Monday, March 29, 2004

More big houses

Driving around town this weekend. I didn't turn on my computer for three days - something unusual for me.
We recently converted our back yard from grass to low water landscape, and part of that entails installing a large patio out back. The front of our house faces east, with the kitchen on the south side and the family room and my office in back facing west. During the early summer and early fall the sun really comes in all of these windows and warms up the place - during the middle of summer it's right overhead and the large eaves shade the windows. We are putting in a concrete walkway around the house, from the back garage door down the south side of the house and two large covered concrete patios out back. One off the kitchen/breakfast room, and one across the whole back of the house. Part of the patio will be a full covering to give us lots of shade.
We had several bids for the concrete work, all ended up being within $50 of each other. The one we chose said they couldn't start for a few weeks - seems like lots of people do work this time of year in anticipation of the hot summer. But, a crew showed up last Thursday afternoon with a Bobcat and lots of shovels and started digging. At least we don't have any rain so they are not working in mud. But that tied up a few days, then the weekend was busy in prep. The back yard is in two levels, with the far back about 16 inches higher than right by the house. My wife planned on some steps to get up over the low wall, which we have just been stepping up to. My oldest son is a journeyman carpenter, and he specializes in concrete forms. So, after working for 50 hours building forms for a large business he got to build forms for our steps on the weekend. That was last weekend.
This week we discussed how nice it would be to have lights in the steps, so that we could see where to step at night. (When I say 'we' of course I mean my wife.) My part of the discussion was in finding out how many lights, and where they were wanted. We settled on three lights for each step area - it's a wide yard so we are making two sets of steps. Three steps, in a pyramid shape rather than just a dull flat sided run. I spent the week figuring out how to imbed lights into the concrete before it's poured. We could buy lights designed for that, but they cost $180 each and take a month to order. Cheap as I am, I came up with something, bought the parts, and spent the weekend fixing the boxes to the forms and running conduit between the boxes which will be inside the concrete steps.
But, we did have to drive around a bit to buy parts. We went past one of my favorite areas of town, close to a section called the 'Scotch 80's'. This is an area which was built up in the 50's and 60's, mainly with large homes where the new casino managers lived. It is in an area that was near the original springs, and has lots of large trees. We thought of buying there when we move to Vegas, but it ended up that the 15 freeway goes right next to the neighborhood, and one of the reasons we left San Diego was our close proximity to that freeway (and all of the associated noise and dust).
Nearby is a section with large lots and some equally large houses. I drive by this one

which always has looked like a school from the side. The front doesn't look much more friendly.

Looking it up on the Clark County info site shows it to be around 10,000 sq. ft. (click on areal map). (I hope the link works, the site is very sensitive to your browser security settings).
Just around the corner from that one is an even larger one, that looks like an old Spanish hacienda/church/whatever.

This one is around 13,000 sq. ft. And no, these are by far not the largest houses around town. One near these is over 20,000 sq. ft. It's always in the news as the owner frequently has large parties and fund raisers, and has photos of guests in the 'society' section of the paper. Can't get a picture of that, as it's in a gated section.
That's it for big houses for today - I'll try and put some time into Photoshop and clean up others I have.


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