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View of technology center from the water.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #20:
May 14, 1999



A few more months have passed since our since December 29th report and a lot of construction has occurred here on our tropic isle.

We moved onto the property at Christmas, but construction is not complete. We started living in the villa above the technology center, even though it didn't have a kitchen sink, shower, or hot water. Turning on the hot water system uncovered a serious plumbing error that led to a flood in the carpeted offices and empty cisterns! Then our most expensive palm tree died, then... (fill in the blanks yourself)... this is building on an island.

Here is what has been happening:

Warning: This report is long and has many photographs. Therefore, it is divided into four parts. Remember to Click NEXT PAGE when you get to the end of this segment.

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.

Bathrooms Always Take A While To Finish

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Office bath - seahorse sink.

We had originally ordered custom-made sinks for the two downstairs office bathrooms, but that was one more thing that didn't work out, so we installed a temporary utility sink in one bathroom and declared it the utility room, and a beautiful Mexican sink in the other. This sink was on the showroom floor of Equater in Marigot, St. Martin.

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Mary Ann and Paul Smith.

For the upstairs bathroom vanity, we tried a unique style.

Having noticed that bath vanities usually smell of mildew, we are attempting to avoid that by leaving the space under the sink open and raising the whole unit off the floor. Open to the air and easy to clean.

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Corian sink, lying upside down.

Our finish carpenter Kenneth Maynard did a beautiful job on the cabinet, creating a bowed front. We chose Corian for the counter top, and Paul Smith produced it with a built-in sink to match the vanity exactly.

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Tropical Fish Drawer Pulls.

For all the craftsmanship and skill that went into the vanity, it's the drawer pulls that are the real attention grabber!

These ceramic "fish" drawer pulls came from Cornelia Park in the Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, California. They were purchased on a whim (without any thought of where they were going to be used).

When we decided to use the fish in the bathroom, we were short by 2. However, the combined power of the Internet, MasterCard and Fedex solved the problem. An email to the owner of Cornelia Park, David Park park@primenet.com, produced exactly matching fish in two days.

Moral: If you don't want to go to the expense of a custom vanity, try novel handles.

Below is the bathroom with the sink installed and the tile work done. There is still the permanent mirror and lighting to complete. Also pictured is a closeup of the trim tile that we found in Anguilla at Keene Enterprises.

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Upstairs bath-almost done!
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Decorative tile

Faux Tile On Porch

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Making the "tile".

We wanted a cool surface on the upstairs porch. Although it will eventually have a shade awning, it will still get a lot of sunshine.

We used a cement-based product called 'TOPCOTE' from Premix-Marbletite in Miami (1-800-432-5097). They also made the stucco that we used on the tech center. It's a mixture of white cement, white sand, color pigment, and additives for strength. You only have to add water and mix it. We chose a linen color to look like coral rock.

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The Finished "Tile".

While the cement was still wet, we embedded rock salt (from Sandy Ground pond) in the surface. If you don't live on an island with salt ponds, rock salt can be used (available from hardware stores for iced driveways and from supermarkets for making ice cream).

To finish of the manufactured "tiles", we ground them down with a floor polisher (smooth the surface slightly) and then scribed them diagonally into 24" tiles using a a Diamond blad on a grinder.

Someone else on island who tried the same technique, used regular white cement and scribed the tiles using just a stick.

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Beach Shack Contact:

Mary Ann Green
931 Upper Shoal Bay Road,
Shoal Bay,
Anguilla, Eastern Caribbean
Fax: 264-497-3295
URL: www.beachshack.ai
Email: maryann@beachshack.ai