And just like that, 2021 is in the rear view mirror. Did it fly by, or drag on agonizingly? Am I the only one who feels like it’s hard to say? An important lesson I’ve learned recently is the importance of celebrating your wins – even the small ones. Some would say that a deliberate practice of seeking out things to be grateful for, and to celebrate, is part of cultivating an attitude of benevolence and gratitude towards life more broadly — and thus worth the effort.

We may not have had the biggest year ever in terms of productivity at the Quompound, or in my architecture practice, but we did manage to accomplish some fine things. And those things deserve to be recognized and celebrated! So in no particular order, here are some things we got done this year, at the Quompound and here at Clever Moderns, that I’m proud of and want to celebrate.

1. The Storage Shed

We completed Quonset hut #4 at the Quompound, the Storage Shed. It is a Q20, which is the smallest size SteelMaster makes. It has nice proportions and makes a good addition to the property.

We also got to experiment a little bit with the formwork for the concrete, and although it may not be the nicest concrete ever poured, we learned a lot and are really happy with how it turned out. More on the Storage Shed in this post.

2. Loft House Concrete Floor Ground & Polished

I’m pretty sure I haven’t mentioned this on the blog. We had the floor ground, polished, and sealed in the early part of the summer. Once all our drywall and other interior work is done, I will give it a very fine final sanding, and then wax it.

Below you can see where I wiped over it with a wet rag, bringing out the color and richness of the graphite-colored tint we had put in the cement, contrasted with the pebbles and sand in the mixture. The final result will be similar to the “wet look” but with a matte finish.

3. Loft House Exterior Siding

This one was HUGE for us! We had been looking at the foam of the ICF for something like two years.

We’re SO HAPPY with how the gray corrugated metal and matching custom trim all turned out. We hired a roofing company out of Flagstaff for this work and they did a great job.

More on the blog, here.

4. Mini Split in the Headquarters Hut

We wanted this to get connected up and operational for the summertime, but because of scheduling conflicts with our buddy Alex, who is also our A/C contractor, it didn’t end up finally happening until early December.

Eventually, that whole wall will be clad in the same corrugated metal you see below the mini split. Here’s that story: At first we were going to do all the Loft House exterior cladding ourselves, and we bought enough material in this gray bonderized finish to do a large-scale mockup on the south exterior wall of the Loft House. Then we decided to shift gears and hire the roofing company out of Flagstaff that I mentioned above. Turned out they had a different source for similar material that wasn’t identical, but was very nice and close enough, and cost less. That’s what they used on the Loft House, but now our initial large sample of material wasn’t able to be used on that job. So we’re using it on this interior wall of the HQ hut.

5. Blue Grama Grass

I blogged about this one, and if you’re interested in a little lesson on one aspect of Quompound ecology, you can check it out here. Long story short: the drought of the last couple of years has meant a lot of weeds invading the disturbed areas around all our construction, because we couldn’t get the native turf to regrow. This year we had enough rain to get it reseeded and growing!

6. Loft House Drywall Started!

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, very exciting for us, and also covered with more pics in this post.

7. Client Work: the Glam Off-Grid Quonset

Our friends Glenn and Pam (Glam!) are building an off-grid Quonset House a few miles from the Quompound and they’re almost ready to break ground! Their building permit will be issued as soon as a few minor technicalities get cleared up but the building plans are approved. Working with them on their design was definitely one of the highlights of 2021 for me.

This job is also special to me because Glenn has lent a hand and been a tremendous help with our huts at the Quompound (and appeared in the blog!) on numerous occasions. He helped with the Headquarters Hut side windows (this blog post) and erecting the Loft House arches (this post).

I will be sharing a lot more about this build soon and will probably feature them on my YouTube channel. Here’s a sneak preview of one of my brand-spanking-new renderings of their design:

8. Client Work: Seven Acres and a Chicken

These clients are the loveliest retired (or near-retired) couple you could ever meet. They left behind their fifth floor walk up apartment in New York City and bought seven acres of desert in Pima County, west of Tucson. They’re already embracing their new rural lifestyle and planning for their flock! Their building permit was issued right before Christmas.

Theirs will be a two story Q40, two bedroom/two bath home with a generous great room and pretty amazing views from the window wall. I took the pic below while standing atop the shipping container they parked on their land, in preparation for construction to start soon. Renderings and more project details forthcoming for this project, too!

9. Snowflake Off Grid Quonsets

I recently blogged about this one, so you can read more here if you’re interested. Pictured is the garage/workshop building; the accompanying house will be built in Phase II. This was a fun and interesting (and challenging) design and I’m excited to see it coming out of the ground.

10. The Quonset Gingerbread Hut

I ended the year with a bit of Quonset Holiday flair! I had failed at this back in 2017, when my arch collapsed in the oven. This year I tried, tried again, and succeeded! I wrote it up in detail for the blog here, with full instructions, and am planning to hold a contest next year!

In spite of all the hardships last year brought, on the heels of that very dark first year of the pandemic, I hope you have some bright spots to look back on and appreciate.

I also hope your 2022 is bright, prosperous, and joyous.

Curious about Quonsets? Ready to learn more about these bizarre, amazing, shiny, round, prefab structures? Drop your info below and I’ll start you off on my email tutorial series. Looking to build an inexpensive but beautiful home debt-free? Considering going off-grid? Or are you just tired of the same old same old and want something unique and beautiful? A Quonset House might be the answer for you.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We also have a private Facebook group called DIY Quonset Dwellers, where we share discussion, design, and construction tips with others who are interested in building their own Quonset hut house. With over 6,000 members and counting, the Facebook group has grown into an amazing resource all of its own! Learn more and request to join the Facebook group here.