Wednesday, March 30, 2011

my house, part 1

So would you like a tour of my house? Or, as my Dad refers to it, the shack we’re living in? :)

Here is some back story:  Daniel and I own a few acres of land, and we have a nice foundation for a house already built.  We were renting when we first got married, and had to decide if we would rent for a while (or years) while we built our house or try to find another option.  When we were researching more about building, we found out that in order to get electricity to our house, we would have to buy a transformer for $35,000 Belize dollars, which we then would give to the electric company.  Our foundation is close to the road, and all our neighbors have electricity which they received for free during the last election cycle… but we missed out on that, not living there at the time.  We then looked into Solar power, but it is ridiculously expensive to start up and maintain here.  Since I wasn’t willing to live without electricity we decided to build a small, inexpensive, temporary house on my father-in-law’s land.  Our goal is to live here for a few years while we save and research about building a house on our land. 

The house is tiny- 11 ft by 20 ft, 2 stories.  We salvaged and searched for everything we could to make the house as inexpensive as possible.  The upper story was originally a wooden storage room Daniel had built years ago.  We had it moved to a different part of the farm, put on 7 foot posts, and then we created a first floor by laying a concrete floor and building walls up to meet the structure.  Some of our more ‘interesting’ salvages are our windows, which are all bus windows (and you would never know!) and our doors, all of which were being given away by the parish.  Our front door was given to us by the SOLT sisters, who didn’t want to use it at the convent because they thought it looked too “conventy” :)
First Story.  the purple slugs are supposed to be doors.

We’ve been living here almost two years now.  We had some problems at first, mostly caused by our inexperience as builders, but the house is fairly cozy now.  And it did make it through the hurricane.   Best of all, we were able to build the entire house using savings and Daniel’s salary at the time- so we owe nothing.  Our only bill is for electricity (we get our water from the farm well).  Daniel figured out that by not renting, we have already saved more then half of what it cost us to build this house.  I still find it pretty amazing that we own our own home, debt free, two and a half years into our marriage.  Not many couples can say that. (ahem, Dad, remember that when you are laughing at these pictures :)

Some things about building a home in Belize:  furniture is super expensive.  Nice, tasteful furniture is really hard to find and even more astronomically expensive.  Sadly, there isn’t any source for second hand furniture (my theory for this is that furniture doesn’t often last long enough to be second hand, between dampness and wood-eating insects). So our furniture is minimal, and most was made by us or locally.

And also, there is NO Ikea in Belize.  Enough said.

Anyways, on to pictures!  This is our Kitchen

And because this post is not long enough, some notes!
1.  We had this cabinet built by Mr Ben, the school's woodwork teacher, from some wood from a tree that was knocked down on the farm.  The top was made by the Mennonites, and those are tea towels.  I am too lazy to iron things like these.
2. We found this cast iron and enamel sink at a junk shop/ hardware store here for $50.  The only good find I've ever had here.
3.  Bus window!!!
4.  Another tea towel, skinnylaminx from Etsy.
5.  That's a curtain rod holding everything up... I was pretty proud of that idea :)

next up: I turn around with my camera and take pictures of the other half of the house!


  1. AHHHH THIS IS SO NEAT! I love it; really well thought out, functional and cute.

  2. Thanks Abby! When are you coming to visit?? :)


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