Stop-Motion Basement

Here’s a bit of a peek into good fun with friends, construction, and a stop-motion camera (iMotion for the iPhone) up here on our Bay Area job over the past week.  Can you recognize the faces of each of the workers?

*Note: Your speakers aren’t broken, there is not audio on this video.


UPDATE! – video removed and replaced with Basement Build Series posts..

Giant Steps Forward

…on the Berkeley Basement Build Project.

This week showed great progress toward achieving our goal of having a place to stay here in Berkeley. As we’ve inundated the whole house with boxes of our things, we’re eager to settle not only into our own space but into our own bed as well. Fortunately, if we get a couple more productive days like today, we’ll be well on our way to living comfortably. Hoorah!


July 26th – Almost 4 months later.

Today I yet again received a call from Will regarding campus palm trimmings and beat feet over to campus. It took me a while but I found them hidden in the Library walk way, trimming away. They recognized me and were friendly. I parked on the sidewalk and loaded up the Volvo for a second time.. I loaded it up good. This time I’d have fauns left over for sure. With the car loaded, I tied the palms down and asked them where they’d be next and headed home.

Again I got home, took a 15 min break, and went to work in the horrid heat making this things compete.

Today is the the completion date for my palapa. I got the whole thing done to the tip. I don’t know if this really has any importance to you, but in my mind it’s kind of like finally moving out of boxes after you’ve lived in your first house for a while. You kind of remember it as the real date you moved in. I’ve had parties under an incomplete palapa, foosball tournaments, and just random friends check the place out, but I was still living out of boxes. Today I flatned and recycled those brown beasts and they were no more. The palapa was complete, I was done. This is great. Please come and enjoy.

A breif photolog of the last stages of the build:

It’s done! Next we need a little rain and a lot of sun to flatten the new roof down and bake it to a golden brown. Then the next upgrade will be sand and a plaque, perhaps a bottle of champagne.

Two Months produced:

A 14’x14′ square with a 10.5′ high pitched roof, and more than 400 palm leaves covering 3 hammocks, 6 strings of Target brand decor light balls, 16 misters, ___ feet of redwood, 120 pounds of cement, and a couple of comfortable Tucsonans.

Palapa Control to Major Tom

July 21st and 22nd

My car is in the shop so I can’t get the leaves, but I spent all day looking at the palapa. Will came over and we hung in the hammocks wishing it was done. Friday Megan took me to the hardware store and helped me get some things to work on irrigation and frills. I was determined to get some trenches dug and some pipes laid as well as my sprinklers revamped, move the drinking fountain, and really secure the misters to the palapa. I worked all day digging the trench and laid the pipe across the yard easily enough. I also ran water to the north west corner of the palapa where I then brought some copper pipe up the side for the misters and drinking fountain. Bracketing them in with more redwood I’ve created a console of sorts for the palapa. I got about half way done before Megan came back over Friday night and we went to dinner. I left everything as it was so I could return Saturday.

Saturday I filled in all the trenches and finished the plumbing and then proceeded to try and level the grade of the dirt by a couple of inches. All day shoveling the crusty top layer of dirt turned out to be a bit of work and a whole lot of dirt, but now the whole yard is a little more defined by each of the planter brick borders and seems a little cleaner. Now that I’m done with the plumbing, turning the misters on is really quite simple, you just spin a little actuator. And I think it looks really good too. In the picture you can see the mist from above raining down… it’s wonderful.

Beautiful Mist

July 19th

Will and I go to the hardware store and pick up some tubing and a pile of pieces for setting up misters. We first attached a whole slew of them to the perimeter of the palapa, but the misters are kind of cheap so they didn’t work well, they just soaked you in the hammock. So we disconnected the line and ran a new one up to the top of the palapa where it would service four and spray from higher up. They’re still a little heavy, but it’s awesome having a little mist while in the hammocks.


July 18th

Free palapa roof at school!

Will calls me up today and says dude they’re trimming the palm trees at school you’ve got to get over here and get them. So I drive over and ask the workers if I can take their green palm leaves. “Sure.” They don’t seem to be too put out about it. In fact the boss even has a guy pull all the green ones out for me to put into my car.

My car is loaded up to the brim, it’s awesome. One lady asks, “You makin’ a tree house?” and I say, “Yu
p! Exactly what I’m making.” She got all excited and laughed a lot. Two police officers ride by on their bikes and ask what I’m doing. I tell them, “I’m making a south American beach hut in my back yard.” Them seemed impressed, I felt impressive. I drove home with palm leaves sticking out my ears, parked the car, cooled off a bit, took some pictures, then pulled them out and started putting them up.

The leaves don’t have thorns but are like 6 feet long so I have to cut them down a bit. But they covered about half of the fourth side. The palapa looks even closer to completion. I’m excited.