It’s that time again to sort through all the photos that have no other real place but in a random photo drop. All the little moments in life add up…
I love checking out old abandoned buildings!
Yard work is always humbling in its scale
And its rewards like seeing this young hawk up close
Or this little guy
Back side of the cabin as it is currently
At another cool abandoned house
Randomness of life here…Viking helmets and old nuclear reactors
So breathtaking -Spanish wall overlooking Pools Beach in Rincóñ
You know it’s a surf town when…
At the international folkloric music/dance night in Rincon -people from all over the world came like Turkey!
Slovenia! (With my funny friend Jenn! haha)
I thought the fiddles, overalls and square dancing was a funny representation of the USA, but somewhat accurate I suppose for folk dancing
Now that’s what you call a lot of junk in your trunk!!
Check out these cool mushrooms growing on rotting wood
White torch gingers at our finca
Plumeria caterpillar munching away
Beautiful Boquerón -standing
And laid out (thanks to Amanda for this photo)
You never know what you might see…ram horn helmet and a skeleton at a restaurant!
That’s quite the paint job!
And that’s one heck of a wreck!
We went out salsa dancing with fedoras at a place called Hydra and had a lot of fun! It’s a cool, hip place and while I love salsa dancing and music it does seem to be dying off as a popular music style here on the island. Bachata, merengue and reggaeton are far more favored at most bars. Salsa is like 50′s sock-hop music would be to most people stateside.
We got some moves- haha!
Yah, you know there’s just a random pyramid in Aguada
We just accomplished a major milestone in building the cabin! We have just finished installing the tile floors! This was quite a process not the least of which was just simply bringing over the supplies. Before they could even start on the tiles they had to bring over almost 30 sheets of plycem (concrete backer board). Each one of them weighed over 130 pounds! Then they had to move over all the boxes of tiles as well!
Installing each of the concrete backer sheets!
Preparing the tile with Waldemar starting with the center piece
Beginning the tile from the center out
One special touch we added was a tile mosaic in the center of the room under the large ceiling fan. It complicated things a little but I think it is pretty cool. We bought the last one in the tile store and so we had to cut some parts special for it, but it turned out very nice.
Installing the grout
Shortly after installation
After the first mopping
For a more in-depth how-to on this tile installation you can watch this video; there’s some pretty funny bloopers at the end too:
Once we finished with the tiles we were able to accomplish something else that we are super excited about: bringing over the full-sized fridge and stove! These were very tough to move over because they, like everything in the cabin, had to be brought over by hand. No dolly was used.
First they loaded it from the shed into the truck and drove it half-way down
Then they carried it through the jungle
Across the bridge
Up the stairs, and to the house!
And yes, their backs were pretty sore after this! But we are super excited about the floors and what it means. With the floors and the walls basically finished, that means we are nearly ready to move everything else in too! Next up, the toilet and finishing work on the bathroom!
I figured it was maybe time to do a little construction update. One thing nice about doing things at your own pace is that you can take a step back when you start to feel overwhelmed or don’t have an answer to a “how to” and want to take some time to research. A lot of building this house has required research because I’ve never done it before. Like what screws to use for drywall and WHY? What screws to use for cement board and WHY? How do you construct a shower basin in a wood framed house?
The company that delivered the drywall delivered screws too. They were black phosphate coated drywall screws BUT they were fine thread. When I asked about it they claimed of course “It’s fine to use them in wood!” which isn’t really true. Wood screws use a coarse thread for holding power. Fine threads are used for metal studs. Just an example of how a small thing can turn into a small ordeal when you are ready to start a project in the morning.
Using what are considered the “correct” fasteners might not matter to some people, especially if the fasteners are difficult to locate. I have been called “Mañoso” (picky) a few times which is accurate I guess.
Mud, Tape and Ready for Primer/Paint
This past week have been getting the inside ready for paint and flooring. Since we decided to go with tile, we needed to prep the sub floor. We got 24 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ thick cement board. Those weigh 136 pounds each! It took a whole day just for us to move them over to the house. It was actually easiest for one person to carry an entire sheet on their back than it was for two people to awkwardly try to move one. So there was a lot of resting in between trips but we got it done.
While I do a lot of the research myself it is tremendously useful to have Waldemar help with each step. He propels us forward so much more than we can do alone. I really appreciate his help. He brings skills, experience as well as lots of energy and motivation when I just don’t have a whole a lot.
Installing Cement Board
We then cut and installed the cement boards (generically called plycem here). Those things were ridiculously heavy. The floors however are SOLID and we shouldn’t have any problems with tiles popping or cracking. Under the cement boards we used thinset to fill any space between the 3/4″ inch plywood. There are a few write ups about this online. The professionals who sold me the cement board told me I didn’t need to use thinset, but again for me it comes down to the “why” and the write ups did a good job of convincing me that it should be done.
Cassie brings over lunch for us and helps where she can
Our tile is on order and should be here in a week or so. We wanted to get a natural feel instead of using ceramic printed tiles and went with a red clay tile almost like terracotta. Again, Mañoso but what can you do? If you want something, sometimes you have to wait.
¿Tu quiereme? Waldemar and I work together a lot and have gotten to know each other well, even with the language barrier.
We also used cement board for the shower stall. Over top of the cement board I used aqua defense, it is a paintable rubber membrane that adheres well to thinset when dry so you can tile over it. The paintable membrane will keep any moisture from seeping past the grout/tiles and cement board into the wood below. One thing I have learned is that cement is porous and should be sealed if you want to keep water out. There is also a 3 piece drain.
Green Water-proof Membrane
Soon we should receive some tiles. Until then we will be painting the walls. Cassie Priming the Drywall for Paint
So as you can see, we haven’t JUST been chinchorreando and having fun…We are making really good progress on the cabin too. Now that we can see the walls and floors taking shape we are super stoked to move in!
Agua y luz. Water and electricity. When you move into a house, this is what makes it a house and not just a shed or storage area. We recently finished up the electricity installation including the fans and it really makes it feel like home when you can just turn on the lights at night, the fans when it gets hot, or turn on a little music.
Outdoor fans for the front deck
Britton also framed in the last bit of the wall and the bathroom loft area. We are in the home stretch!
Bedroom fan and framed wall
Rafters above the bathroom and closet
To install water at the cabin, Britton connected about 300 feet of 1/2 inch tubing, buried about half of it, crossed the property, affixed it beneath the sky bridge and then connected it to the cabin.
Waterline where it travels under the bridge
Waterline where it connects from the bridge to the cabin
Next up was internal copper water lines which Britton soldered. Thankfully we have plenty of leftover copper pipes that we reused from the old wooden house and so this was fairly inexpensive. Britton has also worked a little with copper piping before and so this went fast. There was one pipe rupture but Britton fixed it pretty quickly.
Bathroom plumbing and wiring are ready!
You could call this the house that Britton built. Almost everything he did himself or with one other helper. There has not been a moment when he was not working hands on. An amazing feat. It can take a little longer when it’s just you and you’re learning as you go, but he has been a champ. He’s done a great job!
We are now on to the next phase. The skin. Drywall should arrive this upcoming week and Britton and Waldemar will begin installation. It’s all coming together and really starting to feel like a house. I can’t wait to move in!