We’d been designing the house for months, but as soon as we found out that we had a baby on the way, we quickly finalized the plan and soon broke ground on what will be our home (scroll to the bottom of this post for a video tour of the house in progress).
For the past three years we’ve been living in a cozy 12’x20′ thatch-roofed cabana with a comfortable shady porch and sleeping loft, located on the grounds of the eco-lodge where we run the majority of our women’s surf and yoga retreats.
While it is very convenient to live at a hotel with a constant supply of friends nearby, a very easy commute to work, and the opportunity to share in communal town runs to avoid unnecessary 45 min drives for a few small items, there are downsides too. It’s not very private – we share a bathroom and shower with one of the hotel cabanas – and not an ideal place for a newborn. It’s also small, with steep steps leading up to the sleeping loft and not much extra room, even for a small baby.
Just before Christmas 2013 we finished building our beach house, right on the sand in front of the bay where we host the surf lessons.
One reason we built the beach house was to have a comfortable, shady, out-of-the-sand place for the baby to hang out while we’re working. Like our hotel cabana, since it’s right on the beach it also lacks privacy, but the main reason we don’t consider it an option for full-time living is the fact that it doesn’t have power. While the government claims they will run power to the beach lots soon (they’ve been saying that the last several years), currently the nearest power pole is over 800m away. Solar panels would help, but it’s hard to create a solar system powerful enough to operate a refrigerator. Call me a kook, but I really like like refrigeration. Water is also an issue with a well onsite that ranges from slightly salty in the rainy season to very salty when it’s dry.
We also own a gorgeous 1/2 acre lot in a small community overlooking the bay. Originally, we had intended to build our first real home there.
However, the paperwork process has been slower than expected. The lot has water via a drilled well that we had installed, but also suffers from a lack of power making it not yet ready for easy living. We did build a storage bodega that has already been really helpful in storing and preparing materials for our other projects.
When we started getting serious about planning to have a baby we knew we needed to find a lot that was ready to build with finished paperwork, running water, AND power nearby. We found a 3/4 acre, flat, easily build-able lot in our price range with all the amenities we needed in another community. As a bonus, the lot happened to be within walking distance of the surf spot that first made me fall in love with Nicaragua.
So when we saw that plus sign, we knew it was time to begin construction! Now it’s a race between house and baby. The baby has a two-month head start, but we are cautiously optimistic that the house will be able to catch up.
Check out the video for a tour of the construction site and house in progress recorded a few days ago: