When Mark and I arrived back at Water's Edge on the afternoon of Hurricane Matthew we were in for quite a shock. As I turned the corner to our back patio all I could see was coral. The patio was gone, yes, that's right, washed away. We've held back from sharing any photos of the initial devastation because we were worried about scaring any future guests. What we weren't worried about was putting it right. With Richie, his team and six weeks ahead of us, we had faith that our next group of Water's Edge guests would enjoy the villa as good as new.
We didn't know it was possible for Water's Edge renovations to improve on what we had before - but they did! Because of the complete devastation and the fact that we were starting from scratch we got to make some amazing changes to the usability of the outside space of Water's Edge.
Here's what happened...
This is a photo of Water's Edge the day before the hurricane with Mark checking the shutters. All of the furniture was cleared out, the coconut trees trimmed and the bar area reinforced in preparation.
And here is that same patio view shot from the same position right after the hurricane blew through.
Isn't that palm tree amazing? I was so worried that it would be the only thing damaged and it turned out to be the only thing left standing. My hero!
The damage was extensive.
- We lost the entire 120 feet of seawall (granted it was probably one hundred years old)
- We lost the entire lower patio, stairs and large section of upper patio
- The roof of the outside bar was severely compromised and had to be removed.
- Sections of the inner patio wall were compromised and had to be removed and/or reinforced.
- The generator was underwater for hours and had to be replaced.
- We had to replace the electrics for the pool as that was also underwater.
- We had to repair and replace a portion of the roof tiling
- We had to build an entirely new front wall around the garden.
All of this had to be completed within a six weeks time period with everyone on the island struggling for resources (both people and supplies) and basic necessities unavailable. We had no water for over a week and spent fifteen days without electricity. But we persevered.
Water's Edge is back baby!
Over the next few days I'll be posting detailed before and after photos - today we start with the pool...
Most of you will remember the iconic view that we used as the banner for most of our Water's Edge communications and advertising. It looked like this...
Yes it was beautiful and actually my favorite place on the Water's Edge patio. But there were a few problems.
- It was the only place on the patio where you get a direct line of view into the ocean
- The only way you could get that view was to sit on the very skinny, very high wall. This was quite a precarious position considering the coral so far below.
- The area blocked any ocean view from the pool. If you were swimming in the pool you saw the wall, and that was pretty much it.
Here's what the pool area looked like after the hurricane.
Yep - the entire Adirondack chair area just disappeared. But, miraculously the pool remained completely intact and structurally sound - and look at that view!!
We decide that instead of rebuilding the area as it was before we would tackle the problems.
We built our front sea-wall lower than before. Now you can sit on the sea wall in any area of the lower patio and get direct views into the water. We decided that the spectacular view from the pool was more important than the upper seating space, so we built a comfy wooden deck area with steps coming down from both the pool and the patio. My sister called it ocean viewing stadium seating (which is definitely what it feels like). You can sit on the steps and see directly into the water while chatting with folks swimming in the pool. You can rest your frozen margarita on the pool bar while lounging on the stairs or in a chair under the shady umbrella (both Richie and Mark laughed at me for insisting that we create an umbrella hole in the newly poured patio - they aren't laughing now).
Here's what the new area and the view look like now.
In the next post we'll show you what we did on the fabulous new bar area!