About Us

Joy of Life Villa was borne out of the adventurous spirit of Karen Vahling, who fell in love with St. John and moved to Coral Bay some 25 years ago from her small town of Pekin, Illinois. Karen purchased the land in January, 2000 after venturing up what was then only a “goat trail” to see the 1.2 acre parcel that nobody would look at due to some very mean dogs at the bottom of the hill (she befriended the mean dogs with hot dogs)! Construction began in 2009, after Karen completed a natural resources degree at CSU Fort Colllins, CO, with the intention of helping St. John. After acting as owner-contractor, the house you see today is the result of many wonderful and talented craftsmen, the support and advice of friends, and Karen’s “Labor of Love”.

After surviving hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Karen now spends her summers promoting the villa across the nation in the Joy of Life camper, aka The Joy Toy! Look for her on the mainland in the summers and at the villa in the winters. Joy of Life is open year-round, with the caretaker enjoying the tranquility of the summer months. Follow her travels and villa news at Joy of Life Villa on Facebook or updates on www.joyoflifevilla.com