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First-Time Homebuyers

“Island of Bryan” Couple Offers Top DIY Tips for New Homeowners

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island of bryan-new homeowners-hgtv-baeumler
Sarah and Bryan Baeumler

Bryan Baeumler is the host of several HGTV shows, including “Island of Bryan,” in which he and his wife Sarah restore the island resort Caerula Mar Club in the Bahamas. We spoke with the couple about their experience fixing up a resort property — and attempting to open it during the COVID-19 pandemic — and got their best tips for homeowners looking to tackle their own DIY projects.

What got you interested in property renovation?

Sarah: Bryan’s journey into the world of home renovation began when he was just 14 years old. In 2004, he took the step of founding his own construction company, and that decision became part of both our lives.

I’ve always had a passion for transforming spaces and making them more functional and beautiful — and as small business owners, it was only natural for us to discuss projects at home, work together on marketing and accounting, and join forces to help our clients turn visions into reality.

We’ve grown together over the years, and today, neither of us can imagine working with anyone else. The level of trust between us and the way we push each other to evolve and perfect our crafts keeps us both learning and loving the process.

I know Caerula Mar Club had its grand opening in February 2020, but had to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic shortly thereafter. Could you talk a bit about how you navigated the pandemic and what the status of the resort is currently?

Bryan: Sarah and I faced our biggest challenge when we began to build, develop, and renovate what is now Caerula Mar Club. Designing and renovating a property on an island in a country that you are not familiar with came with many challenges and obstacles. From sourcing material to shipping issues, and, of course, COVID -19, there were many unforeseen issues that Sarah and I had to overcome.

I think this taught us both how to navigate the challenging times together and to not only adapt to an ever-changing market, but to be able to identify when it may be time to pivot or to stay firm on things that are important to us and our overall vision.

Sarah: We have also had the privilege of receiving some incredible accolades in the travel industry over the past few years from well-respected outlets, such as Travel + Leisure and Architectural Digest. This is a great honor for Bryan and me, but where we truly receive the most joy is when we visit with guests at the hotel and they share their personal stories of their time on Andros Island. Guests’ personal connections to our team, to the island community, and to the surroundings is what remains in our memories forever.

Caerula Mar Club is open to guests and still very much our home away from home. You’ll find us there often!

What are some tips you’d give to a homeowner looking to take on a home renovation project; DIY or otherwise?

Bryan: Home renovations are rarely smooth. This is apparent in our shows — nothing ever goes to plan. My best advice for someone starting a home renovation is to break up the project into parts. Making a plan and having materials sourced beforehand will put you on the right path to success.

When in doubt, stay calm.

Is there any other advice you would like to give to first-time homeowners/buyers?

Sarah: Purchasing and renovating a home can be stressful, and it’s easy to get caught up on the negatives; the things that are going wrong, what didn’t work out, and mistakes that may have been made. In situations like these, try to focus on the solution rather than the problem and practice productive communication. It’s important to remember and re-establish that you are always on the same team!

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