Fined Denis Bay Property Owner Featured in Architectural Digest

Image credit: Architectural Digest
Image credit: Architectural Digest

So back in January, we told you how Architectural Digest was planning to name Tony Ingrao to its 2014 AD100 list. For those of you not familiar with this list, it honors people it deems to be “the world’s best interior designers and architects.” And for those of you unfamiliar with Tony Ingrao, he’s the property owner in Denis Bay who was fined last year for building on and altering land owned by the National Park Service.

Take a moment to digest that if you will…

Not only has Architectural Digest honored Ingrao for his design and architectural skills, it also devoted an eight-page spread to his Denis Bay home in its 2014 issue – the same Denis Bay home that created an eyesore on the North Shore. But what riles me up the most is some of the verbiage used in the article. Take the headline for example:

“Making the most of a lush hillside spot, the duo carve out an exhilarating retreat overlooking the azure sea.”

Carve out. Yes, they certainly did carve out something over there in Denis Bay – they carved out a chunk of the National Park.

Let’s move on to the first sentence: “Americans are accustomed to taking liberties, especially when it comes to architecture.”

Ingrao certainly took some liberties when building his property. He built on other people’s land, created a landslide and carved a huge chunk out of the hillside.

But Ingrao’s quote near the end of the article is the pièce de résistance: “This house is elemental. It feels like it’s growing out of the park.”

That’s because it is.

Comment away my friends. Comment away.

Click here to see the full story in its entirety.

Click here to email the editors at Architectural Digest in case you want to vent. 

Click here to read past coverage on Tony Ingrao and his Denis Bay property.

45 thoughts on “Fined Denis Bay Property Owner Featured in Architectural Digest”

  1. He seems to be another person that feels what’s yours is mine! I hope the fine was enough to repair the damage and to compensate us for our trouble. It is “our” land after all. I do not want to have to use more of my tax money to care for what never should have been touched in the first place. I can think of another award I’d like to give him.

  2. I just typed my letter to the editor with some of the facts that were omitted from this article. I hope all of the News of St John readers will do the same!!

  3. There are many arrogant and annoying aspects to this saga, but one that hasn’t been given much consideration is that prior to this home being built, there was a road of some sort that went from near the intersection of Centerline and the Gifft Hill Road (Rt 104), down to the North Shore Road. I never drove this, but I suspect that it resembled the John Head Road. I have heard that it was improved by public agencies as a favor to these guys prior to the collapse. One consequence of their construction is that this road is now essentially a private driveway to their home, and no more. Building right up to the road, and then the collapse, have severed any public access link to the North Shore. Justice, however unlikely to be granted, would require that they restore through access at whatever personal expense, and suffer the hoi polloi driving by their McMansion.

  4. You won’t be able to post the things I want to say about this egotistical, self centered, selfish little prick. I’ll leave that up to others.

  5. Let them be. You guys think he’s the only person ever to build and break the law. It’s happens daily in the states in the cities it’s common, that’s why the fine is only 10K cause it equals ( not a big deal ) St. John will never be exempt from this stuff. You all waste your energy going on and on. His publicist probably got this in AD, and the editor is probably on a first name basis with him. You guys are silly if you think the editor of AD is going to read your letters about him. There writers are usually free lance it’s not News of St. John :). I’d be more pissed about the service and price and attitude you get from the majority of the service folks in St John. All those restaurants and still the busiest ones act like there doing you a favor. It’s a joke as far hospitality on the island. What about the the unsolved murders on the island…surely that’s more important.
    Wasted negative energy on something pointless. I’d bet most of resentment stems from his wealth. I would love to visit that house. No ones is going to die, no one is going to be personally effected by his house, some of your buddies may even have more money cause of the jobs created. We can’t just throw fund raiser and pitch in when ever time a person needs to produce. It’s a St. John witch hunt. God forbid the comments that come this way…is ok to build a 1-3 million dollar mansion in CH or viral bay-but not a 10 million dollar one? You guys wanna start approving paint color and bricks and type of stone used too?

    • Jay, You have no idea the damage to the environment caused by Ingrao house. Not to mention the encroachment and damage caused to neighboring properties including both private and national park land. He even built a room for his utility hookups on the private property that is across the road from his property. It’s not about money but about stealing land from the neighbors and the environmental damage.

    • It is important. That land was preserved and put away for the future generations, by ‘rich’ people who understood its real value. Those trees were murdered and they didn’t own them. As to AD not caring, I believe they will when their subscriptions start falling because I’m canceling mine and I’m sure others will as well when they learn of this. Also, if everyone starts telling their advertisers about this atrocity they won’t want to be affiliated with their bad publicity.

      • AD is also affiliated with the magazines Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Golf Digest, Gourmet, The New Yorker, GQ, Living, Brides, Vanity Fair. Write to all of them. They’re all connected and need to hear about how we feel.

  6. But craving out of St. John’s hillsides are the norm. First Grande Bay, then Sirenusa, and now this. All the projects had run off’s, Grande Bay’s dirt and trash straight into Cruz Bay. Sirenusa’s construction had run off’s into neighboring properties. Encroachments onto neighboring properties happened on both projects as well.

    Thank heavens that Tony & Randy put down silk carpets this time around, since silk doesn’t absorb moisture. Their Fortuny fabric pillows may be a different story. At $600 per yard for fabric, gee I hope the pillows last. Last time I checked St. John was in the tropics. Now, they’ll experience $10,000+ monthly WAPA bills. More power to them.

  7. “Anything goes”. AD should be ashamed of themselves — it seems they didn’t do their homework. Architecture is more than the simple walls and roof — it encompasses the surroundings in which the building is placed. Thank you for providing their email:. message sent.

  8. What is the point miss smarty pants?
    Tell me, you all are pissed cause he has $$$ and that 10K fine is what he pays for a suit. That kills you all. The McMansion come on- take a look – there are much uglier buildings on the island. The only time you see the he’s house when were on a boat passing by? AD is one of the most respected publication good luck with your rants to them, with any luck they will never cover St. John again and you can continue to be snobs no one knows about. I’m gonna apply for the caretakers position see if I can live there and maintain the place while he’s in his home in the Hamptons, NYC, a god knows where else.

  9. One thing Jay is right about. Go to the beach. Enjoy it now because if this keeps up all the beach access on North Shore road will be blocked by the string of homes and condos building on park land because the owners are ‘special’ and the law doesn’t apply to them.

  10. such destruction of a beautiful part of the island. sad to see 🙁 about as sad to see Maho Bay closed up so some idiot can build a house there.. that was the worst sale ever allowed to go through.

  11. The anger should be directed at the local officials who are obviously easily influenced ($$$$) to look the other way. Money talks mostly everywhere but seems to speak loudly in STJ. I would imagine that $10,000 fine was just for the public’s eye…but more $$$$ was probably given to the official(s) personally.

  12. Even though I am only a visitor to this wonderful island, I do have strong ties with long time residents. It is absolutely shameful that people in positions expected to protect this island allowed this JackAss to get away with this!
    I definitely gave my opinion to the editor of said snob magazine.

  13. It may not be that this sets a precedent, since there are surely other instances where the boundaries of the laws have been crossed, but the outrage in, in my opinion, justified.

    This rich (ok – I’m jealous) jerk has adopted the “it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission” approach. The paperwork and money involved to do what he did legally would likely have set the project back for a long time, if not indefinitely, so he just went ahead and did it.

    The problem with not assessing a fine that is commensurate with the crime is that others of his ilk (and means) now have the blueprint, if not the tacit approval, for successfully encroaching on the finite resource that is land on St. John owned by the government (aka the people).

  14. Jay, it is you who comes across as the spoiled individual who looks down his nose at the “peasants” from on high. These people are the ones who care about the destruction of public lands. It’s fine to have money but it shouldn’t give you the right to disrespect people or the land. This is just more proof that those who have money can bend or break the rules to their own gain. National Park lands belong to the people, paid for by the people, to be enjoyed by the people! A hugh fine should’ve been imposed on the owners so as to dissaude others from stealing public property and then the land returned to the National Park. But we all know how corrupt the Island officials are and that this token fine was eye candy for the public.

  15. My landlord is a respected green architect on St. John and St. Thomas who built a gorgeous home on St. John’s East End using a mini-excavator so as not to create an ounce of runoff. If he couldn’t excavate it with the mini thing, it wasn’t included in his plans. The property is entirely solar-powered. WAPA owes HIM money. The landscaping is mostly indigenous plants fed with gray water. The wood for building was sourced specifically for its sustainably-farmed origins. We are considered an official wildlife reserve. (There is a sign that has confused tourists into thinking it a remote part of the Park.)

    Elegant, green building can be done on St. John, and it can be done well.
    NOAA even had commercials filmed on the property that can be viewed here: http://www.igba-stjohn.org/

    This motivates me even more to get my landlord and his low-impact homes into a glossy magazine! He’s so much more deserving of exposure than the apparently self-important ass who built that soulless structure on the North shore.

  16. Letter sent to AD Editor – thanks for the address link.
    Jay – I just feel sad and embarrassed for you…
    {and yes – I know you don’t care}

  17. Well, with respect to Fred Seaton. He is most likely not in charge anymore. He probably did his part but the new people are clearly not.

  18. Pssst….come here folks….closer so I can whisper….…….Jay is really the little weasel Tony Ingrao. Don’t tell anyone.

  19. Words fail. I don’t think AD cares what we think but I am glad folks are writing. I recognize the view. It is the one we used to love from Sago Palms. I do not wish Mr. Ingrao well.

  20. I think pro Tony posts by Brazil Modern AND tree Hugger w posts written a few minutes from each other are Tony! Lol.

  21. I’ve was born and raised on St. John and nothing will ever change. It is a small island and people don’t have anything better to do than to ramble on about someone else’s business. Where is the talk about all the Peter Bay homes? Its the same shit, only the houses are absolutely horrible. The reason national park was damaged was because St. John has a lack of precision when it comes to the engineering department. Someone is complaining about the road that went through from centerline to north shore. I’m sure most of you didn’t even know that road existed before these guys were around. We are lucky to have people with money in the Islands. Without it, St. John would probably be more like St. Thomas. With time these things will pass and all the bitching will find a new home. Tony has been working with AD for plenty of time and maybe they read one of your emails and got a kick out of it, but the rest most likely got pushed aside. They aren’t going to un-publish the article. Get over it, find the good in it and move on with your lives. Stop trying to spin up someone else’s deal because they have more than you. Yes I will agree that the house is quite large and took a substantial bite out of the hill, but you think you are going to change that now? You can go try and push the house off the hill, but he’d probably laugh at you and be happy to build a new one that is bigger and stronger right one top. Get a grip. Do something useful. If you have things to say, you might have a much better chance of being heard if you go to Tony and really find out who he is and show your concerns respectfully.

  22. In Hawaii we have a phrase that says “malama aina kuleana”– it means “taking care of the land is everyone’s responsibility.” Well, we all know what happened to Hawai, righti? It is an over-built, environmental disaster with dying reefs, sick marine life and an abundance of pollution from construction run-off. At one time it could have been saved…but now it is far too late! I hope you don’t allow St. John to be de$troyed in the same way…Aloha!

  23. Is this type of thing all that uncommon? Not defending what these guys did at all, but nothing ever really seems to happen to anyone on the island. People squat on private or park property and it’s like no one has the will to get them off, at least for a while. Some people just claim a piece of property without title and that’s it. Other’s string up some barbed wire. One day it’s a public beach, the next day it’s fenced off and posted. My point is that no one in authority seems to be willing or able to do anything. In my experience if you take up residence or build on someone else’s land it’s a simple matter of title. If they don’t have it, their buildings and they are removed and damages assessed, etc. This process doesn’t seem to exist on St. John, and if it ever does it seems to take years instead of days to get things right.

    A few other things while I’m at it. This whole theme of “our” land in reference to the park. Get it through you heads. It’s not your land, or our land, or the people’s land or whatever you want to spin it. You all should have learned that from the recent government “shutdown,” or has everyone forgotten about that? You see, when someone truly has ownership of property then another party cannot erect barricades, place it off limits, or send agents armed with guns out to remove you from said property. You also don’t usually ever have to pay an admission fee to get on any part of “your” land. The park is owned by the government, and no matter what anyone says, we are not the government. This fantasy of it being all of ours is just that, a fantasy. If the government ever decided to use it for a scrap yard or a garbage dump you all would learn pretty quick who’s land it is. And lastly, if you want people to take you more seriously you can’t refer to tree’s getting “murdered.” I do believe in protection and respect for living things to include trees but the debate goes off the rails when they are accorded the same status as human beings.

  24. Sticking my neck out here and fully expect to be attacked, but here goes.
    Regarding the personal insults being hurled at these people, have any of you actually met them? I think not or you would be ashamed of yourselves.

  25. That home was not built on anyone but his property. The excavation was done on a public road and private land. A very small section of park land was cut during the widening of the public road. The excavation that did encroach on park was done under watch of NP, no one was ever stopped and rangers taged boundaries far off later established lines.

    The home owners are really great guys. They consistently employ dozens of locals every year and have been for the past decade. They are an asset to this island. I hope to see more them around and maybe more projects.
    Don’t forget the life styles we all find so comfortable here are not fueled by cheep cruise ship passengers and Maho bay campers.

  26. Jay-
    You’re totally above caretaker status, don’t sell yourself so short. I mean, you own a media company in NYC for god’s sake!! You’re totally over-qualified for such a peasant-like position, despite the fact you lack a high school and college education. Being a 37 year old man of such “self-made” prestige, you think you would have more respect for St John and the people who are native to it. I mean, like you once were, the majority of natives are far from 1%s. They have succumbed to the gentrification that has enveloped STJ to the point of having to eke out a living to stay (similar to the real NYC East Villagers over the past 20 years). Apparently becoming “self-made” to the ranks of your elitist caliber has not made you humble, rather made you ignorant to the point of posting ridiculous pompous opinions that one would expect from an old-money 1%er who has lived a life far removed from the realities most non 1%ers are faced with. You’re a hater and that’s probably the result of you overcompensating for your obvious inferiority complex. Your so-called elite status has gone to your head and has turned you into a total P.O.S. -although I have a feeling you’ve always been a total P.O.S. Believe it or not, karma’s a total bitch. If you continue at this rate I feel sorry for you and what’s headed your way.
    I will anticipate your grammar-error ridden retort. 😉

  27. So I guess no one holds the contractor culpable at all because the owner clearly forced the excavator operator and GC to violate regs and boundaries … Yeah right.

    Not to defend what happened, but clearly there were several complicit parties and the owner is not the guy who did it, he paid for others who should know better and should have advised him that they couldn’t excavate that land and local builders who should know the regs better obviously had no problem breaking the rules. What did they get fined?

    The GC is the one that need to do some explaining but lets get the pitch forks out for the continental rich dude even though I’m sure the GC isn’t doing too badly either and is the one who actually and physically committed the offense. Just saying.

  28. Really? Peter Bay. Sirinusa. Grande Bay. Ditleff Point. Proliferation of multi-million dollar villas. “high end” restaurants and virtually no local food. etc. The cows were out of the barn long before these two yahoos showed up. They are just the latest yahoos.

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