Working hours are longer but my dream home on this incredible property in Limon Costa Rica is almost complete.
There has been a zombie apocalypse forming on our farm lately. Our gnarled hands can’t keep a grip to carry things, a cramp in the leg makes us shuffle slowly groaning in agony and concrete dust mixed with how sweaty days have our faces pocked with red pus-filled openings. It’s all for the cause we remind ourselves. The addition of interior lighting has increased our working hours and we find ourselves heading down to the cabin at 9 pm hungry and tired. “Not far now,” we say.
Project by project I am closer than ever to putting this house building project to bed. I recently moved into the completed upstairs and made my first meal in the new kitchen. Would I invite friends over yet? Probably not, but it is time to get on with the Costa Rica life I want. I have lived in a one-room cabin for three years now and trust me when I say that 42 meters or 452 square feet is not a lot of room to include a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry and living area. I managed ok, but the lack of space and privacy started to wear on me. I left all of my family and most of my friends back in Cincinnati. The only counseling services are provided by the dogs (who are not the greatest listeners).
Living two and half hours away from Costa Rica’s only major city, San Jose has been challenging from a building perspective due to the in-availability of cost-effective, quality materials. Trying to find a wire nut, a concrete anchor or a replacement blade here in Limon is a quest more epic than Frodo’s. So, you can probably imagine what decorating choices are available.
Here is an example of the local choices I had for toilets and for ceramic tile.
Now your taste buds may be tantalized by these graphic options but I didn’t think that I could stomach these in my house for all of eternity. When I went looking for tile for the kitchen countertops I had similar choices available. Luckily for me, the local hardware store was out of the generic, what I thought I could live with tile but said that their store in the city Limon had 93 boxes. An hour later when I arrived in Limon, the tile was not on display and the guy tells me that this tile does not exist at this store. I proceed to beg him to call the other store and that possibly I have the name wrong, marino beige vs murano beige, that type of thing. Turns out my local store had the wrong name on the back of the tile and the 93 boxes that existed were a hideous pullow (puke-yellow) color. As I waited for the warehouse to confirm that the store didn’t have the tile I actually wanted I had time to wander. And in wandering I came upon the greatest discovery of all…
This sample was sitting on top of some paint cans in the painting corner. I fell in love with it instantly so I took it to the tile guy. No, they didn’t have it and he later confirmed with the lady in charge of inventory that none of their stores had it, even the ones in San Jose. I could go on with at least two more examples of wild goose chases and misinformation that I encountered while looking for this tile but the end result is what is important here and the end result is that THIS is my kitchen counter and I LOVE it!
Cost to Build
Even though we are not completely finished with the build we have purchased all the necessary materials. I have a spreadsheet with line items for each expense including hired labor and the purchase of tools necessary to replace ones that broke during the build. I also have noted the colon to dollar exchange rate for each purchase. When we started buying materials the rate was as high as 508 and now it sits at a lowly 492. So in dollars the total cost, minus our labor hours, was…….
of that number the cost of Wood was
Additional length of road was
the tools were
Here are some pictures of the house in its current state.
– Note: it is now a few years since this post and we have the landscaping 3/4 of the way finished and it looks gorgeous. Our fruit trees are producing with some regularity and our herbs furnish us a constant supply of tea. Pura Vida, indeed.