Good news - The plans and drawing for the house are moving along splendidly and we are really pleased with our architect. He has strong opinions but is still open to our crazy ideas and doesn't mind sketching and re-sketching as we go along. We still have issues with lack of storage space. Three kids with countless bikes, boogie boards and boat motors take up an awful lot of space that we, as yet, have not accounted for in these plans. Much to my dismay and my husband's amusement, Carlos has taken to calling the house "Casa Cacahuate". Cacahuate means peanut in Spanish and, of course, refers to the shape of the unusual opening that allows us to look down to the living area from the second floor of the house. I really hope that name doesn't stick. Although cacahuate (along with ciclopista) is one of my very favorite Spanish words, I was hoping to name our house something a bit more dignified, something more significant than "Casa Peanut"!


Carlos had a full topographical study done of the land and with that information he was able to come up with the first set of rough autoCAD drawings.

More good news - Once the house plans were put into the computer, Carlos was able to scale down the house to a more reasonable but still cavernous 5000 sqft. It's still about 30% bigger than we originally wanted to be but that does include a spacious office as well. I'm still hoping we can trim off another 1000 sqft. somewhere along the way.

The first set of autoCAD plans was considerably more angular than the sketches that we had been working on. Some of this is a natural function of the computer program. Some of the discrepancy has to do with the translation of the CAD engineer and her perceptions of what she thinks Carlos wants. After a bit of tweaking, our second set of computer aided drawings looks like this. Can you see the changes?

Now, the bad news. We lost our lot. While our initial interaction with the real estate company representing this parcel had been pleasant enough, as soon as we showed real interest in the property and started asking "buying questions" the agent demanded that we pay $2000 usd before she would even consider talking about the title or begin any price negotiations with the seller. I'm not talking about putting $2000 into escrow to hold the property off of the market until contract and titles can be reviewed. They wanted us to PAY them $2000 to sell us the land. I guess I was mistaken when I thought that all the shady "old school" real estate practices had been eliminated. Incredulous and pissed off, we handed the negotiations over to one of our attorneys who quickly pointed out the error of their ways. Feeling vindicated and righteous, we proceeded along with our design plans and waited to hear back from the seller's agent about the status of the title. After hearing nothing, our attorney placed another call in to the agency and was informed that the lot had been sold. Lovely. Another local agent did some quick recon for us and confirmed that the alleged sale was real and the property was indeed gone. Should we have played "the suckers" and just coughed up the $2000? Would we be any further along than we are now or would we be out a few thousand and still not have our land. Who knows. Back to square one.

Carlos, god bless him, didn't fire us as clients when he found out about the land. Instead, keeping on track, he fired off another set of sketches for our review. The set up of the master bedroom suite has been giving us all fits but it is too important to get "wrong".

And so we move on. The newest good news is that we have already identified another available lot in the same neighborhood. Stay tuned for the next installment.