Renovation Island: The Big Blue

Bryan and Sarah Baeumler and crew are in deep as the date of the resort's grand opening is on the horizon — and renovations are still underway on the main clubhouse, dining room, spa and bar. Meanwhile the resort gets christened with an official new name honoring its ties to the sea.

July 26, 2020

The Road Ahead

As the Baeumlers' time on the island approaches a year, and their crew grows in size and skill, work continues on the core elements of the renovation.

Ocean Breezes

Though the setting is paradise, the Baeumlers' stakes are high. They've taken a huge risk, and the restoration and resurrection of the island resort continues to present challenges. They've run into unforeseen repairs, new expenses, logistical restraints with getting materials to the island and an expanding budget.

The Big Picture

Plans and designs are coming together, but there's still lots of work to do on the main block of hotel rooms, the individual villas and the clubhouse, kitchen and restaurant.

Heavy Cargo

Sarah and Adam check on newly shipped-in building materials.

What Time Is It?

Bryan endeavors to adjust to the concept of "island time" — where deadlines sometimes fall away and there's an underlying philosophy of "If it doesn't get done today, it'll get done tomorrow."

Island Life

All things considered, not a bad place to spend some time.

Island Life

A local resident of the Bahamian waters off of South Andros

Island Life

On a trip into town, Bryan visits woh some of the local island residents.

Echoes from the Past

The resort, which had been non-operational for years when the Baeumlers purchased it, had originally been named The Emerald Palms. The sign at the entrance still bears the faded and worn letters of the original name.

A Not-So-Grand Entrance

A massive palm tree that grew at the front of the resort's main entrance was so overgrown that it obscured the entrance and much of the building.

Work in Progress

Bryan pilots a forklift for bringing in some of the building materials needed for the renovation.

Work in Progress

As Bryan concentrates on construction, Sarah focuses operations side in preparation for the resort's opening. She's seen here with Cate, the general manager as well as Erica and Leigh who will help Cate and Sarah with logistics and reservations. "Now I feel there’s equal support for the operations and the construction," says Sarah, "and that just gives me a sense of calmness."

Work in Progress

Sarah and Bryan discuss the plans for the full bar in the main clubhouse.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

The Main Hotel Block

Bryan is generally optimistic at this point with the construction aspects of the renovation. "We’re in a good place with the main hotel block," he says. "All the drywall is up; the rough-ins are done."

The Main Hotel Block

The ocean view from the seaside units of the main hotel block

The Main Hotel Block

In terms of landscaping, a rich assortment of tropical plants trees and shrubs were shipped in for plantings around the pool area and hotel grounds.

Be Cool

The resort's original a/c units had all fallen into ruin through years of disuse and exposure to the salt air. New rooftop units have been installed on the main hotel block and operating in a test run to ensure they are working fully operational.

The Main Clubhouse

Design Plan. At the resort clubhouse, the main lobby once remodeled will include the reception area and four bathrooms for guests. Each bathroom will feature different tile patterns and a unique design.

The Main Clubhouse

Sarah checks on some of the building materials for the main clubhouse's dining room and bar. "Our main restaurant is probably one of our projects that I’m most excited about," she says.

Lusca

The main dining room is seen here under construction. Once completed the dining room will bear the name "Lusca' and will include a full-service bar featuring craft Bahamian rums. The name Lusca is a term from Bahamian folklore describing a legendary monstrous sea-creature.

Lusca

Design Plan. The restaurant and dining area will be a hub of the resort's activity. The main dining room will feature seating for 65 guests. Custom banquettes along one wall are removable to enable the space to be used for special group events, weddings and receptions.

Lusca

Design Plan. The main bar on the clubhouse's lower level was designed by Sarah and features rich, dark woods and recessed accent lighting. A unique custom chandelier was built specially for this bar.

Lusca

Bryan and Adam work on the rough-in for the bar area's electrical and plumbing.

A Public Service

We interrupt this renovation to bring you an amazing ocean view. Please enjoy. We now return you to the regularly scheduled slide show.

Kitchen Crew

The work on the commercial kitchen is nearing completion abd almost ready for executive chef Sebastian (right) and his team.

Kitchen Crew

Daniel, another new team member, will assist Sebastian in managing all of the needs for the food and beverage team.

Switcha Café

Design Plan. "In terms of the layout for Switcha," says Sarah, "we’ve opened the clubhouse lobby directly into the café. Glass doors open into a full-service area where we’ll offer coffee, smoothies and light bites." The café also a grab-and-go area for to-go snacks and beverages.

Switcha Café

Renovation for Switcha included refurbishing and skimming walls for the new paint and wallpaper. It also included replacing all the old plumbing and electrical as well as the clay floor tiles.

On the Level

Bryan and Adam installied the new floor tile, installing the new tile directly over the old clay tiles to save time. Since the existing floor wasn’t completely level, they build up the tile base with mortar to establish a consistently flat and even surface.

The Grand Entrance

As seen here, prior to the renovation the entrance to the hotel lobby and reception area left a lot to be desired. A massive palm tree had grown up, blocking the whole front entry from view.

The Grand Entrance

With the massive palm tree removed, and front area re-landscaped, Bryan and crew constructed the form for pouring new concrete steps leading up to the entry. The wide concrete stairs will help make for a visually impressive hotel entrance.

Rain Delay

The plan to pour the stairs for the refurbished main entrance got delayed by rains. "Island time" comes into play once again. “If we don’t get it done today," said Bryan "we’ll do it tomorrow.”

The Grand Entrance

The front facade of the main clubhouse begins to take shape with the completion of the new stairs and entry.

The Spa

The railings and deck on the spa building have been replaced. Bryan and Jimbo work on replacing the wooden stairs.

The Spa

Once the new stair treads and handrails are added, the spa exterior is nearing completion. Inside, work is ongoing installing hardwood flooring as well as floor tile and wall tile in the water closet and shower.

The Spa


Once the flooring and tile is complete, final additions in the spa include new trim, cabinetry and massage tables. "Foot-baths and hand stations ... whatever it is that goes in a spa," says Bryan, "we'll throw it in there — and we'll have a spa."

The Pool and Beachside Bar

The Completed Beach Deck

Bahamian Flora

True Colors

The national flag of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, adopted in 1973, is proudly on display at the resort.

Where We Are Now

"Over the past few weeks we've made a tone of progress," says Bryan. "We've cleaned up the beach, we've got the beach deck finished completely, we've got the (outdoor) fireplaces plumbed in and all the furniture out and landscaping planted. It's really starting to look finished."

Before

The resort's original sign was in rough shape with peeling paint, faded lettering and cracks in the concrete.

After

The sign at the entrance has now been fully refurbished — repaired and repainted, and with the resort's new name and logo.

What's In a Name?

Sarah and Bryan admire the newly refurbished sign at the resort entrance — with the new name collectively chosen by the Baeumler family.

What's In a Name?

"The name for the resort is one of the first things that we choseas a family," says Sarah.

What's In a Name?

"For us, it is all about the ocean," Sarah continues, "and the fact that we're on the reef —so we came up with the name Caerula Mar."

What's In a Name?

The translation of Caerula Mar: "the deep blue sea."

Break on Through

"We're on a big push to get things completed now," says Bryan, summing up this phase in the project. "We have a hard-and-fast opening date approaching. It's kinda all-hands-on-deck."

Flying the Friendly Skies

As work proceeds below, a brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) takes an afternoon cruise along the beach.

Almost Happy Hour

Libations are now being served at the Lusca bar. Please don't forget to tip your bartender.

The Adventure Continues

Keep checking back at 'Renovation Island Central' for more new galleries, articles, updates and video documenting this epic island adventure.

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