[Click to enlarge inside of guest villa]
Finished tile work in bathroom.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #12:
February 9, 1998



Since our January 9 report about building on a Caribbean island, we have had a very busy month:

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

D'Doorman From Trinidad

The Guest Villa has louvered wooden windows on all openings. We selected them because they provide security when shut, privacy, and wind control. However, we could not find what we wanted in a louvered door from any of the lumber yards we visited in San Juan.

[Click to enlarge doors from Trinidad]
Our curved, louvered teak doors.

Our project Manager, Griffin Webster, married a Trinidadian whose family is from Arima. Arima is the home of Trinidad's door, window and furniture industry. The largest of these firms, Young Singh, exports wooden entry doors and french doors all over the region, including Anguilla. Griffin found a custom door maker whose work he liked.

D'Doorman agreed to make our old-fashioned louvered doors for us. D'Doorman exports around the Caribbean.

D'Doorman is run by Allan and Rena Ramdial. Allan made a sales call to our site last September. He mentioned that since Trinidad has a local supply of teak, he could make the doors in teak if we wished. This sounded good, since teak is used on boats and our waterfront location has a similar environment.

Allan crafted the two pairs of doors to our specifications, including an arched top. He also made arched door frames for them of teak and screen doors to match. The doors have been installed in the Guest Villa, but not all the final wood trim. You will notice in the picture that their is a 3 inch lip that the doors close against. This is to stop water from coming under the doors during a heavy tropical storm.

[Update: the doors were the first louvered doors that Allan had made. They had problems, which were never fixed. The french doors that we ordered also had quality problems. Ah well...]

Tiling the Guest Villa Bathroom

[Click to enlarge Emo.]
Emo installing tile.

Tile specialist Emerson Reid, also known as Emo and also owner of the Video Dynasty, did the tile work in the bathroom and shower.

[Click to enlarge inside of guest villa]
Finished tile work in bathroom.

The tiles for the bathroom were purchased at Equip in Belvedere, St. Martin. They suggested using the Mexican tile cut into smaller pieces for the floor and the shower.

Finish Work on the Guest Villa

[Click to enlarge Big Man.]
"Big Man".

One of the workers who helped with the finish work on the guest villa was Big Man, pictured here. He worked on the moldings, window sills, closets, door frames, and hurricane shutters.

[Click to enlarge woodwork.]
Molding for doorway, partition wall and closets.

Finding suitable wood for custom moldings in Anguilla was very challenging. We ended up using treated pitch pine and milling it into the shapes we wanted, but it was rough. The partition walls have 2x10s to finish them off on top, with builtup cove moldings. The closets have louvered wood doors and small lattice vents above (in the picture the plywood closet walls have not been painted or trimmed yet). The window sills are substantial and custom fitted (see picture above of the bathroom for an example).

[Click to enlarge Gracie the painter]
Gracie came in to help with the painting.

Because of the extra wood trim around the windows, doors, and on top of partition walls, plus the hurricane shutters, there was a lot of painting to be done. Gracie, the painter, came in to work.

A Walled Garden for the Guest Villa

[Mary Ann planning back yard walls.]
Mary Ann planning back yard as seen through laundry window.

The guest villa now has a private, walled courtyard garden in the back. This started as an enclosure for an outdoor shower, which allows you to wash off on the way back from the beach. But this grew into a garden, outdoor eating area, patio, shaded siting area, etc. The reason for this area is the lack of privacy, due to the public road that runs above the villa, the foot path that goes past along the edge, the restaurant next door, and the beach in front.

[Click to enlarge work on yard.]
Masonry walls go up for the courtyard.

The east side of the courtyard is in the lee of the wind, so will not get any rain. It was left in natural rock with a local loblolly tree, cedar tree and wild frangipani. The west side will get more rain than normal, due to rain caught and reflected by the wall. Therefore, it has a planter with soil added for palm trees, tropical plants, etc.

[Click to enlarge view of courtyard entry.]
Walled courtyard connects to beach path for guests.

The courtyard will be painted the same shade of purple-blue as the house, except that the paint we need is "finished"(note) in Anguilla at the moment, and stone walls to enclose the planter. You enter the yard from the back of the villa a gate leads to the beach.

Note: "finished" means "sold out".

[Click to enlarge courtyard]
Courtyard is private, with rock walls to hold planters, and shady places for seating.

We have already planted one triple Christmas palm in the courtyard that we purchased from Jerry Brown's nursery in Sandy Ground. There is still work to do on the yard: more plants to go into the planter on the right, lattice work to go on top of the concrete walls, plumbing fixtures for the outdoor shower, outdoor lighting, and tiles in the shower/entry area, but you can see the basic idea in the picture.

Starting Work on the Office Building

[Click to enlarge cistern work.]
Pouring the cistern floor.

At the upper end of our property, near the road and on our point of highest elevation, we are building a two-story office building with a great view over the guest villa and main house. It will have air conditioning, a large unobstructed area for meetings or classes, uninterruptable power, data network wiring to all areas, etc. This is a multi-purpose facility, suitable for conferences, seminars, receptions, business meetings, teaching, or software development. The building was also designed as a duplex to provide accomodations.

[Click to enlarge office foundation]
The office foundation.

The working plans were created using the Chief Architect program, including electrical, plumbing and special steel work to allow the downstairs main room to span 28 feet without a post.

We made one change after going to bid: we swapped the basement storage area with the cistern, putting the cistern back against the hill and the storage in the front. We didn't see any reason why we needed a waterview cistern and a dark dank storage area!

[Click to enlarge cistern work.]
Foundation and cistern.

The winner bidder for this contract was Geoff Richardson of South Hill, who had just completed a large construction project at Coccoloba. Geoff suggested using Insteel 3D panels for the office walls, which is the insulated material we used in the guest villa. We will build the walls of 3D panels, while the foundation, roof and floors are built in a more standard Anguillian style of concrete block and reinforced concrete.

[Click to enlarge main floor.]
The main floor.

Before going to bid, we had a quantity survey done by Joy Rogers. This gives a complete breakdown of the building's cost, including materials and labour, but excluding land acquisition and site prep, which we had already done. The total projected cost was $230,000, but when we substituted Insteel 3D panels for concrete block walls, the projected cost rose by $20,000 to $250,000. The cost of the quantity survey was $1100.

[Click to enlarge plumbing/electrical.]
Conduits in place before pouring the ground floor.

We used continuous polybutelene pipe for the plumbing, which does not have any connections inside the walls that could leak. This was first suggested by Dwight, an architect/builder from Toronto. Then it was also recommended by Bill Pratt in Vancouver and by Sam Mason, owner of Allamanda Beach Club and a former plumber in St. Thomas. Sam was able to order the supplies for us in St Thomas and got them put on the inter-island freighter MV Karma for shipment to Anguilla.

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