Didn’t make it through to the end

it mixed a lot of concrete

Got the bright yellow mixer for building the first dome. I guess this larger dome was just too much for it. It reached the end of its usefulness and has been replaced. Of course, I was hoping (and expecting it) to make it through without another expense, but not my luck on this addition. There is still quite a bit of concrete to mix and apply, so the new black and blue model will take over.

let’s see what this model can do

Just a quick note and pictures

view to SE dome completed, although needs additional coats on seams

Today the crew got the last tier in place and the first coat of concrete on the seams! Now to add more concrete and to install the connector between domes.

view to E, completed through top tier. This is the least muddy view, away from the actual construction.

Cooler Weather, More Work

Rainy day, a lot more completed – view to East

End of the week and the crew has the next-to-last tier of triangles set in place. Still have the clamping together of the mesh, then application of concrete in the seams, but it is really shaping up. A couple of the guys plan to work on Saturday to complete the concrete on this tier. The cooler and rainy weather has really helped. It has not been too wet to allow the concrete to set, so things went quite a bit faster this week.

View to SE – one tier to go

view to NW, rather muddy jobsite

View to west, mud everywhere from past week of rain.

This leaves one more tier of 5 triangles at the top and the hallway connector before the shell is up. A final coat of concrete will be added to the seams, making it smoother and looking good. Once it is fully cured, the support framework can be removed. After that is putting in a floor, inbound plumbing, and the heating system. Then the interior walls go up and electrical and air conditioning stuff will be run. I sure hope having all the foam makes it more comfortable to work in the heat. There is still a lot to do.

More Pictures

view to west with work on entryways

The crew has had some trouble getting the entryways put together properly, really slow going. One thing that needed to be done was a concrete lip around the edge of the overhang to divert rain. I expect the rest of the panels will go a lot faster, maybe until they reach the connector. It is not the geodesic shape, but it is made from foam and then covered with reinforcing steel mesh and concrete.

We’ve gotten a week of rainy weather, humid but a bit cooler. They are completing setting the next tier in place today. Of course then an application of concrete in the seams, and when it is set, the fourth tier will be set in place. But, I was just told it may be next week for concrete if the rain stays as heavy as it has been.

Not a lot to say today, so I’ll just show pictures, the first three from last week when sunny.

view to north, can see framing for bathroom window

view to SE as another tier is set in place

view from old front door showing another tier in place

View to east, can see all 3 domes: small one with the window at front of this picture is the bath/laundry room, then existing dome, and then new with the beginning of the next tier of panels. My back door is on the right of the picture, with the canopy over the patio.

Dreams of Comfort

My master bath will be my luxury spot, even if I don’t plan to make it look too luxe. I had the bath in my Roanoke house remodeled into a very comfy spot: roomy, good fixtures, and convenient. Originally the dining room had a straight view of the toilet, so I had the wall moved back to take the closet space between the bath and a bedroom, with the sink and toilet moved back a couple of feet. It just felt so much better with more privacy and less tacky from the rest of the house. I kept the tub-shower combination, but replaced the old tub that was losing its glazing. I got a very well insulated Kohler tub that kept water hot for an hour. It made me like soaking. All-in-all, I brought forward those ideas for my new bath. The bathroom in the original dome is in a separate 12 foot dome that also houses the laundry, water heater, linen shelves. It is a toilet on one side, with sink and shower on the other with the full-sized washer and dryer. Pretty bare-bones shower, although spacious.

In my new master bath, I will have approximately a quarter of a 13 ft diameter circle, just slightly smaller than the bedroom. It will have one door from the bedroom, and one window on the wall between the shower and tub. There will be a wall-mounted toilet to the right of the door. This past year I had hernia surgery, then injury and surgery to my left rotator cuff. It really opens the eyes to the need for assistance at any age or disability. I had a grab bar installed next to the toilet, but if it had been my right shoulder that I’d injured, I would have had to bring in a shelf or table to help myself up. I plan to have a short wall at the toilet so I could use either or both hands if needed. In addition, I want it wired so I can turn on lights and fan, or charge my ereader. My friends laugh as we describe it like the Star Trek captain’s chair.

probable sink faucet

Along the wall with the living room, there will be a single sink cabinet and radiator. Then I will put a cabinet for linens against the outside wall.

Bathtub Size: 60″ x 42″ x 24″
Water Capacity: 85 Gallons
Back Slant: 25°

I will have a deep soaking tub to the left behind the door. It feels like my biggest splurge, but Sharon convinced me that I should not consider a hot tub on a patio, but put the money toward the bathroom tub. It will be jetted and have a heater to keep the temperature up. Until she gets her bathroom renovated, she has asked for visitation privilege. As hard as she works in the yard, of course. I plan to have a tiled deck around the tub, and a grab bar that will allow me to sit on the edge, swing my feet around, and safely get in or out.

Of course, with the need to fill a tub, I will need a decent water heater. I will have a gas on-demand heater. It is definitely more expensive than a standard tank heater, but with only one person demanding water on a regular basis, plus some for guests in the powder room, I think I will be saving a lot of fuel. The current heater is electric, and will continue to heat for the guest bathroom, laundry, and kitchen. It would be too far to run lines from the new one.

As I have been looking at the shower, I had planned about 3×4 with front corners cut back to allow 30 inches clearance around it. My budget might not allow me to finish everything right away, so I am presently considering (eventual) glass block walls for the shower, with a temporary rod and curtains to start. Or I may continue to shower in the old one. I’m still checking, glass block might not be much more expensive than ceramic tiles. I could have a curved wall, then open at the end with a curbless entry. It would allow a lot of light from the window over to the sink corner, and a curbless entry would be very good. Even if I decide against the glass, the shower pan could still be used with tiled walls. I plan to have a seat available to fold up against the wall, and of course a grab bar. The back wall would be tiled and hold these safety features. It would be an extra wall built for support, as the foam wall would not bear the weight of a person on a chair.

idea for glass block shower

This room will have a ceiling for privacy, and this means a loft area. By code it needs walls or railings, despite my not planning to use the area. Actually I will have a fan there to just keep the air circulating. The dome shape really helps this, but a fan will help keep it moving.

Lights for the master bath

I am not very fond of pot lights in the ceiling, so I have found three good-sized (24 inches wide) vanity lights at Ikea that will be placed around the room. I will want them on separate switches. Of course, I will have a timed fan switch, too.

Taking Shape

riser panels and support structure, view to north

view to southeast

The current work has been to get the temporary support structure into place. It is a dome shape made of 2x4s connected to metal hubs. It sits inside the dome, on the concrete and as the panels are moved into place on higher rounds, they rest on it as the steel mesh is connected and concrete is put into the seams. After all the panels are in place and the final concrete is cured, the support can be removed and inside will be one open space. From there interior walls can be added.

view from old front door to east

view to west

Connection between the old dome and the new dome is a hallway which also contains a powder room. The structure will also be of 7 inches of foam covered with steel reinforced concrete. It will be 17 feet long on one side and 20 feet on the other, as it is not straight out from the current front door, but angles to the back yard. This is to place the new dome behind the driveway instead of in it. The end at the old dome will be about 6 to 7 feet wide, and it will attach at the 12 foot entryway on the new dome.

There will be two single doors, one to back yard and one to the patio next to my parking spot. There will also be a window on this side. There will be no doors at the ends into the domes, just openings. The current front door will be moved to be the back door and the opening finished without a door frame.

The powder room will be simple, but large enough for a wheelchair, containing a wall-mounted toilet and a sink. I will also install a grab bar.

In the hallway, which will be an entry, too, I plan to keep the cat supplies. It will be nice to have litter boxes outside of primary human space.

This is also the area for a new electrical panel. There will be a radiator and an A/C unit. It will be a busy area.

I will have cabinets and/or shelves along the wall opposite the powder room, including a spot for electronic recharging. It is likely to be the best spot for a wifi router, too.

general idea of the layout for the addition

Walls and Doorways

View from SE, wall panels are up. The ones showing here are around the master bath and bedroom. Sharon’s house and the garden shed are in the background.

Wall panels are up. View from NE. Twelve foot openings for doors and windows, on left is bedroom window, right is living room front door.

I will leave it to Sharon to write a blog entry about her latest business (ad)venture, but it is going well. We had a rather busy week with her Goldendoodle, Dani, coming into heat. Yes, she is breeding dogs in addition to gardening.

That’s the good heat. On the site of the other house here at Soul’s Ease, the heat and humidity are really dragging on the crew. I suggested we could rent some of the construction lights if they wanted to come in before dawn and leave about noon. We’ll see what they want to do.

They are currently working on the entryways, which is a bit awkward with proper placement of some really strange shaped foam pieces around the wooden framing for doors and windows. One of the guys quit last week and another was sick one day. It is really hard to maneuver the big panels with just two workers, even with the forklift taking the weight of the panel. They are back to three workers and are working on the front door entryway and the bedroom window entryway.

View of living room toward outer wall.

The bedroom window needs to be large enough for emergency egress. When we (AI Domes and I) first looked at this, I had trouble imagining myself trying to get out a window over 3 feet off the floor. I’m just not that flexible any more, to say nothing about the extra pounds I’m trying to lose. They thought about it and suggested if I lost a couple of square feet of floor space, I could have an entryway with a big window or a door instead of a window dormer. This will be about a 5×5 window, and low enough that I wouldn’t have trouble stepping over it to get out. I didn’t really want another door, so this is a good choice. The window will be facing east, and I may put my bed right below it to use it as a sort of headboard/focal point. That’s just a decorative decision, which will be made later as I move in. The bedroom will be a rather odd shape, starting off as approximately a quarter circle with a diameter of 13 feet. The entryway will be 12 feet across, replacing two of the riser panels. There will be a walk-in closet taking the corner (about 24 sq ft) between the window and the wall to the living room. It is probably a lot bigger than I need for my retirement wardrobe, but I will be happy for more general storage. This will leave almost a rectangle of 12 x 13 for the bed and dresser. I do not really need a big bedroom, so I gave more room to my master bath. That’s where I want to pamper myself.

View of bedroom toward back wall and window.