Saturday, January 30, 2016

House Update

We have a target completion date for the house: March 20 (plus 10 days for "snagging" as they say here).  After a slow month leading up to Christmas, the level of activity has picked up.  All of the rooms are framed in and have drywall.  The tiles, cupboards, appliances, wardrobes (closets) and hardwood floors have been delivered.  Now it's down to the details - paint, lights, ironmongery (doorknobs & hinges) and a new front door.

Yesterday, Garett spent 9 hours moving the kitchen and wardrobes from the storage unit to the house.  Today he and I met with Goni to go through each room.  THE STAIRS are still an outstanding issue, even this late in the game.  Garett really wants to retain the originals.  Goni and I are ready to start over, but it will mean a delay to the floor installation (and additional expense). It's a decision we need to make asap.

The master bath was originally a bedroom with a fireplace. The tiles are starting to go down and you can see where the freestanding bathtub will be centered on the wall.  They tried to deliver it last week, but it's too big for the staircase.  We will need to hire a crane and bring the bathtub through one of the master bedroom windows.  There is a slight concern about the size of the bathtub vs the doorways because we only have 1 cm of clearance.

 Ryan's bathroom (and guest bathroom) has the same cement-look tile on the walls and floor.  The grout isn't in yet, but you get the idea.  There will be a sliding glass shower door across the back, a sink and mirrored cabinet in the middle and a toilet on the left. This bathroom didn't exist in the original house.  Charlotte created the new room by stealing space from the bedrooms on either side. 

 This is the TV room, but it could be used as a fourth bedroom.  We are replacing the original fireplace (unsalvageable) with something modern.  The wooden drawers you see are part of the built-in wardrobes that will go in the master bedroom.

 Ryan's bedroom is currently the staging point for tiles and other items.  Soon Goni will build the mezzanine over the doorway for Ryan's loft bed.  See the drawing below.

Ryan's bedroom

On the ground floor is the kitchen. Goni and Garett discussed how the utility room will be built.  We decided to place our washer and dryer down here even though it means carrying laundry up several flights of stairs.  The new glass for the skylights is scheduled to arrive in a few days.  You may also spy a piece of the granite leaning against the wall.

 Although the kitchen is technically on site, it's in pieces at the moment.  Some of the units were damaged during the latest move.  Hopefully we can repair them so it's not noticeable.

Nobody likes talking about THE STAIRS.  This decision is to be continued...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Costa Rica Trip - Happy 2016!

I finally downloaded the pictures from our trip to Costa Rica at Christmas and New Year's.  It involved a lot of traveling to get there from London: 17+ hours on planes and in airports, hours of traffic snarls from San Jose to Puntarenas, a ferry ride to transport the rental car to the Nicoya Peninsula and more driving to reach the remotely-located house.  But it was well worth it!  This trip was just what I needed.  It was great to escape, relax and enjoy some much-needed sun.

Next weekend I will do a blog post with an update about the house.  The beehive of activity has resumed and the target completion date is now set at March 20th.

December 26 - After driving for hours on no sleep, we had to wait in queue for 2-3 more hours before boarding the ferry from Puntarenas to Nicoya Peninsula.

Nicoya Peninsula in the distance - our SUV was parked on the right-side of the deck and we sat with everyone else at the top of the ferry.

Ryan melted in the hot weather - yes, that is a can of cerveza pressed against his forehead .

This is the house where we stayed for the week.  Ryan and I were jet-lagged and we got up early to explore the property.

Most mornings we lounged in the pool before heading out for adventures in the afternoon.  There was no Wi-Fi at the house - not a bad thing!

And here is the town of Montezuma. As you can see, it's not overly developed.  The roads are appalling to reach it, but this is where we often ate out and took advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the gelato shop.

Ryan on a tree swing at the beach in Montezuma.  This picture was taken shortly before he tried swinging with no hands and gravity brought him straight down!

We took a day trip to Isla Tortuga by boat.  This is one of the beautiful spots where we snorkeled.

All of the kids are lined up and ready to snorkel!


Our wonderful friends, Greg and Molly

Snorkeling in a small cove - Ryan is in the foreground

The highlight of the trip for Ryan was seeing and touching a puffer fish caught by our boat guide.  We saw lots of other colorful fish too.

Ryan hanging out in the shade at Isla Tortuga

A beautiful macaw - Isla Tortuga

Macy and Garett defending the net during a competitive game of beach volleyball

"Felipe" the iguana - he was huge!  We saw Felipe on our way  back from yoga one morning.  We also watched some locals cut down coconuts from the top of a tall tree.

One of a series of waterfalls near Montezuma.  We went swimming in the natural pool and jumped from the rocks.


Typical road.  In this picture we are following Molly and Greg.  The roads were completely rutted and all of the roadside plants were buried under a layer of dust.

Shelly, Garett and Ryan in our zip line gear.  Do we look nervous?  We sailed above the tree canopy on zip lines from platform-to-platform.  It was really fun!

We saw several monkeys on the trip, including white-faced capuchin monkeys.  This one was having breakfast in a banana tree.

Shelly outside of the bar in Santa Teresa that was broadcasting the Clemson-Oklahoma football game.  Unfortunately, the bar closed at 4:00 p.m. because it was New Year's Eve, so we missed a good portion of the game (our poor timing was also due to navigating the treacherous roads in and out of town).

Ryan is enjoying a typical breakfast poolside at the house (eggs, avocado, tortillas and beans). The Costa Rican coffee was great too!

 Happy 2016!

 A family photo on New Year's Day in front of the house