One of the dreams that’s kept me going is the Eleuthera, Bahamas house that my friend Lynn Larson and I are building as our winter retreat. We began the project a year and a half ago when we vacationed in the Bahamas and played a little game of “What if?” which turned into a game of “Why can’t we?”, and which soon became “Let’s!”.

While this was going to be a joint venture, my joint refused to cooperate, and so Lynn has spent the better part of the time since doing this alone–general contracting, designing, clearing brush, and painting. The latest photos show a pretty advanced stage of completion–at last! And I (at last) am in the final stages of getting down there to visit the project.

There have been earlier photos on this blog, but here are some from Lynn’s most recent trip–and a little more of the story.

The first photo is of the original house, in the little town of Tarpum Bay. Mr. Culmer was a fisherman, and his home was among the first in the town. The property was purchased by an artist/educator who lived in Tarpum Bay and whose descendants still own property there–MacMillan Hughes. He was a bit of an eccentric, and left his mark on the town–not only did he have a family compound on the beach, but he also built a castle for his mistress:

The ruins of the castle are still in the town, and the property is owned by the son. MacMillan Hughes next turned his attention to acquiring and renovating the Culmer House as an artist’s studio, and began the project by filling in the basement with cement and rocks, and beginning construction of the house and walled property.

This is what Lynn and I bought–the ultimate fixer-upper. But remember, this is the Bahamas,  and the walls are a foot thick, and we are in town, so there’s water and electricity. Plus, the view of the Caribbean is spectacular!

After a false start when our first choice contractor got distracted by his son’s arrest for murder, we found a wonderful builder who’s last name is–Culmer! and who is delighted to be working close to home and on his great grandfather’s cottage. Kervin has done wonderful work, and completed the cottage in record time. These are some of the latest photos and you can see how far he’s come.

This photo is taken from behind the house, looking out toward the ocean. You can imagine what the view is like from the second story….

This is the view from the inside of Lynn’s bedroom–my room is on the left and that’s my storm shutter you see through the window. You can see the church on the main street (Queen’s Highway) and the ocean just beyond. There’s a door from each bedroom out onto a second story deck, just for watching sunsets!

And here’s Lynn, after a hard day’s work paining the interior.

Now here’s the trick: this is a dream come true for both of us. It’s the result of a lot of hard work over our lifetimes, and a commitment to making a reality of a dream. For me it’s also a result of lot of support from my friends–the OC folks who decorated my room and kept my spirits up, my friends from the real estate world who gave me a rocking chair for my deck and a huge supply of love and encouragement, my former staff members (still my friends), and my coach Debby.

The only hurdle that remains for me is getting there, and every day brings me a little closer!


7 thoughts on “Eleuthera

  1. Hey Gertie

    Enjoyed your update on your house. I remember seeing your place when I was taking photos in Tarpum Bay – hopefully you will get to see them someday.

    I hope you get to go back soon.

    Perry J.

  2. Gertie:

    Wanted to drop you a note to say how much my friend, Julia, and I enjoy your blog which we recently discovered. We have been looking at property in Eleuthera now for a couple of years. What a great experience you and Lynn must be having fixing up that wonderful old house on such a beautiful island. We absolutely love Eleuthera and it’s people. We try to get there at least once or twice a year for a week or two at a time, usually staying at a friend’s house in Governor’s Harbor when we’re there. Julia and I will definitely check out your place in Tarpum Bay on our next trip, probably sometime in November of this year if all goes well. If you and Lynn hear of anything interesting for sale on the island, don’t hesitate to drop us a line! Take care and all the best.

    Debbie D.
    Julia K.

  3. Debbie:
    It can be done! We are two retired women, neither of whom is rolling in dough. What has made it successful is our willingness to risk, and our flexibility to go with the flow, or roll with the tide, or whatever. And we have to thank Lynn’s friend Paul, who recognizes determination when he sees it, and gracefully steps out of the way of the oncoming train.

    We did, by the way, visit real estate offices–but found very little response from those who were looking at selling big expensive oceanfront homes, or subdivision lots. We knew we wanted to be in a community of people who live on Eleuthera and share its history and genuine lifestyle.

    I’ll look forward to meeting you…on Eleuthera!


  4. Enjoyed the Photo’s, but just wanted to let you know that it bothered me when u said: ” this is the Bahamas, mon, and the walls are a foot thick”. Correct, this is the Bahamas….. NOT Jamaica! We don’t say “mon”, and it is common practice for Americans to generalize us all as Jamaican’s. Please don’t generalize us all!

    • Point well taken. I’ve fixed it! Though I don’t think the reason behind it was sloppy generalization so much as it was my bad ear for dialect. I hope as you read my posts you’ll see that I find people interesting as individuals, not as cultural generalities. Thanks for the response.

  5. Thanks for updating your blog. I hope I didn’t sound harsh or mean in my last post, it’s just that the “mon” thing happens a lot.

    Anyway…. Goodluck with your house, I wish you and your friend the best! Eleuthra is a nice place, I hope you guys enjoy it. By the way, I noticed your blog was posted a while back…. house the progress on the house now?

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