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South side view, unfinished.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #17:
September 9, 1998



Since our July 9, 1998 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.

Wooden Ceiling in the Office

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Ceiling with painter's ladder.

The ceiling unstairs in the office is made of 1x6 T&G cypress from Florida. We could have left it natural with just a varnish, but instead we chose to give it a washed look.

The paint was white latex, diluted 50% with water, brushed on and then wiped off.

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What color for rafters?

Project Manager Griffin Webster holds up samples of various paint colors for the pitch pine rafters.

We changed the color mix for the rafters as they were treated pitch pine, which is a disgustin' greenish color, while the cypress ceiling is a warm brown. So we tinted the pine with a pale yellow-toned peach latex, diluted 25% with water. The result is that the treated pitch pine and the cypress now look alike.

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A truss system.

Finally, we added trusses for additional strength in the roof. All rough rafters were planed and the edges rounded with a router before installation.

This upstairs room can be used as a villa, as a meal preparation and dining area when we are holding conferences downstairs, or even as overflow offices (it is wired for Internet communications).


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South side view, unfinished.

Here is what the office looks like from the road, shell complete but before applying the stucco to the exterior. The roof is constructed with 1x4 purlins crossways to the cypress, making a small air space, then 1/2" marine plywood. Radiant barrier was glued to the bottom of the marine ply before installation to reflect the heat of the sun.

The exterior seams were covered covered with fiberglass tape and a special compound that embeds the tape in all the seams and cracks.

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Marbeltite stucco.

We bought Marbletite Stucco from Miami for the exterior finish, instead of the normal concrete finish. Marbletite is made up of White Portland cement, pure crushed marble, lime, fade resistant pure oxide pigments, fillers and other chemical additives. No Asbestos. It comes in 16 standard colors, or they will make up a custom color sample for you.

The concrete is colored so that you don't have to paint it, although you do have to put a sealer on it. We chose pale yellow for the building, taupe brown for the foundation, with white stucco trim. The stucco can have any type of design texture you want. We chose the typical "trowel finish". We also rounded the corners of the building for a softer look.

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Stucco finish.

The stucco really made a difference in the appearance.

In this picture you can also see that the roof has been finished with an elastomeric rubber coating. The coating keeps out the water and the white color reflect heat. This is the same final roofing finish we used on the guest house, except that it has ceramic particles embedded in it for better insulating value. The ceramic particles were suggested by a tourist who dropped by the site to look at our construction! So there are extra benefits to being on the beach.


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Louvered windows upstairs.

For upstairs in the office we chose Marva windows from Puerto Rico. This type of window doesn't require hurricane shutters, has no glass to keep clean and provides more privacy. And they are security windows, because they have strong metal bars through each louver.

The bathroom windows are similar, but with glass louvers.

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Vinyl windows downstairs.

The ground floor of the office is air conditioned, so louvered windows are not appropriate. We selected double-hung vinyl windows with double glazing, tinted glass, filled with Argon glass. They have very good insulating value. They were manufactured in the USA by Seasons Shield.

These windows will have brightly coloured Bermuda shutters (made of cedar, louvered, and hinged at the top) for protection from hurricanes and the heat of the bright sun.

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Window trimming.

We trimmed the windows on the outside with white stucco frames and window sills. The top of the window frame in this picture does not have stucco, because hurricane shutters will be installed next. We will use a piece of wood for trim at the top, as the wood holds fasteners better for the shutter hinges.

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Lattice windows, stairway.

The stairway is semi-protected exterior space. For here we made custom lattice windows with a curved top. The requirement here is to cut out some of the afternoon sun and to let the breeze blow through. Accordingly, since the interior window into the stairwell is well protected from the weather, we will put lattice work in it as well.

The lattice work is plastic and the frame is made of plastic wood. So no painting or maintenance should be required.

P.S. You can see in this picture that we reduced the size of the exterior window opening before building the window. This was to make it match in size with the similar window below it, which also goes into the stair well. If you look at the picture above of the finished stucco job, you can see how the openings originally looked.

More Going On

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View from the west.

In this picture you can see the progress on the office building from the west.

You can see again where we reduced the size of the stairwell opening.

The upstairs porch and the main entrance way to the right of the stairwell (covered in scaffolding) are not quite finished. They will have fabric awnings over them for shade.

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Garage doors.

The area under the porch is currently for storage, boats, or a car. These are semi-custom doors. We bought ready-made mahogany doors from St. Martin for US$ 187.95 each. The doors were originally 73cm x 210cm (30"x84") because St. Martin is metric. They were adjusted by Kenneth Maynard to fit the opening at a total cost of US$180.00. We also found the hardware for the hinges in St. Martin.

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Hurricane panels.

I bet you thought the guest house should be finished by now. Well almost...

We added hurricane panels for the louvered teak doors. These are plywood with brass sleeves fitted into the door. The bolt goes through the plywood panel and into the sleeve.

Work is about to start on the main waterfront house and we are now considering a pool... Stay tuned!

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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