I never do this. I never share my home in a public forum. Over all, we are a very quiet and private family. This past winter we purchased a condo here in St. Thomas and opened up our lives, our search for a new home, and our remodel project to the HGTV show Beach Front Bargain Hunt. Let me first say, it was a great experience! The crew was so patient (we’re not exactly naturals in front of a camera!) and they made it fun! Most importantly to us this was an opportunity to portray St. Thomas as a lovely place to raise a family. The process of retelling the story of how we came to live where we do, gave us the chance to really remember what we love about the island and see it with fresh eyes. The view point of those who don’t live here day in and day out is an important one to remember! Now that the filming is done, and by the time this posts the show will have aired, I thought it was time to share some of the background of our project, when the episode was filmed we were part way through a big remodel project. As a designer, I help guide clients through their projects and often share the before and after pictures of those projects. Over the next few posts I will share the before and after’s from my own project step by step!
Thanks to Kerstin we found the worst fixer upper in one of our favorite communities. Kerstin McConnell of Sea Glass Properties has been a friend for years, it’s a small island and our children were even in preschool together. We’d been looking for a place off and on but not seriously for about a year, just kicking around the idea of maybe buying. When she called me to say she had a place in our area for sale that needed a ton of work, I said that sounds perfect for us! Long story short, very short, we got it for a price that would allow us to strip everything out and start over. I’m sure you’ll be able to see why I was so excited, and it gave my husband a headache;)!!
Out with the old! We hired longtime friend and colleague Bill Tynan as our contractor. Since we’ve worked together on a number of projects He pretty much already knew what I had in mind for the place. Lose the popcorn ceiling, nice open kitchen, modern lighting… my favorite blend of clean modern and comfy beach cottage. But there was a long way to go.
The new master bedroom and bath is small by most standards but perfect for us. It’s undergone some big changes in the past few months!
To fully appreciate the after you’ve got to see the before! On 12/20/13 this was the look.
Now on 1/15/14 the demo had begun. It really doesn’t even look like the same place anymore.
Now a month later on 2/15/14 we were less than 2 weeks away from TV cameras arriving and still not really ready to be the subject of pretty TV!! I was excited all the same because at this point I could see my concept sketches becoming a reality. For me, this is the design buzz, I get really excited to see the pieces coming together that have existed in my mind for all this time!
Today the space is just about ready to live in. We’re not moved in yet. Friends and neighbors ask when we’ll be moving in. I’m sure they’re wondering what the hold up could possibly be! We’ve waited for the end of the school year and a few finishing touches, like kitchen counter tops which go in this next week. After madly rushing for 2 months we just decided to take our time a little …Island time I guess you’d say.
This is our new look! I really love it! The colors are so soft and there’s just enough space. My favorite part is that when I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror I can see the reflection of the boats moored in Cowpet Bay. I think it will be a great way to start my day!
You may be wondering at this point why is this titled Gull Reef Club? Have you read Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk? I read it many years ago when I first moved to St. Thomas and while it was a good tale then it has taken on a whole new meaning over the past 12 years. It is a tale of small business ownership, renovation projects, and the island dream experience. Although the end of the book is a bit tragic, our own experience in island dreams continues to grow, onward and upward!