Friday, December 16, 2011

Building “Ambos Mundos”

While cruising the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland during the summer season to 2010 we came across our little piece of paradise where we would eventually swallow the anchor when it is time to come ashore. This little piece of paradise is located on Cape Breton Island in the community of River Bourgeois. A couple of acres of cleared land with water views and one of the most protected anchorages one could desire made it the perfect location. As we like to give names to boats we felt we should give this property a name that reflected how we felt. We named it “Ambos Mundos”, a shortened Spanish name for “The Best of Both Worlds”. As an added bonus it reminds of us of one of our favourite hotels in Havana, Cuba which has the same name. Many a pleasant afternoon was spent sitting on the rooftop bar drinking Mojitos while looking out over the top of the city.. We hauled Easy Go in St. Peter's, Nova Scotia for the winter of 2010/11 to make the minimal repairs from our encounter with Hurricane Earl. Needing a place to stay for the winter we purchased an old travel trailer and put it on the property as a temporary residence. The Refleks heater from Easy Go was transferred to the trailer and made a very comfortable place to over winter. A little small but a great place to practice the guitar and plan for a new home. Kathy and I felt that a land based home should reflect our personal values, environmental concerns and be established as a self supporting and sustainable housing project. We also wanted to adopt many of the ideas and concepts that we have learned while cruising Easy Go to various parts of the world. To this end we found a concept plan from Tumbleweed Homes that gave us a practical small home using their Bodega model. The plans were not sufficient for building but with modifications we were able to bring it up to Nova Scotia's building code and started construction in the spring of 2011. At 350 square feet of main floor living space and a 250 square foot insulated attic loft it is ideal for two people. The foundation is an engineered reinforced concrete slab that will act as a heat sink. The walls are 2x6 inch framing with ½ inch plywood sheathing that are strong and would be equally useful if used in a boat. The roof is 2x12 inch with plywood sheathing and a steel roof over all. Insulation is sprayed in foam that exceeds code. This material is the best we could find and not only insulates the house but adds to its structural integrity, We had the house completely closed in by the middle of October 2011 as we prepared to sail off to the Caribbean on Easy Go for the winter. The building season was intense with a great deal of rain and cold temperatures. Another weather challenged project working around climate change. We had two tropical storms add to the weather mix. The changing weather patterns are becoming more and more evident as we continue to live on and near the Atlantic Ocean.

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