Thursday, May 28, 2015

First post: things changed and changing things

I was asked by the woman of customs what are you bringing. Tools for carpentry, I'm learning violin making (I was smuggling 4 violin bows so needed an excuse for that too). And for how long you stay?, she asked. I'm coming to stay, did my phd in Holland and now I come back after 6 years or so. Ok my darling, (in spanish she said "mi niƱo") for this time you can pass.

Like that I brought my 60 kilos of tools, boxes, stones and the few clothes I got to start a life here. Lessons learnt: I have too much stuff and smiling to old chilean women still works like a charm.

I last lived in this house:

My mother used to have a  garden in front of the house and there was not so much dirt around. That bench you see there is pretty much standing firewood.

In front of the house there was the rose garden, nothing fancy, just grass and a few roses where the trees are now. It looks dry

Inside, the living room is the the only thing I like. Except for the ikea lamps, that is. And the social housing iron window.

 Da roof.

Then you go into the "small room", it has a "closet" made by my dad. On the bottom you see the fucked up wall and humidity stains.

 This is one window one of the renters changed. Sturdy aluminium construction that almost doesn't leak.

From the small room you have access to the toilet and the sleeping room. That fake wall was not there so it made is slightly nicer and easy to walk, more gezellig too.

That's the bedroom wall with cables for tv something like a bookshelf. Good I left most of my books so I can take that out without remorse. I had to lighten up this picture, at 4pm it's kinda dark here already

 Now it get's better. The kitchen

Those blue "tiles"  are plastic. The white death cabinets need to go asap. There is some tile fixing to do in the back and perhaps do something with the ceiling?

 A clean corner with proper electric wiring

And more abstract painting with electricity

 This one is called "white on shite"

some presents the last guy renting here left.

I need a big container for all this crap, pardon, presents from last renter.

Ok, now a look at the outside for damage assessment

First wall is actually nice.

That's the place where I want to make a winter garden / greenhouse. Something glassy and woody and squarish on top of that nice concrete floor last renter made.

 Water management

Now going behind the house.  I remember this to be green. And there was a fucsia there.

or was it here? anyway now looks slightly dead

more water control over here.

And finally, we arrived at the japanese section of the house: the roof.

And some japanese wabi sabi cabinet for what do I know. I love the proportions of this all... next to it there is a big box with OSB cover. For keeping stuff I would guess.

last picture. I'm squatting the dinning table for my tools. Counted around 17 saws. I may have a problem.

Anyway, the house downstairs was a big bummer. Need to get rid of the trash asap and start building anew and properly.

To avoid depression and breakdown, permaculture guys always recommend to start from the core out, they call it zone 0. I'm trying to do that with my room in my dad's house, then move the workbench and workshop downstairs to have my own clean and ordered space. A room of your own as Virginia said. Once that is done I can start with the wiring and insulation, if you have any ideas about the latter please share. Then make windows for the house.

If you made it till here, congratulations.

So, new settings, new look. I changed the top of the blog and added some pages that I found interesting to stick up there. They will be updated soon.

Now it's time for some tea and get going with that cleaning.


  1. While I'm thinking about it and since you ask, you got problems coming trying to insulate that kind of construction from what I can tell. In short I would stay away from the walls, fix the window situation shutting them up good with shutters outside and in the winter heavy curtains, insulate the roof from the outside with cellulose, the floors, also a big problem, I would break them out short of that maybe wood, but it's going to get mould beneath, not the end of the world though.

  2. The new digs look fantastic! I see so much opportunity here, and solidly built ( or at the very least there has been a use of " real" materials). Compared to the flimsy, termite riddled shacks here in Hawaii, you have the makings or a very real home. Get the water draining away from the foundation and many of the those moisture issues will be gone forever.

    While on the subject of moisture and peeling paint......

    Around here on the wet side of Hawaii (obviously I am talking about warm'ish temps and high humidity), the old timers talk of the need to AVOID paint, as it encourages mold and the growth of mold. Unpainted wood wil absorb excess moisture to a degree, starving the mold bacteria of one of the necessity ingredients for optimal growth. Painted wood here feels "wet" all of the time, perfect conditions for mold. I think that philosophy might extend to concrete and masonry as well. All things must breath, right? could unfinished surfaces be the next "new/old" wisdom?

    Also, love your approach towards improving your environment using the design philosophy of permaculture. This serves to break the projects into more manageable segments, something that I am sorely in need of myself. Start close, then expand outward and each days accomplishments cascade into becoming an integrated whole.

    Great stuff! We want to visit ( and I'll bring an armload of old saws,haha)!


  3. After visiting Don's house I find concrete really dead. Clay kinds of breathe good air into you, I feel here inside a metal box.

    I'm slowly convincing myself that this is a house only good for summer and maybe we make the winter vacation in Bolivia for 3 months a reality. I don't feel like investing so much energy into something I won't be living for long. Santiago became a really crazy city, with pollution a la beijin and more cars than NY.

    And the wood has other properties:

    I was reading somewhere about cutting boards that wood develops this antibacterial/antifungal properties to survive so adding it to your house seems a multifunctional idea (again, staking functions as in permaculture).

    Please do so, bring the saws and the family and come to enjoy a dry hot summer. And we could do a trip to the south of Chile, where the forest are, real beautiful.