I’m writing this post on the original completion date, May 12th 2012, for La Corona. That was before the architect quit three weeks in, before we were four floors tall, before Raphael’s Folly, aka the West Tower was added, and too many other changes to remember. No member of our team volunteers a new completion date, as we all know its not going to be any day soon.
Our most immediate deadline is the impending start of the five month long rainy season in June. Somehow we have to have La Corona buttoned up so that work can continue on the inside as it pours on the outside. For those fortunate enough not to experience a PV rainy season, we’re talking major down pours every day for hours and hours with thunder so loud that Lilly hides in the bathroom. Isidro assures me that we’ll be ready, even though…
- The outside needs to be painted
- All outside doors and windows need to be made and installed (they’re all being custom made, not bought off the shelf at Home Depot)
- The swimming pool needs to be finished (including the water fall)
- Four floors need to be tiled
- Both decks need pergolas
- All the cement work for Raphael’s Folly needs to completed
In just two weeks? I don’t think so.
We’re settling into a construction routine, much like any other routine. I fly down to PV every 3-4 weeks and spend two intense days making decisions and driving around looking at various samples. In between visits, KR and I talk 2-3 times a day on what’s going on. Isidro sends me pictures at the end of every week. Jaime’s assistant, Eric, sends me CAD renderings of the latest design. And, of course, before leaving I write Isidro a check.
For example, on this trip we decided/reviewed…
- The design of both pergolas
- The design of the pool tiles
- All floorings (3+ types of tile)
- The second pass on the kitchen design including basic colors
- The design of all doors and windows
- The basic color of the outside of the house
- Despite the cost, we’re building Raphael’s Folly, sans elevator for now
- The design of the railings around all the terraces
- The concept for the downstairs kitchen
- A new design for the garage doors
- The third revision of the entrance/front door
- The first design of the master suite
- A revised design for the garage door
All of these decisions make for a fair amount of schizophrenia. Wow, that _____ will look great! we both agree. A day – or sometimes even just an hour later– and we’re thinking, That ______ sucks so much, the whole project is ruined! Repeat the cycle for each major decision. The process is made both more fun and more stressful because we’re essentially rolling our own with no consistent lead creative director. It’s become a true collaboration between Karen, Jaime, Isidro, Raphael, Chuck and me. We’ve developed a very good, open working relationship in which any one of us can say “That sucks!” and not take offense. But, it makes Cocktail Hour come earlier and earlier.
From looking like a prison to the neighborhood museum? For the first few months of construction, La Corona looked more like a prison than house. Three stories of cement blocks and pillars will give that impression. Neighbors passing would shake their head, wondering what kind of monstrosity these crazy gringos were building. The prison effect steadily lessened as the house was covered in plaster.
Then last night, over drinks, our architect Jaime said that people in the neighborhood were happy we were building a museum. “A what?” I’m wondering. Well yes, Jaime explained that they were very happy that we’re preserving the original house’s adobe both outside and inside. “It will have the effect of a museum,” Jaime explained, “and it will be very good for the neighborhood.”
Go figure: )