[Click for larger view]
Exvacating the site.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #2:
July 1, 1997



My husband Bob and I have acquired land on a Caribbean island where we plan to design and construct our home, a technology center, and a guest house. These pages record our plans, resources, ideas, problems, and progress.

Since the previous report of June 1st, 1997 we have begun preparing the property for construction.

Hints: Click on any small picture to see it larger and visit the Site Map for previous and future progress reports, house plans, bookstore and references.

Mining for Palms!

We decided to start by digging the holes for all the cisterns, septic tanks, and landscaping.

[Click for larger view] The property is solid rock, so large trees and bushes will only grow where you provide a hole in the ground.

The truck in this picture is our construction truck for the project.
[Click for larger view] Rather than spend a lot of money on full grown trees, we decided to put the money into bigger holes in the ground and plant smaller trees earlier. Plants grow very quickly in the tropics.

Another reason for digging the holes now is that digging shakes the ground and we don't want to crack the foundation walls.

[Click for larger view] Hole digging is done by a huge hammer machine called a priestman, where other countries might use dynamite. Blasting with dynamite is not allowed in Anguilla, which may be a good thing considering the Anguillians preference for do-it-yourself projects.

We had two hammers to get the job done quickly: one from National Trucking and another from Rayme Lake.

[Click for larger view] The 24 Hour BackHoe Man stopped by the site, left a card. We hired him and his 4-wheel drive backhoe because he could keep up with the two pounders and could get into very tricky spots. He offers a 24-hour service, so if you have a backhoe emergency feel free to call him at any time.


We got quotes for building our beach gazebo, which will be constructed of used telephone poles with a wood shingle roof. We are building it first, as a separate contract, because the poles require holes to be excavated into solid rock. There would be no easy way to get the large equipment into the area after the house is built. Construction should start July 1st, 1997. This will give us a shaded place to sit by the beach, watching the rest of the work! More news next month.

Wooden Windows-Arrg!

We went back to Puerto Rico on June 13th, 1997 to double-check on wooden louvered windows (PRM, or Piarem). In September we had found several sources Imbuia or Mahogeny doors and windows from Brazil with operable louvers. This visit the distributors couldn't help us -- the factories in Brazil haven't been shipping or filling orders, so the lumber yards have given up on them. This is a setback. We heard about sources from Costa Rica that sell through Miami (no precise names/numbers yet) and Guyana (how do you get the products to Anguilla at a reasonable cost and without them disappearing. Luke Thomas of Anguilla Post and Beam has a load of greenheart timber coming from Guyana this month -- we will see how his deal works out.

We did find one new supplier, Homespot Woodworking in Puerto Rico, that makes louvered doors and windows with brass hardware, including framing at the end of each louver. The quality looked good, if you like that mix of wood and metal and if you think the brass won't decay at the beach.

How Many Software Engineers Does It Take to Paint A Roof?

Anglec has not connected our power yet to the site, so we don't have telephone, fax or Internet service at the site either.

But we do have a generator, which we have used once. We wanted to paint the roof of the office container reflective white to cut the heat more and stop the rusting. We used three software engineers for this job: Griffin on the roof to spread the paint, Bob to hand up the refills of paint, and Johanne (MIS manager at Anglec and Griffin's wife) to mix the paint using a 10KV generator to power an electric drill. Considering our respective salaries, this must be the most expensive container roof in the Caribbean.

Site Map: Links, Plans and Other Info

Latest News from our Construction Site

Past and Future Progress Reports

Plans of the Main House

Plans of the Technology Center

Plans of the Guest Villa

Tropical Construction Bookstore

Links to Related Sites

Building Material Sources

Beach Shack Contact:

Mary Ann Green
Box 931, Shoal Bay, Anguilla, West Indies
Fax: 264-497-3295
[Home] [Mail] URL: beachshack.ai
Email: maryann@beachshack.ai