St Barts Renovation:
Azu Villa

Anguilla Construction:
Guest cottage.
Tech center.


Contact us.

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Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

This is the web site for the three villas that I built on Anguilla and the villa that I am renovating in St Barts (see Azu Villa Renovation Page), plus tropical construction tips and resources as well. These construction projects started in 1997, although land acquisition and architectural planning started in 1995. Every stage of the construction is recorded here.

We rent the villa in St Barts and the guest cottage in Anguilla (La Vanda) and the villa at the top of the Anguilla property (Mimosa), but we keep the beachfront house and pool for our own use. And we have created a name and web page for the overall completed property: Bellamare

For details on the main Anguilla beachfront house, visit the Residence Construction Page.

For the technology center, visit the "Clubhouse" Construction Page.

And finally, for the guest cottage, our first attempt at construction on Anguilla, visit the La Vanda Construction Page.

-- Mary Ann Green

Construction Tips

Saturday, May 06, 2000   Permalink

Curved Ceiling.

curved rafters

Mary Ann's study has a curved wooden ceiling. Now we are trying to figure out how to do the finish molding for it!

curved ceiling

Friday, May 05, 2000   Permalink

Chici. Here is a picture of Chici, the newest contractor on our site. He and his crew have been doing a great job on the garage, laundry, garden courtyards and swimming pool. Next we hope to have him tackle a deck and living room pavillion.


Another Chici Project. Before coming to our construction site, Everton Gumbs (Chici) worked on another house addition and swimming pool, which you can view on the web: Click Here.

Thursday, May 04, 2000   Permalink

The Eyebrows. The vents are formed of concrete and cover a hole in the roof. The plywood form was eventually replaced with louvers. When we had to send workers up in the attic to lay insulation on a very hot afternoon, we found that the vents were working! The attic was not hot at all.


Vents in the Roof. Because of the enclosed "attic" under this roof, we decided to try venting the hot air out. There are two eyebrow vents like this, plus 2 louvered vents in the sidewalls of the porch (which does not have a drop ceiling).


Bob's Study Ceiling. The middle building contains the kitchen and two studies under one roof. All rooms have a ceiling, creating a crawl space (unusual in Anguilla). The ceiling is made of 1x6 T&G cypress from Florida.


Wednesday, May 03, 2000   Permalink

Pineapple Villa Roofline. Here is the roofline of the small beachfront villa as seen from the kitchen roof, looking west.


Veranda of the Pineapple Villa. The villa closest to the beach will have a pinapple decoration at the roof peak. Here you can see the radiant barrier being installed on the veranda. Unlike the main roof, which is made of concrete, steel and wood, the veranda roofs are made just of wood. Although they should stand up to 120 mph winds, if they blow away in 150 mph winds they will not take the main roof with them. The radiant barrier reflects the sun's energy. Although it works better with an air space as in the main roof, it still works even when sandwiched between two sheets of plywood, as here (effectiveness is 40% reduced).

radiant barrier

Swimming Pool Issues. We saw a new pool with vanishing edge and slate grey tile work and liked it a great deal. And the water seemed warmer than with a white pool. In the pool books there are many examples of pools with black bottoms (infinite look), so we decided to try it. But almost immediately we heard that in August in Anguilla the pool water might get too hot to swim in. So we sent out a request for feedback over the Internet and received many useful replies.

Vic Fontenay in Fiji (email: is a professional pool designer and has a web site that shows in detail how to build a pool (sort of a Beachshack site for pools): Click Here. Vic says that dark plastered pools often mottle because the plaster is not applied perfectly. Tiles can be a solution, albeit more expensive, but sometimes the morter bleeds. Diamond Bright is a plaster compound with synthetic elements that is less prone to mottling.

Don Mitchell (email: thinks that how much wind you get over the pool is a big factor and this matches the experience of some of our neighbors:

As the owner of a swimming pool in Anguilla for the past 10 years I have an idea or two. First, the temperature when swimming is affected not only by the sunlight, but also by the wind. My pool is in full sunlight, but Maggie considers it unusable for half of the year. It does'nt affect me as much as it does her. The cause of the extreme cold that she notices mainly during the winter months is the wind that blows continuously over Anguilla. The actual temperature of the water in the winter falls only one or two degrees as compared with the summer. But, if the wind is blowing as you enter the water it appears to be extremely cold from about November to about April. It is significantly warmer in the water on windless days. If I had only built a wall on the east of the pool there would have been no problem. The trade winds blow from the south-east in the summer, and from the north-east in the winter. A curved wall on the east covering a bit of the north and a bit of the south would have cut the wind flow over the pool so significantly that I am convinced that the pool would have appeared several degrees warmer than it really is. The other significant consequence of the dry wind flowing over the surface of a pool in Anguilla is that you loose about one inch per day every day day after day. That is a minimum of a foot of water every two weeks. You know as well as I fo what a problem that is in Anguilla, unless you have a magic wand to produce an inexhaustible supply of fresh water!

Finally, Pat Petrilak (email: who actually has a black pool, wrote:

I built a pool in 1990 with a black bottom, very nice look. But it heated the pool so much in July & August, we had to add cool water. And this was in New York, not sunny Anguilla.

George Petrilak (also of Little Harbour)

Tuesday, May 02, 2000   Permalink

Low Country Furniture. writes "I came across your site in search for some unique shutters for our furniture. We manufacture "lowcountry furniture" in South Carolina. Take a look at ut website at and especially the plantation line. ou may be interested in some of our items as they seem to fit with what you re doing." All of their furniture looks suitable for Anguilla, especially as they use cypress, which is good for our climate and termites. Plus they have online ordering and multiple finishes available.

Concrete Block Walls. Here you see the concrete block going up for the garage. Spaces are left for supporting posts which will be made of rebar and poured concrete:

garage walls

Pouring the Slabs. Once the foundations are built up for the laundry and the garage and any plumbing and electrical conduits have been laid down, the next step is to pour the slab floors:


Monday, May 01, 2000   Permalink

For the Master Bath! We couldn't resist this incredible translucent glass sink when we saw it at Florida Plumbing in Miami (305-591-9300).

glass sink

New Book. "More Power To You" by H. Skip Thomsen is about using Chinese diesel generators as backup power. We just ordered a 24kw diesel genset from ChinaDepot to be shipped from China to Miami, then on to us. The size of our generator is 75 in by 30 in by 49 in. and the weight is 1807 lbs. This book is written by a guy in Oregon who lives happily "off the grid". Only $9.95: Click Here.

Foundation Forms. Since the ground in solid rock, preparation for the laundry foundation consists of clearing any dirt away and building a form out of scrap lumber, rebar, and rocks. Using rocks for the foundation form is cheaper than using wood and it becomes part of the foundation! The concrete will be poured into this.

foundation forms

Starting Some New Structures. Contractor Everton Gumbs (Chici) has come on site with his crew to build the laundry building and the garage. Here you see the concrete truck pouring the walls for a new cistern, partly above ground and partly in-ground. We built it because we already the hole due to an error in 1997 and the new buildings will have roof space to catch more rain water. To the right of the cistern are the new foundations.


Mixing a Little Concrete to make some patches.

A Lot Has Been Happening in Year 2000. We have been incredibly busy: main house is nearing completion, a laundry and garage have been built, the bathrooms have walled gardens, we have started a swimming pool, and we are planning a social pavillion behind the pool. Keep tuned.

For construction progress reports from 1997 through 1999, Click Here.

Read Earlier News Reports

Site Map: Links, Plans and Other Info

Building the Anguilla Beachhouse

Building the Anguilla Software Center

Building the Anguilla Guest Cottage

Tropical Construction Bookstore

Links to Related Sites

Building Material Sources

Beach Shack Contact:

Click for Home Page Mary Ann Green
931 Shoal Bay Beach,
Shoal Bay,
Anguilla, Eastern Caribbean
Fax: 264.497.3295
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