Week 6 – The Finishing Touches

Patricia and Freddy are excellent managers, keeping our renovation project on track with their watchful eye and so many excellent suggestions for making our home even better. Their crew of workers have been respectful of our little beach hut, diligent in their work schedules and concern for us and our renovation. If management is concerned with the little things, the workers do the same.  I just love these guys and cannot say enough about their professionalism and work ethic. Kudos!

The beginning of this week finds the workers trying to complete many things. Below is the maestro who has worked on the tile in our bathroom. He is kind of shy but did allow me to take a few pictures of him working on the security bars on our windows.

He is working also on the master bath to complete it with the installation of the sink and the completion of the tile work on the glass block as well as installing the towel bar, hooks and soap dishes. It looks pretty much complete except for the curing of some of the concrete work and the prep work, sanding and painting of the walls.

When I asked my friend Ana Zitnick from Florida for a suggestions on what to do with the bathroom shower instead of using a plastic shower curtain, she suggested glass blocks. I had Freddy find a few samples and I picked these cute ones that have a coral pattern on them.  Thanks Ana that was a great idea and as you can see they look wonderful!

The painting of the ceilings continue with the hand painting of some areas he was not able to get to with the sprayer. And the maestro painter is continuing on the interior and exterior wall prep work, sanding and then he will be ready to apply the finish coat.

The maestro roofer is here installing the extension of the wood beams to be able to apply the extra roofing sheets to the back of the house to protect the bedroom windows from rain.

Some minor trim work, plumbing and electrical work also needs to be completed and Freddy said that work should be completed this week but with the holiday on Friday we are a bit behind.

The painters are hard at work sanding down our front door, this is one item that did not turn out as expected. We will find out on Monday what needs to be done to correct this little item.

This afternoon my kitchen work table was delivered. It is absolutely stunning, I know how can a work table be stunning but come-on take a look, kind of cute, right?

It is 5′ long x 2′ deep x 3′ high.

Natural wood finish that will be used as a kitchen work table until I decide on what shelving and cabinets I want in the kitchen and then it should be workable as an island, if not it will go into the office room. This beautiful handmade table is the test for this cabinet-maker and as far as I am concerned he scored an A+ on this project.  Now to talk to him about the closet in our master bedroom…..but I really want to live in the house first before I decide on the closet for the master and the cabinetry for both the kitchen and bathrooms.

Here are the pictures I took just now showing how great the paint job is going.

The one thing I can say is it sure is white and it sure looks clean!

26 thoughts on “Week 6 – The Finishing Touches

  1. Wow! It’s so much fun watching the progress! It’s looking beautiful! Can’t wait to see the finished product, your right about the work table….. How can you work on that! It’s a piece of art! Cheers!

    • Hi hollycarter184, Thanks for your comments, I know it is pretty nice. I put aside a piece of the porcelina that was used for the sink counter and plan on putting that down on the one side, and I do have a nice sized cutting board that I will put on the other end…I hope I can stop myself from making a mess of the top…Nancy

  2. Oh Nancy it is really coming along, wow what a transformation, love, love how the glass block came out, some local art, local rugs your touch with plants and your great decor and it will be “Joe and Nancy’s Cottage By The Sea”, you should have a sign made, a colorful one and put it on top of the front door. I am truly happy for both of you, makes my heart smile, love and miss you.

    • Hey Ana, thanks for your comments we see a great deal of progress just from most of the mess being taken away. Joe and I have been talking about having a local artist paint a mural on the high wall between the kitchen, dining and salon area. We were thinking maybe some pelicans in flight over water, how does that sound? I have a friend who is living in Nicaragua and she had a beautiful mural painted and hung over her kitchen…http://retirenicaragua.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/the-nica-artist-way/ take a look, I just loved it, very colorful and filled a huge space… I love everything she has done with her place except I fear using anything made of metal as we are just too close to the beach so I will be using bamboo, hard wood etc things that the locals have used for decades that can tolerate the climate. Please take a look at her blog, it is impressive. N

      • Yes I agree, no metal…natural stuff you know, I checked the web site for the mural, very pretty, I liked the fact she used pastels and not too bold of colors, I have seen some but they use too much of the bright orange and purples it doesn’t do much for me, hers is lovely really. Just live with “nothing” for a while you will get a feel of what you will want little by little. Be Good.


    • Thanks L, I am not exactly sure what colors I am going to bring in yet, I guess it will evolve as I find materials that I want to use. Must start looking for a small couch and some chairs that will also give me some color. We will do it slow and hope for the best…N

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I wanted to tell you that It’s a lot of fun for me to watch your progress. You’ve come up with a lot of great ideas for your new house.
    Ya know I was thinking what might look really cool for the clear glass blocks for your shower is some lighting that would go through them all. Something like a beautiful blue light. Of course I may be going back to my aquarium days and it may sound really dumb. I just remember having a waterproof light over my aquarium and how pretty it was.
    Have a great time and I’ll be sure to follow your progress. I really envy you guys down there.
    Take care,

    • Thanks Jim, We have really had a great experience with the remodel, Patricia and Freddy have been wonderful to work with, we are blessed, Nancy

  4. The transformation in a few short weeks is amazing. The kitchen table is gorgeous. Make sure all the bat entrances are non existent. I wish I had a dedicated crew like this when we did our transformation. Will email and tell you about our pending sale. I agree. Pretty colors on some walls will make it pop. I actually love it when you see in some countries the outside of houses are painted all sorts of either beachy pastel or bright colors. Peach…now that I would like. Oh right, your house.

    • Marilyn, You can made any suggestions you would like, Joe wants me to consider Guava which is a pink/peach color like some of the sunsets here…I just need to live in the house for a while before I make those decisions. I just did the basic work to be able to move in, now is the fun part, deciding on cabinetry, colors, art work etc…it is getting to the fun part for us. Email me with all the details of the pending sale…I NEED TO KNOW!!! Blessings, N & J ps Kiss Bob for me!

  5. Nancy:
    It looks like everything is going extremely well with your new house. I know how much effort and sometimes frustration go into making this happen. It reminds me of when my wife and I built a house in Costa Rica. We also rented an apartment in Panama City for a little over two years. I wanted to ask you your opinion of what you think of the current real estate market. Are there any condo projects in the works?. Do you have any real estate person that you would recommend?. Any information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We lived in Latin America for a little over five years, so we are very familiar with how the real estate business works.(Everybody and their brother can sell real estate). We saw numerous instances where the person did not even own the property they were trying to sell. We enjoy reading about your adventures. It makes me antsy!!.

    Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Pura Vida,


    • Hi Paul, Thanks for your comments. As for condo projects in San Clemente there are none currently. Vistazul has a townhouse project see info at http://www.sanclementeecuador.com/ but I am not sure if any of the units are left unsold. Your best bet for condos would be in Bahia or further south in Salinas. There are only a few folks that I know in this area that sell real estate that we had found, Patricia our renovation coordinator, has purchased houses, renovated them and sold them, if you want her info I will get that to you. Jose Ortaga who owns and runs the Hotel San Jacinto in San Jacinto has a real estate site, he builds the sweetest villas http://www.hotelsanjacinto.com/…Jose took us around while we were staying at his hotel back in May and he got out of his truck and pulled a hand painted sign off a post telling us these folks cannot sell this property because they do not own this property…both would be good choices. My only suggestion is find a good lawyer, our lawyer made Manabi the municipality go out to our property and certify what we were buying is what was on the deed. (I am going to do a two part post on how we found our property and the closing process this week). My friend Amy Prisco (Certified Realtor one of a very few) from Salinas said she would love for all the municipalities to do this because she has had issues with folks selling stuff they did not own!!! If you buy around this area Floridalva (Flori) Zambrano is our attorney and did an excellent job with our closing. Let me know if you have other questions or I can get you Patricia’s info.


  6. Nancy,
    Thank you very much for the information. My wife and I will have to plan a trip to tour the coast. I am sorry that we did not do that when we were in Cuenca for two months the other year, but we were focusing on trying to get a feel for what it would be like living there. It was too cold for my wife.

    I wanted to ask you how the humidity is on the coast. I was in contact with a real estate broker in Manta, and he said that the weather there is like it is in San Diego. I would greatly value your input, as you always tell it like it is.

    When I get a trip lined up, I will let you know, as my wife and I would look forward to meeting you and Joe.

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Paul, Joe and I both felt that Cuenca, Loja or Quito for that matter would be to high an elevation and too cool for us, we are happier on the coast. I would have to say that it is humid on the coast. Not so bad that we are always uncomfortable but humid all the same. This time of year the weather is much cooler, the air is actually refreshing in the morning and we have not been using the a/c as much at night to sleep but we do turn it on occasionally to get the bedroom cool and then turn it off. Several days a week it is overcast with clouds for most of the day, some days the cloud cover is lower and it feels much more humid. When the sun is out the skies are clear and blue and the sun is hot. Playas, Salinas, Manta, San Clemente and Bahia all being on the coast have some humidity, I do not feel that it is totally oppressive but I would not compare the weather to San Diego either. Right now walking the beach at 2pm you would be very comfortable, the breeze off the water is cool and you would not be unhappy at all. Go one block inland and walk the main street and there is a very big difference — hot, humid, dusty and if the sun is out it can be uncomfortable. I am sure it gets much hotter during December – May which is considered summer here. I do prefer hotter weather, I would not be happy in the mountains, “eternal spring” to me is not that special, I really don’t want to layer my clothes and have to strip down as the day progresses. Right now between Joe and I the only time we have worn long pants is when we need to do banking or go to a business or government office…I will take a wind breaker when we go to Vivianas for our Saturday and Sunday meal around 4 in the afternoon. The wind of the water if the sun is not out can be pretty darn cold for me. I hope that helps, N

  7. Pingback: Morning Update – Monday, August 13, 2012 « South of Zero

    • Hi Karen, How are things with you? We just love the porch also, that is where we will be spending all of our time, well after we finish getting settled in that is, Thanks for reading our blog, N

  8. Hi Nancy,
    I know you’ve probably answered this question in the past but I just didn’t see it. How do you handle the heat. I am in California and it’s been 110 here and doesn’t cool down to 80 until about 3:00 in the morning. I have to use my ac almost around the clock. What is the temp there throughout the day and night. I’m thinking of Cotacachi rather than anything near the beaches. I want cool at night so I can sleep. I’m very very tired of the heat.

    I love your front porch. I hope you will have many many wonderful years there.

    Take care,

    Jim Sanders

    • Good Morning Jim, It’s hot and can sometimes be humid here anywhere on the coast. Our temperature has never gone to 110 maybe 90’s at midday, right now it is cool at night down to the 60’s, nice with partially cloudy days, a cool breeze off the water, water is refreshing not cold we make it a point at least once a week (it should be three or four times a week but right now the house is keeping us pretty busy) to go sit on the sand for several hours unwinding, no phones, no internet just us and the waves, well maybe a few birds and people ha ha. Now the summer in Clemente is said to be HOT!!! We will let you know how we find it, especially as we have not installed the a/c unit in the bedroom yet…that could be an issue, using only ceiling fans at night might be an problem for us as well. I would say that Cotacachi is going to be quite cool, jacket weather early morning and very nice during the day…if you need the change I am sure you will love it there.

      As soon as I have a few more things done on the porch I will take pictures, my plants need to adjust to being out in the open instead of huddled under the trees in the yard, right now they look beaten up because they were. Also, I have not seen furniture that I want for the porch so right now it has a folding table and some stools, not very appealing but we did get our hammock hooks installed now just to buy a new hammock…so many things to do and the rest of our lives to get it done!!! Blessing for a wonderful week. N

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