“I know of a house that was mostly completed a few years ago and has been vacant ever since. Maybe you could finish it in exchange for rent for a few years. It doesn’t need much. It would be a win-win for everyone.” A few of months ago Tom told us about a property which abuts Cloudbridge. A wonderful house was built there by a young couple who had returned to the States as they had run out of money and couldn’t finish it. His proposal was that we offer to do so in exchange for rent for the next few years. With that in mind we met Tom and Linda at the gate to the property and found our way. Tom mightily hacked at tall grass and shrubs to safely guide us down the hill, finding hidden steps along the way, to a wonderland house silently waiting for life to awaken it.
We peered through the windows of this mint green abode and found beautiful Douglas fir beams that had been imported from Washington state! Bamboo floors looked to be in great shape, cabinets were awaiting countertops, the loft area was vast, and the place was calling our names! We were anxious to get inside, but the doors were locked and windows barred.
Tom emailed Chelsae and Steve, the owners, who were definitely interested. Chelsae was coming down in January and would love to meet us! Bill and she corresponded and a meeting place was established. She finally arrived and while waiting to hear from her for a day and time we sought out her mother where we thought she might be staying. Francene had just heard about the proposal and thought it sounded complicated. Chelsae was off with her godmother so Francene gave us some background information which was helpful. She took Bill’s phone number and promised to have Chelsae call us.
That night we got the call and met her the next day. We all liked each other and felt good about the prospect of finishing the house in exchange for rent so drove up to get inside!!! We stopped at the Mariposa B&B so Chelsae could get the key from her good friends John and Jill who were pleased it was us who were the interested party.
We signed an agreement approved by her lawyer and got underway! Bernie, who was already working for her, began clearing the weeds and chopped the grasses to and around the house.
There were steps!
While Chelsae was still around we went together to the electric company to be sure we could order the electricity to a pole on her property and previewed bathroom fixtures, tile, appliances, and furniture. Happily we found our styles similar. She left us with a contact list for workers and flew back home.
For a few different reasons we chose to hire a local Costa Rican to finish the house. Minor was good enough to help us with some bathroom purchases and ordering the electricity and phone. We have spent countless hours driving into town to buy items for plumbing, lumber, and lighting, not to mention paint.
Jede, the original electrician and a Parisian, was welcomed back as only he knew his system. With some team effort we were able to get electricity to our newly installed pole with meter box, across the garage to another pole, and down the steep slope to the house. Since Minor had already gotten the water tank working and dug a trench to bury the pipe, Jede decided to “enjoy” the trench and bury his cable in it as well.
Jede did recommend the original painter, Ronald, so I gave him a call. He sped out on his motorcycle to review the project. Mint chocolate chip green seems to be a favorite of Simon’s, which is a singular opinion. Since Chelsae and Steve were never pleased with the paint color and the inside walls were dirty, we opted to repaint inside and out.
The window frames were rather weathered so we hired Jimmy to sand and varnish them as well as the underside of the overhang. That whole process was time consuming and at times dangerous, especially when walking out onto the porch roof and using a board resting on screw heads. A few times he almost fell! They look like new! Jimmy also power washed, sanded, and applied an oil glaze to the front porch. What a guy!
Granite countertops were ordered and installed. What a difference! it’s called Mariposa and is really a dark green with lighter shimmery spots throughout. With the dimmers on at night the ambience is calming.
Minor custom cut shelving for the kitchen and closets. In the downstairs bathroom the shower tile, slate floors, and glass were installed. Faucets, sinks, mirrors, and towel racks were put in the bathroom. Furniture for our bedroom was delivered, some being shoved up over the edge of the loft. We have a partial TV nook at the other end of the loft over the kitchen. Now we are waiting for the window screens and screened doors to be installed this week, a refrigerator, and the dining room furniture which should be in by the end of May. We are a bit tired organizing all this, shopping, figuring out a security system, varnishing shelves, and washing the floors multiple times.
To be updated once all is done!