The Fun Part Of Building A House…



The fun part of building a house is when you get to go shopping!!! Yipee!! I’m right, right?? Faucets, sinks, floors, light fixtures, whoooohoooo! Here we go!! We’ve been slowly researching where to purchase all these wonderful materials locally for our casita. There are plenty of places to find nice fixtures and even many brands that we recognize. For our bathroom we got Hansgrohe fixtures and a Toto toilet. We were glad to see so many familiar brand names. All of the fixtures we found at a really nice store in David called Elmec. We had already been on the Hansgrohe web sight and written down the style numbers of the things we liked, which made our shopping much easier. Dina (our saleslady) just showed us what they had on the showroom floor and then looked up other things on the computer and if they didn’t have the exact model then she found one that was comparable. Right now we are just purchasing materials for the casita and down the road we’ll go back for all the things we want for our house.

The casita will be a one bedroom, one bathroom house, just about 1000 square feet, counting a large 250 square foot covered terrace with a fireplace, so it’s not a big house. Today we purchased all the plumbing fixtures. We got all the fixtures for the bathroom, faucet, sink, toilet, shower head and two body sprays. For the kitchen we purchased the stainless steel sink, the faucet and garbage disposal . We have very limited space here in our rental house where we are currently living so we will wait awhile to order all the appliances. Elmec also had a very nice selection of floor tile so we went ahead and purchased all the material for the floor of the house as well as the tile for the shower. Most houses here in Panama have tile floors throughout, you wont find much carpet if any and wood floors just aren’t especially common here because of the humidity. We went with a large (20x40in.) natural looking porcelain tile for the entire house. The tile is called Alabaster, beige and I think it’s really pretty! I hope I like it because it goes everywhere , even on the outside terrace and the front porch, the bedroom and the kitchen, the whole house!! With the exception of the shower, which we also picked out tile for and purchased today as well. We have yet to choose the stone for the fireplaces, which we will carry onto the accents on the exterior of the house as well as the retaining wall that’s being built now. We’ll also be building a motorized gate at the entrance to our property and it will have two 6ft tall pillars which I may carry that same stone onto as well. I’m imagining some sort of natural, irregular shaped stone. We haven’t located that quite yet. It’s one of those things that I’ll know what I want when I see it.

The next part of our decision making will be light fixtures. We still need to find places to shop for this. So far we’ve only looked at a one place and I’m sure there has to be a better selection, just have to do some asking around and I’m sure we’ll be able to hunt down light fixtures that we like. In our house in Los Altos I was able to find so many adorable and unique lights throughout the house and I really think little details like lights make all the difference. Then there’s the granite countertops, I know we’ll find this too eventually, not too worried about it. Lot’s of our friends who have built here have nice looking solid surface counters so it’s just time to start asking questions. I must admit I’ve been keeping my eyes out for an exterior paint color that I like, but I’m not feeling too inspired about this so far. I mean, I see a lot of COLOR, and you know I love color, but they do take it to the extreme here in Central America! Ha! Ha! I love the lavender and bright orange and lime green but I think I might go a bit more subtle…we’ll see. I think I’m trying to stay kinda organic in my overall design theme but if you know me I’m not great at staying exactly within the realm of a defined ‘theme’! I have the tendency to go a bit more , shall we say, eclectic? Hmmmm….But I gotta tell ya, I do love this stage of the process of designing a house. And I think Scott likes it too. As I’m reading back what I’ve written so far I must clarify something…Scott is just as involved in this whole decision making process as I am. We actually love working together and making decisions together and I must say, we’re pretty darn good at it too, I mean we’re good at making decisions. We don’t’ spend too much time hemming and hawing over what to choose, we usually agree on things and rarely do we second guess ourselves. It’s a good thing too because can you imagine how awful it could be if we spent tons of time arguing about design choices! We’d miss out on all the fun! Humph!

We aren’t really anywhere close to being ready to actually start installing any of these wonderful materials but we wanted to have them ready because we aren’t exactly sure how long it could take to get things here. Scott is very near to completion with the retaining wall, next they will start digging along the outside edge of the wall to install a drain between the wall and the road. Again, drainage here is a huge consideration. During the rainy season it gets extremely wet and creating a path for all that water is a must. Our architect has told us that he will be submitting our plans and we should be able to get a provisional permit in about a week or two. Scott’s gotten the name of a guy who does tractor work and we’ll have him do some excavating and leveling on the site for the casita. Right now Scott’s in the process of strategizing for the foundation and how he plans to get all those materials up to our property. We’ve gotten a lead on a guy with a 4-wheel drive dump truck so we’re hoping he’ll be able to help us with that.

Yesterday we spoke with the third electrician and we’re hopeful that he’ll get back to us with a bid. Our architect brought this new electrician up to meet us so maybe he actually wants to work? We shall see, a girl can hope! It sure would be nice to have electricity…. There are still some big questions we need to get answered before we start bringing the electricity up to our lot. Mainly, exactly what route he’ll take up the hill. We’ve been very fortunate to have really nice neighbors who are willing to work with us and allow us to cut through a small section of their property to get up to ours but we all still need to agree on a plan and we wont move forward on this until we have a stamp of approval from the neighbors. This is a huge help to us and will minimize the cost substantially, we hope. It’s always so great to have good neighbors, right Janet!! Sigh, I miss the best next door neighbor in the whole wide world!! ? Anyway….as I was saying, this is where we are with our house project. There’s a lot to do and many more decisions to make. Scott and I were just talking yesterday about how much nicer it is to be building a house for ourselves without all the stress that we had last time. We aren’t living in a tiny 500sq.ft. Studio with two cats and a little girl, I’m not working 10-12 hour days to support us while we do it and Scott gets to have a delicious lunch delivered to him everyday by yours truly! No, this time is much different and we’re soaking up the experience and appreciating each new day.



3 responses »

  1. Looks like you guys are really on top of this building process. Penny and I went thru that very same thing when we built our house here in Washington State. Penny actually didn’t enjoy making so many decisions.. it taxed her brain too much..ha. I too was really glad after we had finally made the last decision on materials and was able to finish installing all of the items that we had chosen. Now we are so happy with most of our decisions. A few we would have done differently. But, overall the house is pretty nice. So glad that you two are working as team to make all of those really tough decisions. Good Luck and God Bless Your New Home. Jerry and Penny

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