Casa De McCabe – Mirador Del Bosque – Guarare Panama
Finally…the Panama house remodel is complete and turned out better than we hoped. We bought the lot and had the house built 11 years ago. Over those years, we were both still working and only able to visit one week per year, sometimes not even that. As with all things, neglect isn’t good…., particularly in this climate.
Therefore, once retired, we planned to invest in a remodel of our “Slice of Heaven”. The list of projects seemed endless at times, and we had anywhere from two to eight laborers on site every day, six days a week from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for three months! Whew!! However, the end result is well worth it.
Outside Project Number 1: Build A Concrete and Wrought Iron Wall
Jimmy designed a concrete wall that surrounds three sides of our property. The back wall is mainly wrought iron so that we can still enjoy the view. The sides are stepped down in front, with the same decorative wrought iron. There are two gates (one on each side of the house) and along the sides, there are columns spaced every four feet. This was our main project and took two laborers three months to complete. Everything was done by hand – the only machine was a concrete mixer. The footer was dug with a pickax and shovel. The blocks were stacked by hand, and the concrete was poured by the laborer hauling a 10-gallon bucket up a ladder.
Outside Project Number 2: Replace Concrete with Tile
In the wet season, it rains nearly every day. After a while, the concrete becomes covered with a dark mold. It’s easily cleaned with a pressure washer, but who wants to spend all their time washing concrete? Our neighbor had just replaced her concrete with tile and it turned out beautifully. So we decided to do the same. And then, once the new tile was laid against the existing tile, it looked so good we decided to replace it all!
Outside Project Number 3: Paint the Exterior
This is easier said than done. After several trips to various paint stores, Jim and I finally narrowed our choices down to four. We bought samples and our friend and General Contractor, William Jaen, painted four rectangles on the carport wall. After all that “discussion” it turned out our colors were extremely close. We finalized our choices and are completely happy. In fact, we like the trim color so much that everything has been painted to match (light fixtures in the carport; the frame for the house number; the plastic chain that goes up across the driveway when we’re away; the top of the planter, and much more).
Outside Project Number 4: Build an Outdoor Kitchen.
This was a late addition to the project list, and probably the one we enjoy the most.
Outdoor Project Number 6: Laundry Room and Upgrade Electric
The laundry room area is just outside the kitchen door. It includes a built-in concrete dual sink and a pony wall that separates it from the rest of the backyard space. We bought an electric, stacked, full-size, Whirlpool washer/dryer combo (to fit in the space). The unit was delivered without a plug. It seems that 220 outlets are all different, so it’s normal to have to attach a plug to the wire that comes with the unit. However, we didn’t have a 220 outlet at all…so had one installed, along with a hot water heater dedicated to the laundry room. All was well, until the brown out in our house the next day. It turned out that the electric feed from the box on the street wasn’t sufficient to carry all of our now upgraded/added equipment (washer/dryer, additional air conditioning, full-sized fridge, etc). So we had to have the line upgraded.
Outdoor Project Number 8: Storage Building
We had a lot of leftover concrete and block from the “Wall” project so instead of buying a small storage shed, we decided to build one. It turned out better than we anticipated.
Final Outdoor Project: Ground Covering
We chose the red and grey bricks shown with the assistance and guidance provided by our general contractor and are absolutely delighted with the end result.
New refrigerator with water and ice in the door; new kitchen sink; larger propane tank; new window coverings throughout; new paint throughout; space saver storage units in both bathrooms; create a home office; new air conditioners in the guest bedroom and living room; new toilets; and more odds and ends. We also invested in web-based security cameras inside and out so we can view our “Slice of Heaven” when we’re not in Panama. We also added motion-sensor security lights in the front and back.
Meet the Construction Team:
I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to the construction team…and in fact, we threw them (along with their significant others) a party at a local restaurant and hotel to thank them for a job well done.
This is our first remodeling project, and at times we couldn’t see the forest for all the trees making such a mess. However, as with most sacrifices, the end result is truly our “Slice of Heaven”. Needless to say, we are really looking forward to settling in, relaxing and just enjoying our home. A reminder to friends and family – we have a wonderfully comfortable guest room available! In fact, we’ve already had a friend from Arizona visit us for a week. He assures us the bed is very comfortable.
Well….today we replace the main air conditioning unit that finally gave out after all these years. I guess a remodel is never completely finished, right?