The Costa House: Where We're At

After two years of planning, and fifteen years of dreaming, we are finally about to break ground on the Costa house. While we were down in December, we met with a few builders and by the time we returned we had narrowed it down to two favorites. Right now we are just waiting on the final bids but I'm pretty confident that we know who we will be choosing and I feel deep down in my guts that he is the right choice. We were able to visit a project that was just completed (same architect and builder as we are using) and it was so incredible to get a glimpse of what our completed house will look like. We will break ground next month and a year from now the house should be done. This is so crazy / exciting / terrifying and right now I'm just trying to have faith that everything will work out. One foot in front of the other...

I have to say, building this house makes me feel like I did when I was pregnant, which is somewhat ironic because without really talking about it my husband and I think my husband and I both decided to forgo having a third child to build this house. (Kids are expensive!!!) I say I feel like I did when I was pregnant because with this house there is so much uncertainty on my end, I'm equal parts nervous and excited, but we have reached the point where there is no turning back. Just like with a baby, this house is coming and we just need to be ready for it!

As we near the end I'm feeling a lot more uncertain than I did at the beginning of the process, and I think that's because I have found a few things that I thought were one way, only to uncover that they were another. We are designing this house from over 4000 miles away and all of our plans are in Spanish. In December, when we were really able to sit down together there were quite a few things that I found that weren't the same as I envisioned them. Let's just say they were literally lost in translation.

My dad works in construction and assured me that this is just the way it goes, but now I can't help but be worried that my vision didn't get properly translated. After our meetings last month we combed through every plan (about 10 times) and I'm realizing that I just have to have faith that it's all going to work out. It doesn't help that I have incredibly high standards and I'm trying to remind myself that no matter what we are going to love this house. This is our dream after all!

While speaking with the builders we discovered one HUGE difference and it was something that would have affected the entire house. It was actually uncovered by a builder and I'm so grateful that he pointed it out. Basically, our house contains a number of overhangs. Some of these are decorative, like in the front, but most are highly functional in that they are going to provide much needed cover and shade to the areas below them. My mistake was that I really have relied on the renderings versus the plans when it came to exterior finishes. I'm not all that familiar with these materials, and also everything was in Spanish! As you can see in these renderings, all the overhangs seem to be wood (I had assumed they were teak as is all the other wood in the house) but it turns out they were actually...



Okay, a pretty high end plastic, but plastic nonetheless. Our architects had planned to use this material on all the overhangs, the thought being that it would allow light through and is made for the elements. It's an advanced product and one that would have been great for the house. The only problem? I absolutely hate everything about it. 


When discussing this issue, my architects showed me the above project where they had used it and the clients loved it. I will say I hate it less when I see it on the completed house, but I still hate it. You all know I am a bohemian girl at heart and I had been feeling like this house was already a touch modern. My goal has been to really soften it and these overhangs would have definitely given the entire home a more severe feel, something I would have despised. The "plastic" material was actually pretty expensive and I'm so glad we caught this now as it probably would have been something that I would have had to live with. 

The question then became what material should we use. I had always envisioned something that is all wood like in the image below. This is a local hotel that our architects designed and even though it feels a little more South Pacific, than Costa Rica, I still loved the look. We had a few conversations about this and ultimately the concern was that it would be very dark under all of our overhangs and given that all the light in the living room, kitchen, and dining will be coming from that area, we weren't sure if we wanted to do solid wood. 


Luckily, my architect had an idea. We could use the "plastic" but a thinner and less expensive type and then we could use a wood called Cana Brava on the underside of the "plastic" with beams. This would give me the look that I like and it would allow in quite a bit of light. I actually think I prefer the overhangs this way, but this little snafu left me reeling. All I can do is hope that everything else going forward is the same as what I expected it to be.


So, that's where we're at. Like I said we break ground next month and it should be done February 2019. For so long that date has felt so far away and now that we are a year out it feels crazy soon! I feel like I am as prepared as I could possibly be for this build, but I'm definitely going to have to remind myself that things will go wrong, and that's normal. I keep trying to picture myself by the pool, margarita in hand, and hopefully just like with an actual pregnancy, all these labor pains will soon be a distant memory! Xx