By James Sturz
October 28, 2016

A year ago, when we began to build, I said the house would take a year to complete. Okay, it’s going to take a little longer.

We’ve had some delays, and made some changes. We added air conditioning to the almost all-glass studio above our bedroom, enlarged the two outdoor lava showers (best to have extra room when naked around jagged stone), addressed some issues about where to put the propane tank when the local gas company nixed the original location, and, most importantly, extended our front patio—a.k.a. the sun lanai—which also meant moving our fence farther back so there’d be more room between the two. That last change was part of a larger project to erect additional fencing where our lot abuts our neighbors’. The existing fence was only simple wire that a rancher had put up, and a wild pig that had been snared on the other side wiggled through it last spring (and was subsequently eaten by our construction crew). That won’t happen again.

Seeing a house develop through its stages is a little like space travel. You see it from above and afar, when it only exists as plans on paper. You’re too far away to grasp the elevation or curvature; both the house and earth are flat. When concrete was poured, the house’s spaces first seemed incredibly small, and then suddenly too big, before they finally felt human-sized again. One morning, when the house was just foundation, Paula and I lay on our backs in the master bedroom and then raced nervously to the kitchen to pantomime juicing oranges and cutting bread (gluten-free for her?) to approximate what being inside would be like. But once the framing went up, and we could start imagining seeing the ocean beyond our windows, I couldn’t understand how the spaces had ever seemed two-dimensional because suddenly the outdoors were part of our house. Strangely, it took erecting walls for the outside to find its way back in.

Despite the delays (the newly re-re-re-revised schedule has us finishing in January), it’s starting to look housy at the building site.

The drywall’s up inside, with most of the cabinet boxes in place too. Outside, stucco’s being applied where there aren’t cedar panels, lava tiles, or glass. Once that’s finished, the cement lanai and pathways will be poured, essentially connecting the three pavilions. After that, most of the remaining work will be inside.

Since Halloween’s just around the corner, here’s our trick-or-treat bag, full of candy:

As I promised a year ago, I’ll keep this blog going until the house is finished and Paula and I can spend the night—although furniture’s something we’re going to need to start thinking about, too…