Remodeling an abandoned house
By: Fernando Felix – Arquitect
It was the first time at the property with a Coldwell Banker Riveras agents and a potential buyer. They needed a professional house inspection to answer a very clear request: “Is this investment worth it? Should we buy it or not?” One look at the house and I thought: Why? Why me?
Not yet comprehending the complexity of the project, I looked at the house from the outside; construction showed us a broken iron door and fence, stained walls, a few rusted iron bars popping out from some corners, a bunch of broken or nonexistent roof tiles, a very damaged traditional fountain… and so on, a very bleak overview indeed, in fact, kind of scary.
Inspection process had begun. We proceed downstairs to the main level and almost immediately realized that my expectation was a reality: clearly a much damaged house after Hurricane Odile in 2014 that destroyed pretty much everything in its way. Almost two years later of zero maintenance or repairs, the sun, wind and salty weather exposure had given the house this gloomy look, I was growing really weary.
We walked into the house thru broken wooden doors and realized my worst fears thanks to a stale odor and desolated scenery: dirty clay floors covered with dried mud, peeled plastered walls, sand everywhere and nonexistent windows made me feel even more disappointed. I have to admit that all throughout the tour, nervous laughter yet a very positive attitude about the potential of the house was vividly present in the clients’ faces. My job as an architect resides first and foremost in objectively evaluating every situation to give them an expert opinion so they can make a decision; my ability and knowledge will come to play later in order for them to achieve their restoration project.
Then I saw it: a stunning Sea of Cortez view in front of me, with a perfect blend of blues and greens dominating the horizon over the main terrace, and as in everything in life, all that was missing was just a simple attitude change. “Achievable” was all I said. A whole “new start” came over me. Clients were smiling again, actually, they had been smiling all along, it was me who was distracted and did not notice it before. Moving on we went into the “master bedroom” – they knew that was the best spot for it, an amazing ocean view confirmed that it was a good idea. A sad panorama across the house remained, but it didn’t matter anymore, an alluring ocean view call was more impressive and it kept drawing us back to it. Main level was done, it was time to go downstairs passing a wooden handrail barely standing and leading us to the guest bedrooms. It was worse than the upper level, same repair items to be quoted. My perspective had changed though, I had a good feeling about the whole situation and started answering their more important questions.
Clients’ enthusiasm, vision and passion helped me understand their interest on this property, while in my mind I had already begun designing the steps to renovate a ruined house and bring it back to its grandeur. I’ve always had a lot of respect to any remodeling as you have to undo in order to create. It was then when we noticed the call of the ocean again, as if the house had been built to be set apart. The inevitable question was asked: How much does it cost to fix it? I took a deep breath and sincerely answered: “I don´t know” However, I requested a couple of days to put some numbers together to present them with a proposal. I was anxious, excited and felt a great deal of emotions for the challenge ahead.
The meeting was finished with a strong handshake and gratitude words were exchanged. When I sat by my computer with a whirlwind of ideas in my head, there were tons of things to consider, measure, draw, propose and quote. Clients were waiting for a rough number so they could make a decision whether the purchase was worth it or not.
Certainly, it took me longer to get them an estimate and at last, after a lot of meetings with feedback going back and forth, clients confirmed their vision on the project and proceed with the investment. Restoration budget was approved, services hired and the works had a defined timeline. I still look back to that day and the colorful promise of an ocean view to calm my spirit. All that followed up over the next months can be summed up with my clients’ comment:
“When we decided to purchase a house that was outdated and had been badly damaged by hurricane Odile, we knew the project would need the right team to execute it successfully. Because it was our first property in Mexico, we also had concerns about how the construction process would be managed, how much it would cost, and how long it would take. Luckily for us we were introduced to Fernando and his team at Riveras Building by MCA. Not only did Fernando understand and appreciate our vision and design for the house, but he demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the process of designing and building in Los Cabos, and the commitment it would take to develop our project so it would live up to its full potential. Without Fernando’s friendly and knowledgeable expertise, we don’t think our house would have ever lived up to our expectations. Thanks Fernando!”
Sincerely. D & J.
For more information about remodeling, design and construction services by Riveras Building by MCA, please contact us at email@example.com