HGTV's Renovation Island : Everything You Need to Know About Stars Bryan and Sarah Baeumler
After Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, a contractor and designer, spent $ 2 million on an abandoned resort on South Andros Island in the Bahamas, they packed up their four children and moved to their home in Canada. Now they are turning the dilapidated property into a luxurious, eco-friendly hotel - and playing the leading role in their own HGTV series, Renovation Island.
The couple reveals what it was like to follow the dreams of their renovation island.
How did you find South Andros?
SARAH: We have a property in the Florida Keys where we keep our boat, and we've made some trips across the Bahama. With each trip, Bryan searches the maps for new places to explore. Andros (known as the sleeping giant) has always caught our attention because it is by far the largest and least developed island in the Bahamas. During our trip we were shown the old "Emerald Palms" hotel. It is deserted and decrepit. I think it took about 5 minutes for all of us to look at each other and say, "Let's do it!"
How did people react when you bought the resort?
BRYAN: People told us that this was not possible, but this project checked all the boxes for us. The kids love to travel and we are always looking for adventures.
What challenges have you faced? Time pressure? Budget?
SARAH: Logistics was probably the most difficult part of the project. We have small planes on the island and a few ships a month with materials and products from Nassau or Miami, which means that we have to plan weeks in advance which items we need on site. If we are missing something, it either takes a few weeks or we have to charter a plane at high cost to bring it here.
What was the plan for the property?
BRYAN: A boutique resort where guests can retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is a place to renew and restore. We really wanted to create a place where our family would like to spend time. Low density, surrounded by nature, crystal clear water, incredible reefs and sea for fishing and diving, endless beaches with no footprints, ultimate privacy and serenity, while enjoying the comfort of a small boutique hotel with incredible cuisine, spa, pool and a relaxed but refined environment. We are currently in the process of installing a plastic recycling plant for the ocean and developing plans to create a fully sustainable and environmentally friendly operation in the long term.
How did it live and work on the island?
SARAH: It was an adjustment. The shops are small and don't always offer the variety we are used to at home, but you get used to it and adapt. Our perspectives have also changed significantly. When we run out of milk, we can't always go to the store to get more. Sometimes we have to wait a week for the next ship to arrive so that we can drink water or juice. It actually reduces stress because you realize that you don't have to have everything at your fingertips to survive and be happy. While we're at the resort, we all pack into a one bedroom villa at the back of the property. It's cozy, but it works! We also spend most of the time outside and it brought the family very close, which is very nice ... most of the time, ha!
SARAH: When we started, it looked like a walking dead set. It was originally built in the 1960s and has been vacant for a decade. The salt in the air had corroded everything that land crabs were in the basement and in the kitchen, termites were everywhere in the hotel block and in the main building. It definitely had the beautiful location and lots of potential, but that's about it. We definitely underestimated the challenges. But most people work 51 weeks a year so they can spend a week in paradise. We are here every day!
Renovation Island premieres on June 7th at 8 p.m. on HGTV.
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