Archive | December 2012

As 2012 Ends

Not lots to report, but the crew did work a couple of days this past week. They’d like to be able to place the final 5 panels within the week. For the current row, they have all the panel wire clipped together with c-rings, and a wrap of cable in the seam, plus the first application of cement on the seams.

Main dome is nearly enclosed

Main dome is nearly enclosed

With the setting of the next five panels, the main dome will be enclosed overhead, and they will be starting on the 12 foot diameter dome for the bath/laundry. It is just foam panels, so they will be adding the concrete and wire mesh over the entire structure. They have gotten used to using foam as a connector device now, just a new tool. They will be putting up foam sheets for the 2 entryways, around the window and door framing. The loft over the bedroom, also acting as ceiling, will be going into place, as will the wall between the bedroom and kitchen/living area. The electrician will be running wiring – also a new thing for him to just slice a stripe through the foam and put in wire, spray in more foam to cover it. The only joists to worry about will be in the wall between the rooms.

We’ve had nearly 8 inches of rain within the past 10 days – I am told this is typical winter weather – the rainy season. It has been quite chilly, down to freezing a couple of nights here and there. The wind has been very strong, time to walk the meadow edge with a large trash bag and clean up debris, a lot from the construction. Having lived in the mountains, the wind strength is not greater than I’ve seen fairly regularly, but on the open flatter areas, it feels a lot stronger when it is 25 mph. But I’m retired and have happily stayed indoors for the gusty and rainy stuff. I had only planned to do that for snowy days, but why get so uncomfortable if I don’t have the need? I am seeing more and more pleasure in being retired.


I’m not dreaming of a White Christmas

Happy Holidays to All.

porch entry









A little time was lost last week with almost 2 inches of rain one day, then a day too windy to be safely on ladders. The panels are strapped down and ready for work on the next nice day. At least we know the build site has good drainage. We are having a break this week, the crew is spending lots of good Christmas time with family. Sharon and I are starting new traditions for ourselves – visiting friends is part of this. A new place, new retirement, new friends, and new traditions – my life has changed a lot during the past year – and it’s all good.


Another row of panels

Working on placement of last two panels

Working on placement of last two panels

Today we had lots of action at the dome site. After 2 days with a lot of rain and another day to allow the ground to dry around it, the lift truck was brought in to put another tier of panels in place. Rain predicted again for tomorrow evening, but they should be able to get some of the seams sealed. The panels are foam with concrete and steel mesh outside, which gets clamped together, then concrete is applied to the seams and cover the overlapping steel mesh. A couple of layers of concrete are applied, making it a very strong seam. This is also time-consuming, with application and cure time, it seems to be slow progress if you just take a quick look.

End of day, last panel in place

End of day, last panel in place for this tier

The small dome for the bath/laundry will be another piece-together, no pre-fab. It is smaller foam pieces, so no lift truck will be needed, and only a small entryway section for a window. I hope it goes together fast. The crew really has learned a lot so far.

The windows have been ordered – all 3 are tempered glass, as next to the door is required by state code, and next to the shower seemed like a very good idea. The doors are ordered and waiting pick up, a double French door for the bedroom, and a full length window door for the front. I was able to get blinds within the French doors, good to prevent damage as animals poke noses through to the view, should be well worth the cost. I also have a solar tube for the bathroom – I guess it is usually called a water closet – as the toilet and water heater are in a separate room from the rest, without any window. Also plan lots of shelves there, and probably at least one cat litter box.

Inside Sharon’s house, we have much improved relations among the animals. Her current rescue is starting to interact more with her 2 dogs, and actually played for a few minutes. This is really a big deal so soon – Zack and Shakti really help socializing the foster dogs. They have had a few nose sniffs with my cat Buster. He has no fear of them as long as he is on his side of the baby gate across the hall. He even lay on the floor and rolled around in front of Zack. I’m sure it frustrates Zack not to have the cat run when he charges the gate, but he is also very curious now. I don’t expect to lose the gate, but I am glad for this much acceptance.


Progress, but not highly visible

Okay, back to the blog – sorry I have not been writing lately. Since the last posting, the crew has been working on cementing the joints and constructing the entryways. There is one in the living room and one in the bedroom, and they were not as pre-fab as the rest of the dome, lots of foam pieces to fit together, then apply wire and concrete. There is also a trough along the front edge to prevent rain drips. Since there is no roof line for a gutter, I plan to put a French drain all around the house to catch run-off, and hopefully the gravel will discourage weeds too close to the building. I have fought honeysuckle, crown vetch, poison ivy, and English ivy at my other house. I don’t want a vine-covered cottage, as it can really damage the exterior.

front with drain trough

Front entryway with trough construction – can see the framed doorway and windows at dining area.

This week they expect to work on the next tier of triangle pre-fab pieces. These will make a complete circle around the dome, just higher than the entryways, and it will seem like a lot more is happening. After that, only 5 pieces to enclose the top. We have had some heavy rain and cold days. It’ll be good to have the place enclosed for them. Of course, the bathroom/laundry dome has not been started, but it is smaller and more easily handled on the ground.

view of concreted entryways from beyond bathroom dome site

I am busy making decisions about finishes and furniture. I have ordered some large appliances and a bed, doors and windows. I have about decided on the bathroom, liked a smallish sink and cabinet at IKEA, with matching tall mirrored cabinet. Lots of storage in a compact space. The shower is probably going to be a floor drain with a curtain around it. I like the idea of a place for emergency washer overflow, besides a wheel-chair accessible shower. The floor will be concrete, as I have planned throughout the building, with epoxy paint making it a pretty and easily maintained finish. I have tentatively decided on the living room and dining room furniture, but kitchen cabinets may be the last item so I can have exact measurements. I think lighting may be the hardest choice, but I am making the round of lighting departments and taking pictures.

Starting on the Next Tier

Lifting panel into place

Lifting panel into place

The place is filling in nicely. Our electrician brought over his boom truck to lift panels (it is just high enough for the 22 foot cottage). In this first picture, it shows how they were lifting and gently lowering into position. They placed the triangle panels above the 3 risers, and the inverted panels on each side, leaving the two entryway openings because they require special fitting. Everything is wired into place tonight and weather is supposed to be very good for a couple more days. Tomorrow the crew will be back to apply the concrete at the seams, then it can cure until about Wednesday before more panels go up. These panels weigh about 135 pounds, so the concrete needs to be fully ready before the next level goes on top. In the second picture, all of today’s panels are visible, including the notched out sections going around the doorway between the bedroom and bathroom.

Panels placed today

Panels placed today

If you look at the top of the support structure, you can see the tree in honor of completing that, like they do on high-rises. In our case, we even have lights and some decoration because it is the season. Sharon and I had gone window-shopping at IKEA in Atlanta on Thursday (for ideas, not merchandise, yet) and came back after dark to find the dome had a lighted tree. Nice!