A bit about my new house, part 1.

17 June 2019

On 7 February I signed and paid for a small one story house  at 13 de septiembre, #400, Pasajuegos, Niños Heroes in Oaxaca de Juarez.  It is officially 1 block outside the historic center of the the city and next to a cultural and arts center, La Calera. I bought it from the owner of the Calera.

The street, 13 de septiembre, dead ends at the Panamerican highway, up the hill.  There is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway there. All the traffic is foot traffic.  People who live on the other side of the highway cross the bridge and walk down the street to Niños Heroes or Madero to find public transportation.  Walking is the way most people get around Oaxaca.

Looking up the street to the Panam highway, the pedestrian bridge and the Cerro del Fortin.

It took 4 months to separate 5 m strip off the back of the property, which he wanted to keep as it oversees the service entrance to the Calera.  The gentleman that takes care of the Calera is building an apartment and workshop on this piece of land (5m x10m).

My house has a large master bedroom suite with bath, 2 more bedrooms , 1 more baths, a closet sized kitchen and a hallway. No living or dining rooms.

Second bedroom and bath

Third bedroom, with termite tunnels up the wall due to the wood floor.

Master bath

Master bath


Closet sized kitchen


Exciting backyard

Actually the concept of a backyard do not exists here, this was used for parking.

What you can not see in the in the pictures, this small house has 4 different heights of floors.  Common here, the house was probably built piece meal and they just put the floor at an easy height.  You took a step up or down everytime you went from one room to another. The Master suite has arched ceilings, a charming old style.  But also an indication that it was built first.

I had been working with a architect, who not only designs the modifications and oversees the construction, and we came to the house and made some holes to see what was under the wood floor(a curious thing here) and where the reinforced concrete columns were. He came back with workers and found many scorpions living between the floor boards and the slab.

Large black scorpion near the backdoor.


I was busy getting all the services changed over to my name.  He had an uncle die in Veracruz and went off , he was executor of the will, and had to go to court.  Then he disappeared. By the beginning of April, 2 months after I bought the house I decided I couldn’t wait any more and I was going to move to my house renovations or no.  I gave notice at my apartment that I would be out by 15th of May.  I started looking for another architect.

I had no idea how long I was going to live in the house before we renovated it, so I fumigated, had the water system cleaned (there are both underground and rooftop tanks since the water comes from the city once a week.  Three months of neglect and the rooftop tank was empty and the solar water heater broke!  Anyhow I got things in working order and moved here on the 13th of May.

I bought a fridge and a washing machine (one delivery instead of two).  I brought both cats, Lola and Ixtle. Ixtle was terrorized.   Life was immediately better for me, ice, a stove that could brown meat and a washing machine.

I talked to 2 architects, and they both presented me plans for the remodel.  One’s plans make me cry and the other was exciting.  The exciting one is from a couple, both architects, she does the design and office work and he oversees the construction.  They were wanting to start work on the 20th of May, I had them wait until the 27th.

Exterior design

The plan

We took the 3rd bedroom and combined it with the kitchen and added a new space to make an open concept great room.  In addition there is a large covered terrace and folding doors so that it can all open into one large space.  The style is minimalist, modern and industrial.  No fancy materials, polished concrete floors and the sinks and counters too.  There are skilled artisans here who can do that kind of work.  The  floors have to been torn out to make them all one level, and the architects is taking advantage to put wiring and plumbing in before the floors.

So I am living in the other part of the house  while they work on the master bedroom suite.  They gutted it the first week, everything out of the bath and bedroom including the floors.  Only thing kept were the walls.  But the location and size of the windows and doors is all changed.  So basically my master bedroom space now is a muddy cave. And the backyard is full of construction materials; rubble, sand , gravel, wood,….

Backyard, aka construction materials.

But there is progress everyday, the master bath, has a new door , window, floor.  New electrical and plumbing went in before the floor.  They have poured the counter top, sink, shower wall too.   The shower wall has two niches, one on each side.  They are now starting the finishing layer of cement on the walls.

The sad news is that Ixtle ran away.  Too much with all the construction for him. He seems to be running with a group of cats in the Calera.  I don’t know where he came from and I don’t know where he has gone.  He spent two years with me.



3 Responses to “A bit about my new house, part 1.”

  1. spixl Says:

    ¡Felicidades, Karren!


  2. Great news that finally there is progress! It sucks to live in a place while construction is going on, but you can sure keep an eye on what’s happening. I’m glad you found some new good architects. Perhaps Ixtle will come back at least to visit when things settle down. I’ll bet Lola sticks pretty close to you!


    • Lola was sad for a few days after Ixtle went on walk about, she didn’t eat. She spends the day under the bed covers and only comes out at night after the workers have left.
      I brought home a new , 6 week old kitten today. Have yet to find out what she thinks.


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