Making our AMAZING Bathroom!

We’ve decided to make our bathroom luxurious. We’re building it out of ferro-cement, which allows us to sculpt the walls and hand-lay the bath tub with the durability of cement.

Here are some photos that tell the story:

20160616_091550This is us after clearing the area, leveling it, laying the plumbing, making the foundation, and starting to frame the structure out of steel rebar. Notice that the man on the right is standing in what will become our bath tub.

Here’s a close-up of the bath tub framing:


The bath room is outdoors with no ceiling so that you can look at the trees, birds, moon, stars, etc.  It’s a rough oval shape with an outer wall that forms it into something like a spiral.  Here we have temporarily laid fabric over the walls while we work on framing the bath tub. This lets you see the wall shape more clearly like a spiral:


After covering all the framing with chicken wire fence, we finally start the concrete of the bath tub:


And then we start concreting the walls:


Finally the walls are no longer see-through:


The inner walls are curved in multiple places, and we built-in a bench seat, shelves, and cathedral arch style windows:

20160803_055041 20160803_055050 20160803_055055

Finally when all the details are finished, we can start adding the finish plasters:


20160804_162500And now that it’s finished, it looks amazing!!!…




What a lot of work, but what an amazing bathroom we have now!


Still Going…And Going…

Now we’ve got the upstairs bedroom screens installed as you might be able to see in this photo on the top floor. Basically they are almost transparent, but it means that the master bedroom now has lots of nice airflow and great views of the mountains.




Poco a Poco

House with basement front wall being finished.

House with basement front wall being finished.

We’re making progress. It’s slow-going because we burned through all our savings and the house is more expensive than we wanted it to be. So, we are working day by day to make money to live on and hopefully a bit extra to put into the house. So progress is slow, but it’s happening.

We’re getting better at living in the chaos, and as the house becomes better it all gets a little bit easier…little by little…poco a poco…

See the new bamboo front curvy wall.

See the new bamboo front curvy wall.

The dry season is here, so it’s 85 every day and sunny and nice. We’ve finally replaced the temporary front wall with a curvy bamboo wall we made from bamboo we harvested here on the farm. Then we moved on to making a basement, which gives us two more rooms in the house.

Lala is finishing up her room, which she’ll use as her weaving studio. You can see it in the center two windows in this photo. The walls are all being finished with earth (dirt)-based “cob” just like upstairs. The color is a terracotta / pottery color, which is natural and very nice.

Basement front wall. Lala's office is in the middle two windows.

Basement front wall. Lala’s office is in the middle two windows.


Poco a Poco

Progress is slow. We’re working and building our way through this project.  But the rain is coming!



We’ve ripped off the temporary old deck & are pouring concrete columns & building a concrete retaining wall to support the new deck.  We’re installing a roof over the new deck, and it will all help to keep the basement dry while expanding our living area into the outside.



This photo gives some idea of how cool the entrance will be after we finish the deck.  It’ll be quite a presentation from the back yard/ garden.


The construction continues

We’ve achieved many milestones in the last few months. With the dry season here, everything is drying out very fast. The floor boards shrunk. The cob walls cracked a little. We’ve had to shift focus from protection from rain & mold to protection from sun, heat, & the drying effects of the wind & lack of rain. What a world of extremes.

First Cob Layer Complete

Notable improvements recently:
1) Finishing the first (base) layer of cob on all walls

Kitchen corner

Cob Party! First Layer!
2) Building & installing a blue-glass-wine-bottle art piece / window in the bedroom wall upstairs

Ble-glass-wine-bottle Art Piece
3) Building & cobbing curved shelves/cubbies in the upstairs bedroom

Cob Shelves Frame

Curved Cob Shelves
4) Beginning the custom doors construction for the bathroom and backyard doors


Backyard Doors
6) Installing the bathroom toilet & connecting the septic system of the house

Toilet Installed Connecting to septic system


So now we have solid walls all around, functioning doors, storage upstairs, a great flsh toilet, and an awesome art piece upstairs!  Man it’s a lot of time & work to build with cob, but there is great satisfaction in knowing that our resources are almost all local & sustainable!

Now we begin to focus on preparing for the rainy season!


The Earth is Overtaking Our Walls!

We’ve finally started the “Cob” project. i.e. Wea re covering the bamboo lath with our earth plaster. It’s like a concrete, but you put it on by hand, and it doesn’t require a heinous huge strip-mine, heavy machinery and lots of fossil fuels to create.

It’s made of:
local sand
local soil (dug from our lot)
local hay (from a farm down the road)



This is the first layer, a.k.a. the rough layer. There will be a smooth finish layer applied after this dries, and then after that we can paint it. It’ll look like any regular plaster when it’s finished, but we’ll have the awesome pride of having built it ourselves without requiring heavy machinery, massive infrastructure, fossil fuels, slave labor, or strip mines. Sweet.

Full Moon, December 6, 2014

It’s like a floodlight up above us, casting shadows across the floor as it shines through the bamboo lath.  Everything vibrates and hums with the collective energy around us, the sound of water over rocks.

No windows. No screens.  Just open to the night.

78 degrees and silver puffs of clouds hang over the mountain ridge across the river.  The floor pink beneath us with a thai massage mat laying across it.

All the lath up, the doorways framed, and a scaffold all around, today electrical outlet boxes and cables, our neighbors birthday, and new neighbors across the street with four syllable childrens’ names and sweet gentle hearts.

What a blessing.