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C’est la Sea

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US Virgin Islands
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Signature blue metal roof gives renovated island villa “landmark” status

This vacation villa right on Great Cruz Bay, on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has gone from eyesore to landmark, thanks to a major restoration following Hurricane Irma’s direct hit on the island in 2017. That storm severely damaged the home’s roof, which was already in need of structural repair, and underscored the need to seal in its largely open-to-the-elements floor plan more securely. The finished result makes the most of the stunning location – the owners have rechristened the place “C’est la Sea,” which could be any Francophone’s utterance upon arrival. Its new, stunning blue metal roof stands out against the island’s green hills and has made the place a navigational aid and spawned a raft of imitators in the process.

David and Gina Gloski already were regular St. John visitors when, just six months after the hurricane had struck, they visited the property that was to become theirs almost on a whim. “On the way down here, on the plane, I hit the internet to see what was available – and this house was available,” David says. “We knew of this property because we almost rented it once. And so during our visit we saw it and a couple pieces fell into place, and six months later we owned it.”

While the home already had been mostly secured against the elements, the previous corrugated aluminum roof was in obvious need of repair. Additionally, the couple wanted to glass in windows that previously had only louvered shutters with screens for protection, with many lacking even the screens. This lack of protection had earned the place some negative reviews thanks to mosquito and gecko intrusions. Finally, they also wanted to enclose and roof over the adjacent pool area that had been open to the kitchen to help deal with temperature control in the tropical region.

The roof required structural work before further efforts on it could proceed. Over the years, portions of the roof had sagged. This meant the local contractor, Nathan Visel, had to jack up a couple corners and square the structure before dealing with decking and new roof panels.

The overall roof design followed the pattern of what previously had been in place, with the addition of a membrane roof over the pool with a slight slope to direct rainfall to a drain leading to an in-house cistern that supplies much of the home’s water. But following an existing design didn’t mean Visel’s job was easy. The plan required a great deal of factory pre-cutting to create the pagoda-style layers of slopes and cupolas, so ensuring that measurements were correct was key. And, with the skilled worker shortage common in such a remote and pricey location, Visel did much of the installation work himself during hot and humid weather conditions that added to the project’s challenges.

The Gloskis turned to Petersen as the primary roofing supplier, ordering 4,400 sq. ft. of the company’s PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad roofing panels in Interstate Blue. The choice reflected the owners’ own preference in bold colors and a desire to give their home a new start in the vacation market, as it’s rented for up to six months each year.

“It’s an iconic place on the island, so we just wanted to give it kind of a stamp of color, kind of as a landmark for people,” David says, noting the choice has caught on among other owners in the area. “Probably a dozen or so other homes on the island have either the same color or something close, so we kind of started a little trend with the color.”

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