Archive for January, 2010

Returning to California

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

After being away for five days, we were anxious to return to California and see how our job site was doing, given the huge rains while we were away.

Final breakfast at St. Maarten.

Final breakfast at St. Maarten.

After returning home, Bryan had to develop a strategy (fast) to address the blazing inferno in front of him.

After returning home, Bryan had to develop a strategy (fast) to address the blazing inferno in front of him.

Verifying Our Wine Cellar Design in St. Maarten

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

It has been a tough week in St. Maarten.  Deep sea fishing (Bryan caught two Barracudas), working (Jo-Anne was on numerous conference calls and in multiple meetings), and spending some time at the spa (Jo-Anne) and beach front bar (Bryan).  Today, we rented a Jeep and went completely around the island (both the Dutch and French sides).

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting Chris at Vinissimo Wine and Spirit Boutique in Marigot (on the French side of the island).  We were hosting pre-dinner wines on the final night of Chairman’s Club and only had six bottles of wine.  And 26 guests.  We needed more wine so we ended up at Vinissimo and met Chris, the owner.

Driving Around the Island of St. Maarten

As is our tradition, we had to go on a ‘forced march’ and explore.  Thus, we rented a jeep for the day (with the roof down it gives your ‘double’ the vacation, right Bobby?) and drove around the island.

We made our way around the island, stopping on the beach in front of the main runway at Princess Julianna Airport (SXM) and then continued on to Marigold.  Yes, we were on the beach directly under the flight path as several large jets landed and took off.  We saw this on YouTube so we simply had to see it for ourselves.

After watching several planes land and take off, we started to get anxious as the day was starting to get away on us and we (desperately?) needed six bottles of wine.  Our deadline to return to the resort was 5:00 pm.

Verifying Our Wine Cellar Design at Vinissimo Wine and Spirit Boutique

We arrived at Vinissimo and it was closed.  It looked like the owner had just gone for lunch so we waited.  It was over an hour waiting.  Finally, Chris opened her shop at 2:30 pm and we immediately walked in the door.  It was fun to discuss wines with Chis and she recommended five French wines (her specialty, go figure) and we bought a ‘new world’ wine – 1997 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.  Interestingly, Chris had some bottles of Beauregard Vineyards, which she quite liked.  Bryan mentioned that Beauregard Vineyards is in the Santa Cruz Mountains not far from our house.

After buying six great bottles of wine, the next most important aspect of our visit was that we confirmed the design of our wine cellar. 

We had designed our wine cellar to have a hardwood floor with six inches of crushed limestone between the hardwood and the wine racks.  This is exactly what was in Vinissimo!  It looked perfect – just what we are looking for in our design.

Our Wine Cellar will have 18 inch hardwood floor in each aisle, with 6 inches of crushed rock between the hardwood and the wine racks.

Our Wine Cellar will have 18 inch hardwood floor in each aisle, with 6 inches of crushed rock between the hardwood and the wine racks.

It was conforting to know that our design is robust.

Warning sign where the planes land in St Maarten.

Warning sign at the end of the runway at Princess Julianna Airport (SXM) in St Maarten.

Take-off/landing schedule.

Take-off/landing schedule.

Plane landing at SMX (Princess Julianna Airport, St. Maaten).

Plane landing at SMX.

Under the flight path watching a jet land at SXM.

Under the flight path watching a jet land at SXM.

Chris (right) reviewing her wines for us.

Chris (right) reviewing her wines for us.

The wines were at a good height with room for at least six bottles under each display bottle.

The wines were at a good height with room for at least six bottles under each display bottle.

Jo-Anne reviewing the 'new world' wines where she spotted the 1997 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jo-Anne reviewing the 'new world' wines, where she spotted the 1997 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chris finds a bottle that she thinks should be compatible with our tastes ...

Chris finds a bottle that she thinks should be compatible with our tastes ...

Chris looks up the details on the vintages to confirm her recommendations.

Chris looks up the details on the vintages to confirm her recommendations.

These looked good; we didn't include them in our selection today.

These looked good; we didn't include them in our selection today (prices are all in Euros).

The design that we have for our wine cellar is very similar to this.  We will have hardwood flooring (sanded but not finished) between the racks with space for six inches of crushed rock between the hardwood and the wine racks.  There will be individual racks for each bottle and a display bottle above each column.

The design that we have for our wine cellar is very similar to this. We will have hardwood flooring (sanded but not finished) between the racks with space for six inches of crushed rock between the hardwood and the wine racks. There will be individual racks for each bottle and a display bottle above each column.

We're ready for the guests to arrive.  Steve (left) and Cindy, with Rob and Jo-Anne (right).  Seven reds and six whites opened and ready.

We're ready for the guests to arrive. Steve (left) and Cindy, with Rob and Jo-Anne (right). Seven reds and six whites opened and ready, breathing comfortably.

Yes, we also have glasses and water for the event.

Yes, we also have plenty of wine glasses and water for the event.

Making a Moat with Sandbags Around the Atrium

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

We’re leaving tomorrow evening (Monday, January 18) for a week in St. Maarten and heavy rains are forecasted through the week, especially Wednesday, January 20.  Our framers were very busy last week and we want them to be able to continue working through the week.

Making a Moat with Sandbags

Since the atrium is open to the sky, the rains will come straight into the lower level.  Thus, we thought about building a moat with plastic and sandbags so the ‘angry waters’ are contained in the atrium and will drain into the exterior stair well drain.  That is the plan.

It may be like trying to put one’s finger in the leaking dike …

The real plan is for us to have a fabulous time in St. Maarten!

The sandbag 'moat' around the atrium.

The sandbag 'moat' around the atrium.

Moat by Nik's Room.

Moat by Nik's Room.

Water to drain to exterior stairwell.

Water to drain to exterior stairwell.

To the drain in the exterior stairwell.

To the drain in the exterior stairwell.

Framing in the Lower Powder Room ('Men's Room').

Framing in the Lower Powder Room ('Men's Room').

Filling the Saw Cuts in the Garage Floor

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

As with the other saw cuts in the concrete, we had to fill the saw  cuts in the garage floor.  David Ruiz suggested that we fill them in now, regardless of whether we grind the concrete in the garage or not.

So Bryan spent a couple hours taping the saw cuts and then filling them with Ardex TWP.

Done.

Bryan did as Dave Ruiz instructed him:  tape each side of the saw cut then fill it with Aardex TWP.

Bryan did as Dave Ruiz instructed him: tape each side of the saw cut then fill it with Ardex TWP.

More Polishing in the Lower Level

Friday, January 8th, 2010

The grinding and polishing in the lower level wrapped up today. 

We scheduled the crane to arrive on Monday so we can lift the grinder/polisher out of the lower level, unload a truckload of FSC certified lumber into the lower level and ground floor, move some SIPs and then start framing.

The polished concrete in the lower level looks fantastic.

The polishing was just wrapping up.  It looks great!

The polishing was just wrapping up. It looks great!

Hunter Martinez skillfully manages the grinder/polisher and is completing the polishing.

Hunter Martinez skillfully manages the grinder/polisher and is completing the polishing.

We need some lumber so we can start framing on Monday.

We need some lumber so we can start framing on Monday.

Continuing to Grind and Polish Concrete in the Lower Level

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Dave Ruiz and Hunter Martinez continued to grind and polish the concrete in the lower level today.

As Dave says, ‘We make a mess, clean it up, and do it all over again. And again, and again …’

This is very accurate.

The concrete is covered with 1/8 inch of concrete dust from the grinder/polisher.

The concrete is covered with 1/8 inch of concrete dust from the grinder/polisher.

The grinder/polisher with the vacuum attached.

The grinder/polisher with the vacuum (left).

Dave used a mop to wet the concrete so we could see how it was progressing.

Dave used a mop to wet the concrete so we could see how it was progressing.