Renovation begins!

Leslie and I are finally getting the renovation started on our house — six months later than planned. We hoped to have all the work done in April and May before we moved in. Because of the quarantine, our homeowner’s association did not allow workers into the neighborhood. Later, when that was allowed, we decided it was not a good idea to have people we don’t know coming into our house. We’re taking extra precautions during this pandemic.

Also, as we’ve lived in our new home, our small project grew bigger. The original plan was to get the washer and dryer out of the kitchen to gain more storage and counter space. We planned to get stackable machines and squeeze them into a space in the master bedroom closet, then update the kitchen cabinets with new doors and buy new appliances.

Over the last four-plus months we’ve started thinking bigger, especially after we found a few issues in the master bath. Now we’re adding a new master bathroom onto the front of the house, reworking and improving the closet and other storage, and putting side-by-side laundry units where the bathroom is now. We will also get a new linen closet and utility closet, neither of which exist now. And we’re gutting the 12-year-old kitchen down to the walls. All new cabinetry, all new appliances, more storage and more counter space.

In fact, the kitchen is already gutted and the bathroom will be gone in a few days. Everything was removed carefully by Fernando, who works as a gardener for at least two of our neighbors. Fernando is building a house for his family in Chapala on a shoestring budget, and he can use all the cabinets and appliances from our house.

We feel fortunate to have hired Juan Alera and his daughter Cristina as our architects. Juan has done home building and renovation for years in the Lakeside area. Cristina studied architecture at the university in Guadalajara (where one of her professors was her father) and for a year at a university in France. She speaks English and French in addition to her native Spanish.

Construction begins Oct. 19. Juan says it will take two months, but we’re allowing for three just in case. And since now we have no kitchen and no master bath, and things are about to get very dusty and dirty, we’ve moved out for the rest of this year. Again, we’re very fortunate to have rented a home right here in our neighborhood, just two streets down the hill. It will be easy to go back and get things we need, and to check on construction progress. We hope to be back in our house before Christmas.

Here are a couple of “before” videos:

Here’s the kitchen before the demolition. Lots of changes coming!
And here’s the master bath and closet.

Trying to keep a sense of humor

At times like these we have to laugh to keep from crying! I’ve seen lots of great stuff on Leslie’s Facebook account, and on a variety of websites I frequent. Since we’re here in México, this is probably the best, and most accurate:

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I heard this week from the CEO of US Global Mail, the Houston company that handles what little snail mail we get in the States. I’ve done a few commercials for them here in the past because their service is great. Now they’re helping in the current situation, even for people in the States.

“Earlier this week we made an announcement that we would be offering our virtual mailbox for free, to all seniors and people with underlying health conditions for two months,” Daniel Spyralatos wrote in an email. “This will ensure that people with weaker immune systems avoid crowded post offices but still access mail, critical medications and goods without leaving their home.”

You can see the full announcement on their website.

UPDATE: The move to our new home is coming, but not soon enough! We’ve sold or given away some of the excess furniture and we’re hoping to be gone from the rental house by mid-May. More to come!

Hasta luego!