June & July 2016


YOU'LL  IT

Building Permits! Whoo-Hoo!

The Virgin Islands Department of Planning & Natural Resources (better known as DPNR) has approved our plans. Harley immediately posted the permits on our lot. We are thrilled that we can now start building. First on the agenda is excavation.... stay tuned!

POSTED ON JUNE 24, 2016


The Floor Plans



Here are the interior layouts. First, the main house with a master bedroom and of course my spa bath with soaking tub, that opens up to the garden area. The office area will also serve a guest bedroom that has an adjoining bath. The great room will open up to the covered deck with expansive sliding glass doors. Note the bar area on the deck... no Caribbean home would be complete without an outdoor bar and grill area (IMO). The seating area next to the pool will be sunken, sort of lounging pit. We may have to get a gas fire-pit for those chilly winter months :) The lower level of the main house, under the master bedroom is a garage.... yes, you heard it right, a garage with lots of storage. I think it's Harley's idea of a "man-cave". The cottage is a one bedroom , one bath with an outdoor stone shower. The bedroom will open up to the living area with barn-door style doors. It will have it's own dipping pool. All will be very modern with a touch of Caribbean.

POSTED ON JUNE 26, 2016


Excavation... The First Dig

We have offically begun!

POSTED ON JULY 6, 2016


The View Appears!

Nice! Now that a lot of scrub has been cleared you can finally see the view that I was anntipating (despite the rainy weather).

POSTED ON JULY 7, 2016


Opps!... The First Delay

We have been delayed for several days now. The excavator keeps throwing its track off. They have tried jerry-rigging it but the fix doesn't last for long. The part needed has been ordered from Puerto Rico and should arrive soon. So progress has been slow. It will be repaired soon, so for now I will sit back and enjoy the view.

POSTED ON JULY 10, 2016


Dirt... and lots of it!

The excavator is fixed and we're back to clearing and digging. The bottom photo is a big mound of rich top soil.... a perfect ingredient for a lush garden.

POSTED ON JULY 18, 2016


The Guys Hard at Work

The first photo is Harley with Tommy Bertolino our long time friend, formerly an owner of St. John Hardware, and home builder on St. John for most of his adult life. (Special Happy Birthday goes out to Tommy, celebrating his big "60" here on the 20th of July.) And our good friend Ted Miazga, laying out the initial dig with our excavator, Jose. Ted was our neighbor back in the Virgin Grand Estates, where we previously built a home. Ted is the resident "expert" for the dig, as he previously use to build roads and bridges for the State of Connecticut. He knows grades and elevations like the back of his hand. We are grateful to have his participation in the build, as he is always looking ahead, and coming up with solutions to problems we didn't even know we had at this point. Between him and Tommy, we are very appreciative of their knowledge and contributions. In the bottom right photo, to the right of Harley and Tommy Bertolino is Mike Dickenson, long time St John resident and our "concrete guy". He is renown for his expertise in "polished concrete floors", which we will do again on this build.

POSTED ON JULY 19, 2016


Major excavation complete!

After about two weeks of site work, we were able to receive our building materials, "just in time". Long story short, we were able to get the barge from Puerto Rico to drop our materials in St. John, not St. Thomas as originally planned, since barges running from St. Thomas to St. John haven't been able to transport heavy trucks to St. John in the last few weeks to deliver them to St. John. In the infamous words of actor George Peppard of the TV action series, "The A-Team", "I love it when a plan comes together". Despite some of the initial setbacks, the "Building Gods" have been good to us, and everything seems to have worked out for the best. Since our last post, we were able to get our waste water treatment system installed (thanks to Brent Lynn of Backed Up), and our temporary electrical service installed and lines run up to the main house for construction power (thanks to our friend Ted Miazga, who was also a major help on the excavation elevations). We also had our "first visitors" to the site. Bernd, Mindy and their son Tristan Michtner. Bernd was our finish carpenter on our previous home and his wife, Captain Mindy, who both own and operate Big Blue Excursions here on St. John, along with their son, who is an inspiring designer. Now, we are ready to start forming up, getting footings, knee walls and slabs ready to pour. Apparently that is the next challenge, with no concrete being able to be transported from St. Thomas because of the on going barge issues. As in Herman Wouk's famous book titled "Don't stop the Carnival!", we will get there some day!

POSTED ON JULY 29, 2016


Excavation In Action!

POSTED ON JULY 31, 2016



Here's the Spot