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I am here. Finally. Actually I have been here about a week now.
My dogs, Daisy and Remington, arrived a few days after I did and we are adjusting to life in this new place and new house
You can read about Daisy and Remington’s Travel here:
We are now officially living in Cuenca Ecuador
It’s taken a few months longer than planned to get here but who cares? We are here now in the rental house I found when I was here last Spring on my discovery trip to check out what the real estate market was like here in Cuenca
The house is just how I remembered it
Except it’s empty. All the furnishings have been taken out
It looks big and yet small as it is pretty much empty. I can see in my head where things are going to go and thankfully I have a pretty good feel for space and volume and feel pretty confident that my thoughts on where things will go will prove to work
I have made an agreement with the landlord to have the house semi furnished and to borrow a few furnishings until my own arrive. That’s scheduled to be on or around December 7th. It’s almost the end of November now and we’ve been here about a week so far
Semi furnished in Ecuador usually means you get the major appliances. Sometimes it can mean an agreement for one or a few other specified larger pieces of furniture. It is not uncommon to rent fully furnished, even to have sheets, silverware etc included. Both ways of renting have their pros and cons
I have chosen a very limited semi furnished option. Stove and fridge. I am borrowing a washing machine, dryer and beds until my shipping container and household belongings get here
In my suitcases I brought a coffee thermos, filter cone, plate, bowl, mug, chef knife, wood spoon, spatula, fork, knife, spoon, a small fry pan and a one qt sauce pan, 2 dog balls, a water trough, one blanket, one pillow, a set of sheets and two towels. It’s kinda like camping!
Okay, so the I-CAN-GET-THROUGH-ANYTHING mantra is great…..and the floor is REALLY uncomfortable. Perhaps a chair or something might be in order….
I didn’t bring a patio set in the shipping container so I would need to get one anyway. That’s on my agenda for later today: Go out and see if I can find something. I’ve been sort of waiting to do this because the shipping container should be here in about a week, but since I didn’t bring outside furniture I might as well go see what there is to be had. At least then there will be something besides the floor to sit on!
It’s nice to spend time in the house without everything here because it gives me time to see where the light is, give some thought to what I can do with the dirt patch under my stairs, and have some book shelves made BEFORE the boxes of books get here with the shipping container
It’s also a little weird to be in a big empty house
Although the dogs think it’s fantastic!
Wood and stone floors are GRRREEEAAATTT for running and sliding on!
I am also now realizing that all the light which I love and was a big selling point for me with this house is also making this house hot in the afternoon. There is a glass roof in the center of house right above the stairway – great for light but did I mention hot?
The bathroom off my bedroom is all glass roofed and ohmygawd that room gets hot! By 10am it’s too hot to even stand in the tile floor and my shampoo bottle erupted from the heat…..
But it’s ok – its just part of the figuring it out process
I am lucky to have this time in my house with it empty before my stuff gets here. There are a few things that I have re thought and changed my mind about where things will go since being here and for one area that I was completely undecided on until I got here and saw how the dogs flow through the house
The area under my staircase which is smack dab in the center of the house and a focal point from my front door has been an unknown to me. Currently it’s just a tub of dirt. I have thought about removing the dirt and putting in essentially a doggie area with pillows or a big pad
Nix that thought because that could become an eyesore fast, and my dogs like to be next to me and around people. I don’t think the area would ever actually get used. And if it did it would become a constant source of laundry or the doggie smell in the house could become well let’s just say less than appealing
I could do the normal and expected plant thing. That doesn’t overly excite me and it’s so, well expected
In a gallery way back when, I think it was in Chicago, I remember there being a display filled with colorful glass balls. Now that perks my interest. However, refer back to two large dogs. Probably not a great idea
Maybe a large sculpture that could catch light. Hmmm, no. After watching Daisy chase light prisms and knocking things over I have decided that something that sparkles light everywhere may not actually be my friend
So, what to do?
At the same time I have these three areas that will be used for living, middle and dining that flow around this area under my stairs. I had originally planned on using the top area as the dining room and the bottom area which is by the slider to the outside as my living room. This is perhaps backwards but my thought had been more about where the light is v function, and I use my dining table mostly as a work table v a dining table so the upper area would be a good spot
However, I have changed my mind and the living area will go in the top area and the dining at the bottom. The dogs come and go through that outside door a lot and having my living area there takes up more floor space. Also I have found that the area from the slider, through the kitchen and into the laundry provides a good ball throw and fetch area with a glorious slippy slide for the dogs on the tile and wood floors
I can’t deny the fur monsters that, right?
Unfortunately that means the pretty carpet runner I have for the kitchen wont be used because while they would enjoy hitting that and riding it across the floor, it would be an expensive toy for them. So, rolled up and in the storage room it will go. I can unroll it for adult company when the dogs are practicing their inside/company behavior
So back to the drawing board – but it also makes it easier to decide what will go under the stairs. You see I have this tall giraffe coming in the container, that would have gone in the corner of the bottom section if it were the living room, but since that is now the dining area, the giraffe wont fit. He will fit just perfectly under the stairway. So….plants and rock it is
And I need some bookcases. Glad I didn’t already buy them because the wall this will go on has now changed. I think I will also need a cabinet to put glass/barware in because my 8 foot china cabinet did not come with me, it stayed in the house
Update: I decided to have both the bookcase and the glass cabinet made. I went out to furniture stores and looked to see what was available and was singularly unimpressed or didn’t really want to spend that much money. Both ends of the spectrum. Or what I liked and was affordable wasn’t really what I wanted, not the right size, and…..
A neighbor told me about a guy she worked with who made her a nice built in and murphy bed so I called him. Marco was very nice and very knowledgeable sounding on the phone. We made an appointment, which he confirmed and then came on time to
He made sketches of what I had in mind and said he would need to price the wood and get back to me. He did 2 days later, we agreed on the work, I paid a deposit for materials and off he went to build
I was at the time expecting to have my container delivered on December 7th or within a few days of that and it is now just after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t imperative, but I was hoping to have these two pieces built and installed before the container got here. Marco said it shouldn’t be a problem and he’d do his best
Sure enough, Marco was complete, and the units were installed well before December 7th, and the two units turned out great! I still have to get handles for the glass unit. The ones I found that I liked were out of stock in the finish I wanted. In the meantime I can open the door so it doesn’t stop me from using the cabinet
The wall the glass cabinet was going on has a funky little angled push out. Marco worked with me to design a visual solution and we added a fake front piece so it looks more like a built in. The piece is easily removable from the cabinet itself so if ever I want to move it I don’t have to have the entire cabinet remade, or find a weird shaped place to put it
The walls in my house are all concrete. To anchor the bookshelves which are actually three units joined with the trim work, I didn’t want to put holes in the unit to drill into the walls, so Marco designed a cantilevered base so the case leans backwards and the weight of the filled case acts like an anchor. It may not work if there is a big earthquake but its plenty stable for my monsters to run around it or run into it as Remy has a tendency to run into all things when he is motion
The area under the staircase got done the same week. About a mile from here is a local farmer who has a nursery. I went there with a local I met who helped me navigate the Spanish and negotiations for pricing and picked out some plants. Then I hired a contractor to bring me rocks and put it all in
That contractor showed up at 7pm with wife and child in tow, after being scheduled to be here at 9am. He did call, and I had nothing pressing so it really didn’t matter
Luckily the existing dirt pit was already lined so I didn’t have to remove the dirt and re do that. The soil was amended, plants were put in, a plastic layer over the dirt and rocks added. Easy and done. I left an open space so the giraffe can be added when it gets here
I had another contractor come and add lights, and a grounded outlet so I can put my wireless speaker in this area for music downstairs. It should work well to have the sound source in the middle of the house, then no one will have to be ‘on’ the speaker and it isn’t all in one area only
Now, I just have to remember to water the plants….
It feels good to be making progress an starting to give the space a little personalization
I can’t wait for the shipping container to arrive. This space will look and feel entirely different with furniture, art, momentos and the general stuff of life filling it
You can read about the process of getting my stuff through Customs and the day of unloading here:
One thing at a time. For now I need to go find something to sit on….