Secrets of Renovating a Bed & Breakfast

Lots of other bed and breakfast operators have been reading my blog. Some have asked me how we manage to complete all the construction work we've done here so I thought I'd let everyone in on our secret. When Laurie and I first bought the property we were looking at an estate home that had been ravaged by two hurricanes and left abandoned for six years. Just so we could walk around the property safely we filled six thirty-yard garbage dumpsters of unusable material. The beautiful cedar from the main house we recycled to build the vaulted ceiling on the new villa. Some of the antique furniture we repaired and re-finished. But how did two people, one who is still running his Caribbean shipping agency (probably the smallest in the world but still the down island trading ships arrive at 3 am or Sunday or whenever their schedule demands and they are demanding) cope? The scope of the tasks we have accomplished and some of the pending projects would be considered insurmountable by many. We certainly couldn't have accomplished so much in the usual manner. And we know about the usual manner because many of our guests ask how come we have been working on this place for nearly five years now and it isn't finished.


But, the usual manner would have required truck loads of money to pay the teams of contractors that come in and get it all done in a professional and seemingly effortless stream of busy workers and material deliveries. If we had the cash flow to do it like that we would probably elect to stay in someone else's beautiful romantic hideaway. But we are doing it on the cheap so we can live in our own paradise hide-away. Still, there is (and was) far too much work here for one busy couple to do even without sleeping and certainly cutting into the average American's six hours of television viewing time (luckily we don't have TV).

I think it was Laurie who came up with the solution to our problem. It was certainly her that had to do most of the extra work involved so she was motivated. Our solution was to advertise for volunteers to come and stay with us for two or three months. We would feed them and house them and even teach them a trade in return for the work they perform on one of our projects.

For the past two months we have been closed and lots of working is getting done with the volunteer's help. Pictures tell a thousand words so the subsequent posts will show pictures of our volunteers working. We have also added some new short videos to our youtube site. Go to rainforestinn's youtube videos -- we will keep adding new ones, mainly showing our volunteers in action.