Decisions, decisions, decisons

This is more painful than walking the halls of Congress. “Color 1 will be in the living room. Color 2 is the outside living room….” Argh!


Eighty percent of building your own house is great fun.  Your vision rises out of the cement to reveal the “truth” of the design, is  it great or is it a mistake?  We’ve had our share of mistakes, but by and large we’re pretty happy with where we are so far.  The other twenty percent can be a drag, as we’re  forced into making decisions to keep up with the ever present march of construction.  Since we’ve never had detailed plans to adhere to (La Corona is evolving out of KR and my vision as-we-go), there is the added unknown of “what’s next?” based on the construction process.

Every visit has its share of stress but as we near the finish, each decision is more important as its the stuff we’re going to see — finishes, colors, surfaces, floors, etc.  This trip forced us to…

  • Decide on the basic design of the master bathroom
  • Decide on the colors of the interior
  • Decide on lighting fixtures
  • Decide on electrical switches
  • Decide on the kitchen floor design
  • Decide on the roof of Raphael’s tower
  • Decide on the tile design for the front entrance
  • Decide on where the interior rocks are going to go

We are now seven and a half months into construction and we have our first important milestone approaching:  Karen has to move out of her temporary quarters and into one of the bedrooms at La Corona on September 5th.   Construction will then proceed literally around her until complete.  When will that  be?  I’m still betting on late October.

To date, here’s what’s been done

  • All structural work is done.  Raphael’s Tower is up
  • Pool deck and pool are done
  • 4th Floor is 80% done, just awaiting the completion of the “Secret Outdoor Bedroom.”
  • The waterfall is done and working
  • First floor sitting room is done
  • Old master bedroom is done and so is the bathroom
  • The old spare bedroom is done
  • All floors are in, but not tiled
  • 70% of the floors in the house are tiled

Here are the major items still to be completed

  • Three bathrooms
  • The main kitchen and the first floor kitchen
  • Most of the doors and windows
  • The interior and courtyard need to be painted
  • The Man Cave
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • The  inside stairway from the first floor to the second floor
  • All cabinetry work

In between decisions, we’re off to “source” all the stuff.  Home depot? Check.  High end tile/kitchen store in Bucerias? Check.  Nursery?  check.  Lumber yard?  Check.  Furniture stores?  Check. Bar (multiple times)?  Check.

Stay tuned, of c0urse, more to come as it unfolds. Next FW visit will be after KR moves into the bottom floor.

Upon first glance, all seems the same.  Another truck picking up a load of trash…


Carpenter is applying a coat of paint to the downstairs living room windows

The entrance is coming along nicely, still a ways to go.


Walk through the front door and you enter the courtyard, seen here from the second floor living room.


Most everything is made by hand. Here cabinet maker works on one of the first floor’s closets

This room was the master bedroom, now its the first guest room.  And yes, this is practically finished despite the wall

“New” old closet made from existing doors from some other part of the house.

Living room floor is mostly done.  Here, Lilly looks over a design for the kitchen floor tile.

The biggest change to the kitchen is the addition of a hand-made pizza oven in the corner above. Now, ask me if Karen has EVER made pizza?

View of the pool from Karen’s studio in Raphael’s Tower.  The waterfall is now working, although its hard to see in this picture.


The pool as viewed from the outdoor living room which connects the main house to Raphael’s Tower. Holes in the floor are the sky lights into my Man Dungeon

KR, Isidro and Jaime discuss some important design element in the bedroom.

The hall from the master suite to Karen’s studio in Raphael’s Tower.  There will be a courtyard terrace in the opening on the right.

You can never have enough plants

And its never too early to start planting

My contribution is a cactus garden

The roof on the outdoor bedroom is taking shape.  There will be a platform bed in this area.

The 4th floor BBQ and bar area.  Mostly done.

Custom-made grill was just installed.  The sink is next to be fitted.

As sun goes down, KR views her city

Constant thunder and lightening storms make for some beautiful pictures, although they scare the shit out of Lilly.

We celebrated Karen’s birthday by taking our first swim in the pool.  It was good, real good.

We went fifty miles south of Puerto Vallarta up in the mountains to search for a log big enough to make part of of the kitchen island.  Reuben is saying, “You want big logs, well here are some big logs!”

Which of course necessitates crawling around looking for the “right” log.  Even Lilly got into the spirit of it.  We found ONE log big enough to cut our bar out of.

We’re talking mountains of logs

Big big logs

This is the man who cuts the logs into…

finished product like this

Another 30 minutes down the road  and we come to Reuben’s brother’s nursery. Oh goody.

Karen can’t restrain herself from checking out every square inch of the place.

Lilly is thinking.. “It’s f____ing hot out here.  When can we get back in the air conditioned Iron Duke?”

Back in PV there’ s always time to visit various junk — I mean antique — shops.  KR knows every square inch.  “Oh, this piece wasn’t here last week!”

Meanwhile, life goes on around the neighborhood.  Here our mechanic, Hector, does some repair in his “garage,” which is the street in front of his house.  Hector has kept Iron Duke in tip top shape.  We’ve donated some building materials toward the remodeling job he’s doing.

Lilly is all packed up and ready to move.  I like a well-organized dog.

And the sun sets on another trip to PV.


7 replies
  1. Debra Rutherford Winham says:

    Looking great! Reminds me a bit of my former in-laws project in Nevis, West Indies. I am now on St. Kitts on my honeymoon. Wedding pictures on my facebook page, including pictures of Noah. Noah starts college at Simon’s Rock on August 18th.

  2. Gregg & Tish says:

    The sun shines brightest on those with the desire to accomplish something that brings joy to their union, and the will to make it happen (that last part was for Karen):)

    It looks spectacular – you have officially doubled the resale values of your neighbors properties – they should elect you mayor.

  3. Georgia Rowe says:

    Dear Fred an Karen, Cindy has kept me up dated not only with PV, but your Motorcycling retirement days, ha ha, right thru now. And truly I am proud of your ambition and perseverance. Where did
    all this energy come from??

    May you enjoy in good health, your new home.

    Georgia Rowe

  4. Yvonne Angyal says:

    Love seeing the progress! Chuck wants to know if the guest room will be 100% completed by May of 2013….? It is all looking beautiful and the pool looks so inviting!! It is hot here in the Provence and we do not have a pool at the home we are staying.

    All the best with the completion. I know the decisions of all the final selections can be very overwhelming!

    Hi to Karen!


  5. Raphael says:

    Love the development and your choices.
    The idea of putting a deck on the way to Karen’s office is GREAT.
    Why didn’t I think of that!
    I guess I got stuck in/on the elevator.

  6. JC says:

    We must celebrate your bday…After viewing how gorgeous your home is, I’m not sure you’re going to want to “slum it” with me, but I come offering tequila and white wine. 🙂

    Let me know what might work…Wednesday?
    your backpacking pal

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