1299 Nettles Blvd.
A Photo Log of progress on our new house at Nettles Island.
A double rainbow over "1300 Nettles Blvd" - our house on Nettles Island where we've wintered since the fall of 2007.
Although not actually on the water, we have an excellent water view from the back of our 1300 Nettles house.
When the vacant lot next door (at #1299) came up for sale, we decided to buy it to preserve our water view.
After renting it for RV parking for a while, we decided it was time to build a new house!
Back in April (2015), we commissioned
designer Paul Robb to do the design. He
was almost done by June, but then the
State of Florida changed the building
code and we had to re-work the design.
On November 17, Paul finally presented
us with a set of drawings, and we
submitted a Building Permit Application
on December 2nd.
After getting a couple of quotes, we signed
a contract with JWN Construction, Inc.
(James Newman) to act as our the General
Contractor - that was on December 28.
Another shot of our two adjoining properties before the start of contruction.
Addie checking out our pretty lawn - soon to be a distant memory!
. Groundbreaking Day - December 29, 2015.
(Concrete pad being broken up and trucked away.)
Building site cleared and ready for action.
Preparing the steel re-bar "cages" that will go inside the "augercast" piles.
Click on photos to view larger image.
On December 29, he sent an excavator to
break up some of the existing concrete pad
and truck it away. (We thought things
were really starting to happen!)
Drilling for the augercast piles - 32 feet down!
Lowering a steel cage into the wet concete pile.
Addie watching the action from our 1300 deck.
Because a portion of our 1299 lot was recently designated by FEMA
an "EL-10" Flood Zone, all living spaces must be at least 10 feet
above sea level. Since ground level here is about 4 feet, our main
floor had to be at least 6 feet high.
However, we decided to go ahead and raise it up a bit more so
we'd have plenty of space to walk and drive under. Because of the
big lot size, we're able to get about 1750 square feet of living space
on a single floor. It will be about 9 feet above the ground.
Contractor James Newman (holding drawings) overseeing the job.
Two cement trucks feeding the pump for the augercast piles.
The pilings go down 32 feet into the ground.
They start by drilling a 14-inch diameter hole,
then they pump concrete down through the
hollow drill-bit as they slowly raise it. Once the
drill is out, they insert a steel re-bar cage. The
bars stick up about 4 feet; they will eventually
mesh with the bars in the above-ground columns
which will be formed using "Sonotubes".
(But not until next month.)
James covered the steel rods sticking out of the underground piles
with white buckets so people "trespassing" on the site wouldn't
All this work happened in a matter of a couple
weeks, so we were optimistic that the project
would move quickly. But, one month later when
we returned from our Sno' Dog cruise (to the
FL west coast) not much had changed. (See
photo below.) The hold-up was the final Building
Permit from St. Lucie County. We didn't
actually receive that until February 29th.
This was the scene on February 18th when we returned from our Sno' Dog
cruise. The only change in over a month was the installation of orange
batter boards and the JWN "Permit Box" - complete with "Beware of Dog"
sign. (We wondered if that was a joke? Not sure if James-the-builder knew
about our ferocious Norwich Terrier, Adeline!)
With the issuance of the Building Permit, serious work began in earnest.
This is the central core that will house the stairs and the elevator - an
amazing amount of steel-reinforced concrete. (People asked if we were
building a missile silo base, I told them it was a mini nuclear reactor!)
Filling the cardboard Sonotubes to create the above-ground columns.
The central core taking shape. (Drawings on left available for ready reference.)
Good progress this week - despite the cement mixer walking off the job!
Addie watching a Sonotube getting filled.
The rest of the Sonotubes getting filled.
Cement is pumped from the cement
truck trough a tube to the guy with the
orange hat. The other guy has a vibrator
to make sure there are no air pockets.
Columns poured, cardboard Sonotubes peeled off - ready for the next step...
This was the state of construction when I flew over the site and took aerial photos from
my brother's ultralight seaplane. See next page..