Category Archives: New House

All white by me!


Well, Casa San Jorge has had a face-lift!  The “new” section has been rendered to help it fit in with the rest of the hamlet.  The only problem being is that now our house is a brilliant white and the rest of the houses are an off-white, dirty kind of colour.  We’re considering chucking some mud at it to make it look authentic!  It shouldn’t take long for it to blend in though; one dirty down pour and the house will look just the same as all the others!

Today’s jobs; fit windows, tile stairs and finish tiling the roof terrace.  All very exciting!

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I also convinced hubby to come window shopping with me to Murcia.  This is no mean feet since he doesn’t do shopping.. at all.  It all hung on a promise that if he came with me to Leroy Merlins and Ikea, I’d take him to KFC.  Doesn’t sound exciting I know, but when you realise that he LOVES his Kentucky and add that to the fact he hasn’t even seen a KFC in over a year, then maybe you’ll understand.

Unfortunately, for him, when we got there, we discovered KFC in Murcia has closed down.  This was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions.  I kid you not.  I could not have been more unpopular if I tried.  So in reality, the day consisted of two hot and bothered people stomping round Leroy Merlin’s not talking to each other and dismissing any tile/paint/kitchen choices the other cared to share.  Oh dear.  I decided it was probably best to forgo the planned trip to Ikea.  We eventually found somewhere to eat; an American themed restaurant.  A “how would you like your burger cooked,”  (definite sign this was going to be a great burger), a full rack of ribs and a €50 bill later and hubby was somewhat placated.  We even managed to have a civil conversation about kitchens – we live the life I know – and have agreed on an island/breakfast bar idea.  So I suppose that was progress.

Only a million other things we need to agree on.  Ah well, one day at a time!

Casa San Jorge, phase one complete!


Hurrah!  It seems I’ve been waiting ages to write those words – phase one complete.

It’s been exciting times in the pueblo.  The builders have finished their work and the roof terrace is almost tiled.  Naturally, because this is Spain, and the house we bought is like a million years old (well it’s only 100 years old, but you know what I mean), things didn’t quite go according to plan.  We ended up having to replace 2 ceilings/floors that we hadn’t taken into account, but in the end it was best to get things done properly.

Now, we have walls, ceilings, a new stair case AND a roof terrace!  Marvellous isn’t it?

Here’s the latest pictures:

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Now all that’s left to do is, render walls inside and out, render ceilings, strip back beams, fit windows, build interior walls, fit doors, remove garage door, chase out for electrics and water, tile floors, paint walls, fit bathroom, and fit kitchen.  Easy peasy!


Moving on a pace: Casa San Jorge


So things are moving on with Casa San Jorge.  We’ve even made a bit of money back on it by selling some of the galvanised steel roofing sheets to a chap who’s building himself a car port.  (Only a few thousand to go!)  My husband and various volunteers have stripped part of the roof of it’s old and cracked tiles and taken down the ceiling on the bit of the house we lovingly refer to as the “Frodo” end.  It’s because that part of the house was an add on (not sure when, but it’s still ancient so we can’t call it new), and has no access from the main house except via a small red door, known as the Frodo door.  It comes complete with 3 hobbit sized doors and and a sloped roof that only the smallest of people are actually able to stand upright under.  Now the roof is off, perhaps we’ll have to rename it… who knows.

Anyway, the Frodo end is going to become home to my office, the master suite complete with en-suite and a staircase which will eventually lead to a new roof terrace.  Due to the fact that only hobbits could live in it at the moment, we need to bring in some builder types to raise the roof (literally), build a stair case and sure up the floors (and the ceilings below it).  We had a quote from a chap in the village which was waaaaaay out of our price range.  I admit we started to panic a little bit, but when we told Super Sonic Steve (readers of previous posts will no doubt remember him for his ability to speak Spanish and his possession of hearing akin to a hawk’s eyesight), he laughed and said we must have misheard.  He duly phoned the builder and queried the price explaining that as we were English, we must have misunderstood.  We hadn’t.  GULP!

By some minor miracle, we managed to knock €4000 off the price with my husband offering to be one of the labourers.  We’re still not sure how this happened.  There is no way on God’s earth that a labourer gets paid €4000 for 2 week’s work, but we are definitely not complaining.  At least it’s back within budget.

Another miracle has also transpired.  The Spanish way of life means that NOTHING happens quickly. Mañana doesn’t just mean “tomorrow” here.  No, it’s a way of life.  It lends itself nicely to the slow pace of life and the fact that there is no rush to anything.  If someone tells you something will be done mañana, it really means it’ll happen some time over the next few weeks, perhaps in a month.  Never, never does it actually mean tomorrow.  My husband went to talk to the builder today and nearly fell of his chair when the answer to the question “when can you start,” was “tomorrow.”  And it wasn’t in the mañana sense of the word either.  He really means tomorrow.  As in the day after today.  Bloody hell!

I’m having a little lie down to get over the shock!  I’m also having another ciggie to calm my nerves since this is when the real stuff starts and we start spending some real money.  EEEEK!  Wish us luck!

Building a new house…. virtually


I’ve been playing with a new piece of software I found on t’interweb.  Sweet Home 3d is something Google threw up for me.  I’ve tried a few of these programs, even before I had an actual house of my own to design – well I am a girl after all.  These programs allow even the most amateur of designer to play grown-up dolls houses!  This particular program has a host of furniture and house features ready to download.  It also allows you to import from other similar programs like Google 3D Warehouse, meaning you can find even the most odd of features for your virtual house.  Sweet Home 3D can also produce photos of your masterpiece as well as videos in the form of virtual visits.

So I’ve been playing with my new found software and my first order of business was to attempt to create a virtual representation of Casa San Jorge as it is now.  Of course, my house has wobbly walls and a dogleg that only seems apparent from the outside – inside it feels relatively straight, so what I managed to come up with isn’t exact,but it kind of works.

Here’s what I’ve managed to generate so far:

Ground floor

First Floor

Pretty cool huh?

I’m so excited (and I just can’t hide it!): St George’s Day hails new beginnings


Some of you might remember my January post where I talked about secret projects in the offing.  Well, yesterday we finally signed on the dotted line and bought our very first house – ever!  I say house…. that may take a little imagination. We’ve actually bought an old cortijo (farmhouse), which hasn’t been lived in by man or (thankfully) animal for a VERY long time.  It needs a bit (that may be optimistic) of work, but we are both sooo I excited about the project I can hardly explain myself.

After a few months of waiting and some very useful, “I think I might know who owns that,” conversations with some Spanish friends, we finally had our appointment at the Notary in Almeria, to sign the deal.  It seemed fate that it should fall on St George’s day.

The trip to the notary was an experience.  We had our trusty translator with us (Spanish Speaking Steve of Super-sonic Hearing) and our other Spanish friend, who is conveniently friends with the vendors with us to help.  Well I say help, I think Steve may have only come because we promised to buy him a Burger King whilst we were up in the big smoke – we don’t get out much round here – does it show?

So we all (the seller, her brother, her solicitor, our Spanish friend Tere, Supersonic Steve, my husband and I) cram ourselves into a room filled with dusty law tomes and boxes of files and a notary who wobbles his head when he writes.  (Steve and I notice this quite early on in the proceedings and have to spend the rest of the time looking at our feet in case we start laughing.)  The notary reels of all the clauses and caveats, every nods sombrely even though he pronounces my middle name as Louse not Louise, we hand over a cheque and sign on the dotted line.

Next, we all filed out of that room into another room, on the recommendation of the Notary (who is a government official) to complete the rest of the transaction in CASH and away from official eyes.  Completely bizarre, but apparently very common practice here.  You agree a price, then you agree the price you’re going to officially declare, then you pay the rest in cash and no one is any the wiser.  Now, we’re no strangers to bargains (read dodgy deals) but the fact that this happened in an official’s building, just not whilst he was watching is almost laughable.  Still we did get an amazing deal on the house, so I guess it’s a good thing.

I’ve shown these pictures to friends and family who’s reactions have varied from “wow, how exciting being able to do it all from scratch,” and “blimey that’s gonna be a lot of work,” to “why the hell are you buying the Blair Witch house?”  Ho hum.  I hope the chap who came up with that comparison will eat his words when it’s all finished!

So here we go, presenting Casa San Jorge (could we really call it anything else?) in it’s current- slightly unloved – state.

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