Saturday, April 30, 2011

So Now What?

So, we have been and lived in our new home - all the excitement!

Now for the reality of it.

Before we left we signed the property management agreement - this offers some degree of security in that the house will be 'occupied' 3 times a week to check everything, air it out, run the water, etc.  Also arrange for regular cleaning and pool maintenance.  We have already had communication - you really need a deadbolt on the garage bodega - but all is good.

Then the insurance - seems all is good with that as well - full coverage excluding theft (there are special requirements for that - they are sending those!).

Note to Robert about the fan in the tower - he is reversing it to have it venting rather than bringing air in.

Deficiencies are being worked on - Sheila had the exhaust fan fixed.

Haven't heard from Ventana requesting completion payments, transfer of ICE etc - all the mundane business stuff.

We have started the planning for July - flights, shopping etc - Lisle is in his glory!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Post Mortem

So it all happened so quickly - Down - In - Out - Back !!

Perhaps some more sober reflection -

I can truly say everything exceeded our expectations!

The House
It was exactly the space I had in my mind.  Robert achieved what I (and I think Lisle) had lived and breathed for months.  The staircase that had been so problematic was a perfect sculpture set in the tower.  The spaces that seemed so small in January when they were shells of concrete were suddenly immense with the finished tile floors and painted walls and furniture.  The whole house is filled with air and light.

Sure there are deficiencies - a list of 82 of them.  Some sloppy work on the windows and screens, 3 missing electrical outlets and drop in bathroom sinks on the granite counters (were supposed to be undermount) are the most significant issues.  They'll have time to work on these before we are down again.

The Furniture Etc.
While we had talked to Sheila about look and feel, given her photos, and looked at fabrics, we really had no idea what we were walking into.  And so what did we walk into?  Absolute perfection!

Sheila had listened to every word we had said.  The colours were tropical and bright but not gaudy or jarring.  The wood was dark but not heavy or overpowering.  The styles were eclectic but complementary.  The Master Bedroom was masculine, unique but still tropical and fitting with the house.  She managed to capture us completely.

And everything worked. All the appliances, the home theatre (it was programmed and ready to go with indoor and outdoor speaker zones).  There were step ladders and cleaning products, BBQ utensils and laundry soap.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing was the living room tables.  We found a photo of Indonesian Drum Tables, and knew they would be perfect.  In case you don't know them, they are stamped metal ceremonial drums that have taken on new life as objets d'arte and unique furniture pieces.After much work, Sheila broke the news - yes she could get them - but $2,000 each imported - so much for an interesting statement in the living room - we settled for small square wood tables more suited to the budget.  Surprise - we arrived to the most spectacular drum tables.  Sheila had them custom-made by the wood craftsman - - Unbelievable!!

The Landscaping
Christian has not been the easiest part of the project for us to manage.  He is exceptionally talented in design, but struggled to make his vision meet our reality of functional, beautiful, open outdoor space.  The final plan is wonderful, and the first phase suits the house to a 'T'.  He has taken what was a rudimentary concrete pool deck and expanded it into outdoor rooms that perfectly complement the other living spaces.

There is still 2 months of work on the landscaping, including all the planting - but I can say I am wow'd!

This group of talented and committed professionals has delivered on everything they said they would and more importantly they worked with us to create a unique place we now call home.

One more thing - more than anything I wanted to create a space for 'barefoot living' - a comfortable but simple life - signified by the fact that you can move freely through the house and around the property without ever having to put your shoes on.  The fact that we had achieved this struck me on Wednesday when I was looking for my shoes so we could go out for dinner!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One Week In and Time to Go

My God - where did the week go!

Breakfast is finished (dinner last night really felt like the last supper - apropos for Good Friday) and the packing is about to commence - laundry is underway and we are about to dismantle the place.  Very sad.

Food needs to go out or go with us - or go in containers in the fridge.  Small applicances cleaned and way.  Plants outside - Furniture inside.  Beds stripped.  Quite the production.

Clothes in the suitcase - the house seems similarly packed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Unveiling

The drive in is exactly as we remember – rocky and dusty – the river little more than a creek at this time of year.  Up the hill – Bruce and Barbara wave hello and shout congratulations as we pass.  Up the hill and around the corner – there it is – the ground still raw as the landscaping is yet to come, but cleared of construction debris – it looks livable.  Up the drive and into the carport.

Sheila is out the front door with hugs and kisses – she is probably more excited than we are – it is her work of art, shown for the first time.
And what a work of art!

It is very hard to put in words that feeling when everything you have had in your mind for 3 years becomes reality before your eyes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beginning, Middle and End – or Just the Beginning Again!

It started with a dream and an idea

A piece of land that turned into a place to build

And has become a house

Exquisite! And even better inside.


So we drove to Ojochal – stopped at Tarcoles to see the Crocodiles

a pleasant lunch on the way in Manuel Antonio (Steve and Claudio vacationed there in 1996 and were shocked by the difference – hardly recognized anything).
And then to The Lookout at Playa Tortuga – not a bad place, was closed for 18 months and has been reborn as a reasonable tourist hotel – not boutique like, but very Costa Rican – clean basic accommodations with air conditioning, nice pool and an amazing breakfast.  Dinner, drinks and bed by 9:30 - - Steve said, “I can’t believe you are this close and did drive by the house!”  I replied, “We promised Sheila we wouldn’t peek!”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Step by Step

Sitting here in San Jose, ready to go for dinner - an uneventful flight - easy car rental (but no automatic so I guess Lisle is driving - and OMG it is enormous - a Toyota Prado!)  No rain so far - sat by the pool at the hotel and had a beer - so far so good - plus!!!  Christian sent photos of the patio - FANTASTIC

Fly Away

So here we are - all set to go!

I am excited, nervous, tense - full of anticipation.

What happens now is pretty straight forward
  • Thursday fly to Costa Rica - spend the night in Santa Ana (just outside San Jose) - a great dinner at Bacchus is planned
  • Friday drive to Ojochal with a stop in Manuel Antonio for lunch - staying at The Lookout at Playa Tortuga - beer at Bocas and dinner at Stephan''s
  • Saturday - 10 am - go to the house for the 'unveiling'
What happens next?  Who knows?!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What are Friends For?!

5 days and counting, and our friends continue to keep us up to date on the progress being made - like this note received today!


Just came back from your house where Sheila and crew are setting up.

Love the purple crushed velvet sofa!  And who would have thought lava lamps would come back in style.  And you just never get tired of the dogs playing poker painting that will hang in your entryway.  Looks great!



HA HA - - Lisle is already plotting the payback!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The 3 traditional brown soft-sided luggage set is packed - large, medium and weekender - each weighs 50 lb!  No it's not clothes!  Or shoes!

The food processor, hand mixer, sundry gadgets, some plates (nicely packaged), the wine opener, a first aid kit, computer gadgetry, DVDs ...

Still need to do our toiletries and sandals, and the 4th case is nearing full without that!  Hopefully Steve and Claudio have some spare capacity to accommodate bits and pieces.

BTW - the pool is full and warming up for our arrival!  Six days and counting.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't Forget the Bikini!

No Board Shorts or One-Pieces Allowed!  Speedos and Bikinis only!!

Looks like it will soon be pool time!!  Cummon - take the plunge!