Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Speaking of Home...

We're building a house.

Part of the flurry before we left for Bali was finalizing a property transaction and signing the construction contract for a new house. We bought some property on Navy Hill about three years ago, and designed a beautiful home with the help of our architect friend, Chris Fryling. Then we decided that it was too expensive to build. Two years later, living in a home that just doesn't meet the needs of our family, we realized that if you have a family of six, everything is going to cost more than you expect, and so we bit the bullet and decided to built it.

Our contractor is Hugh Hargrove, who has built quite a few homes on the island, and is the local "pool guy" (having built the PIC water park). The house is designed as a "green" house, taking advantage of simple things like north-facing windows, large overhangs over the southern exposures, venting of appliances to the outside, etc. But, the most important feature is that it's being built out of a type of insulated concrete. The stuff is called Radva. It's basically blocks of Styrofoam that are shaped and then sprayed with a layer of concrete. It's been around for a long time, and is proven to be typhoon proof. Because it's insulated, the power bills are minuscule -- like around $100 a month for a 4000 sq ft home with central air.

In my opinion, every new building on Saipan should be built of Radva. It makes no sense not to build with insulated concrete. The cost is slightly higher than building with concrete block, but the recovery is fast. Hugh has a factory in Papago that makes the Radva. Some of the other Radva buildings on Saipan include the homes of Chuck Jordon, Mark Blackburn and Pamela Brown, Ted Parker and Kathy of MINA fame whose last name I can never spell.

So, hopefully in about 12-18 months we'll be in our new place. It has a beautiful view of Managaha and American Memorial Park. Here's the model.

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