I had been sleeping well all along. I’ve somehow been maintaining a que sera, sera kind of attitude. But last night, I found myself struggling through a fitful night, considering all the details to work out in the phase we’re entering. The “House Hunters International” fun is behind us. Now we’re on to the “Holmes on Homes” and “Design on a Dime” stage. In the house-hunting phase, money was an abstract, something we could, would, should spend. This phase will require us to supply a steady stream of real cash money.
We’ll need plenty of it, too. Many of our new friends here have implored us to skip the fancy schmancy architects and work directly with a local contractor. He in turn will deal with an architect, who as a hired hand, will draw up workable plans and get the permits. These friends indeed have done quite well working this way, but they have a talent that know we do not possess. Drawing on our experience as homeowners in the Northeast, we know what we don’t know about layout, air flow, scale or materials. I also don’t have the vocabulary
in either English or Spanish, to communicate well with a work crew. I can barely order lunch at Chaya Maya.
Now we need to choose the architect. Each architect, or architectural team, spent about three hours with us to talk, take a look at our property, and in some cases tour their works in progress. One couple took us north to a tile and stone store to explain the materials available. Another pair took us to a workroom to witness their current projects set in motion. Another brought us in to his office, where a bullpen of busy people were toiling over floor plans and design schemes. Another took lots of photos of the property and spoke extensively with the seller, who had lived there many many years. They couldn’t be more different in approach — both creatively and in business. It was impossible to compare on price. Some upcharge their costs; some do time billing. And in the end, we weren’t so interested in getting the cheapest architect; we wanted the people we felt most connected to.
The six we spent time with all struck different chords, and any would have been a reasonable choice. We then narrowed it down to a “final three,” which took a lot of discussion and debate. The final three all take on a thoughtful approach to the design, has good taste, and seems personable enough that we can work and communicate well while we’re far apart. For a good period of time, each in those three have ranked No. 1 in our minds. I think I know what we’ll be talking about during our Christmas break.
I wish I had multiple properties so I could spread out the work. People moving to Mérida are lucky to have good, solid choices when renovating a ruin.