For many years the only residents of my new house were a few neighborhood cats, who left abundant evidence of their tenancy in the form of stinky corners and sooty footprints under the ledges of broken windows they climbed through as they came and went.
Seeing these markings, I thought of the line about "little cat feet" in Carl Sandberg's poem "Fog."
I can't really come up with an apt use of the literary reference here except to say that the start up of this renovation project is creeping along as carefully and gingerly as a feral cat in an abandoned house.
There are reasons for the delay.
First, I've learned that taking time to plan a project like this is important. When I bought my first home in Mérida in 2003, I had all sorts of great ideas about what I wanted to do with it. I then inhabited the house, "as-is," for three years without doing any kind of work beyond some cleaning, painting and minor repairs. When eventually I finished the renovation effort I noticed that ninety-nine percent of my initial ideas had been thrown out the window. The time spent living in the house before making changes had allowed me to work out how I would actually use the space. That made all the difference in the quality of the results.
So although this time I won't actually move in and live in the new house before renovating, I am not in a huge hurry to start. I've been getting a feel for the place. The rental I am living in is only a short distance away, so at different hours of day or night I sometimes walk over to the new house to hang out. I've left a pair of comfortable, old chairs there, and have moved them around the rooms, sitting, observing and working through ideas. I've slung my hammock there and slept over a few times. This "think time" has produced good results and I have a good list of questions and ideas for the architect.
Speaking of the architect, Victor Cruz is on board and we've had a couple of planning meetings. His crew has drawn and measured the house and blueprints of the existing structure are in the works. In the past I've had Victor do a couple of smaller designs for me and I have seen a number of his projects. I like his work. I believe that Victor's style and skills will mesh well with this project.
|Cleaned up, the floors look pretty good|
The other delay right now is due to the fact that I bought two side-by-side properties. The original house was subdivided years ago and I am reuniting two houses with separate deeds. We can't obtain building permits to knock down partitions and open up doorways between two legally-separate structures, so I am waiting for my lawyer to work through the bureaucratic process and produce the single deed I need to restore the building as one house.
Added to that, I've got another new project in the works that could take priority and delay the start of construction for a few months. It looks as if this project may creep along on little cat feet for a while longer.
Text and photos copyright 2014 by Marc Olson