Storytelling in the Time of Pandemic: My Family’s Move to St. Croix
This one starts right after September 11th when there was also a great deal of pain and fear in the world. These days it’s hard to focus on anything but the pandemic, but I have loved learning more details on the history of our family furniture business. This short piece is about my parents first move from Bequia in the Grenadines to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, a former Danish colony, back in 2001. The Danish influence provides some foreshadowing for what later becomes a significant influence in Nestify’s collection, Hans Wegner, the great Danish furniture designer.
Right after 9/11, as soon as they were allowing flights again, my father flew from Iowa down to St. Croix for four days to look at property. The country was in mourning, many afraid of flying, so he remembers not telling my grandmother, his mom, so she wouldn’t worry. It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission, after all. Friends of our family had vacationed there and loved it. In addition, it had a nice golf course, which the other Virgin Islands didn’t have. Eventually, my mom and dad found an ugly house with a great view in their price range and bought it.
Within 9 months, a Danish West Indian home came on the market within budget and the ugly house was sold, and that one purchased. It came with the furniture included, and－meaning no disrespect to a great show with a wonderful theme song－think The Golden Girls; lots of wicker and floral prints, but without the cool Martinique wallpaper in Blanche’s bedroom.
The idea was to have a more classical and traditional look, so, with the help of their interior designer friend, they got to work choosing new pieces to fill their home. My father being, shall we say, “frugal,” decided the best solution was to find a supplier in Indonesia for the teak and mahogany furniture, bring in two containers, use what was needed, and sell off the surplus. And that, in a word, is how Sweet Lime Furnishings began. They initially sold out of a warehouse (hot, stuffy and utterly miserable to visit, which I did), but my mother quickly grew tired of having to use the bathroom at the Sherwin Williams paint store next door, so they began the process of looking for a shop space. More on that next time!