Last week I told you why we bought our home on Isla Mujeres. The secret vow renewal, the meet and greet with the island’s real estate agent (you know, just to get our feet wet), and then the “on a whim” decision to purchase an oceanfront property on an island in Mexico! Even as I write those words, I get chill bumps! What could we have been thinking? Well, turns out that we were thinking crystal clear. We made an offer on the home in October and with the help of our knowledgeable agent and a competent lawyer and accountant on the mainland, we were homeowners mid January. The negotiations were relatively easy, but the paperwork required a little more patience. By Mexican law, all legal documents must be written in spanish. Makes perfect sense… we were doing business in Mexico; but of course, we spoke (at that time) very little spanish, so every document (and there were many) had to be reviewed by all parties concerned in both languages. So with a wing and a prayer, we were finally all satisfied, and it was ours… we owned a Mexican casa. Now what? Here’s the next chapter.
During the four months waiting for the sale to close, I had been pouring through articles and design books with a Mexican theme. Though a beach house, I had never desired a beachy look... you know... white walls, starfish over the doorways, shower curtains with whimsical mermaids. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with that, but I like color. I dream it, I smell it, I taste it... and this IS Mexico, so I dove in… turquoise, saffron, celadon, fuchsia, silver, gold, the works. My pictures reflected that eccentric, perhaps bohemian feel and I had every intention of seeing my Mexican Casa become just that; a Mexican Casa that happened to be beachside. So with a plane ticket in hand, I boarded a flight to Isla the day after closing. My bags were full of items to begin the transition of making this house ours. I packed work clothes and I was on my way to this four month remodel journey. I will never forget as I sat on the top deck of the ferry that transports visitors from the mainland to Isla, a trip which I had been doing for years, feeling an absolute rush of fear anchored by a sense of anticipation, an anxiousness to explore new avenues and a sense of peace at the journey we had begun. I texted my husband with my humble thoughts and then as the ferry approached the island, that we were now a part of, I caught my eye searching the unchanging shoreline for a glimpse of the project that we had never expected to be ours!
Our property managers had arranged a meeting with one of the local palapas (a palm leaf roof, held up my massive logs for outdoor living) builders on the island, but that was at the beginning of the following week, thank goodness. For now I needed time to soak up this space, this shape, this example of simple island living at its best.
I stepped to the back patio and stared as far as the eye could see at the sheer mass of God’s creation. These panoramas were mine and I drank it drop by drop. This casa had wonderful livability just as it was, but now I had the opportunity to actually live in this space, embrace it and create the rhythm that we wanted this casa to project.
So for the next several days, I just lived there. I heard the sounds, smelled the smells and dreamed of my next step. I have always felt that before any remodel takes place, it is necessary to live in the space to feel its natural flow and only then decide which transformations were truly required. I poured through the pictures of inspiration that I had brought and spent considerable time just looking at other island spaces. Did they fit in the landscape seamlessly? Did they flow with the vibe of the island? Were they unassuming, yet beckoning me to enter? All of that mattered to us. We wanted our casa to evoke warmth and calm, yet be bold enough to signal a second glance. I used my transition time wisely and when the palapas meeting began the next week, I had my dream pics in hand, while voicing my desire for the addition of the upstair palapas to flow effortlessly with our home, as well as the other established ones. The pics I will share for this phase will seem like quite a mess.. the truth is, I was kinda of living in a mess. The new items I had brought, suddenly paired with existing ones, were only a hint to me what was to come. But I embraced every single moment. Enjoy our story as the layers unfold. Next week, I will take you upstairs as the palapas builders work their magic. Wait until you see what they uncovered as they sawed a bump off a log. And the amazing achievement of getting those massive logs to the second level. Stay tuned!! -E