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Easy living, fine fishing on a Florida key

Looking for a winter home, Virginia residents Garland and Betty Kight discovered Cudjoe Key near the end of the Florida Keys chain.

A concrete seawall protects this four-bedroom home on Florida's Cudjoe Key.

For more than a decade they’ve enjoyed “warm winters, easy open-water access and a very friendly, quiet residential neighborhood,” says Kight, 68, an avid fisherman semiretired from his Norfolk, Virginia, sportfishing boat sales business. “Fishing in the Keys is the best on the East Coast.”

They keep their 32-foot World Cat and 17-foot runabout on 20,000- and 7,000-pound lifts along their 12-foot-deep canal. Open water is just five minutes away by boat, with a controlling depth of 4-1/2 feet. A good fishing reef is a 30-minute run.

Now they’re moving to Marco Island for fishing in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands.

Their ground-level four-bedroom, 2-1/2-bath Cudjoe Key home with an attached three-car garage sits on 0.44 acres with a 163-foot concrete seawall. On the market for $1.099 million, the property is among the farthest from U.S. 1, which links the Keys.

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When the Kights first walked through the double front doors into the central great room, they were captivated. “The 16-foot ceilings, bamboo floors and 8-foot doors make the house more spacious than most,” says Betty Kight, a retired teacher. “My 6-foot, 5-inch husband doesn’t feel closed in.”

Sliding glass doors access the screened canal-front lanai. Partial walls open the garden-side dining room to the great room, or “everything room.” The adjacent kitchen, lined with cabinetry and new appliances, has a breakfast bar/pass-through to the great room and a wet bar near the pass-through to the lanai. The Corian-topped center island enables several people to help cook.

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The waterfront breakfast nook is Betty’s favorite spot to enjoy the wildlife and canal views.

The laundry room and a half-bath open off the hall to the garage, which she says has “space for everything.” The carpeted bedrooms lie to the left of the great room. Two garden-side bedrooms share a connecting bath that has a shower with smoked glass doors and a river rock floor. The library, featuring a wall of custom bookcases, has sliders to the lanai and French doors to the master bedroom.

Crown molding accents the master bedroom’s tray ceiling, and a door accesses the lanai. Two closets, one a walk-in, adjoin the en suite bath, where venetian blinds and tropical shrubs screen the corner windows. Granite countertops and tile flooring complement a heart-shaped jetted tub and a rainhead shower with glass doors.

The couple enjoy fishing, setting stone crab traps and catching lobster hidden in crevices in their seawall. “Our seafood is fresh, and we know where it came from,” Betty says.

The property has city water and a private septic system. (Sewers are under construction). Built in 1993, the concrete-block, tiled-roof home has annual taxes of about $8,000. The optional property owners association charges $75 dues annually.

Diane Corliss — (305) 849-0934,— of Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co.-Lower Keys lists the property.

June 2015 issue