BUYING OUR PIECE OF PARADISE
We have found our paradise, our Valhalla, our heaven! Our tiny home in the Caribbean is it. Life doesn't get any better than this we are pretty much sure of that! We have never lived in a place that we have enjoyed more than the One Love Bus and Valhalla property. We own a 1/2 acre of land on the Northside of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands where we park our school bus. To us "Valhalla" (our yard) is an extension of our home. Our souls feel alive in our yard, and at peace all at the same time. Connecting with nature and having comfortable outdoor spaces were important to us in the build out of our home and yard. Just as the Viking hero's did we will protect our Valhalla.
MODERN SHED CONSTRUCTION
After parking the bus on our land, we scoped out the best place to build what Amanda calls a "barn." She had one growing up, so the name has stuck. In actuality, our "barn" is a modern shed design, with a barn door on it (had to make sure we incorporated a barn door of course)! You may have noticed that our bus doesn't have a bathroom in it. The barn is multipurpose and acts as our bath house, walk out closet ;) and storage area for Joe's ever growing collection of tools. The awesome thing about the construction of the barn is that we didn't have to disrupt the land at all. We built footers that support the shed. There’s steel cables that run from each corner of the shed to boulders in the ground with secured eye bolts that fasten it to the land. We use these during hurricane season. The framing of the barn space was done by our friend Dan from Meat & Potatoes Carpentry in St. Thomas. Dan guided Joe through the rest of the construction process of the barn and now we pretty much have two tiny houses on our land!
With a place to sleep and a place to use the bathroom and do all of the other activities that homeowners do grass was the next obvious step for our property. We both love the feeling of grass between our toes and had missed that luxury as it is pretty rare to find in the Caribbean. To treat ourselves we ordered a pallet of grass and went to work one afternoon during the rainy season with a couple of friends laying the sod. Fibae and Antony helped us prep the soil with our homemade compost and we got the last of the sod in just before the sun totally set on us. A few days later a monsoon came through bringing 10 inches of rain in one day and ripped through most of our sod. Amanda rescued it though and mother natures aeration and watering of the land made the grass grow in so nicely. We laid grass into the hillside of our property and used the natural landscape of the grass and rocks to make built in benches. Some have described the property as looking like "Lord of the Rings." For Joe the installation of the grass was a milestone, he absolutely loves watering the lawn at the end of the day with a beer in hand most days ;) At night it's so nice to sit back and relax against the hillside and look out towards Magen's Bay or up at the stars. It is a truly magical experience, one that we wish everyone could experience.
Amanda's Brother, Barkley came in January of 2016 to help us plan out a brick pathway from our driveway up and around to the buses front door. Barkley has a landscaping company in Manchester, CT so we knew that he would be the perfect person to make our pathway vision a reality. We had up-cycled bricks from our friends Carrie and Morgan. They are gorgeous old Caribbean bricks. Carrie and Morgan were no longer needing them because they had changed out their patio to travertine so we were in such luck when they offered to give them to us! We already had the cement pavers and knew that we would like to incorporate the two somehow. Barkley could not have come up with a better design it was as if he entered our mind and saw exactly what we were hoping for (but better even)! If you live in the New England area you gotta look this guy up Thomas Barkley Kenton is hands down the man when it comes to landscaping and stone / paver work. Side note everything you see here was done with hand tools, pretty much a first for Barkley, we all couldn't be happier with the result.