The Beginning of Our Fish Hooks Journey (aka the Most Stressful Day of my Life)

Last week, when I published the latest Fish Hooks restoration update, I included a “before” photo of the house, as well as a more recent image.

Fish Hooks “Before” – January 2006

Several people pointed out that the yard looks so much larger in the current photograph, and asked whether we moved the house.

Fish Hooks – July 2017

I realized that a lot of Little House by the Ferry readers who’ve joined us more recently may not know about the day in January 2014 when we first began our Fish Hooks journey.

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Fish Hooks Restoration Update: Summer 2017

In hindsight, adding a porch to Fish Hooks might have been a mistake. Not that there’s anything wrong with the porch. It’s just that now, all Tom and I want to do is sit and enjoy it!

Our favourite room at Fish Hooks – the front porch!

That, combined with the fact that Tom hasn’t had a ton of free time over the past year, means we haven’t gotten as much done on the house recently as we would have liked. So earlier this year, when he was able to get a whole month off, we were determined to get back on track. Continue reading

Sweet Decor Inspiration

Much of Green Turtle Cay’s wealth in the late 1800s was generated through the cultivation and export of pineapples. At that time, the fruit was a rare luxury for European royalty and upper classes and a symbol of hospitality and grace in colonial America.

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Image: Wikipedia Commons

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Fish Hooks Update: Our Garden (Part 2)

You know how sometimes, the smell of something can trigger a flood of memories?

Night-blooming jasmine

(Photo by Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.) – Flora de Filipinas via Wikipedia)

That’s what happens to me when I smell night-blooming jasmine (aka cestrum nocturnum).

Its musky, sweet fragrance reminds me of summer nights strolling through the quiet streets of Green Turtle Cay, eating ice cream and laughing with my cousins.

When Tom and I moved to Los Angeles a decade ago, I was excited to discover that jasmine was quite common. I soon learned, however, that it’s not the same as the night-blooming jasmine I know.

The jasmine we have in California blooms continuously for a few weeks during the spring. It’s covered in pristine white blooms and gives off a powerful, cloying-to-the-point-of-inducing-headaches fragrance.

By comparison, night-blooming jasmine isn’t much to look at. Most of the time, it’s just a leafy shrub with scrawny, greenish buds. But every so often, on balmy tropical evenings, those buds open and exhale delicate wafts of fragrance.

When we were young, it seemed like night-blooming jasmine was everywhere on the cay. It’s much more difficult to find these days. Fortunately, I ran into a friend last trip who has a plant, and he very graciously agreed to give me a few clippings.

I was beyond excited. For more than a decade, from the moment we began thinking about buying Fish Hooks, Tom and I envisioned having night-blooming jasmine in the yard. Junior Roberts, whose team of gardeners maintains our property, has promised to mind my prized clippings and plant them when they’re suitably rooted.

Night-blooming jasmine

Night-blooming jasmine plant (center and right)

Thanks to Junior and his team, the garden at Fish Hooks is coming along nicely. Once nothing more than a rocky pit, our front yard is now carpeted with soft, healthy grass. And our flowering plants and shrubs, coconut palms and young fruit trees are all thriving.

Fish Hooks Garden Update

Coconut palms given to us by our late neighbour, Winkie, and a mango tree propagated from a seed by our previous gardener, Charles.

Unfortunately, not much was in bloom while I was most recently on the cay, but fingers crossed, our oleander, hibiscus, bridal bouquet and frangipani will be blossoming when I’m back later in the spring.

And I cannot wait for the first time the fragrance from our own night-blooming jasmine wafts in from the garden!

My neem plant

Also a gift (this one from our kind neighbour, Eileen Hodgkins) our neem plant will also scent the garden when it matures.

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The Kindness of Neighbours

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Flowers for our garden from our neighbour, Eileen Hodgkins.

During our Fish Hooks journey, Tom and I have been touched time and again by the generosity of our neighbours.

They’ve offered us invaluable advice, loaned us tools and equipment, commiserated with us on our very stressful moving day, brought us baked treats and freshly laid eggs, contributed plants for our new garden and generally welcomed us with warmth and kindness.

During our last trip, two experiences in particular reminded me how fortunate we are to be a small part of such a wonderful community.

One of Green Turtle Cay’s second homeowners was waiting for the ferry at the dock across from our house.

When her fellow passengers discovered it was her birthday, they broke into an impromptu (and really terrific) rendition of Happy Birthday right there on the ferry dock. According to the second homeowner, it made her day. I know it did mine. Continue reading

From Our Fish Hooks Inspiration File

More than 10 years ago, during Tom’s first trip to Green Turtle Cay, we began dreaming of owning this little house. The minute we returned home, I started a file of design and decor ideas, just in case.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks

Tom and me at Fish Hooks during his first trip to Green Turtle Cay – January 2006

Since then, the file has grown steadily as we’ve drawn inspiration from books, television, other restoration projects and, of course, the Internet.

Fortunately, when it comes to restoring and decorating Fish Hooks, Tom and I share a similar vision. We  want to retain as much of the original structure and as many of the existing furnishings as possible. We favour airy white and muted sea glass shades over brighter, more traditional tropical colours. And, for the most part, we both dislike knick-knacks — which is just as well, as there’s no room for any!

Here’s a peek into our Fish Hooks inspiration file:

Jewel Box

Jewel Box, Harbour Island, Bahamas

Jewel Box – Very similar to Fish Hooks, Jewel Box is an historic Harbour Island home owned by New York jewelry designer Trish Becker and her husband, Richard Chinitz. Everything about this restoration is inspiring, particularly Trish and Richard’s commitment to remaining true to the history of the house and to repurposing as many of its original building materials as possible.

Island Life: Inspirational Interiors51Z1YDMSW9L._SY408_BO1,204,203,200_ (left) by India Hicks and David Flint Wood. A beautifully photographed book featuring the couple’s Bahamian home, Hibiscus Hill. I love the combination of understated island style with British Colonial formality.Cover

Tiny Luxury – I recently discovered this HGTV program about a couple who build homes so small they make Fish Hooks seem palatial. If, like Tom and me, you’re designing and furnishing a tiny space and looking to wring the most function and style out of every square inch, Tiny Luxury is a great source of ideas.

Rooms to Inspire by the Sea (right) by Annie Kelly. A gift from Tom the Christmas after we bought Fish Hooks, this book features the gorgeous personal coastal and beach homes of various designers. Of the properties included, my favourite is Harbour Island’s Salt Box, which was restored by architect, interior designer and then-owner, Tom Scheerer. (In the photo collage below, the very last image — which has long served as the inspiration for Fish Hooks’ master bedroom — is Salt Box’s attic bedroom.)

And then there’s Pinterest, home to countless design and decor ideas for small beach houses. Here are some of the images that inspire us.

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