Monday, October 22, 2007

Update on our new house, thoughts on building here.

Many people seem to be interested in the house we are building here.

So, from time to time, I will post a few photos on the progress. We were out there yesterday, due to some questions on the roofing material. The view is still pretty good. We had made a major change in the roofing material, from wavy Ondura to metal. The subcontractor finally showed up this weekend and started putting it up. However, we got an email from our architect saying he did not see any signs of the radiation barrier that was supposed to be getting installed under the tin. We left it to him to fight with the subcontractor, but we did run out to take a look for ourselves. The roofing material is this white metal called "Galvalume". Its a mixture of tin and aluminum, supposedly formulated to handle this type of environment. It comes in different colors, but for various reasons we decided on white. You can just see some of it on the far roof in this photo looking from the top of the garage at the 'front' of the house:

We looked around and actually found a couple rolls of the radiation barrier stuff on site. I emailed the architect as soon as we got home, to let him know about that. I wanted to give him a 'heads up' before he lit into the sub-contractor about it. He had told us that he did not see any on the job site. La Gringa checks the view from the little pergola. It's going to be a nice feature. Although I was skeptical at first, I must admit, it's growing on me. We also noticed they have finished off the little planter here on the patio. The next step here will be laying 1500 square feet of 2x2 foot textured concrete pavers in a sand bedding.

You may notice there are electric connections all over the place. This is going to be one well-lit patio area. With it being on the hillside overlooking the marina, maybe we will become a navigational beacon without intending to. (And before you ask, NO, would be a green light on this side of the channel entrance.)

Everyone is still telling us the goal is to have us moved in by Christmas. We have talked to a lot of people here, and getting a house built within one calendar year seems to be very unusual.

Some dreams that did not happen. I was thinking about home construction down here when I was driving down to the marina this morning to talk to the boatyard about fixing our fuel tank. It seems like it's been years since we started this house, but in actuality the bulldozer started clearing the lot in early February. It's 'only' been a little over eight months to this point. From what we have seen down here, that's not bad at all. We noticed early on that almost everywhere you travel around Provo, you can find what appear to be abandoned construction sites. We pass several just on the road to the boatyard. I often wonder what the story is with theses homes. This one, for example:

A nice home, on a good lot. It's fenced in. The builder seems to have gotten some walls half way up on the second floor, and just stopped. We have not noticed anything done on this house in two years. A cement mixer sits on the upper level floor, and the materials seem to be there. Here's one not as far along. In fact, this one seems to be almost totally abandoned:

It is also in a good location, well set back from the road. The plaster is falling away from the walls now, and the driveway doesn't look like anyone's been up it in years. This house is far enough from the ocean to be safe from storms, yet a second floor, or small tower, would have a view of the Caicos Banks. What's the story here? I dont know. I wonder. And this one, in the same general area. It got much further along than either of the previous two:

The walls are all up, the roof is on. There is plywood covering most of the openings. The view from the top floor should be really nice. It's a nice lot, with privacy, and naturally landscaped with native flora that obviously needs no maintenance to flourish. It's a great spot for a home. But, the plywood is faded to gray. There are no signs of any work being done, and there hasn't been in the two years since we have been here. What happened? I wonder if these were vacation homes being commissioned by people living far away, or if they are owned by locals. Did something happen to the distant owners? Death? Divorce? Are these little pieces of paradise orphans of court proceedings? These sights are very common here. We could probably point out a hundred home sites that resemble one of those three examples. I wonder if someone couldn't make a deal for one of these and finish it. The building permits were granted, the design work done. The land bought and paid for, and probably when it was going for a sliver of what it's worth today. I would imagine these lots went for $10-20K an acre just a few years ago, and there is probably another $ 25K in the structures. Would a widow in France, or a divorce-saddled dad in the US just love to have some quick cash to get out from under them? And it's not just these mid-size homes, we could show you deserted foundations of businesses never completed:

A building on the waterfront in Five Cays.

We could show you unfinished waterfront homes that would cost several million bucks to build today if you started from scratch.

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Wonderful ideas now sitting in the sun abandoned and growing weeds, waiting. Plans change, life goes on. Unfulfilled dreams can be sad, but the important thing is to have the dream in the first place. Imagine the excitement of planning these homes, clearing a space, completing that first row of blocks. Sitting in lawn chairs with friends at the end of the day. Enjoying a cold, well-earned beer, watching the tropical sunset fade to reveal a sky full of the brightest stars you ever saw. Talking about how very fine it's all going to be. It was a good part of someone's life, once. Maybe that's what a dream should do for you, and if it has, maybe it's done it's job for now.

And who knows, maybe these are chances for someone else to scoop up a fresh dream and run with it.


2swift said...

Loving ever Post keep it going!
Can't wait to see what you decided to do with the wood off the bar.
Follower from THT

Anonymous said...

wow! There are few that could word that and convey the hopes and dreams that way. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Riveting!!!...Can't go a day without checking to see what's been posted!!

Lizabeth said...

ok...Gringo, now you have us all just dreaming and wondering if there is a deal out there !