Marian surveyed the work with a skeptical squint. The innards of the long, wide barn had been gutted, sheathed in ceramic tile and stainless steel giving the impression they were inside a milk tank truck. Large halogen orbs were suspended from the ceiling making it so bright, the older woman’s Progressive lenses had darkened a few shades. At the far end, two steel encased boxes rose up from the cement and tile overlay, each big enough to resemble moderate sized walk-in freezers. The one on the right was, indeed, refrigerated whereas the one opposite was set at a static eighty-eight degrees.
“Air? Heat?” she asked, her eyes focused on the ceiling two stories above.
“The floor is heated with coils,” the foreman said with an air of boastfulness. “The air condition is set to be completed by the end of the week.”
“Where? I don’t see any ducts.”
“If I may?” He motioned towards the normal sized door aside the large double bay doors. Marian turned and led the way out.
Squinting against the sun, Marian raised her arm to shield her eyes as the foreman strutted out and continued around the corner to stand alongside the length of the building. More curious than obedient, Marian followed, walking away from the sloped hill that led to the freshly painted recently remodeled farm house where she’d only resided a few short weeks.
Rising up a few feet from the side of the converted barn was what appeared to be a sizable well pump house. Only she knew it wasn’t. The property’s water supply came from a cistern neatly hidden amongst a stand of eucalyptus up another hill further beyond the house. The water there was portioned out, some running untreated to pipes that fed anything from landscaping sprinklers to toilets and the washing machine. A much smaller supply dropped into a micro-purifier in the basement then was shipped out to the faucets and a spigot that serviced the ice maker. Self containment was important if not vital to Dr. Marian Winslow.
“The compressor,” the foreman waved his hand towards the squat box. Dr. Winslow gave an approving nod. Another thing important to the good doctor – blending in.
“There’s a couple feet of space between the interior and exterior walls that allows us to run the ducts unobtrusively on up to the drop ceiling where the vents are being installed,” he explained.
“And sound?” Marian lifted her brows.
“Well insulated and the top of the line system, so it will be barely, if at all, noticeable.” He grinned widely with the pride of a feral kitten who’d just bagged its first sparrow. “It’s on right now.”
Marian was impressed. “Excellent. So when will the facilities be installed and,” she pivoted, eyes scanning the surrounding area. “Where?”
“They’re already completed,” he said, heading towards the back of the barn.
“Wonderful!” She clapped her hands as she stared at the huge kiln.
Photo by Kathie Leung (c) 2010 All Rights Reserved