Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How far we have come in less than 7 months! 2 1/2 more to go!

We decided to put together some photos to create a timeline to show the progress we have made in a short time. Over the past year or so, we cleared all of the trees that would be in the way of constructing our villa.  We also cleared all of the "garbage" vegetation located in  our beautiful natural rock out croppings.  In the picture on the right we left one tree because of its location.  This tree was located approximately at the edge of the veranda and the "y" was the approximate height of the main level veranda.  We left it until we were ready to break ground so we had a decent vantage point during the final planning stages.
Once we were all ready to go, Denise got the honors to cut the tree.

The next step was to hire the surveying crew to locate the precise location of the villa.
This is one of the most critical moments of the entire project.  Its your only chance
to change the orientation of the villa.  Once the villa is staked and excavation begins
there is no turning back and changing things unless money is not an issue

Time to bring in the heavy machinery.  For all of you yankees on the mainland this is considered a relatively flat lot ha ha,                                                    The first part of the excavation was digging the two cisterns located underneath the ywo lower bedrooms.The picture below represents our first walls to be formed.  The room on the left is the pump room and the other two rectangles are the two cisterns.  We go up two stories from here.

All ready for concrete.  We laid down plywood so we could walk around while we poured the cistern walls.  Notice the OSHA approved pvc concrete shoot/

Concrete is poured and stripped and ready for backfill.

Here we are finishing the back fill and then excavating footings for the main level. Once that is complete we have to form for the structural concrete slab.  Another labor intense process.

We are all ready for the next pour.  The footimgs and slab are poued at the same time,  Look at all of the rebar and mechanical piping.  As early as this stage you must hace a plan for all of your gutter piping to the cisterns. this is because they run thru or under the slabs and in the walls.

All poured.  Now its time to form the lower level walls!

another vantage point

Once the walls are formed and braced , we get ready for the concrete pour. The amount of time and lumber to form all of this to be ready for concrete is staggering.  And then once poured we have to tear it all down and strip it off the concrete
Once stripped we backfill and begin preparations for the main level slab

After many man hours, rebar and all of the plumbing and electrical piping we are again ready for another pour.  This was one of our largest pours 100 ft long by almost 40 ft.  Thats almost a tenth of an acre.  Mind boggling actually 

This is the veranda at infancy.  The white pipe at the edge is one of our donwn spout feeds to the cistern.  It actually runs inside one of the columns and then to the cistern.  The pipe in thr foreground with the rebar is actually the kitchen island withe a sink
The beginning stages of setting the forms for the main floor walls.  The openings on the right represent the main entry

Once the forms are set we begin to frame the roof.  This is the largest and most time consuming concrete pout

Just like that all poured and stripped.  Here you can see the rafters are actually within the poutred walls to give us the best chance during a hurricane.  The next stage is to stain and varvish the beams, install the tongue and groove cypress then the plywood and last but not least a waterproof membrane before the clay tile roof is installed 
Turned out great! Below are some before and after photos.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Furniture Preview!!!

Villa Caribbean Palm

I have spent many hours searching and shopping for the right items for this caribbean villa.
Below is just a small preview of what we've purchased.
Some items we couldn't get printed, but I think that this small preview will show
what a island relaxed environment we are trying to create.
Living and Dining shown above.  The kitchen will welcome you to warm custom reclaimed barnwood cabinetry with exquisite granite, copper apron sink and stainless steel commercial appliances.  With every room the caribbean breeze and view can be appreciated.

Above is just one of three master suites.  Each with upscale plush furnishings where guests will enjoy a vintage eclectic island feel.  Warm linens, plush bath towels with the view of the tropics from every window.

When it comes to building a custom home sometimes people lose sight of the interior design and finishings.  I have walked through every room of this house before it was even built and have envisioned the finishing touches.  Above is another master suite with just a warm inviting feel.
More to come and we would love to hear your feedback.

This week…..finish the plaster inside, starting to lay the travertine tile, we will begin cutting the old chicago brick for the lanai and pool deck.  New update to follow soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Roof is complete Simply Beautiful! Plaster is moving along quickly as well!!!!

The roof is complete!  We could not be happier.  The two guys that installed it were flown in from Florida to install our roof.   They are the premier clay tile roof installers on St John.  They hung the 6" copper gutters, installed the downspouts and installed this entire clay roof in less than 10 working days!

Close up view of the clay tile and 6" copper gutters

Another Close up view.  Look closely at the caps that cover the plumbimg vent pipes

So backing up a few steps....This picture is the container that was  used to ship the clay tile from from France.  On St John it is known as the "Peter Bay" tile.  It is beautiful..We ordered the clay tile back in April just after we started construction to make sure it was able to be on site in time.  The container first had to make a pitstop in Jacksonville where it cleared customs.  Then Lester, our roofing contractor, met the container and loaded it with the custom 6" copper gutters he fabricated 1150 miles away.  The container was then shipped to St Thomas and then brought overon a barge.

We are very fortunate, as you can see by the picture to the left, that we were able to build a ramp onto the roof so we were able to access the roof very easily.  This was Denises idea and it was brilliant!
This is a picture of the gutters stored in the main floor bedroom.  We kept them safe until they were ready to be hung.  Pretty penny sitting there.  ha ha get it?
Ok so now onto the plaster.....We decided to start inside on the lower level so we can "work our way up and out of the villa".  Once we are done plastering  the inside, we can begin to lay our beautiful travertine and simultaneously begin to plaster the out side.   This picture is one of the lower bedrooms and already has the "scratch coat" applied which is the first coat of plaster.  Once that dries over a few days, two more coats of plaster are applied.  We decided to use a colored plaster and it has a Tuscan finish which tends to be more vintage.  

Here is a quick video clip showing the three plaster contractors applying the first coat.  This first coat is applied and then allowed  to "set up" for an hour or two and then the final coat is applied.  This enhances the Tuscan look.  As of today, the entire lower level consisting of two master suites, 2 ensuite bathrooms with out door showers over looking Fish Bay and the Caribbean Sea, and the two story stair well are complete and we have moved upstairs to the main level.
This is a picture of the main floor master suite.  They finished this room today.  I took this picture just after they finished the first coat of the colored plaster but before the closet was plastered so you could appreciate the color.  It is gorgeous!  This Master Suite has 16 ft high vaulted cielings with the same ensuite bath and outdoor shower the other two Master suites have. Once the travertine is installed and the doors hung back on the frames, we will finally be able to see all of our hard work and planning come together!
One last view of the villa and the roof.  If you are sitting on the pool deck admiring the scenery (see the picture below) and you look to your left this is what you see. This beautiful covered veranda which is a short stroll  and only two steps to the fridge for another coctail!

Not much to say here except you could be sitting here this winter enjoying the breezes and the view.  Tomorrow we start plastering the remainder of the main level which will take a week or so to finish.  We will simultaneously be applying the scratch coat on the exterior.  We should be laying the travertine druing the month of November and also laying all of the chicago brick pavers on the veranda and pool deck.  Early  to mid December we will plaster the pool, landscape and get our cabinets installed.  They are due on island by the 8th of December.  We are flying to Florida to pick our granite soon so it will be ready for us by late December or Early January.  We should be 100% complete and ready for rent by January 15! 

The roof is complete!  We could not be happier.  The two guys that installed it were flown in from Florida to install our roof.   They are the premier clay tile roof installers on St John.  They hung the 6" copper gutters, installed the downspouts and installed this entire clay roof in less than 10 working days!