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Click on PicClick on Pic Start with a flat plantel cut out of the side of a mountain. Our lot#16.
Mix in some steel & cement
Mad Mixers
View from our lot
Steel rebar frame

They are moving along fast. After 4 weeks of construction, they have the footings in plus 9 rows of concrete block. The foundation is taking shape. The footings are also in for the concrete columns.

Concrete columns
Backfill
Mad Max is at it again!
Backfilling again.
Working on a concrete column.
Side view
Future living room & deck
View from Mike & Earl's
Our neighbours enjoying a bonfire
Constructing carport floor
Pouring concrete over floor system
Look from house above
Applying the "repello"
Foundation started for front entrance
Foundation for guest bedrooms
Sue & Anne's House
Future suite under deck.
What a view!!!
Retaining wall done!
Master Bedroom
Window Sills
Kitch. Ceiling Supprt
East Elevation
North Elevation
Diningroom Windowsill
Roof over patio
Crownmold Detail
Roof support
Roof over Dining/Kichen
Master Bedroom
North Side
Diningroom
Central Staircase
Kitchen ceiling
Staircase ceiling
Shower plumbing
Carport stairs
Bedroom ceiling
New paint!
New windows!
Livingroom
Septic system
Great Room tile
Patio Finishing
Main Patio Door
Master Bedroom
Carport Safety

Building in Costa Rica

We have a lot in Costa Rica - how exciting!....Now what?  After spending a lot of time with various people and asking tons of questions, we had a fairly clear picture on the steps we needed to take to make this all work and keep our sanity.  First, we set up our corporation which is commonly done by expats.  This involved a lot of leg work, visits to lawyers, etc., but all in all, did not take as much time as what we had expected.  Our next step was finding a good architect.  When you hire an architect to design your home, they look after everything from design, permits, government authorities, and oversee the construction process, making sure the home is being built properly and to the specifications of the architects design.  We cannot stress enough how important it is that you begin with someone that understands your vision and knows how to design to the grade of the land.  A bit of English also is very helpful especially if you are not going to be in Costa Rica for the duration of the construction.  Besides the architect, you need to have a full crew that is capable of multi-tasking. Although the process has just began, we are amazed at how it has progressed.  We will be posting updated pictures each week so that you can watch the construction process with us. Construction started January 4,2010.  We're anticipating the house to be ready by Fall, 2010.  For further information on costs, expenses, etc., we would be happy to receive your inquiries through email.   

As our lot is on a very steep hill, we were not sure how things would fit or work.  We are still astounded at how the crew manouvers around and does everything by hand with very little tools.    You will see from the pictures the amount of steel, rebar and cement that has been used.  This place will be solid.  It seems the construction crew are more than capable.For now, we have every confidence in them.  As mentioned earlier, this is extremely important if you're not able to stay in Costa Rica for the duration of your build. They work an average of 50 hours a week - all with a smile on their faces.

 Once we're finished our house, we will use it for vacations, and down the road, retirement.  We will be offering the home for rent to friends, clients and anyone who may be interested in looking into purchasing property.  Since we've bought our lot, we now have a fabulous circle of friends and enjoy spending time with them when we're in Costa Rica.   It definitely is our home away from home.    

 

After 4 weeks of construction
-----February 6 - 2010-------

-----February 6 - 2010-------

Amazing progress after 5 weeks
----February 13 - 2010-------

----February 13 - 2010-------

Fabulous progress after 6 weeks!
View from road above.
----February 20 - 2010-------

----February 20 - 2010-------

Our house is taking shape!
----February 27 - 2010-------

----February 27 - 2010-------

View from above.
Carport floor is taking shape!
-----March 08 - 2010--------

-----March 08 - 2010--------

We're getting there
-----March 13 - 2010--------

-----March 13 - 2010--------

Well, we have reached the point where we are getting ready to pour the concrete for the first floor. Believe it or not, all the work done so far has been on the foundation and the carport floor. The carport floor sits directly below our living room. Yes, the livingroom and back terrace are suspended in air with the help of some concrete posts. In the following pictures you will see the workers securing steel frames to the top of all the walls and between the concrete posts near their tops. These will eventually be boarded up and then concrete poured inside in order to create a concrete frame, on top of which the floor system will be built. We should see pics over the next 2 to 3 weeks showing the construction of the main floor. In the meantime, here you see them secure a black construction material to the wall before backfilling again. We are getting pretty close to the road level, where we will eventually build a front entrance. I will be going down to Costa Rica around April 5th, 2010 to meet with our architect and builder to review things to-date, see how our budget is, and discuss some finishing issues.

Back Carport and foundation below future livingroom and terrace
View from Ava's lot - our house bottom right
-----March 20 - 2010--------

-----March 20 - 2010--------

Most of framing done. Should start floor system next week.
-----March 27 - 2010--------

-----March 27 - 2010--------

This past Thursday morning, a lot of cement bags were delivered. They were piled up by the crew, near the Dining/Kitchen area at the front of the house. They are getting ready to build the floor system on the first floor of the house. Soon after, some concrete joists are delivered. The crew immediately starts putting the joists in place, starting in the kitchen area. As they work away, the concrete blocks that will sit between the concrete joists arrive on a long flatbed truck. It wasn't easy getting that truck down to our house since the road is narrow and winding. It doesn't take long for the workers to unload the brick and start putting them in place between the floor joists. Our crew work very efficiently. The truck is eventually unloaded and our crew continue to install the concrete joists and block throughout the houses structure. By lunch time Saturday, they have reached the point you see in theses pictures. There is only a small section left to complete, which will be done early next week. Then, the mixed concrete will be poured on top of the floor system to tie it all together. Our first floor will be done soon. Phew!!!

The crew are working feverishly on the first floor concrete system.
-----April 01 - 2010--------

-----April 01 - 2010--------

Well, the concrete floor system was completed Monday. A steel screen mesh was laid down on top of it, and then they started pouring concrete. As you can see, they had to hire some additional workers so that they could get the job done as quickly as possible. It was all poured on Wednesday. This top layer of concrete ties everything together. I will be flying down next Tuesday the 6th, to meet with our architect and builder. We'll go over the construction, and finances, with a fine tooth comb in order to make sure we are on track. We can do some additional planning at the same time.

Start of the concrete pouring process! Big Crew!
-----April 17 - 2010--------

-----April 17 - 2010--------

Well, I made it to Costa Rica! You can see me in the pic below, standing on the floor of our future living room - nice views!! I arrived from the airport Tuesday evening. The next morning I met with our architect, Carlos, to review what's happened so far with our construction. Everything seems to be going well. We went to the site and did a walk through, making a few notes along the way. After some discussion, we made a few minor changes to the house plans and decided on a few new details. Liz should be happy! Over the next couple of days I met with the builder to review our budget, expenditures to date, and expenditures to follow. He assures me we should be on budget. I feel better already!

During my stay, I spent some quality time with my neighbours ,who already have homes here and are enjoying this beautiful country. It's a blessing to already have such great friends and neighbours. Needless to say, I was invited to more than a few dinners, lunches, and even breakfast. Ahhh, what a life! Looking forward to spending more time here once our house is built, and catching up with all the dinner parties to occur at our place. I even got to watch the whole Masters Golf Tourney while I was here. Thanks John & Louise!

Well, as you can see, the work crew got started on putting up the walls for the rooms on our first floor. We still have a large crew because this stage of construction is so intensive. By the end of the month of April, the walls should be at the stage where the roof will be ready to get started. At that point, the crew will be reduced since we will only need a few skilled workers to work on the roof. Check out the following photos!

 

 

Fabulous views from our livingroom!
Coming along!
Carport.
----- April 25 - 2010-------

----- April 25 - 2010-------

Got some window arches.
Things are moving up!
----- May 01 - 2010-------

----- May 01 - 2010-------

We had a bit of rain this past week, which slowed things down a bit, but still got a fair bit accomplished. All the windows are framed in now, and we are a lot closer to starting the second floor for the master bedroom. Keep our fingers crossed for good weather this coming week, and we may get our second floor constructed.

Almost ready for the second floor to start.
----- May 08 - 2010 -------

----- May 08 - 2010 -------

They have started working on the floor system for the second floor Master Bedroom and Ensuite. You can see the piping for the wiring & plumbing in one of the close-up photos. They will pour concrete on top of this system to tie everything together. This coming week the crew will start putting up the walls for the Master Bedroom, shouldn't take to long to get that done. In about 2 weeks we may be ready to start working on the roof. Things are beginning to get real exciting!

Almost ready to pour concrete on top.
----- May 15 - 2010 -------

----- May 15 - 2010 -------

Well, we weren't quite ready to start the walls on the second floor yet. I jumped the gun a little bit. But, the rest of the walls on the first floor were just about completed and the concrete was poured on the second floor. The crew had to get some detail work done first on the main floor before moving upstairs. There was a lot of work done around the windows with concrete forms. Maybe the walls will start going up on the second floor next week.

Concrete poured on second floor!
----- May 22 - 2010 -------

----- May 22 - 2010 -------

Ahhh yes! The walls have started going up on our second floor master bedroom. We have one pic that shows the view from up there, unfortunately too foggy to see anything. Oh well, maybe next time. Forms have also been installed on first floor to create arched wall by stairway and roundtop window above the patio door.

Master bedroom walls going up!
----- May 29 - 2010 --------

----- May 29 - 2010 --------

Well, we had a fair bit of rain this past week, so progress was limited. The crew did get some detail work done, like putting in the forms for the roundtop windows. They also got some concrete block work done, trying to prepare for the installation of the roof. But we probably lost 2 and a half days of work due to the rain. Hopefully next week will be better! We are planning on going down to Costa Rica at the end of June to pick our finishings for the house, things like flooring, paint, kitchen cabinets, and windows. Should be fun, hope the weather co-operates.

----- June 05 - 2010 -------

----- June 05 - 2010 -------

----- June 12 - 2010 -------

----- June 12 - 2010 -------

----- July 10 - 2010 -------

----- July 10 - 2010 -------

Well, we're back from a week in Costa Rica! We had a fair bit of rain while we were there but still managed to have fun. All our flooring has been picked, along with all our plumbing fixtures and faucets. We decided on our kitchen and bathroom cabinet style, along with our door styles. These are going out for tender. We are also getting quotes for our windows and walkout sliders. Also decided on, was our paint colors, inside and out. The staircase to our second floor master bedroom was also chosen. All done in one week. Of course, Liz did a lot of preliminary work on colours and other choices in the weeks preceding our visit to C.R., which made things run a lot smoother while we were there. We also had a lot of help from our friends in C.R., John & Louise. All in all, it was a very fruitful visit. We now have a great vision of what the house will look like, and are confident it will be finished according to our specifications. The rain has pushed back our finishing date, it now looks like the end of October. That won't be a problem since we won't be vacationing there till after Christmas. Take a look at our new pics!

View from our bedroom!
----- July 18 - 2010 -------

----- July 18 - 2010 -------

Mostly "repello" work done this past week. Repello is a layer of cement that is applied to the concrete block, in order to give it a smooth finish. It hides all the joints and looks similar to stucco. This will eventually be sealed and painted. Apparently the weather was not good enough to start putting up the wood beams for the roof, hoping to start that next week.

---- August - 07 - 2010 -------

---- August - 07 - 2010 -------

Still working on the repello. The whole house, inside and out, has to be done. Also doing some detail work on the outside walls. They are using wood forms and concrete to create a type of crown mold at the top of the exterior walls, where the roof will rest on. This will add to the character of the house. The wood beams for the roof are still being prepped. Hopefully, they will start going up soon!

---- August 30 - 2010 -------

---- August 30 - 2010 -------

Finally, the roof has started! There was a little more preparation work required than we had anticipated. The weather could have co-operated a little better also. Now we have to work as quickly as possible to get the roof completed, before the heavier rain that usually comes in October. You will notice two steel beams in the following pictures, one to support the main roof over the living/dining/kitchen area, and another to support the roof over the second floor master bedroom. There is also a very large wood beam that will be used to support the roof over the main outside terrace. The window and outside door openings have been prepped so that the window installer can get exact measurements, before he constructs the windows and walkout sliding doors. The idea now is to get the house closed up so that we can start working inside on all the finishings.

Dining/Kitchen/Living Area

Dining/Kitchen/Living Area

Nice to see them starting on the roof!
Livingroom with a View

Livingroom with a View

Can't wait to see this finished!
-- September 11 - 2010 ----

-- September 11 - 2010 ----

The roof is coming along nicely, despite the inclement weather they've been having in Costa Rica. Lot's of rain this winter. The living room and outside patio are almost all covered with the Laurel wood. There is some nice detail work where the wood meets the top of the walls, which looks similar to a crown mold. This crown mold will match smartly with the window sills they have made. So far. so good!

Front View

Front View

Roof is taking shape!
Living Room View

Living Room View

I like it!
-- September 25 - 2010 ----

-- September 25 - 2010 ----

Well, the roof work continues. After the Laurel wood is laid on top of the wood joists, 2x2 wood strips are laid on top of the Laurel, both vertical and then horizontal. This re-inforces the structure to give it as much strength as possible. Some of the electrical wiring is run on the roof between the 2x2 wood strips. Then an insulation fabric is put on the roof, before the steel roof tiles are applied and secured. You can see the roof tiles on the west side of the roof. The crew has also now started working on the roof over the master bedroom on the second floor. They are working as fast as they can to get the roof covered.

Front of House

Front of House

Strengthening roof structure with 2x2 wood strips.
Back of House

Back of House

Steel roof tiles being secured to roof structure.
----- October 02 - 2010 -----

----- October 02 - 2010 -----

----- October 9 - 2010 -----

----- October 9 - 2010 -----

-----October 16 - 2010-----

-----October 16 - 2010-----

-----October 30 - 2010-----

-----October 30 - 2010-----

Well, the roof work is nearly done, probably about 1 to 2 weeks to finish all the little details such as gutters, drain pipes, flashing and trim detail. Still, it's at the point where it keeps the interior of the house mostly dry, which is very important. Now the crew can work ,without any rain delays, on the interior. "Repello" work, or plastering as we know it, is going very well in the interior. You can see some of the electrical and plumbing work being done, in the accompanying photos. The drop ceiling in the kitchen has been started, along with ceiling work in the guest berooms, hallways, bathroom and central staircase. Concrete stairs ,from the carport up to the main floor, were poured. Work will continue at a hurried pace now since the deadline to complete the house is December 15th. I will be flying down at that time in order to start furnishing the house, in preparation for the arrival of Liz and family after Christmas. Should be lots of fun! Keep our fingers crossed.

-----November 20-2010-----

-----November 20-2010-----

Well, we're about 4 weeks away from completion. The house is looking great. The roof is pretty much complete. Painting has started, inside and out. The ceramic floors have been started, almost all the windows have been installed. The septic system is just about complete. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets are being built on site and should be installed in about 3 to 4 weeks. The stairs going up to the second floor master bedroom will get started soon, and shortly after the iron railing for the stairs and outside patio will be built. Lot's of work going on. I've booked my flight for December 14th and can't wait to see the final product. I'll spend the first 2 weeks buying some appliances and furniture. Will also be looking for kitchen utensils, linens, towels and various knick knacks. Liz will be coming down December 28th, so I better have the place ready to inhabit, otherwise.......??

-----December 11-2010-----

-----December 11-2010-----

Well, it looks like another 2 weeks of work is required to finish our house. Things never seem to be done on time in Costa Rica. Pura Vida! I'm heading down there in 3 days and will have to stay in John & Louise's casita for awhile. All I can say is, it better be finished by the time Liz gets there on the 28th, or all hell will break loose!!!

North View
Picturesque Setting
---January 29 - 2011------

---January 29 - 2011------

Just like I predicted... all hell broke loose. It's at the end of January, and we're still not at the finish line. It's been a long haul. We just got back from Costa Rica on January 25,2011. We need some rest. I was there for 6 weeks, and Liz for the last 4 weeks. We spent most of our time shopping for furniture and supervising the workers who were still working on our house. I was told by our builder that our house would be completed, and ready for move in, on December 18, 2010. I arrived in Costa Rica on December 14th and found the house far from completion. No doors on the entire house, no stairs to the second floor, no kitchen or bathroom cabinets, no running water, no railings on the outside patio, unfinished patio door walkouts from guest  bedrooms,........need I say more. This did not look good. Liz was arriving in 2 weeks and the house looked like a disaster. My job this first 2 weeks was supposed to be getting the house mostly furnished before Liz arrived, so that we could enjoy the last 4 weeks together. My task had now changed to pushing the builder to get the house finished so that we could hopefully move in when Liz arrived, or shortly after.

The main work crew worked until December 18th and then went on 2 week holidays for Christmas and New Years. The builder was able to convince a couple of workers, and some of the sub-contractors, to work through the holidays and try to get as much as possible done before Liz arrived. By December 28th, when Liz arrived, the front doors to the house were installed, the stairs to the master bedroom had been started, the railings were installed on the main patio outside, the kitchen and main floor bathroom had partial cabinets installed with granite countertops - no faucets. We had toilets that stunk up the bathrooms because the seals didn't work, mainly because they were not the toilets that we had originally purchased. After living with them for 2 weeks, we finally purchased new toilets and had them installed, which got rid of the foul smell immediately. With the front and back doors finally installed, I was able to get the appliances delivered.

We moved into our unfinished house on December 29, 2010. Now the fun began. We were able to get 2 queen size beds into our guest bedrooms, so we had somewhere to sleep. I forgot to mention, I had brought my 76 year old mother with me when I arrived on December 14th, in order to see our lovely new house and enjoy some time in the sun. My mom and I spent our first 2 weeks in John & Louise's lovely one bedroom casita. Needless to say, I did not enjoy sleeping in their old pullout sofa that first 2 weeks. Sorry John & Louise, but it's not that comfortable. But I digress. We purchased one of the queen beds from our neighbours, John & Bea Dahl. Thanks guys! The other queen bed came from one of our famous shopping trips with our other neighbours, and friends, John & Louise Lawes. We went down to a local furniture store I had scouted out earlier, and within 1 hour purchased a queen bed, armour, bar cabinet, and two livingroom sofas. We arranged to have them delivered 1 hour later. Now that's fast service. We also ordered a second armour, a diningroom table, coffee table, and kingsize bed, to be delivered once constructed-within 15 days. Now that's what I call shopping!!!

Unfortunately, to spoil all this fun, our house still had a long way to go before before being completed. For the next 4 weeks we had workers, inside and outside, working on our house. What a mess, literally. The stairs to the master bedroom were made of almond wood. Two workers spent the next 3 weeks completing them. Beautiful stairs, but all that sanding. We had to cover up all our new furniture with bedsheets almost every day. And mopping, we had to wet mop the floors of the entire house everyday, sometimes twice a day. The dust and dirt was terrible. During this period, the rest of the granite countertops were installed. The dust from cutting the granite was terrible. More mopping. All the bedroom, bathroom, and other interior doors were hung during this period. More mess, more cleaning. This went on and on, not a fun period. And the fighting with the builder over inferior workmanship, changing originally picked materials without discussion first, and installing cheap toilets that we had not originally purchased. No, this was not fun....but I digress again. 

By the end of our trip, we had a lovely house. Not finished by any stretch of the imagination, but a lovely house. We are now putting together our deficiency list, which will be forwarded to the builder shortly. Hopefully, it will not take the builder too long to get these items corrected and finished. Please go to our "Real Estate" page, we have posted a "Do's and Don'ts When Building in Costa Rica", so you all can avoid some of the problems and issues we encountered on this journey. In the meantime, please enjoy our new pics of our lovely house!!

To see most recent pics...

To see most recent pics...

Click on "Rental" tab at the top or bottom of this page. There, you will see the latest pics of our house and details regarding rental of it. Enjoy!

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