Before and After: A Neglected Home in St. Thomas Is Now an Island Paradise
In 2016, moving to an island paradise seemed like a breeze. We (Tim and Becca Maney) bought a rundown island cottage sight unseen the day before we married in the fall of 2016. St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands would be our new home and project. In 2019, and after two category five hurricanes, our island paradise is finally complete.
When we first arrived, the upper level, three-bedroom one bath hadn’t been occupied for some years. The roof was damaged, inviting in a mold problem. There were five different types of tile in a 2,000 square foot area. And the whole home had suffered from so much neglect that almost nothing was salvageable.
The first priority was getting the home livable, putting in new floors and a roof, and replacing the drywall—the essentials. Then came the project of modernizing and brightening up the spaces. We choose a light grayish white to coat all the walls and ceilings. We were going for a relaxed, organic feel and the palette is neutral with natural wood surfaces and the occasional pop of color.
“Part of the challenge with renovating on an island is getting materials. When it came time to replace the kitchen, we couldn’t get a counter top material we wanted without going to Puerto Rico. So we settled on locally sourced mahogany,” says Tim.
Category five hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island hard and set back the project many months. But the damage to the home was minor compared to neighbors and friends. We felt lucky to still have a roof; we didn’t mind cleaning up the three inches of standing water or replacing the windows. So many around us lost everything.
The last stages of the renovation included adding in new electrical, painting the exterior, and Tim’s pet project: an outdoor space with a custom wood fire pizza oven.
“It was a crazy leap of faith, buying a house in a place where we had only vacationed. But even after the storms we came out on top. After years of work, this place is finally where we want it to be,” Tim says. “Maybe we can go to the beach now.”
Thanks, Tim and Becca!