Monday, January 25, 2016

Building on the fly....

When one normally builds a home there is an architect involved and plans are drawn up and worked and reworked, but we are anything but normal! We were looking to build a tiny house for the least amount of money possible so this does entail a bit more creativity, so to speak. Pilar took my pencil drawings to an engineer in La Paz, the capital of Baja Sur, and we got a set of engineer's drawings with which to obtain a permit, also done in La Paz. This can also be done in Los Barriles, but it’s cheaper to go right to the source. Pilar requested permits for the casita, the palapa and the wall that will go around the house on the street sides. Wayne recommended we go with Benjamin to build our palapa, he is the brother of Cheppie, one of the primo palapa builders in town. He made us a great deal with the Polynesian weave that is wrapped – Bill’s choice! Before the permits were received they started working on the rebar, which forms the foundation of the casita and Benjamin started bringing supplies over for the palapa.

Rebar for the foundation

Laying the foundation - everything dug by hand

Wayne and Bill with the palapa support poles

It was about this time that I left for 3 weeks to go to L.A. to await the arrival of my first grandchild. Bill was left in charge and because we had no real formal plans there were many decisions to be made on a daily basis. Where the electrical outlets would be, the actual design of the bathroom, the closet, if we wanted 1 or 2 tv’s and 1 or 2 split a/c units. We enlarged the bathroom window and added another window to the front of the house for air flow. And because of the language barrier there were many times when he wasn’t quite sure that everyone really understood each other, which is kind of important when building a house.

Building a cement roof in Mexico takes on the same significance as a barn raising, I guess, and Wayne let Bill know that the next day he should come with a cooler of beer (soda and snacks for the crew) and a chair to experience it. Unfortunately by the time Bill got organized and got over there the roof had been poured! This crew we have is amazing! They are there early, they stay late, and they work weekends! Several people mentioned to me that although everything looked like it was moving fast I should prepare myself for the 2-4 weeks of holiday time that all Mexican’s take in December. Well, not our crew, they were working December 24th until it was dark! They did take that weekend off, but were right back to work on the following Monday.

The palapa was complete before I came home and from the pics I thought it looked great, although a bit smaller than I expected. Bill wasn’t thrilled with the workmanship – but everyone who has seen it likes it. The stain on the support poles is a little darker than we thought it would be, but it looks really good.

Already providing some nice shade for one of the worker's cars.

By the time I got home on December 23rd the roof had been poured and the palapa was done!

1 comment:

  1. Your story is inspiring, and I know that much of what really happens in a build lies between the lines. As we say lovingly about the Baja... where everything's perfect and nothing's quite right. Almost perfect! ♡