Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long Awaited House Update...

At last I have found the time to get my photographs saved to my computer and uploaded to blogger. I had planned to do this at work (here in the dive shop there really is NOTHING to do in low season - I've spoken to only 4 potential clients today in a period of 5 hours), but the internet service was so slow that I could not upload the pictures. I decided to go ahead and write this and add the pictures at home while I cook dinner. Phew – this is why it often takes me so long to write a blog post!

So my last update predated my trip to Greece and London in October/ November. Before I left, preparations were being made to put the roof on the house (the roof will ultimately be the floor to the second floor of the house). Here in Mexico houses are made of bricks and the roof of flat concrete. Once the walls are in place a platform is constructed in wood to carry the weight of the concrete, which will be poured to make the roof:

After the wood is laid, tubeing is placed over the top of it to house electricity cables and the drainage pipes were also laid for our 2nd floor bathroom.

Our roof was poured the day before I left and I did not manage to be there to take pictures. There are a few ways to make these cement roofs and we arranged for a cement truck to come and pour pre-mixed cement. This only takes a few hours and the pre-mixed cement has additives which make it harden faster and give it more resistance to moisture. After the concrete has been poured it is left to harden over a period of 5-7 days and then the wood is taken away. This is the house as it looked when I arrived back from my trip:

Obviously the walls all need to be finished with a smooth layer of cement, and ultimately painted, but you can see how things are shaping up. It was really cool for me to arrive back on the Island and see the house with its roof. For the first time, I could walk into each of the rooms and get a good feeling for the space of each room and how it will look when we move in. I was very happy with the way all of the rooms looked - each one felt just right. Here is a picture of what will ultimately be our living room. You will see that the room has been partly finished (we'd say plastered in England). The groove running round the walls, about 1/2 way up the, is being left for a ceramic chair rail (maybe dedo rail in England). They would usually be made of wood in England or America, but because of the humidity here, we have chosen ceramic.
Before I left we'd planted a coconut tree in our back garden/ yard (we've actually already planted another of these in the opposite corner of the yard now). Here I am, pulling weeds out of the dirt around the tree:
Here is a picture of the back of the house taken from the yard. Again, all still needs to be finished and windows and doors added (the white metal gate is temporary - to secure Julio's work room until we have wooden doors made). The picture looks into the kitchen with the terrace in the foreground. I am really looking forward to our spending a lot of time out on the terrace - most of the year we'll probably eat out there:
Here is another picture from the side of the terrace and yard, with our little coconut tree in the corner. We planted this tree a little over a year ago and it is almost as tall as me, although we have actually planted it below ground level so it lost a few feet!
The last picture is of our kitchen. I LOVE how big our kitchen is going to be. I already have my eyes on the washing machine and refrigerator that I want (I find it less easy to get excited about an oven – they all look/ do the same).
So there you have it. We still have a lot of work to do. Julio’s brother Christian is almost finished putting in the electricity (with the help of a qualified electrical engineer) and when the walls around the windows are finished (hopefully this week), Julio and Christian will be able to make a start on the windows and doors. When I look at the land I sometimes see a dirty messy building site, and other times I am able to imagine our lovely finished home. I promise to post more soon.

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