Sunday, July 17, 2005

Construction - Week 15

We are 90% finished but for the next six to eight weeks.....


What still needs to be done is to build the cover over a part of the new terrace and re-landscape the patio but we can't take anymore....not right now. The noise, the dust, the loss of privacy...people in your home all day, everyday for 15 weeks. We have been here since March 15 and this project started about 2 weeks after we arrived. Enough already! Besides one of our sons is coming to see us at the end of next week. He hasn't been here before so we want him to have an enjoyable experience...without dust and noise.

Alright....enough complaining. We love our addition and how all the pieces of it turned out. This week there were a couple of big issues. First was getting the iron banisters installed on the stairs. You may recall that I sent the first set of banisters away because I wanted them to match what we had on the first floor. Well, now they do and they are a wonderful example of an iron craftsman making things the old-fashioned hand and hammer. They are simple but I think so very elegant.

The second big accomplishment for the week was painting the outside of the house. The house is about 8+ meters tall. Scaffolding? NO! Ladders. Can you imagine standing on a ladder for 5 days that high up and painting and painting and painting. That is what the men did. I could hear them talking with each other and while I didn't understand the conversation, I knew from the soft tones and the chuckles that they were having some pleasant conversations.

The house had been a pumpkin color with a skyblue trim around the windows and door. I changed the color from pumpkin to a soft terracotta with the idea that I would still use the blue trim. The combination looked okay from the paint swatches we put on the walls. But after the house was painted terracotta, I changed my mind and started looking at a dark, dark brown. I liked it. I asked my friend Joan Freeman to come and help me decide. She is amazing with putting together colors. I love, love, love the colors in her house. You just have to be happy when you walk into it. When Joan came, there was a black car parked in front of the house and Joan said that black around the windows and door would be smashing. Very sophisticated. She was right. It would be smashing. Mmmmm..... It seemed a little too smashing and sophisticated for my neighborhood. We are in a working-class neighborhood where extended families live in houses, where the women cook in the evenings and sell tamales or tacos out the front door, where some people live and have warehouses for their buinesses. Because we are on a corner we already "stick out" I can't hide that I'm a Gringa but I don't have to look sophisticated. I decided to go with my original plan of the dark-brown around the windows. I'm not sure that anyone else would walk by and say, "This gringa isn't very sophisticated because she didn't use black." But I FELT the difference and thought some of my neighbors would too. I'm pleased with the colors outside. Raphael and Juan headed up our painting team. Raphael had been on another job but on Friday, Raphael came to the house. He was so kind and told me that he really liked the way the colors worked and especially in the bathroom and the outside. That made me feel really good about my choices.

During construction, we had taken out a wall between the stairs and the hall that went into the new studio. This decision made a great gallery space but I didn't realized that the area under the stairs on this landing didn't have good lighting for a gallery space. It was a perfect wall for art. We asked the architect if there was a way at this point to put in a tracklight. As usual he said "No problem." Eight hours later of chip, chip, chip,and we had wiring in the landing ready for the tracklight. Oh, and while they were doing this they were also drilling thru the thick metal of the railing of the banister in order to anchor the banister better. This was another time that I thought about putting my head in my hands and crying.

Yesterday, we went to Queretaro and bought a 6-foot folding table to put the computer and equipment on until I decide how I'll do the workstation. We've moved some of the equipment upstairs today. And we worked on the portico. It has been the warehouse for paint, cement and other building materials. It took a lot of work to get it cleaned up and some of the furniture back in place. We have a mesquite front door and during all the construction it took a beating. I spent a long time, rubbing it down with linseed oil. It is gleaming again. Mesquite is a wonderful wood for a door.

It is beginning to look like home again. And if anyone wonders what home looks like, here is a set of pictures of what the rest of the house looks like.

No comments: