Webpage for Khouse – http://www.rentalnosara.com/index.html

KHouse now has a webpage: http://www.rentalnosara.com/index.html

I made the page, so its pretty primitive, but my go to was when it doubt, use beautiful pictures.

Further, I paid for the thing and Khouse was always a working title, though the title for, yikes, 5 years.  Using my awful Spanish, I decided to call it Albazando- it should mean reaching.  Why?  Seriously?  That needs an explaination?

The whole project has been a reach.  From the initial property buy for which I paid 1000 for a 30 day option, when I only had 1112 dollars in my bank account total.  Then to the contract I negotiated in high school spanish in Nicoya.  Then to the financing, to finding the perfect architect, to overcoming permits, time, costs, set backs, etc etc etc.

Reaching because its unfinished, always will be.  An action, not a noun.  A movement and not a thing.

Furniture is paid for.  They couldn’t get the couch done so I need to start looking again, but I have barstools, easy chairs, lunges, daybeds, beds…and well, night tables.  Alex Bravo came up with some last minute approches to put some lovely finishing touches on the bedroom.  Jo from Villa Mango made a perfect Table for the dining room. Its all good.  None cheap.  Ill get some pictures up eventually.

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Furniture in Paradise

You know what is hard?

Finding, buying or even locating decent furniture in Costa Rica.

Over and over, when asked, people will tell me that I have to head into San Jose…a mere 5-8 hours away depending on traffic.  Now, admittedly Nosara CR is not exactly the consumer mecca that SF CA is, but this is the time equivalent of telling me I have to drive to LA to find furniture.

I have written about this before, but I am still struggling with it.  I found two shops that will fab furniture.  Its hard to have any feedback from the process.  Neither will give me plans or an image of what they will build, or even confirm orders.  Sigh.

I put in some orders.  I hope they beat the renters.

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April showers bring May showers. And Michael

So another visit.   It was the low season, which I loved.  Rains once a day, usually at night, everything is green and the streets are largely empty.  The first person I spoke to in Nosara was Agnes, of Villa Mango.  She finished the conversation with “Welcome home”.

How about that.  It is a home.  And with K House, I have seen a vision become a reality, with a lot of people helping in the translation.

First things first.  The house looks amazing.  Stunning.  Just a perfect personification of the concepts that I highlighted when I first spoke with Guillermo at DatumZero. Serene.  Compact.  Airy.  Inspiring.  {I apologize that word press will not let me change the orientation of the images).

Stunning right?  The furniture is all on loan from Lot61.  It looks great, though eventually I am going to have to buy my own.  Furniture in CR is breathtakingly expensive, but I have already covered that, and will cover it again later.

So that was it.  I got to enjoy it.  There was  a moment, after Agnes and Jo of Villa Mango had left and my folks had returned from a surf lesson when I was sitting at the table, looking out over the jungle and I thought “Jesus Christ…we did it”.

While I was there, I worked a lot.  I formed a Costa Rican Sociedad Anonima with my father for the property.  No cheap, $500, but necessary.  Now I can open a bank account as soon as I get together my W-2 and a couple other documents.  Who knew that was going to be such a pain in the ass.
Some of the landscaping has been done, bermuda grass on the back near the acera and on the hill to hold down the dust and give it a softer touch.  Some tall grass and a few potted plants.  We used the Vivero down town, but I think the next phase will be out of Nicoya, where it is cheaper.

I brought some more tools, and hoofed 98 pounds of airline carried loot to Nosara (Mainly cooking sets and tools, plus a stereo).

I also met with Agnes and Jo of Villa Mango.  They are my property managers and give me confidence that I will be able to maintain the place.  They are a really great couple, and ooze competence.  They are able to look at the land, and the house, and see the specific problems the weather will create.  We are trying to address those, as budget and Allah, permits.

Now, it was not all good.  There are a million small details that need to be addressed before the house is done.  The most pressing and painful is that the horizontal volume’s walls, which end in glass and Louvres, don’t connect, and don’t go to the ceiling.  Bugs choke the house at night, looking for the lights.  There are simple fixes, like putty between gaps and silicon gel, and then more eleborate ones, like taking the screens to the ceiling, and making the sections line up.  Some of it looks like mistakes from Electroholdings.  Corner cutting that led to miss matches, gaps in door frames, spaces under and between windows.  Yick- so frustrating.

And there are other problems:  The dishwasher still isn’t hooked up, and now it looks like the whole counter top doesn’t have a support on the left side, so it is bowing.  The floors needs resanding and leveling.  Water seeps in some walls because of a stuck drain.  The inset in the kitchen is ruined by water and rain, and there are are little niggling ones:  Lights that don’t work, pulls missing, locks that don’t etc.

Datum Zero seems aware of most if not all of these, and it looks like the intend to address them.  The problem is that I won’t be down there to approve the punch list.  And to think my January trip was supposed to be a final review.

The house looks great.  It was shot for Su Casa- an architectural magazine.  It is open and cool in the day, and tight at night.  It has stunning views and reads like a tree house from the horizontal.  The plunge pool works fine and was a treat to use.  Its 95% right, so lets end on that note

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(Not so) Final Walk Through

I just got back, last night at 10pm, from Playa Guiones.  I learned a lot about my house.  I lived in it, the first two nights sleeping on my surf bag, the next 3 on a queen mattress.  I woke each morning in the Master bedroom of Khouse.  There were usually pizotes outside, I think attracted there by the mound of trash left by the contractors.

The house was glorious.  The hardwood floors were stunning, the kitchen spacious, the view complimented, the proportions and functionality right on. The house as christened with Ashley, Ariel and er, Kim was it?, and me on the terrrace drinking Tona and smoking cigars while watching the sunset.  No pictures were taken.

There was, however, still much work to do on the house before it is ready for a real walk through.  Lights were missing, stairs were not installed, there were no windows in the master bedroom door or shower, etc.  And there are parts of the house that already, clearly, need to be Nosara-ized- gutters installed, gaps in the ceiling where geckos will take up residence closed up, etc. Frankly, I cannot see it being ready for inhabitants until the end of January at the best, and likely the end of February.

But that is ongoing and I will follow it on the blog.

In the mean time, I will post some images.

The house from the drive way.The drive way was too steep for my rental yaris, so I parked on the road.  But you can see here the gallery pass through, in teak, the rusted tower and the horizontal of the living room and guest rooms.

This is blurry.  I don’t know why I didn’t get a better image.  Yes I do.  It was 5:30am and I was late to the airport.

This shows the master bed, gallery, and kitchen from the “front”- ocean side- of the house. It looks great.  The gallery was a really perfect piece and allows the whole space to open up and breath.

The length of the house, going, from right to left, living room, guest room, guest bath, master guest room.

The kitchen from below.

Stunning floors right?  The thing in the middle is the entertainment center area, with a sliding door (not finished), which slides left to close off the guest bedroom, which converts into the living room when not being used.

The zendo.  I am not sure if these are the final floors or not.  The windows, as shown, open.  How to clean them, I have no idea.


This is what was working, which was most of it.  The project is grand and good.  It was, frnakly, bigger than I had anticipated.  Nothing wrong with the execution, I just had problems imagining the size.  Its the dry season and you can see more of it from the road than I had anticipated, but hopefully landscaping will help.

I spoke to landscapers, neighbors and property management teams while I was there.  I got some interesting advice, and will implement and update.  The neighbors, regrettably, mentioned that they believed that the work crew, while living on my property, had committed some thefts.  I don’t know that this is true or not, but my neighbors were definitely irked with me.

Ok, I gotta work.  Next post on the things that were NOT working so well.

Pura Vida.

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I leave for Nosara tonight.  In the mean time, I have a few images to tease with until I get back and add more.
Alex sourced appliances and even mattresses for me.  I am bringing down sheets and other Ikea goodies.  I am also bringing down my fish, which I surfed for the last time in Norcal waters on Thursday. Its a better fit for Nosara.

Am I excited?  Oh hell yes.  The only damper is that I am missing my daughter for a week.

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!. !!. !!&*$#&**!!!.

That’s all I have to say.

No wait…there might be something.

Ok- here is this.  I hope to take up residence late December.  I need to somehow sort out 3 couches, two rugs, several lamps, cooking equipment, a car and other sundries before then.

I…oh, who cares, on with the pictures.


Right.  RIGHT!


The rusting steel looks great.  It will really pop when the foliage grows back (BTW there are pictures there of the howlers that are already returning.  It was a necessary evil to scare them off for a while).


The white of the concrete gives a very traditional tico look to the place.  And the dark woods pull the horizontal element back into the forrest and make the windows looks like bat’s eyes.


The gallery space (the breeze through patio), is was and shall be, a great creative direction by Datum zero.  The tower in many ways gets the first attention, but the gallery brings the whole house together and makes it special.  Its genius.  I wish I had thought of it.  Oh well, I thought of hiring DatumZero…so I get at least part credit.

Its not even done and its begging to be lived in.

SSSSShhh, maybe there is a guest shower in the woods.  I am neither confirming or denying that rumour.  I am just spreading it.


There are perhaps better pictures in the gallery below.

The marine plywood (the ceiling), really works.  I mean it really looks great.  And yes, those are teak floors. 

Celebrity hot tub club.

I love the sight line in the hallway.  Its busy, direct and porous.


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Cost/benefit of shipping items to Costa Rica

Initially I thought that I would outfit most of K House in Costa Rica.  That said, there are not many furniture options near Nosara.  I think one would need to head all the way into San Jose, and even then…who knows what you find, plus you have costs to ship it to the coast.

So then I started to price out shipping.  On recommendation, I recently checked out Mario Barquero Enterprises.  They pick up in most states in the US (at your house I believe), and ship to location in Costa Rica.  Not a port, to your door.  So that was nice and impressive. And I feel a whole hell of a lot more comfortable with Craigs list in the US and my English than trying to replicate the same in Costa Rica in high school spanish.  So, I looked into it.  Here are some rough estimates I got back:

Hi Michael, I have your estimate:

2 full sized couches (7 foot).
2 stuffed chairs
4 floor lamps
3 9 x 12 rugs
7 30 x 30 x 30 boxes
2 end tables (24 x 24 x 24)
3 desk chairs

total $5.500.00

3 queen sized mattresses   $900.00 3 queen mattresses only ($300.00 each one)

a truck   $1800.00 (if is no more that 16f long, more that 16f long is $100.00 per additionally foot, and you has to drive the truck to Santa Ana, CA we move the Santa Ana, CA to San Jose CR, This price none incluides the insurance, it is $100.00 for each $5000.00 the truck value)

two surfboards – one 6 feet, the other 9 feet long. $400.00 both

Using just the surfboards as a measure, that is, OUCH.  I mean, thats as expensive as Delta, and Delta has a whole department dedicated to gouging surfers.

The household goods, well, that doubles the price of the goods.  There is the ease and comfort of knowing the US market.  I am still thinking about this.  Outfitting an entire house is not easy.  or cheap.  Or even desirable to do all at once.

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