Karen moves back in and we go color crazy


Isidro and FW demonstrate fashion as a way of selecting wall colors. The conversation goes something like this, (KR) “Hey, what about the color of your shirt? That looks pretty good!” (I take it off and give it to Isidro who goes to the paint store, who holds both shirts up to the paint chip ring, buys the paint and Alphonse dabs some on the wall).. BTW, neither of these colors made the final cut


Getting the paint right is more difficult than the floor plan.   Crazy as this might seem, KR and I have had more serious discussions, at higher blood pressure levels, about the color of various parts of the house than on most other things.   We’ve almost come to blows on the difference between mustard yellow and orange yellow (Answer:  it doesn’t matter since she doesn’t like either one), whether to put white trim around the windows (“You can do that with your next wife’s house!”) and whether the living room should be casual Mexican or more sophisticated gringo (still deciding).

Now before you snicker too much, what do you notice when walking into a room?  The logical flow of the room or its color?  Enough said.  If color were the only issue we disagreed on, all things would be right with the world.  ALL the surfaces and details seem important enough to fight over.  This is crazy, of course, and  leads to a US Congress-style design approach: grid lock and no progress.

Aside from colors, a lot of progress has been made since our last report.  Major headlines are:

  • KR moved back into the old master bedroom, using it as our temporary home.  It’s really, really good to be home even if its only one room in the middle of a construction site.
  • 99% of the outdoor spaces on the 3rd and 4th floors are done.
  • All construction work has been done.  We’re now into fit, finishes and colors.
  • We put the Iron Duke in the garage for the first time and it fit!
  • The pool works spectacularly….

Isidro looked me in the eye and said we’d be finished by November 1st.  I couldn’t see if he had his fingers crossed behind his back : ) If true, it will be ten months of construction.

Here’s what La Corona looks like at the beginning of September.

La Corona is done on the outside with the exception of security and garage doors. Love it or hate it, La Corona is known far and wide in the El Cerro section of PV.  Oh, that’s the yellow house with all the old adobe on the walls?


Night view


No one can believe that the Iron Duke actually fits in the garage. Getting him in or out is best done sober and in daylight.

Jaime and Karen talk about the design of the courtyard.

KR and Lilly dig into more design books and magazines. Karen has just moved into what use to be the master bedroom on the first floor.

The second guest bedroom is nearing completion as well.

Courtyard stone wall.  Karen pretty much hates it, but sometimes you have to man up and say “I want this!”

View up from the courtyard towards the outdoor living room and KR’s studio

Vertigo.  View from 4th floor into courtyard.

Five bucks to anyone who can guess what this is.

Shoot me, please!  Color swatches on the walls of the outdoor living room and courtyard.  Hugo, the painter, is watching.  “Just pick the damn color so I can paint! ”  None of these colors were used, of course.

Wall in the dining room with the ugliest red known to man, woman or child.  What was I thinking? !  See below.

This is the affect that I was trying to create.  Lighting is everything.

Designing the kitchen is a total team effort.  Lilly wants to know where her food bowl will be.  KR, Isidro, Jaime and Lilly go over kitchen drawer layout.  Isidro is thinking… that’s not in the bid.  Nor is that.  Or that…

Outdoor terrace off the living room.

KR and Jaime in a bathroom design session.  Here KR and Jaime talk about how the sink plumbing will need to be pushed all the way back in order to make room for the cabinet.  Boy, isn’t designing and building a house fun?

View in KR’s studio toward the pool.


Same room, now its painted.

Top floor, looking north toward the looming storm.  It rains almost every night.

Why is it that every one of our homes  has  an outdoor bedroom? Go ask La Heffa de La Corona. This bed is on the top of Raphael’s Tower.

Rain or shine, KR has rediscovered gardening.

View south toward the main church.  LBS is way out there past the Point in the distance.

Sun sets on the BBQ/ bar area on the 4th floor. This is area is pretty much done, only awaiting the installation of the hot water tubes on the solar structure up top,

The lights on the deck now work.  The dot on the bay is the dinner cruise Pirate Ship.

One thing that works great is the pool.  This is definitely one of the smarter things we’ve done.  After a hard day of decision-making, its time to hit the water where…

Our night watchman, Fily, brings us Tequila and 7-up cocktails.  I love this guy 🙂

We went to a party in the old “Gringo Gulch” neighborhood on Sunday night, so called because its above the Rio Cuale river gulch.  It’s also the area where Liz and Richard bought their dual houses and is thus the oldest gringo neighborhood.  These parties have an interesting mix of people who (mostly) live full time in PV.  One woman is a local hotel owner, another had recently sold her resort in Tahiti, another guy was an x Foote, Cone & Belding ad guy, another couple lives up the hill from us, and the cook for the night is a pretty famous chef from LA.

KR loved the pizza oven that was used to feed the crew. I liked the Mayan stature as he looked so happy

Double trouble, known around the Walti casa as Money and More Money (as in spending). KR and Harriet, a good friend.

Still a pretty nice view in the “off season.”

14 replies
  1. Sam says:

    Just think FW, you could have bought the Pirate Ship instead. If you need help choosing colors, tell KR, I’m standing by. Even with my color-blindness, I could pick better colors than you. Honestly, everything is really taking shape and looking fantastic. Should we start a pool guessing ACTUAL move in month? (or year?)

  2. charles b from Paris says:

    Advertising was much easier and you got free lunches too! Glad KR is good and hope you’re surviving the “continual” remodel. Too much for this Jewish boy to handle so were going back to Paris till November. Miss you guys! Chucky

  3. Debbie Hundoble says:

    La Corona is stunning, she captures the old traditional Mexican styling with the magic of modern convienances that only vision and money can create. Now for the art work and furniture….humm…..have fun Karen and Harriet! Before and after photos with your story should be submitted to several magazines to share with the masses of people that would be in awe of what you have accomplished 😉
    Sending love,

  4. Your wife says:

    !Dios mio. Por que siempre bus car las images mas terribles de mi. Mi vanidad sufre. But I love reading about my life through your eyes. Xxxooo

  5. Jack(previous owner of one-eye) says:

    It is incredible, I salute you for going to the trouble, pain and anguish. It is spectacular and we look forward to visiting you sometime in the next decade, when it’s done.

  6. gwen says:

    Debbie is spot on and simply cannot wait to marvel at this marvel in real person. The work and the work and, oh all the work -not to mention all the gazillion details. Fred has done a great job of capturing all of it. And, Karen, I think you look pretty cute in most of the photos – I love the one with Hagu – but my favorite is of you and Lily on the bed still looking at design options. oxxogwen

  7. Chuck & Yvonne says:

    When is Karen moving out of our bedroom and is there any chance it will be completed by May 2013?
    I feel your pain but, wow, it’s looking quite nice!
    Keep the blog s coming……..cheers

  8. Chris Rhoden says:

    Karen and Harriet are “double trouble” without money, as well. Two of my favorite people in PV. You guys have done one “unbelievable” job with this project. Fred, hope to meet you soon. Karen we probably return to PV mid October hope to see you then. Again, extremely well done.

  9. CB says:

    Absolutely awesome! And, of course, it’s obvious that Karen deserves all the credit.
    Hope to “stop by” some day soon…

  10. Gregg & Tish says:

    I echo Neal’s observation – truly a magnificent haven in a crowded paradise. Look forward to seeing, and experiencing, it live.

  11. Jayson (former protege turned disappointment) says:

    KR/FW – what an amazing place you’re creating. I can’t wait to visit! And by-the-by, Sam is a lunatic … there’s a not a chance that he could pick better colors than Fred; Jill maybe, but not Sam.

    Love you guys! Keep the fun and creativity coming!

  12. Cindy Rowe says:

    You both have done a fabulous job. I give you so much credit. And YOU especially KR!! You are one sturdy chica! Can’t wait to come and see you.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *