Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Welcome blog readers, friends, and family!
The villa is being transformed daily- from a boarded up squatter's paradise, filled with appropriate squatter trash, and missing certain details like plumbing, to a bright and bustling home.  When we first pried boards off the windows (only about a month ago in early January now) sunlight filled the house and let us see just how many holes there were in the walls, and let us read the grafitti more easily. 
A shed full of a palette of different colors of paint let us unleash our creative spirits with glorious nonattachment, and without the creativity numbing question- well am I really going to want to live with this for the next 5 years? - since we are planning on changing it all, and covering the walls with earthen  plasters, rather than latex paints.  But, it turns out we bought about 20 gallons of paint, stored in the shed, along with the property back in November, and for immediate liveability, it did wonders to lift spirits, and transform the dull, dirty walls into ones that felt clean and homey.  The one rule we decided upon during the painting frenzy was- if you don't like the color I paint this wall, you have full rights to change it, but you have to do it yourself!  Suffice to say, we have had so much to do, that no one has bothered to repaint any walls yet. 

Our painting days are past now, and we are reaching a final stage of puttering to make the main house liveable for 6 months or so, while we remodel the granny unit behind it, and build a series of small (under 120 sq foot) earthen pods in the backyard, which will be bedrooms for Sasha, Massey, and me.

Our various living spaces in the 2 bedroom, 850 sq foot house are complete enough to be lived in for now.  It is the kind of house where you can easily all be in separate corners and carry on a conversation at normal volume.  

Knowing this, here's a quick description of our personal nooks in the house: 
Massey transformed the odd closet-like mudroom on the front side into what appears to be a caravan that drove up and parked.  She rounded out the ceiling, applied some earth plasters, raised her bed up high(which completely occupies the space) and keeps her belongings underneath.  Old cabinet doors, taken from the kitchen, close off the space from the living room,  an almost completed lamp, handsewn from silk and modeled from a Brugamancia flower, will light the space, and peas in the garden outside, will eventually grow up over the windows to be living curtains.  

Sasha has built a curved wall from wooden wine boxes in half of the living room, and a beautiful curtain hanging from a bamboo pole at one end is the door.  Think grown-up fort. Though I hate to call it a fort, much more elegant than that.  The livingroom side has bamboo bracing the boxes, that doubles as coat hooks, and will one day perhaps be a wall for an in-house art exhibit.  Plants grow near the ceiling portion of the wall.  Inside, the boxes face towards her bed, and act as shelves, strapped with bamboo splits to keep things from falling out.

Lindsay and I each have bedrooms, so in some ways the spaces are a bit more normal.  Lindsay is learning and honing carpentry skills by building her room- she has built her bedframe from massive chunks of bamboo, and various scrap lumber from the wood off our windows and fence, and is devising hanging shelves to creatively hold her large herb collection.   

I have done the least to my space, maybe because it is already functioning in many ways, or maybe because I laugh a little every day when I open a drawer to get some clothes out, or stretch out fully in my sleeping bag on the floor and think about where I came from.  It seems palatial, compared to the 26' sailboat that has been home for the past year.  We are keeping a running tab of unusual places all of us have inhabited.  That posting will come later on...  Back to my bedroom- other than feeling huge, half of it is a communal sewing room, and it also functions as the only path to the bathroom, which deserves its own posting at this point, though you'll have to wait for that one.    

This is just a glimpse, more to follow...