- February 1st, 2010
- in Yachting
Behind the Scenes – Kraus-Manning, since their arrival in the BVI, have hit the ground running. Their team is made of specialized individuals who have worked together or sought each other through reputation on projects around the world. It is no surprise then as we tour Peter Island to see the projects at hand, that the larger hands on team has been at work. The showcase product by Kraus-Manning at Peter Island is Falcon’s Nest, a luxurious mansion on the ridge with no holds barred in expense, style and the highest standards of service and privacy. Estimated at $900 per square foot in construction, the Nest is a labyrinth of wood, concrete and spacious symmetry.
Photos by yachtshotsbvi.com
Tiles came from Iran and Iraq, outside artists designed the shotcrete hillside using trowels and cement rather than brushes and oils to create an amazing effect of giant boulders, streaming into a waterfall and then a grotto by the pool. Each piece in the house is a labor of love, project manager Craig Noblett tells me. Chosen woods of teak, mahogany, embossed ash and wenge wood doors and paneling were brought in and then placed together. The views are breathtaking day or night, and the surrounds give a feeling of elite style. The showers, with water tiles, were constructed at $30,000, and the experience looks like a lifestyle itself. The mansion was rebuilt in eight months; Craig recalling how the landscaping and finishing touches were done literally as the first guests moved in and local contractors toiled to the last minute. As the guests were unpacking, Kraus-Manning was quietly stepping out the back door onto the next project.
In addition to upcoming property projects on Peter Island, Kraus-Manning has been commissioned for the ecological upgrade of the island’s energy supplies and its relocation. Stoney Bay is the site of a new water desalination plant and generators for the resort. Up on its ridge are the wind turbines that will catch the trades to sustain the resort’s power draw. Whilst conduits for energy sources are now being placed out of sight, the roads have been partially graded and natural boulders placed to catch sediment from rains. Hiking is one of Peter Island guests’ favored activities, and the emphasis has been placed on keeping everything as simple as possible, meaning no concrete roads except to villa driveways. Based on this, Peter Island’s overhaul looks as though nothing has changed for decades—it is now as it was supposed to be. The noisy generators are being relocated at Stoney, tucked behind mangroves and a salt pond, and the housing is powered by a solar laminate paneled roof tiling. Water from the desalination plant flows to two 500,000-gallon cisterns to be redistributed for guest use and irrigation. As we are standing in the engineering plant compound, and the February deadline approaches for completion, I notice one thing: there is no sound, and the guys at KM simply smile and wink, this is the way forward for Peter Island.
For many reasons, the wind turbines fascinate me—this has been an untapped energy source in the BVI. However, Craig warns me very quickly of energy system technology, and he points out how systems are always changing and upgrading. “So we have made sure that everything we are installing is good for two decades at least, but we make our clients fully aware not to go overkill—leave room for nature and other developments in technology,” he says. Smart thinking, I muse, and as I examine the 150-foot tall turbines, I imagine the maintenance involved and again I am impressed by KM’s philosophy of longevity, choice and engineering—there is no sense in using ecological wonders that are literally defunct by the next year. The turbine rotors will run at 35-70 rpm and generate power on a scale of 16 mph wind providing 250 kilowatts.
Since I have been to Peter Island myself recently, I had no idea all this work was going on, and as Craig remarks—that’s how Kraus-Manning like it. The guests are an absolute priority. Under no circumstances does anyone want the guests to feel that there is construction in progress. It is important to everyone working on the projects that they are unseen. Refreshingly, there are no signs in place at all announcing projects, nor is anyone bombarded by constant press releases or sweeping statements of ecological pioneering. As Kraus-Manning put it, “Our clients trust us and we are quiet about it. We want to get the job done and do it right.” To date KM have completed works at Bitter End, Government structures and several houses on mainland Tortola. On the day of my visit at Peter, the pool was being rebuilt and had two days to go before guests could swim in it for Christmas. I have no doubt that the guests sipping cocktails didn’t even notice.