Monday, May 28, 2007


La Ducha

When you build your own house you do have certain leeway in making on the fly changes-and I am the Queen of Change. Step back, take a look--"Hmmmm-that's not it. Let's try something else." Now, I haven't quite figured out if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I know it drives the other member of the team a bit crazy but, that goes both ways.

The shower had its share of changes, at least that's how it appears but in my mind, it looks just the way I envisioned it. You see, I compromised early on what I wanted for floor tile and was afraid of the lime plaster. After I decided to go for it on the lime and got the tile I wanted, it all worked but I had to make a few mistakes first.

This is the lime before polishing and staining. I loved the way it looked at this stage. So smooth and level and white.

The next step was polishing with a small steel trowel (it's all about the trowel) and polishing....and polishing...and polishing. This is not a process to start late in the day. You have to be there to trowel at the right stage and for the right amount of time. You just don't know beforehand when that time will be. Working with these old techniques really gives a view into the life of artisans and craftspeople of years gone by.

This is the before tile on the right and the after on the left. The rock tile just fits the rustic look of the shower walls and the colors are perfect.

This (right)then is the finished shower. We use it everyday and so far so good. The only problem we have is the lack of slope on the whole shower floor. A miscommunication or lack of communication with the slab crew. But, we have a longhandled squeegee that we use on the floor after every shower.

It's all good.

We got our landscape plan and are pleased with it. Scott is making a few changes and should have it to us tomorrow so we can submit to the "Design Review Committee". I don't foresee a problem. The concept of the design is a more wild or natural look around the perimeter of the lot with the area on the south side that will be walled in more linear and formal, which suits the style of the house.

The most exciting part is the wall design. I had agonized over this for a long time, going from cob to block to cob to bamboo to... Nothing caught. When Scott was here for the initial meeting we talked about gabions and possibly using the large number of rocks left on the lot in some way. The planets lined up and as he was driving in a neighborhood in central Tucson, he found this:Awesome, just what I wanted!

Scott's doing an interesting experiment this summer. Going without air conditioning and evaporative cooling. Got my goat because we buckled early on turning on the air, so now I'm back at it. Our biggest problem is the blast oven heat produced by the sons and their computers! Sizzlin! So I just close their doors and give a hearty "Good luck with that!" Right now at 4:20 pm it's 95.2 outside and 82.6 inside. Not bad. Just have to do most of the cooking outside, which we do anyway, watch the lighting (no incandescent or halogen) and don't leave windows and doors open. We'll see what happens. I once tried to eat only foods produced within 100 miles of Tucson-not an easy task. I lasted about 10 days. My inspiration was Coming Home to Eat a fascinating look at food and why we eat what we eat.

So, I'm off to check to solar oven-Blueberry Crumble.

And lest we forget-All gave some, Some gave all. Memorial Day 2007