green building tagged posts

Newspaper article on my house

On August 20th, the local newspaper, the Sierra Vista Herald, published an article on my house, since it’s likely to get a LEED for Homes “platinum” rating, the highest. Unfortunately, the article is behind a pay wall on the Herald’s web site, so I’ve attached a copy here. You can use either this link

Living ‘lightly on the land’ article, svherald

and then click on the image of the first page of the PDF file to download it, or you can click on this link to download it directly.


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Moving In–Ten Years After

While this post is NOT about the circa 1970 British blues/rock band Ten Years After, it is about moving in and ten years after. I’ll answer the question, “After what?” a little later.

The last three weeks have been, well, chaotic. As I wrote last time, I was moving from the old house to the new one the way Johnny Cash built his Cadillac: “One piece at a time.” Which is a lot harder to do than it might seem. At least, it was for me. Not harder physically, although there was plenty of toting and hauling. In fact, with apologies to Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin, I came up with my own version of the Rawhide theme:

Movin’, movin’, movin’,

Keep them boxes movin’,

Movin’, movin’, movin’,


Pack ’em up, move ’em out, move ’em in, pack ’em out,

Pack ’em in,

Boxhiiiiide. Yaah!

OK, great ...

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Mirrors, Floors, and Tile

As I expected, this past week has been a busy one as construction work wraps up. The mirrors went in, the last of the bamboo flooring went down, and almost the last of the tile backsplashes went in.


Mirror-maker Mo was back on Tuesday with the mirrors for the master and guest baths, plus a repaired antique mirror that will go in the master bedroom. He uses this way-cool laser device that guarantees a level mirror.

Laser level

Once he locates the horizontal and vertical centers on the wall, he uses the laser to show them along the full width of the space. By raising or lowering the height of the horizontal laser line, he can identify exactly where the mounting holes should go.

Leveling using the laser

And the end results are…

Master bath mirror

…in the master bath, and…

Guest bath mirror

…in the guest bath.

Office floor

Kurtis is back from vacation, a...

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New Home: A Quiet Week Before the Final Push

Not much has happened this week. With the bamboo for the office floor needing the week to acclimate, tile and flooring setter Kurtis took the week off. Pretty much everything else depends on that floor getting done. The final push to finish everything will resume on Monday.

“Monsoon” has arrived in this part of Arizona, though, which is a good thing. This literally is a monsoon–which just means a change of the prevailing wind direction–in our case from west or southwest to southeast. With the monsoon comes lots of moisture all the way from the Gulf of Mexico, which means thunderstorms and the bulk of our average 14″ of annual rain. The storms tend to be very spotty: raining like crazy at one spot, bone dry five miles away.

Saturday was a good rain day, with 0...

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Into the Home Stretch–Mirrors, Floors, and More

We’re getting into the home stretch–no pun intended: the whole process of building this home has been a stretch! While there’s been some touch-up painting done this week, the biggest news has been regarding the floors.

I’ve written before about how there was moisture coming up through the concrete in one of the guest bedrooms, the master bedroom, and the office. Not a lot, but enough in a couple of the rooms to be “out of tolerances” for the bamboo flooring we wanted to put in. The final decision was to lay down a sealer coat on the concrete and put in a whole-house humidifier, since bamboo is so sensitive to humidity, or the lack of it...

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Starry, Starry Night…

“…Paint your palette blue and gray / Look out on a summer’s day…”

When it comes to the floor in my house, I can’t help thinking of Don McLean’s song “Vincent,” which starts out with the title of the post and those next two lines. It’s an homage to Vincent van Gogh, and there certainly has been artwork committed on my house. No face on the barroom floor, this.

You may remember that I had this idea to embed the white quartz that’s all over my property in dark-blue-stained concrete and then have both polished. And I wrote about how that dream turned out not to be possible in reality. Well, what happened in its place is done and it’s nothing short of beautiful. For example, the great room went from this…

Great room floor layer 2

…to this…

Great room floor, layer 1

…to this.

Finished great room floor

And the kitchen went from this…

Kitchen layer 2

…to this…

Kitchen layer 1

…to this.

Finished kitchen floor

And somethin...

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I’m just floored–and that’s a very good thing!

Week 1 of Cannon Wood’s work on the floors is done and all I have to say is, WOW! How wow? Let me show you, starting with the walk leading to the front door. Before, it was just plain concrete:

Plain walkway

Notice the plain concrete of the entry porch too. But now it looks like this.

Painted walkway

And this (and all of the other exterior pictures), are before the final sealer is put on, which will bring out the colors even more.

When Cannon’s wife Susan and son Jacob were working on the entry porch a few days ago, it looked like this.

Entry porch in progress

The colors are being put on with sponges, not unlike the faux finishes that were so popular on interior walls a few years ago. In this case, the result is a faux slate. The darker color borders panels of lighter “stones.”

Nearly complete entry porch

So how did they get those grout lines between the individual ...

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She’s a Star!

On May 25th, my interior designer, Edith Villalobos-Zamora, was featured in a piece on one of Tucson’s TV stations. You can watch the video on KOLD-TV’s web site or click on it below. Unfortunately, the TV station’s web site seems to be awfully slow, so I’ve posted it under the link below, which will take you to a separate screen to view it.

Chamber to unveil solution to border banking problem

Congratulations, Edith!

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Decision Week

Not that every week isn’t a “decision week,” but it seems this week has more to make than most. Bill sees the light at the end of the tunnel and, especially with another HOA deadline looming, wants to keep pushing to get this thing done. He’s not alone.

First up was the granite. Gage, our contact at Bedrosian’s Tile in Tucson, started pumping ideas for alternatives to the Blue Storm granite on Monday. My cousin Stephanie, who’s an interior designer in Dallas, also sent a few. And I poked around on the Bedrosian’s web site myself. A few were interesting but when we got to looking at what was actually in stock, as opposed to what the example picture showed, the “interesting” list headed toward “none of the above...

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The Continuing Saga of Counter-top Place

There’s been good news and bad (or, bad-ish) news on the counter-top front this week. The good news is that the counter tops in the kitchen and pantry were installed on Monday. Take a look! Here’s the kitchen.

Kitchen counters, wide view

And here’s the pantry.

Pantry counter top

The material we’ve used here goes by the brand name Curava® and this particular version is called Arctic Blue. It’s made of crushed white quartz and a binder, plus pieces of recycled clear, gray, and blue glass (which should get us a LEED point for using recycled materials). You can see the glass bits a little better in this close-up.

Island counter close-up

(And yes, the bowls of the sink are two different sizes. Different depths, too.)

The not-so-good news is that apparently that piece of Blue Storm granite was broken so badly in transit to Tucson that it was unusable...

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