The House



The House Begins... well sort of

The guys hurried and moved everything for the excavator to come and dig the footings for the main house... but has the excavator shown up... NO. Meanwhile Harley and a couple of the guys are doing what they can, last coats of sealer in the cisterns, removing framing from the pervious pour, getting rebar ready for the house and plastering the pump room. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Pump Room Plaster

Irvin and Power did a great job with the plaster.

The Excavator Finally Arrives

The main house footings get dug and rocks (for stone wall and arch) are brought down from where they were stacked after the original excavation. Its called staging the site and Harley likes a neat area.

The Rebar and Plumbing Go In

And Voila'... Ready for the Next Big Pour

Before pouring a main slab you must have the work inspected. The inspectors haven't shown up and there is a concrete shortage, so you know what that means.... we take matters into our own hands and have a .... yes, you guessed it... another "Champagne Inspection".

Main Slab (Champagne) Inspection

This inspection team is our good friends Carlos, Maria, Augustina, Mateo and soon to arrive, Alejo. You may recognize them, they are the owners of Morgan's Mango Restaurant which is one of our favorite spots and the place where Harley & I first meet 13 years ago.

Our progress maybe slow right now but (as Mateo demonstrates) there is a lot of attention to detail. Next island contractor? And oh yes, we had yet another beautiful sunset.

The Main House Slab... concrete at last!

After 30 long days the concrete finally arrives. Jeff and his concrete pumper (left photo) are the first to arrive. Through the building process you come to find out who is dependable and Harley gives Jeff 5 stars. Once the slab was poured, Irvin buffed it smooth for our soon to be polished and stained concrete floors. I don't know what they call the machine that Irvin is using but I like the name "whirlybird".

The Main House Slab

Here's the slab... its a beauty. Doesn't it look like a great place for a party? The real beauty is that we don't have to wait for concrete again. The main wall and arch are stone and the rest are block that can be put up using our magic mixer. Things should start to move along again... at least at a good island clip.

The Walls Begin

Here we go with the main house. In case your wondering about the plastic and the plywood on the floors, it's protecting the slab (hopefully) from getting damaged or stained.

Guest Bedroom and Media Room (with Fireplace)

The Walls Continued

Three walls are up and the frames for the arch windows are going in along with the framing for the ring beams (they tell me those are the do-hickeys that hook to the roof).

Back Yard
12.May 06

Check out the big arched window that is in the master bath looking out into the back area. I plan to turn this area into a lush little garden.

Impromptu Cocktail Inspection

A couple of long time friends (Craiger & John) were in town and of course that called for a visit up to "Arc du Soliel". From left to right starting at the top is: Craiger (he lived on St. John back in the good old days), Swanny, Diana, John Garrison (you might remember him from the "Friends of the Park"), Harley and Kate. Kate took the shot below of Harley and I on the built-in "pool lounges". Harley carefully positioned these so he could sit in the pool and still rest his arm (and beer) safely out of the water. This is Harley's favorite spot in the house.

Interior Walls and a Bongo Bongo Visit

We have most of the interior walls in and are now preparing the frame work for Deli the stone mason to come in and start on our stone wall. The guys with the big smiles you see here with Harley are Jeff and Russ from the famous Bongo Bongo House. We invited them up so they could reminisce about the joys of building on St. John. They are just completing their house and are our new neighbors in Chocolate Hole. They have a building blog that is humorous (and sometimes painful), check it out at

The Stone Wall

I was amazed (and thrilled) when I finally got to see the stone wall going up. Deli and his crew (Randi & Murph) are truly pros at their craft. These are three very mellow guys who seem to be actually enjoying their work. Because Deli is also a painter (watercolor on canvas type) I'm letting the artist decide on design and placement of shells.

Here's a view from inside the master bedroom. Don't mind that guy covered in cement on the left.

Continue to ARCH june 2006...