36. Let’s Build a House!

Tuesday 8/10- Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! Well, it’s a day that WE have been waiting for. And maybe we aren’t actually building the house today, but we are working on designing one. After all of the hours and hours Ramie spent designing and drawing plans for our future house and submitting them to the architect, we actually get to meet with him today. He doesn’t speak English, and since we don’t speak Spanish, Geiner will be there with us translating back and forth to put our design together. 

We met with the two of them at Geiners office down at the mini golf course and started looking through designs right away. The architect (Johanny) had come up with some drawings from the 3 ideas that we had given him. Most were based closely on the designs Ramie had drawn, but a few of them were his ideas using the basic sizes and rooms that we had outlined in our drawings. The first thing we did after he and Geiner briefly explained them to us was go through and take out any that we didn’t really care for and did the whole narrowing-down process like we had with all of them that Ramie had drawn. When we finally decided on one that we liked best, we pointed out a few things that we would like added, removed, or changed, and asked if it was possible to make the house slightly smaller. (I know, right? Smaller!? One thing we noticed right away was that the square footage of the houses was larger than what Ramie had drawn. Well, most of the time it will only be the 2 of us here so we don’t need anything huge, that’s just more to clean! Plus, we are trying to keep the cost as low as we reasonably can so smaller is less expensive). The architect agreed to work on some smaller drawings and Geiner gave us a few websites to check out to look at some plans and get some more ideas. Let me tell you, it’s so weird being able to just draw up your own design and have a free-for-all when it comes to creating your house. When in the US you are typically given a handful to choose from and can make modifications from there! 


We all wanted to go out to the property after discussing this, so Johanny could see the space that he was working in. While we have 2 adjoining lots, we are hoping to keep the house built on just one of them and not overlap (it’s easier to get permits this way according to Geiner). The lot we are building on is long and narrow (50' wide by 120' long) so it is tricky to design a house that will fit well into that space. Once we got out to the land and measured it, we realized that the house designs that we had were going to be too wide and while we knew we wanted to shrink them down overall, we now knew we needed to shrink them enough to fit the property or to change the layout all together. We explained to Geiner and Johanny what we envisioned, how we had hoped to have the house laid out with our bedroom overlooking the creek and the kitchen facing the pool. They got a pretty good idea of what we were thinking and would design some new plans, and Ramie would work on, or at least look online for, a few more. So, while we haven’t decided on anything yet, we did learn a few things. After all that time drawing, and erasing it was back to the drawing board to design our tropical dream home.

Thursday 8/12- While we were meeting with Geiner a couple of days ago we asked him how we find out what our address is. He said he would work on this and get back to us. Now, we know (and I’ve written about in the past) how addresses here work. In the big cities there might be neat and clean addresses like you are used to in the US with a house number, a street, and city. In rural areas or small towns, addresses are not like that at all! We first really learned about this when we opened our bank account here. They asked for our address, and since we didn’t really have one (or at least didn’t know it for the rental house) we asked Loren if we could use his. He sent us a paragraph with directions to his house. Yep, that’s your address here! Now, depending on where you live, your address might be very short or very long. If you live near a big landmark in town, you might have a simple address. If you live in a rural area, far from the main roads, with many turns between you and the main highway, you might have a paragraph long address. It really reminds me of the turn by turn instructions that Google Maps used to give you in the old days before smart phones when you had to print them off, only except for street names you get landmarks. 

They really should start doing this in Costa Rica!!

Fortunately for us we live pretty near the main highway and pretty near town. The gist of it is “North of the gas station and West of the medical plaza” (along with the distances of each). Once we have our house completed, it will also usually include the color of your house and/or front door or roof if there are other houses nearby that you could get mixed up with. Another nice thing is that here houses are painted any and all colors. You aren’t stuck with the neutral colors like so many houses in the US are. We’ve been paying attention to houses that we drive by and are getting some ideas, but, just like designs, the color possibilities are endless!! Will I get a purple house?! It’s definitely possible!! (I even saw a purple and gray one in town that I really like!)


  1. It looks like you may be changing the entire architectural program in the area. On top of that you must describe in 100 words or less what your address is going to be. This all may seem difficult and strange but the adventure you are living is priceless. Keep up the good work, I am truly curious what design you will settle on and how long it will be till completion. Enjoy yourselves and have a beer, on me, just send me a bill! Hardeeharharhar!!

    1. We are keeping some traditional Tico design elements and putting our own spin on it. It's crazy, but everything is custom made here-- no buying a plan and just making little changes! We are having a great adventure and are absolutely loving it. We appreciate everyone's support of our adventure and the blog. (Oh, and since you posted as anonymous we don't know where to send the bill, hahahaha!!)


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