry Tortugas? please?

~Anne Jo Lee

Mile High Pixie said...

Anne Jo, which picture did you want to use? Please email me in the sideber. Thanks!