Furnishing a New Ho...
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Furnishing a New Home on STJ

Posts: 2
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Topic starter


I'm hoping to get some advice about furnishing a new home from scratch on St. John. I was thinking about shopping in Miami or New York and having everything sent to Tropical or CaribTrans shipping (both in Florida) who would then in turn ship everything down in a container to STJ.

Does anyone have any experience having done this sort of thing? Are there specific stores (i.e. Pier One) that would carry furniture better suited for the tropics? Is there a specific area of Miami where there is a large concentration of stores, so one can easily jump from one to the next and get a lot of shopping done in just a few days?

I don't currently live in the U.S. (am in Europe for work until the house in the VI is set up) so anywhere I shop in the U.S. will require a plane trip. I also thought about shopping in New York, because that's where I am originally from. I don't know whether Florida would be better for shopping and whether I would have to pay sales tax if the stuff is getting shipped to the USVI?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer,


Posted : September 3, 2007 3:06 pm
Posts: 2045
Noble Member

You will find all the funiture you need and more in stt. High end and low end. Pier One furniture is far fromt he best I dont think most of it would hold up or be comfortable. Is this going to be a rental house? If it is I would really suggest buying higher end furniture that is hopefully built to last. Because short term renters can be hard on furniture. Buy woods that are well suited to the tropics like teak, maghony, etc and fabrics that will really hold up like sunbrella, leather, etc

Posted : September 3, 2007 3:31 pm
Posts: 2259
Noble Member

Lots of places around here to get some quality furniture. Buying stateside could be a good idea but you have to really make sure they are suited for the islands. You mention the tropics, but be aware of what you need. Hardwoods mainly, anything soft termites will eat up in a nanosecond!!


Posted : September 3, 2007 3:34 pm
Posts: 695
Noble Member

Hi Howard:

I don't have a lot of experience shipping furniture, as I used various methods of getting some of my stuff down to STT. For example, at the beginning I disassembled some pieces and carried them as luggage over several trips. It helped that I was traveling with friends and family who didn't need to use their luggage allowances. There were some cases where the item was just way over sized (couldn't disassemble) but kindly airline folk let me send it in the luggage anyway without extra cost (I can't count on that too often). I did ship virtually all housewares and some small furnishings via US mail, and I am still regularly shipping housewares stuff by that method.

Re the most tropic-worthy furniture, I'm still working this out. Though I think the rattan frame furniture I'm using works nicely, I'm on the fence about teak (another material suitable to the climate) just because it seems so thick and dense looking after you get past the smaller pieces. I'm a fan of lots of light and space, so spare, simple pieces based in rattan and glass work for me. On this note, a friend suggests I consider shipping directly from the far east for larger quantities of furniture made of rattan or other materials originating in the east, since increasingly it is becoming easy to do so and the much lower prices and greater selection may more than make up for shipping costs. I haven't looked into it but it sounds like an interesting prospect....

Love to hear more on this thread.



Posted : September 3, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 2
New Member
Topic starter

Thanks for all your input so far. Hopefully, this will NOT be a rental house and we will be there nearly full time (unless we get strapped for cash). Having furniture that holds up would be good since we don't want to have to replace that as quickly as the mechanical appliances..

Any advice on outdoor deck/pool furniture? Chaise lounge materials - wood vs. synthetic, etc.

Ilo, just earlier today a friend of mine suggesting going to the Philippines or Indonesia to shop for furniture as the savings would more than pay for the cost of the trip, but that seems quite a long way to go just for shopping, doesn't it?


Posted : September 3, 2007 8:08 pm
Posts: 3904
Famed Member

If you want Indonesian, check out Island Empire in Fortress Self-Storage on STT. I think most of their stuff comes from there. You might pay more but I sure wouldn't go halfway around the world for furniture. As has been said, there are lots of options on STT and aren't there some places on STJ as well?

Heck, even check out Home Again in Red Hook. They get some nice things in there for resale. Silk Greenery Home has sort of taken over from the late Cloth Horse (also on STT.) Pricey but nice things. Mango Tango on Raphune Hill usually has some knock-out 4 poster beds.

Posted : September 3, 2007 10:10 pm
Posts: 3111
Famed Member

Puerto Rico is another option. There are people in PR that will meet you at the airport and take you around to shop. There are several that specialize in construction materials and appliances, but there was one that used to advertise in The Daily News or The Island Trader that mentioned furniture.

Maybe someone here has used them or knows more. If not, I'm a total fan of "google it".

Posted : September 3, 2007 10:12 pm
Posts: 695
Noble Member

Hey Howard:

Re far east furniture, there are I think several reputable Internet companies who deal directly from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. ; no need to make the trip (unless you were going anyway....) In fact, you will easily see many of the goods featured at Island Empire on such websites for dramatically less (I understand, of course, that what we pay for at Island Empire is the convenience, customer service, etc.). I'm thinking of trying a direct shipment from the east for a modest sum just to see how it works. Other places I've seen decent quality, moderately priced rattan and teak pieces is in Chinatown shops, such as in D.C. and NYC. I've nabbed little side tables, etc. and shipped them.

Re patio furniture, I'm using a metal and glass set I picked up for a song on island right now--not too pretty, but functional. For the long term I think I'd like to go with synthetic wicker and maybe teak lounge chairs.


Posted : September 4, 2007 1:36 am
Posts: 525
Honorable Member

For outdoor furniture synthetic wicker works fine but if the furniture is exposed to constant sunlight certain colors (the darker ones) can "burn". We have some beige color synthetic wicker that after 4 years literally looks like the arms were burnt with a torch. Make sure you use "Sunbrella' or similar type of sun fade resistant material as fabrics fade very quickly. FYI - your standarnd types of plastic lawn chairs and lounges will become brittle after prolongued exposer to the sun and will eventually crack (much faster than it does "back home").

Whatever you purchase be prepared to replace it sooner than later - the sun, high humidity and salt air play havoc on almost everything. The advice about buying top quality furniture made of hardwoods is "on the mark". The cheap stuff just doesn't hold up to the conditions in the tropics.

Posted : September 7, 2007 9:55 pm
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