[Click to enlarge roof rafters]
The roof line takes form on our Software Center.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #15:
May 9, 1998



Since our April 9 report about building on a Caribbean island, we have been working on the following:

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.

"Blueprint For Paradise"

[Click for more info on book.]
A classic book.

Finally found a place where you can buy one of the classic books we read when dreaming about building on Anguilla: Blueprint for Paradise: How to Live on a Tropic Island"

We bought a copy in 1993 from a speciality store, but could never find it in stock anywhere. But last week we found a web site that has purchased the publisher's remaining stock and has it for sale. A fun book, which covers construction on tropic islands ranging from remote South Pacific atolls to reasonably civilized places like St. Thomas. (This is not an Amazon book--they don't have any copies in stock.)

Laying Terra Cotta Tiles

[Click to enlarge laying of villa tiles]
Emo lays tile floor.

We selected Saltillo terra cotta tiles from Mexico for the guest villa. These are the ones with rounded edges, irregular colors, and dog footprints! These are also the ones that we tried to buy in St. Thomas, but ended up receiving squared edges instead (which will be used elsewhere in our project).

[Click to enlarge villa floor]
Guest villa floor!

Emo (Emerson Reid) came in to lay the tile. There is a straight border around the edges of each space and diagonally laid tiles in the center.

Building Rock Walls

[Click to enlarge hauling rocks.]
Hauling select rocks.

The rock wall expert Daniel Stevens carefully selects the stones he wants from a giant pile that accumulated while we were digging holes for palm trees. Then Harley and Albert have to haul the rocks to the desired location. Looks simple, but the first attempt broke the dolly axle. It took weeks to find a replacement axle to repair the dolly.

[Click to enlarge wall work.]
Placing the rocks.

Once the good-looking feature rocks have been assembled, they are combined with ordinary rocks into a garden retaining wall, using concrete to hold and seal them.

[Click to enlarge rock walls]
Finished rock planters.

The finished rock walls form curved planters around the building's entrance. A large palm tree will be planted in here as well as other trees to soften the buildings boxy shape.

[Click to enlarge the entry]
Making benches.

The rock walls along the entry to the software center now have a flat cap, making them useful as benches as well.

Someone from Cuisinart Resort construction project came by to visit our site and noticed our great rock walls. Now Daniel Stevens is gone (temporarily we hope) to build rock walls at this new hotel site on Rendezvous Bay.

Framing The Upstairs

[Click to enlarge view of upstairs.]
Framing upstairs walls.

The basement and ground floor of the technology center are in a rough finished state, so work begins on the upstairs walls. These are composed of insulated 3D Insteel panels and installed by a subcontractor. We won't show all the steps in this method here, since you see the details in our previous reports on the construction of guest villa.

[Click to enlarge upstairs door openings.]
Cut out doors and windows.

The upstairs is planned as a spacious guest accommodation and as an extra conference room or place for meals to be set up. It will have a full kitchen along the west wall and another 12' by 44' porch with a fabric awning for shade. It will have louvered windows and be cooled by the breeze.

[Click to enlarge Geoff.]
Inspects pipes carefully.

All the utility conduits for water, drains, power, and data must be installed in the 3D panels before the concrete is sprayed onto the walls. In the picture, you can see contractor Geoff Richardson supervising inspection of the pipes and conduits in the panels.

[Click to enlarge sprayed upstairs]
Walls sprayed with concrete.

The upstairs walls have now been sealed by spraying concrete, much in the way gunnite is sprayed on swimming pools. It is now ready for the roof rafters, which you can see in the picture at the start of this report.

Continuing on the Finish Details

[The guest villa garden]
Guest villa garden.

We wanted a lattice work screen on top of the wall surrounding the guest villa garden (read about the genesis of this garden in a previous report), but we didn't want the maintenance of painting it. So we purchased plastic lattice work that never needs painting. Then we ordered plastic Durawood 2x4s made of recycled plastic bags for the framing. And stainless steel screws and nails. Finally all the materials were on site and the lattice could be installed. But it still isn't completely finished because the supplier omitted the finish head nails from our order. .....

[Click to enlarge villa landscaping.]
Porch railing downstairs.

While framing occured upstairs, finish work continued downstairs, including installing the porch railing, etc. The balusters were bought from Leo Smith in Island Harbour, who makes all different kinds in his yard. If you want to buy some, stop on the road as you enter Island Harbour and ask someone for Leo Smith. There is no sign.

Gardening Tip: to keep palm trees green and healthy looking, use epsom salts (one handful per palm) and iron (you can substitute Miracid, available from Albert Lake's Grocery or Building Supplies).

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