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Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #4:
August 1, 1997



My husband Bob and I have acquired land on the Caribbean island of Anguilla where we are building a home, a software lab and a guest villa, of our own design. These pages record our plans, resources, ideas, problems, and progress, and give you the opportunity to get involved.

Previous report: July 15th.

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.

The Gazebo

Progress on the wooden beach gazebo is continuing. Arne added a nice touch by laying the wood deck out in a circular pattern (the original plans called for straight boards for decking). He also demonstrated his wood work and creativity by lathing the center post.

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Arne built the cupula roof (small center higher part) on the ground, then raised it into place. The openings of the cupula will be filled with plastic lattice work (available in Blowing Point at Quality Plumbing). Note the black tank in the picture above; it is for water for masonry work.

Carnival. Traditionally all work comes to a halt during Carnival week, especially since there are 3 public holidays. But we don't think that will impact us much. Arne is planning to finish the gazebo, then fly to Florida to be with his wife Yvette, who is having a baby. The rock walls (see below) should be finished by the end of week, so we can just shut down new work until after Carnival (August 1-10).

The Rock Wall

Daniel Stevens and his three helpers are extending the existing rock wall to the edges of the property and back a little on the sides.

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Daniel is originally from Dominica, but he spent his youth on Guadeloupe and has lived on Anguilla for a long time ago. He is the one who did the new rock wall on the entry way into the Koal Keel restaurant. He also did construction on the Rendezvous Bay Hotel and owner's residence.

Since the wall is not high enough to discourage goats, he is leaving a hole every 8' (4' in curves) to pour concrete fence posts. This will allow us to make a wooden fence on top of the wall, raising the height by 2.5 to 3 feet. Then we will plant something prickly and inedible behind the fence and add a fierce dog. That should discourage the goats.

Power, Phone and Internet

Anglec connected the power on July 23rd to the site office. Cable and Wireless was in with the telephone connections a couple of days earlier. So we now have an on-site office with air conditioning, phone, fax and email service--deluxe.

It's A Girl

Griffin Webster, our project manager, flew to Trinidad on Saturday night to be with his wife Johanne, who was having a baby. Mary Ann took over as site supervisor, got Albert Lake to deliver the concrete and rebar that was 2 weeks late by pleading "poor me, what can I do, Griffin is gone." Then, Monday night we heard from Griffin via email:
  Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 20:58:01 -0300
      Johanne and I have a new daughter, Samantha Ann. 
  She was born this morning at 8:35 AM, weighing in at
  7 lbs 3 ozs, with a reach (read as length) of 49 cm 
  and a hat size (read head circumference) of  33 cc, 
  she came out boxing from the pink corner. Mother,
  baby and exhausted dad are all resting peacefully.
            Griff, Johanne, Gabi and Sam 
P.S. Since Griff calls his wife "Jo" most of the time, we think the family sounds like an old west Chuck wagon team: Jo, Sam, Griff and Gabi.

Continuing Saga: Louvered Windows

Here are some pictures of the louvered wood doors that we were going to buy in Puerto Rico.

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Notice the sign that says "Puertas Piarem", that is "louvered door" in Spanish. Keep in mind that these pictures were taken in September 1996. When we went back recently to place an order, the supply from Brazil had dried up and no one would take our order! We did finally order wooden windows for the Guest Villa from Don Esteves, adjusting the window sizes to use the few windows they had in stock. The price was good, $60 to $90 per window, but there are no more available there.

Finding Another Standard Supply. We have a source for custom wood windows, Andes Caribbean, which builds them in Chile and exports to the US, Caribbean, etc. They have a good reputation, but each door or window is custom designed and built. That raises the price. Since Johanne Webster was in Trinidad anyway, she and her father agreed to help us by investigating companies there that make wooden louvered doors and windows. If everything looks good, we will try to order louvered doors for the Guest Villa this week, then air freight them to Anguilla on BWIA or Amerijet, via St. Martin. [1999 update: eventually we had a lot of trouble with this source of doors and windows and switched back to San Juan, where they had received new shipments from Brazil.]

Can You Ship From Puerto Rico? Sure you can. Just have the supplier deliver the goods to the docks and one of the ships that come to Anguilla will pick it up. That is what we did with the windows described above and they have reached Anguilla.

But don't be surprised if your experience is like one of our friends: She had 3 items sent to the docks from different stores. One arrived in Anguilla within a month, but not the other two. She called the docks in Puerto Rico, asked how one item could be picked up but not the others. The attendant said "The ships just take what they want." No security, no protection from the weather. Very informal. Eventually all 3 of her orders arrived, on different ships. One ship didn't take one item because it wouldn't fit. Another took the first item the day she sent it to the dock, but then went to Trinidad first, so it delivered that item on Anguilla a month after the other 2 ships. And the prices they asked when she went to pick up the items varied widely and were very negotiable.

ABC Supplies Has Wood

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You can buy building supplies at Albert Lake or at Anguilla Trading, but why stop there. The Pharmacy sells pre-hung doors on the side, Quality Plumbing in Blowing Point sells lattice work, Richardson Paints sells Glidden paint, but also sells nice doors and has a power wash machine for cleaning off old paint, and ABC Supplies has an outdoor lumber yard at the side of the road. The lumber and plywood is covered with blue tarps and you can spot them immediately because ABC Supplies is hand painted on the side of their shipping container/storage shed.

ABC Supplies is located around the side of the airport on the road to The Forest. We stopped to look around and found a 4x4 fir post, absolutely clear without a single knot and edge grain. So we snapped it up. All their plywood is outdoors, but why worry. If a hurricane comes, it will all be sold anyway!

Beachshack Site Enhanced

New Domain Name: The Tropical Construction web site now has its own address on the Internet:

Bookstore: Most of the books on tropical construction on our 'Bookstore' page now link to to the corresponding page on the Amazon.com Books web site, where you can read more about the book, post a review, or even buy the book. This service is offered in assocation with Amazon.com Books.

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 Software 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: www.beachshack.ai
Email: maryann@beachshack.ai