The Making Of A Hangover

With the heavier rains on the way, I would like to pour the concrete on the roof deck over container #1, the one closest to the road. Armando was ready to assemble a concrete crew. But there was one task that I wanted to do first, namely to resolve the issue of rain falling on the front windows (the windows closest to the road).

We have focused a lot of design attention on the southeast elevation at the front entry. The approach from the driveway, the angle of the front steps leading to the front door, and the window wall all look good. But the south elevation, the one parallel to the road, was looking sad. It was basically a shipping container with a few windows punched in, a roof deck, and a big roof overhead. This lack of creative design, plus the matter of there being no rain protection for the wall and windows on that south exposure, had to be resolved before I made a major mistake and poured the roof deck slab first.

To refresh your memory, here is that south exposure:


Even if the construction debris was cleaned up and the walls were painted, this elevation would still be crying out for help.

I decided that a hangover was in order. Or should I say, an overhang? Yes, overhang. I took some 2×2 tubing of various lengths up to the roof deck. I didn’t want the overhang to project out so far that it significantly reduced light coming into the kitchen, and just a couple inches looked stingy. In heavy rains, the wind often blows the rain sideways, so an enormous overhang still wouldn’t fully protect the windows. I decided that an overhang of 18-inches looked balanced and proportional.

Aramis and I decided that there would be one 2×2 tubing “outrigger,” 18-inches long, every two feet. I set him to work cutting 34 outrigger pieces. While he did that, I cut from the same size tubing what would become end caps for these outriggers. The end caps will keep bees and biting flies from making nests in the outriggers. Next, Aramis welded the end caps to the 18-inch outriggers. Here is a photo of this process:


In the lower left corner is an end cap cut from the tubing. The middle piece of tubing has the end cap hammered into place. The tubing on the right shows the end cap welded into place and ready to be ground smooth.

Here is Aramis welding the end caps to the outrigger tubes:


And here are the tubes being ground smooth:


Next while I jockeyed a level, a framing square, and the tubes, Aramis tack welded each outrigger tube in place.

These outriggers wouldn’t be able to support the weight of the wet concrete by themselves, so next we made angle braces. A few braces looked okay and would have supported the concrete, but I made a design decision and installed a brace at each outrigger.

This was a lot of work but the repetitiveness of the braces echoes the vertical lines of the container siding and added a really good design element. It looks industrial, befitting the industrial nature of the house.

Next, after Alex painted these assemblages with two coats of paint, Aramis and I welded 1.5″x3″ galvanized carriolas (C-shaped, thin-gauge channel) around the perimeter of the overhang.

Finally, we cut galvanized roofing panels and placed them over the outriggers. We will pour the concrete roof deck on top of the roofing metal. Here is a closeup of the completed hangover overhang:


The next photo shows an overall view, complete with the roof deck hand railing installed and painted:


You have to paint bare metal fast in the tropics. A rust film can form overnight!

And finally, when you compare the first photo in this post to the next photo, you can see a big improvement in the design. The house feels much more grounded now:


In other news, Armando and Alex have all but completed rocking the east wall in the carport. They started the job on Armando’s birthday, a Saturday. When I finally got to look at his work (he had two rows done), I could see that he was a good two-inches off level. But it was his birthday and I kept my comments to myself. But on Monday, I greeted Armando and Alex, and asked them to take a look from a few feet back. “Oopf,” Armando exclaimed. So we got out the hammers and chisels and removed a full-day’s work and started again. They weren’t happy, but I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing the wall off level for the next 30 years!

Now, with the wall nearly complete, I freely hand out the compliments and tell them that they are artists. And good work it is:


The gardens are looking good, too:


These days it is difficult to get a photo in full sun.


There are even a couple orchids in bloom:


These white flowers are tiny compared to the much larger purple Catalayas in the next photos.

P1000493 P1000497

And lastly, in the No Wonder Why She Hurts So Much department, Cynthia was in the process of emptying a cat box about a week ago. She stepped on a slippery spot on the steps by the future green house. Her feet went straight out into the air, gravity kicked in, and she landed on the edge of a step, covered in, um, kitty litter. The bruises are extra big because she takes a blood thinner. Get well soon, Cynthia, I want to see you working in your studio again soon!


That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

19 thoughts on “The Making Of A Hangover

    • Thanks, John. While Aramis and I were working on the overhang, I told him that this detail had been haunting me for two years. I just couldn’t (didn’t have the time) cipher out how it would be assembled. But when push came to shove, my design-on-the-fly method worked out quite well. Thanks for the comment, Fred

  1. Hiya Fred,you know when i seen,”The Making Of A Hangover” i thought all those angles you have to deal with in the construction of your house,finally got to you,lol. I was expecting to read about the local cure for a hangover,lol.
    Place is really taking shape.Garden looks great.

  2. WHAT a difference that hangover makes … REALLY grounds the house as without it, the roof certainly looked as if it wanted to …fly! Looks just terrific, and we recognize what a huge amount of work that has entailed! Bravo! Look forward eagerly for each new episode, I can tell you. Ouch Cynthia!!!!!

  3. OUCH Cynthia … hope you heal soon. Those bruises look really bad!

    Fred the house is looking real good…including the “hangover” turned out really nice !


    • Missy/Jim! So good to hear from you. We think of you often and wonder how you’re settling into your new location. Would love to hear more, send me a private message when you can.

      My back doesn’t hurt that badly right now thankfully, but the bruises on my arm and shoulder are still painful. Taught me not to wear that pair of shoes on wet pavement. Actually they’re in the garbage now. Blech, it was used cat litter that spilled. :p

  4. Brilliant work with the over hang. Your attention to detail and understanding of architectural is very helpful to me. I think of these container as blocks that can’t be altered, but your perspective has me thinking more about those (not so) little details. Thanks for that!

    • Thank you Steve. To me there is something reminiscent about the overhang braces. The closest I can come to is that the braces remind me of old train stations. Also, Cynthia and I had a Craftsman style house in Colorado; it had numerous braces. I just pushed the concept to the limit, counting on repetition to make an impact. Thanks again. Sit on an upside down five-gallon bucket and stare at your project. Answers will come! Fred

  5. Hi Fred and Cynthia,
    ¡Dios Mio, Cynthia! I twitched in pain when we saw those bruises. I don’t have info on falls in Panama but in the US it is the most often reason for injuries around the home. Be careful, please?

    Your hangover is the best one I’ve ever seen, Fred. Such a pleasing difference. It looks as if it was in the design all along. Great job.

    LOVE the wall in the carport! Good work there, too.

    jim and nena

    • Hi Jim & Nena,

      Cynthia is beginning to heal now at a week and a half. The big bruises are starting to turn yellow. That was a tough fall for sure.

      Thank you for the hangover compliment. As I said, it was a lot of work but I am so happy that I can’t stop looking at it. It just feels very satisfying. I will probably do the same on the north exposure on the other side of the house. Tomorrow we place rebar on the roof, Friday we plan to pour the concrete roof deck. The fun never ends! Fred

  6. Hi Fred and Cynthia, I marvel and gain inspiration from your projects. Thank you so much for this blog.

    Fred, I cannot tell from photos if your welder is AC or DC. I wondered what rod Aramis is using?

    My buzz box is 40 years old and is always a challenge but with AC rod and an acquired technique I have been happy with it. I do wish I had a wire feed tho.

    What kind of coating could reduce slippery steps?

    Oh by the way, did you hear a bunch of counties in NE Colorado are attempting to suceed from the state and become part of Wyoming. LOL

    Take care, Don.

    • Hi Don,

      My welder is a Lincoln AC/DC. I have only used it on AC, but perhaps I will use the DC for aluminum. The “standard” rod sold in every hardware store is the 6011. I tried others, but keep going back to the 6011. It penetrates well and burns off paint.

      Ah, the slippery steps. We plan to tile them some time in the future. In the meantime, we’ll keep them well cleaned with bleach or OxyClean. It used the OxyClean on some algae and it took it off with very little effort.

      Thanks very much for your compliments and your comment. Fred

  7. I love the look of the “hangover”. You did a great job tying it all together. I do have an unrelated question. What does it sound like when it rains on the big roof? I remember being in a small cottage in Costa Rica and the rain on the metal roof was very loud. That was a much smaller space though. It would be great to hear what it sounds like if you get the chance to record it some time. Thanks.

    • Hi Kyle,

      Loud. It it very loud! With all that metal you can’t hear yourself think. But I will cure that by spraying about an inch of two-part urethane foam on the underside of the roof panels. The foam will take “virtually” all the rain drumming away. The underside ceiling will be the same zinc panels as we have used in the back part of the house. I’ll try to get a video. Thanks for your comment Kyle. Fred

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