Sunday, March 28, 2010


As the image suggests, I'm back from an extended absence that was attributed to a great many causes too numerous to list. What's important is that I'm back here adding content that may or may not provide value but is offered just the same. This entry will be brief as the intent is to reestablish comminications channels after remaining EMCON ALPHA for the lengthy period during my absence, so up to date status follows, with more to come.

Moored starboard side to Berth 4 at US Naval Station Nofolks, with six standard mooring lines doubled fore and aft. Ships present include USS NEVERSAIL DD-420, USS WHATSANANCHOR DD-421 and various ships and auxiliary units of the US Atlantic Fleet. The plant is cold iron with the ship receiving all hotel services from the pier. Sounding and security watches have been posted. Section III is on deck with the bulk of the off watch crew ashore. The Commanding Officer is aboard. Senior Officer Present Afloat is COMNAVSAMLANT embarked in USS NEVERSAIL.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Multifaceted Homes

This post might bring this outfit a little free advertising, but at the moment we're feeling interested in exploring a home design that many would argue is unconventional.

For our August visit to the Big Island we found and rented Hale Kea, a private residence on the mauka end of HPP near Maku'u Drive. We very much liked the appearance of it from pictures provided by Mark and Ron, the guys at Hawaiian Paradise Vacation Rentals, and found it even more to our liking once we saw it in person. Our initial line of thinking about this style of a dwelling was that its uniqueness in the shape (equiangular/equilateral polygon) and interior (100% finished wood - no sheetrock on a single wall) would be nice for a few weeks' vacation lodging but might be a little too unconventional for our taste as a permanent residence.

Although the house was not much more than 1000 sq/ft indoor space, it featured almost the same area of covered lanais creating a larger, greatly more roomy feeling. The multiple structures joined by lanais and a covered breezeway added to the illusion by increasing the footprint of the dwelling to that of a 1600-1800 sq/ft house.

As our 2 weeks R&R passed while we lived in this little house surrounded by one of the most well planned and tastefully planted landscapes we've seen anywhere, itself an inspiration for the potential that our own property has if we tend to it right, we became accustomed to the rich, natural surrounding inside the house of woodwork everywhere. This is a function of the constuction method of this house being single-wall, meaning that the interior of the framing and exterior siding are not covered with drywall and painted rather, the framing material and inside surfaces of the cedar tongue and groove siding are of a clear or nearly so quality to accept stain and varnish, resulting in the interior wall surfaces being treated to become the final interior wall finish. Single-wall construction is popular in Hawai'i and has been used there for many years.

A few weeks after our return from vacation, on a whim I did a google search for modular home manufacturers and found to my surprise, that the company that made this house is located right there in the Shipman Industrial Park near Keaau...practically right in our own back yard. This discovery caused me to look a little deeper into the designs, and the process by which Multi-Faceted Homes creates these unique houses.

What I've found so far in the limited time devoted to this research is that (a) the more we look at other designs of this style, the more we seem to like it. It feels a little like you're living inside a beautiful piece of furniture, or a wooden ship. (2) The company has a great variety of design configurations due to the modular design method and no load-bearing walls other than the exterior shell made up of flat panels, framed and sided at the factory and assembled on site, the number depending on the square footage of the home being built; and (c) putting up one of these homes is fast, once type of foundation (slab or post and pier) is determined and installed. Turnkey condition of course is additional time.  Overall however, I think this construction method should be faster than conventional stick-built construction.

This is a sample of one of their floorplans that shows a similar configuration to that of the August rental house. The difference to note here is that the structure joining the two faceted modules is enclosed and the space used for kitchen and laundry, and has two bedrooms in the main hale. Our rental was connected by the open-sided, covered breezeway, and the kitchen occupied the space where the left most bedroom is shown in this plan, partition wall removed. This illustrates the flexibility achieved by no load-bearing interior walls.
Another thing that this concept permits is a relatively easy ability to expand by adding another module, or expanding either the main hale or master suite with a rectangular extension. This is shown in other plans on the company's website.

One of the considerations about building a house with unconventional design is eventual resale. Although not as extreme as a geodesic dome golfball-looking house or one built out of shipping containers or stucco'd straw bales, many would avoid a design that did not fit the mold of modern home design. In our case, as shortsighted as it sounds, this is not of great concern since we plan to spend the rest of our lives in the house we build and selling it will be someone else's issue to deal with.

Although this could be one of many impulsive ideas to come, for the moment, we like it, the financial aspects are attractive, and we think we could get used to living surrounded by rich, warm woodwork. The multi-faceted hale is under consideration for a possible solution for our housing requirement when our time comes to build. Besides, right angles aren't everything.

Monday, September 14, 2009


POSIT: 027° 08' 36" N / 080° 10' 44" W

Moored Port side to at Berth B-4, Stuart FL inboard a nest of six ships. Six standard mooring lines, doubled and spring lay out fore and aft. Topside security sentries posted, Starboard section on deck. The engineering plant is Cold Iron, main space roving watch taking soundings hourly. Receiving ships power, potable water and sanitation services from the pier. Material Condition Yoke is set throughout the ship. The Captain is aboard. Ships present include various units of the US Atlantic Retired Fleet, SOPA is COMSAMLANT, embarked in USS NEVERSAIL.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Must Be Looking Up A Lot Lately

POSIT: 027° 08' 36" N / 080° 10' 44" W
DTG: 102021Z SEP 09

Leaving my neighborhood this morning on my usual route to work, I turned onto the road from the entrance to our community and saw this rainbow. We get a lot of rain this time of year - it's the tropics - but I'm used to seeing a lot more mosquitos and quarter-sized raindrops that hurt when they hit you than I am rainbows.
It was worth a stop to admire it for a minute. Work will always be there.