Changing horses (ass) in mid-stream

Construction everywhere! This is the view from my hotel in DC. Scale is similar to La Corona, progress is slower. 🙂

You know the old adage that a battle plan rarely survives first contact with the enemy, well our version is that our construction plan hasn’t survived contact with the designer. Three weeks into our remodel of La Corona and the designer quit in a huff.   Apparently he didn’t react well to my less than diplomatic request for the plans we were paying for.  He sent us an email quitting and then refused all contact.  And before you say its “Mexico,” this guy is a Gringo.

This caused considerable panic.   Isidro’s crew is building so fast that we thought he’d be forced to stop all progress while we found a new architect.  I was sick with fear as we loved the X-Designer’s taste.  Now who was going to do the design?  I was also 1500 miles away and couldn’t really help KR much.

Sometimes what goes around, comes around, and we started to get help.  First up, Isidro said we would be OK without Mr. X.  He introduced us to an Architect  who was both familiar with the project and close to Isidro.  We agreed to sign him up as our new architect.

Then Chuck Angyal came to the rescue.  Chuck, as you may remember, is a leading architect in San Diego and the originator of La Corona’s design concept.  He was in town and met with Isidro and the new architect.  His report from the  meetings,   “Everything’s cool Fred!  You don’t need the Horse’s Ass.”

Then I was having lunch with my friend Raphael Bertolus, who is a creative/construction consultant to very high end residences here in Los Angeles.  He took pity on me and agreed to fly down to PV to help Karen and I sort this out!   Moreover, in a Skype-enabled creative design session, he and Karen seemed to seen eye-to-eye on the creative execution.

Suddenly, all seemed well.  The birds were chirping.  The children were playing in the street.  Lilly went back to sleep.

All the while Isidro keeps building…

Not much left of the original Casa Rana

Getting ready for the "big pour." Two cement mixers line up awaiting the...

The cement mixer, which unfolds like a grass hopper to...

Pump cement on the second floor.

Wooden braces hold up the terrace over Corona.

This is La Corona at the end of February. The second floor is taking shape. Kitchen is behind the corner closest to the camera. Pool floor is to the right of the kitchen.

This is the view from standing on the bottom of the pool.

It never rains in February ...

But when it does, our men throw on a trash bag and keep work'n.

Two of Karen's favorite workers. Turns out there are two sets two brothers and four cousins working on the site. Most have worked with Isidro for a decade.

Lunch time activity. Checker board is hand-painted and the checkers are bottle caps.

Need a work shop? Build one in the street.

Need the cement rock moved? Just throw it on a shoulder and move it!

Teamwork. This happens all the time. Guy behind the one in the foreground is either throwing or about to catch a sand bucket.

One method of getting to and from work.

Horse pooling. Horse is brought to the site to pick up Grand Dad.

It will be a while before anyone sleeps in this bed again...



9 replies
  1. Chris Rhoden says:

    Karen and Fred (who I’ve never met, and I am looking forward to meeting):

    Looks like Karen (onsite) is doing one hell of a job. We had to leave PV for a couple of months (Judy needed follow up surgery). So in So. Cal until end of April. When we return, I would more than be willing to help Karen (you to Fred) with anything I could do on La Corona. Project looks out standing. Your blog on this project, as well as, others are extremely enjoyable and informative. Good luck with the project. Just remember you can’t trust those damn Gringos.

  2. Sam and Jill says:

    As usual, the Walti’s land on all fours! This will make a great “How to Build in Mexico” short story for “The New Yorker”.

  3. Gregg & Tish says:

    Just when we thought you were certifiably nuts, what a VIEW! First dibs on the pool!

  4. Gary says:

    Wow! What a project. I would never think it possible to go this fast. Can’t wait to visit when the pool is finished.

    Gary & Monika

  5. J.P. Ouellette says:

    Well done! What a project. Can’t wait to see it when it’s all finished. I have one question: where will the PV system with battery back-up be?

  6. Megan Leopold says:

    Ooh — ouch! Here’s to hoping Mr. X’s next potential victims check his references before they hire him. … Trust me, you’re way better off now. xxox

  7. chuck Bahrach says:

    Why is nothing ever “easy” for FW and KR. I agree that this will be a great television show and or book. Keep those pictures coming.

    Is the a Jewish deli in your town?????

  8. Doug Morris says:

    You’re living a lot of people’s fantasies, Fred. Once April and I spent a couple of weeks in Ajijic near Lake Chapala… lots of expats there – and for a time we considered a move there. At the time, though, Eve was school-age. Now that she’s grown up, maybe?!?!

  9. Jay Meydad says:

    Karen, FW — WOW! this look fantastic.

    I could not stop smiling after seeing the lunch with checkers photo. Looking forward to the next report.


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