Armona Island

Memories of my birthday trip to Armona Island last year

I’ve just realised that I never shared this video from last July.

Ilha da Armona/Armona Island, Algarve, Portugal – a short boat ride from Olhão. If you are visiting Olhão on the mainland, is it worth a visit? It can be reached by ferry for a couple of euros, but we decided to take a water taxi to reach the island in just a few minutes. Come with me for a scenic tour of the beaches and lagoons.

It’s definitely worth the effort to visit. I will be going back as soon as the bars are open again. I can hear the cocktails calling my name.

 

 

Episode 2 of building our home in Loulé, Algarve, Portugal.

Finally! You can now watch episode 2 of our construction on YouTube.

We are now three months into our house build in Algarve. Episode 2 gives you a walk through of the concrete and steel construction. Click here if you missed episode 1.

Steel and concrete prices increased substantially last year due to decrease in worldwide supply, so we’re busy cutting costs of the construction by limiting the number of materials and different craftsmen. In a bid to make it passively eco friendly, we increased the overhang on the southside to provide additional shade, and extensive use of glass on the north side to improve flow of air to cool the interior in the summer months without the use of aircon.

View of the Atlantic ocean and coastline from our land just above our home.

The finish in the majority of the house for the ceilings and flooring will be raw concrete, so the upfront costs for the construction are higher, but will save time and materials at a later stage. All of the electrics will be surface mounted, providing easy access and again less materials. The only downside to this is, the workmanship must be exceptional to prevent mistakes and the need to redrill poorly positioned fixtures. I shall be overseeing the electrics daily as an essential extra pair of critical eyes.

From the terrace we can watch the sun set over the ocean.

The search is now on for solar panels and battery storage, which will take up the least amount of space but with maximum lifespan to prevent early replacement. Solar has come a long way in the past decade or so, but strangely is not a regular sight on houses in Algarve. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, one would expect to see panels on every home. But, with the average salary of locals of €700/per month, the panels are out of reach to the majority of the population.

The short video above is a computer simulation of our finished construction project. The rear of the property will in reality have a different layout, with a terrace of 3m x 60m as I mention in my episode 2 video.

Solar or wind power + use of storage battery for power at night.

We will also install a small wind turbine to power the house at night, reducing the need to use the battery backup, or mains backup during the hours of darkness. This will ensure heat to our swimming pool all year round to make use of the pool outside of the summer months. Something else that surprisingly isn’t standard practice here!

View from below which will change when we start landscaping.

Water will be drawn from the bore hole once it’s installed, with backup from the city water supply. This is simply a case of switching to the mains water from a stop tap. We anticipate that we will hit water at approximately 125m deep, drilling through limestone all the way. The cost depends on the geology of our location, if its stable and solid we can use plastic pipe, if we discover pockets of shingle or caves, we will be forced to use steel – the most expensive option.

The concrete structure of the new main living space is complete

Our dream is to build a minimalist, industrial style, single story home, nestled in the mountains facing the Atlantic coast. A low maintenance home and garden, with free power and water, needing no extra input from mains services once complete. Add to that a kitchen garden and edible plants in the landscaping and we can work towards self-sufficiency in the future. I’m loving every minute of the process and excited to see the build progress each week.

You can see more of the design on my website for the house which is loulehills.com

Click here to watch episode 1 – as the first machinery arrives to prepare the construction site for the steel and concrete.

Click here to watch episode 2 and subscribe on YouTube to be notified when I post new videos.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunset February 1st from alongside the ruin - which is about to be rebuilt.