Breaking News
More () »

Builder of Vilano Beach blue house explains how it continues to weather the storms

“This is really what it was designed to do." - John Ruggeri, Ruggeri Construction Inc.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A home along A1A is left sitting on stilts as it continues to survive storm after storm, leaving many wondering: How is this possible?

Comments about the famous so-called Blue House have been pouring in online. We’ve tracked down the builder to get some of your questions answered.

“This is really what it was designed to do," John Ruggeri, with Ruggeri Construction Inc., said.

John Ruggeri built the house on A1A in Vilano Beach over 21 ago. Ruggeri says when the home was built, the zoning and rules for building permits were different.

“When we permitted it through, they gave us an exact amount of where we could build and at that time it was a ‘C’ zone, you don’t even have to have flood insurance in a ‘C’ zone," Ruggeri said.

Knowing erosion over time would get worse at the location, Ruggeri says they built it to withstand hurricanes.

“There was a break away slab system and break away walls which were actually designed to allow for the ocean to come and go through the house and because of the depth of the pilings and the way we built it, bolted it together… these pilings go down about 15 feet below the ocean surface. So that’s part of the reason why this is still standing," Ruggeri said.

Some of the features, like the breakaway wall and the driveway, are long gone, although the house remains standing.

Ruggeri believes it will stay up so long as the sand doesn’t continue to erode.

“So I don’t know how much more it could scour at this point because we’re right at the sea level…But there’s still about 10 to feet to 15 below sea level so that’s partly why it’s very strong in it’s ability to stand," Ruggeri said.

Hundreds of comments on social media asked why the house was built so close to the ocean, but that choice was made by the property owner. We asked Ruggeri would he do it all again.

“The owner hired me to do it so, as long as it’s permittable through the government and the county, yes I would have," Ruggeri said.

We’ve also reached out to the owner of the property – and we are waiting to hear back.


Before You Leave, Check This Out