Chronicles of the Design & Construction of Two Waterfront Hurricane Proof Dry Stack Modular Green Custom Homes
1. Villa Lagoon, Wilder Italian Style Home
2. Nasello Italian Style Home

April 2008

Onsia concealed speaker

Great news...we will be using the new Onsia concealed speakers in the upper floor. These totally cool speakers mount IN THE WALL, with nothing showing. I am not kidding. See the Onsia website. Since we will not have any wallboard on the DAC-ART walls, we will use their In-Frame models and install the ultra flat speakers into some kind of artwork to hang out our bare walls. Might even use Shrimp Festival posters. We will also have two invisible in-ceiling speakers and two mounted under the surface of the magnesium oxide  wall board walls. I plan to use an older home theater surround sound system that came from the Memphis house. In the bedroom upstairs, I will put two of the concealed speakers on the wall above each closet door. These can be hooked up to the TV for good stereo and TV sound in there.

I will be sure to add photos of the installation of these very cool speakers. From what I have read, they are suppose to have very good sound when properly installed.

April has been a short month for us. While we had a very mild, warm winter, we have had some downright chilly days in March and April. I am really ready for some hot sunshine. Our crane had some electrical issues and we lost about a week while we decided the best route to take for the repairs. While the crane was 'down' we replaced the clear roof panel in the crane cab. It had been glass and had gotten broken. Not good, esp when it rains. Dave installed a sheet of clear Plexiglas in the flip-open crane cab roof.

concrete acid stain cornice and freize

One day I was here very early in order to paint concrete acid stain on the lintel type supports that will hold the upper floor deck over the south porch. Mike and his guys needs me to hurry up and get the color done, so I got here about 8 a.m. The early sun from the east lit up the colors on the cornice. The cornice blocks are not grouted yet, but that will be soon.

We have huge areas of dead grass in the yard. Mostly it is from the dumping of extra concrete. I have asked Mike to go ahead and get them up so that I can fertilize the grass and water it in hopes that the early runners will help fill in these eyesores before the weed population gets out of control.

areas where extra concrete was pumped
crane boom and bird nest link belt crane boom
bluebird looking around the corner

We have had a lot of birds around lately. A pair of bluebirds started making a nest in this little welded scoop area on the crane's boom. Bluebirds usually nest pretty close to the ground, about 6 ft I have read, so they didn't like it when Mike had the crane's boom up in the air. This pair of bluebirds flew around us all afternoon. I told Mike he could be glad that they were not Mockingbirds, or bluejays, he added.

bluebird on boom of linkbelt crane

Ryan brought over our column capitols from DAC-ART in his truck. We have all but one of them now I think.

concrete column capitols capitals concrete home porch columns

Here you can see the column capitols in place. On top of each capitol is a cut away bracket of DAC-ART into which the lintels to support the upper deck go.

The guys lined the porch beams up with the outward showing face upward for us to do the concrete acid stain designs.

applying concrete acid stain to exterior house parts concrete acid stain porch supports

We have begun to add color to the big solid bars of concrete that are the upper deck supports. I had not originally thought about doing it, but since there is no frieze or colorful cornice in the area of the porches, it just seemed like it would look good and balance the acid stain color effect on the length of the house. We have to be careful of the rebar sticking out on the ends, it is needed for installation so it is important.

upper floor of hurricane proof concrete home

At the other end of the house, the end blocks that form the openings for our upstairs windows are now going on. Each block has a sticking out trim piece that gives the window opening more definition. We put a few blocks up before we had these on hand and they do not have the decorative trim piece so Mike and crew will have to cut some scrap and attach it to the exterior blocks to match.

window openings in concrete block wall

Where the center panels go, between the two windows on three sides of the bedroom, the lower blocks stick out a bit for a decorative effect. One is rectangle but the other is a bow front block.

decorative concrete blocks under window panels

The rented man-lift (aprox 2 grand per month) has been really useful for the grouting and for setting the cornices.

hurricanee proof concrete home construction

The photo above shows how we have been cutting a couple inches off the bottom of the old style cornices that we have to use them. Once in place, the top ledge is about and inch and half too short. The plan is (last I heard) to form up when we next pour concrete back-fill and add a couple inches to the top surface of our too-short cornice blocks... all corner ones.

concrete cornice getting sawed

This photo shows a cornice that got chipped somehow along the way. It is covered in powdered concrete from the men using power tools on it, but that will wash off. I suppose they are going to fill the void with grout...not sure. It is in the seldom seen West side, so it won't bug me.

concrete cornice with chipped corner
concrete acid stain on cornice blocks

These older cornice blocks were poured with a different concrete mix than the rest of my cornice blocks. The corners take the concrete acid stain color much better. The green on the lowest band still doesn't show up much here but the other colors are very vivid.

concrete girders , beams to support the upper deck.
lundy wild hair

Worked out in strong wind today finishing the acid stain color on the porch beams and my hair looked like an Afro when I came in.

 Hippeastrum x johnsonii st. josephs lily hardy amaryllis

The Hippeastrum x johnsonii (aka St. Joseph’s Lily) are blooming and right next to this one is one of my muscadine seedling transplants. In “Garden Bulbs for the South”, Scott Ogden writes, “After nearly two hundred years, H. x johnsonii remains the most prolific and hardy garden amaryllis. Its bold, crimson trumpets rise in clusters of four to six atop two-foot stems. In most of the South, these blossoms appear in early April.” (St. Joseph’s day is March 19th.)