PARADISE POINT - Virgin Islands
An Oceanside Villa in St. Croix
by Kaya Morgan
Newlyweds on a budget, Peg and Larry Meyer fell in love with St. Croix on their first visit to the Virgin Islands in the 1970s. Although far from their home in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where Peg runs a busy marketing and advertising agency while Larry keeps the city on track as Mayor, St. Croix became a favorite vacation venue for the couple. They often walked to the beautiful, secluded beach on the southeastern end of the island and still reminisce, "Little did we know then that 20 years later, we would be the first to build a house on our beloved Grapetree Point," says Larry Meyer.
The Meyers had dreamed for several years about building their island home, seriously exploring sites on Kauai, Maul, and the Big Island of Hawaii before deciding on St. Croix. "We gained a lot of inspiration concerning design ideas from the homes we saw on other islands," Larry says.
The Meyers' three-bedroom, four-bath Mediterranean/West Indies-style villa, which they call "Paradise Point," was completed in January 1995. "It has been quite an experience learning to deal with the island culture, doing almost everything twice the wrong way first and then the right way ..and then taking lots of time to do anything," as Larry recalls. As someone who has done lots of construction projects, this turned out to be the most frustrating he had ever undertaken.
One of the best things about the Meyer residence is its delightful cliff-side location. Views from the villa include 250-degree vistas of turquoise waters, coral reefs, Grapetree Beach, and Turner Hole. Famous Buck Island, a snorkeler's paradise, is just to the north, and the nearby Westin Carambola Beach Resort offers fabulous dining and championship golf on a Robert Trent Jones-designed course. All around are statuesque queen palms and lush tropical foliage, picturesque rocky outcroppings, ruins of sugar cane mills, and sparkling seas.
"What is really delightful is just absorbing the peaceful, beautiful nature and ambiance of this lovely spot," says Peg. Five patios and two balconies overlooking the sea provide plenty of places to read, nap, or sunbathe in privacy.
The villa was designed to take full advantage of the ocean views and cooling trade winds. Guests enter the home through a lush tropical courtyard full of Birds of Paradise, hibiscus, gardenias, and palm trees. The mahogany front door was hand-made on the island and features a brass-and-copper sculpture of sea horses, coral, fish, and sea turtles by St. Croix artist Trudi Gilliam.
The living room is light and bright with a soaring twenty-foot-high vaulted ceiling and twelve-feet-tall arched windows that open to the sea. The open beam ceilings are of pickled wood, and suspended fans have bleached wood blades. A focal point of the room is the large bronze sculpture of two sea turtles, swimming together by artist, Kent Ullberg. The room's Italian tile floors with border designs are complemented by coral walls and turquoise-painted window frames to match the color of the sea. The entertainment center contains a cinema-screen TV and a stereo CD jukebox that provides individually-controlled music to every room and to outdoor patios.
Upholstered in a coral sea design of turquoises and shell tones, back-to-back "L-shaped" sofas in the living room are oversized, casual, and comfortable. The glass-topped coffee tables are constructed of fossilized coral mined from the Dominican Republic interior, recalling a time 100 million years ago before the Caribbean Islands were created. Fossilized shells can be seen in the tables, and the shell design motif is repeated throughout the house.
The home's ocean front pool wraps around the living room and is surrounded by both shaded and open-sun patios. The pool, which is bordered with colorful tiles depicting tropical fish, has an "eternity" edge on the side fronting the ocean cliff, giving it the appearance of being one with the sea. There's also a large covered outdoor dining pavilion that is perfect for dining and entertaining, with a curving glass block wet bar for enjoying delicious Caribbean cuisine and cocktails alfresco.
Two steps up from the living room is the kitchen, with an island food prep area and dining counter. A breakfast nook with a coral table cantilevers out over the ocean, with louvered shutters opening to panoramic views on three sides. The kitchen cabinets have a copper-lacquer finish accented by bluish sea coral. Starfish-shaped copper cabinet pulls add a whimsical touch.
Outside the kitchen to the west is a large patio with an outdoor cooking grill and a large outdoor dining set. "We also have a number of lounge chairs and gliders here, as this is our favorite sunning patio," says Larry.
Stepping down the stairs to the two guest bedrooms below, you pass a fifteen-foot palm tree growing through the stairwell. Each of the downstairs guest suites has its own private bath, with glass blocks and colorful tiles, and a private view balcony. One bedroom features a pink hydrangea motif; the other is decorated in various shades of rich teal. Both are furnished in casual Caribbean style, with white wicker, colorful quilts, and West Indies artwork.
Upstairs from the main level is the romantic master suite, tiled in pink Italian marble. The centerpiece of the room is an antique king-size Indonesian brass bed draped in antique lace, centered on a raised, lighted platform of pink marble. Glass blocks and custom arch-top mahogany doors accent the room. To one side is an oversize lounge perfect for book lovers and a turret look-out with arch-top shuttered windows that swing out on five sides. And off the bedroom to the other side is a circular balcony with sweeping ocean vistas.
The master bath features tile and glass block, with gold dolphin spouts to fill the sink and Jacuzzi whirlpool bath that overlooks the Caribbean. "A typical morning at Paradise Point," says Larry with a chuckle, "includes soaking in the tub while watching pelicans dive into their favorite fishing hole for breakfast right outside the window."
"As one guest wrote to us after staying at Paradise Point," Peg says, "everyone should have this kind of experience at least once in a lifetime." Fortunately, for the Meyers, they will get to realize their dream for years to come.
To reserve your next vacation at this Virgin Isle villa, contact 800.676.9224 or www.dream-villas.com
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