29 July 2014

Welcome to Our Ecuador House

Move-in day.

It feels dang good to be able to write today.

As you can see, I just haven't been able to pull it off lately.

I was thankful for this sweet encouragement that came in from a reader in Montana:

I realized this morning that I have not read a post from the two of you for a month! A whole month without your great words and stories.
Last post was about moving into the house...
Hope that all with you both is well and good.

Ugh, what amazing readers we have here. The kindness is so much that I can hardly believe it sometimes.

Since I last wrote, we completed our move, went on an unexpected trip to the Ecuador's coast again. And then went on an unexpected trip to NYC for 10 days. It has all been amazing beyond words. But goodness, the pace of it all has even been shocking to me. 

We are now back in Cuenca and resuming our efforts to get settled into this house and into this new life of ours.



So far, living in a house is freaking awesome. I had no idea. As an urban dweller, I used to swear off houses and feel they were so wasteful and thought all anyone needed was about 900 square feet. :) I'd like to think I still believe that, but I have to say, having space and storage coming out of our ears has been completely and utterly a joy.

I thought I'd welcome you to our space here and share with you where we are now living.

Welcome to our Ecuador House....





It took us awhile to find this place. We wanted light, South American charm, real wood floors, ceilings that didn't feel super low, a workable kitchen, and a space for gardening - all things that we were finding to be quite rare in Cuenca, actually! But somehow we got all those things and more. We couldn't be more delighted that we found this place after a lot of diligent looking.

Above is the living room and here is the large entry. I have lots of plans for houseplants. :) There is a park across the street and it is just FULL of children and families playing and laughing all day long. I just love hearing them while we sit in this front room.




I love the staircase that wraps around and the HUGE skylight above it. Sunlight just floods in and I sometimes want to just stand in it.





When we first moved in, if I went down to the kitchen from our bedroom, it took so long that it reminded me of walking down to our corner bodega in Brooklyn. :)



There is a fireplace which makes us feel so darn spoiled. The evenings generally cool off a bit here in the Andes, so it always feels like the perfect weather to light a fire.



Upstairs there is this open space that we are going to use as our own yoga loft! I shake my head on this one because, what on earth? Our own yoga loft? :)



Here is the dining room - where we will soon have our first ever dining room table. What a luxury that feels like to me. Oh, to sit. A surface. A gathering. A set table. This will be so fun and new and exciting! And now you can tell I'm a New Yorker.  :)



The dining room connects to the kitchen, where we have been cooking up a storm while listening to podcasts (and on a good day, this is where we practice some dance moves.) Never in our lives have we had more space to chop vegetables!!! haha. I do fantasize about gutting the kitchen completely, however. I would do it in two seconds if we owned the place. But we're just renting here and well, my practical brain has a hard time investing money in a property I don't own. But man, holding back is an adjustment for me. I've always owned my homes and have never rented as an adult, so this is a first for me. Hopefully a renovation project will be in my future again. For now, I'm trying to focus on all this cupboard space and my husband skidding across the floor in his socks from time to time . :)





There are several bedrooms in this house. Eeks - way more than we need. One of the rooms we'll use as an artist studio (we plan to take art classes). One room we're using as a mud room. One will be a guest room. Honestly, this feels kind of ridiculous. Though we do have some other ideas on how we can use the space, too. We hope to open up our home to anyone who would like to visit. More on that soon. 



There are FIVE bathrooms. FIVE! Again, completely ridiculous. And how I want to gut renovate them all. I lay in bed at night and think of white bathrooms with claw foot tubs, modern sinks, and hand painted South American floor tiles. Though the reality is, it felt like an accomplishment just getting the bathrooms stocked with five hand towels, loads of toilet paper and bars of soap.




And now for a really lovely part of the house...

This is an outdoor dining area. For now we have some hammocks hanging up that we got in Otavalo. That is precisely where I find Danny each morning as he catches up on his reading. :)





And here is the backyard, which will soon be the home to a bunch of new heirloom seeds I brought back with me from New York. It still seems hard to imagine, but if we can become gardeners we just might have an entire collection of heirloom tomato varieties, rainbow carrots, several types of melon, zucchini, tomatillos, chili peppers, oh my!




So that is our new home. We're really happy and grateful to be here.

Please come visit.  :)

41 comments:

  1. So happy to read your update... you were missed! I'm glad all is well with you both. Your new home sounds and looks wonderful. I especially love the yoga studio and outdoor dining area. Enjoy decorating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca - thank you so much. It was so fun to see your note when we woke up this morning. :)

      Delete
  2. How beautiful! Thanks for welcoming us into your new home! Can't wait to see how it looks once you've made it yours. I'm salivating over the idea of that yoga loft! How perfect for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the yoga loft is off the charts. We actually just used it for the first time today and it was SO great. Danny got us a projector while we were in NY so we're using a big wall to project various classes from youtube. It worked out so well. If we ever build a house, we decided we totally want to work a yoga loft into the plans. It is such a luxury and saves a lot of time and money getting to and from a yoga class.

      Delete
    2. What a cool idea!! You should project stars up there sometimes, too! I love that idea of the yoga classes.

      Delete
  3. Your new home is what dreams are made of! Wooden floors? Outdoor dining? A garden for lounging, reading and growing? A fire place? A YOGA LOFT? you guys, I cannot wait to hear more about your adventures in Ecuador and see a table set for a meal with friends in that dining room of yours. I have missed hearing from you on your blog, have been checking back again and again. Hope you enjoy settling into your new space and enjoy making it a home!

    I emailed you recently but fully understand you have had a busy time/probably get so many emails. I hope to hear back from you one day, though :)

    In the mean time, I will keep dreaming of my own place with wooden floors!

    Best wishes, Anna. (England)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Anna, your note made me smile a ton. THANK YOU for your excitement and kindness. We seriously miss being in touch with our readers when life gets a little crazy around here. Thanks for reconnecting with us today.

      Delete
  4. Such a beautiful house . looking forward to many more updates please!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah that is DREAMY. So amazing. And yes its a lot of space but you guys will enjoy it and use it well. Just think of it like this, you didn't build this space, it already existed so someone had to use it. If you guys weren't going to, it might not have been used at all...even MORE of a waste. So enjoy. Can't wait to see more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is so beautiful! I'm so excited for you, and totally know how you feel with all of this because we just bought our first house a couple weeks ago! We've moved in, and have big plans for gardens, painting, updating... But we just love our house. It's a 1952 rambler that has been beautifully preserved and updated. We LOVE it! And getting a nursery ready for a little one coming in February...
    Thanks for sharing your lovely home! I really am ecstatic for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, a new house!! How dreamy. And yay for owning it. To me, that is the BEST. You can truly settle in and grow some roots. A 1952 rambler sounds amazing. And so does having new baby. Wow, yay, congrats!

      Delete
  7. You can furnish bedrooms, one by one, and put it on airbnb and adv on your blog as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yesss...wouldn't that be cool? We have been thinking the same thing. Thanks for the encouragement. We really wouldn't mind having some guests from time to time.

      Delete
  8. wow! what a beautiful space! so happy for you guys.
    just wanted to share this other blog I follow, as they plant a variety of tomatoes every year and share their planting techniques and stuff. could possibly be of some use as you get your garden started :) http://mycakies.com/2012/06/this-years-tomatoes/
    and yea! airbnb :) i'm sure you'd be great hosts!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am DYING over Cakies. That family is completely darling. And what a gorgeous/wonderful blog. Thanks so much for sharing. I should share this with my sisters, as well, as I have two who homeschool their children.

      Delete
  9. So Lovely. by "more on that later" in regards to the space, does that mean you are going to use, one, or two, or three of the rooms for people to come and experience yoga, etc with you guys!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! haha!! We would LOVE IT LIKE CRAZY if you (or any of our readers) wanted to come visit. Please seriously do it. I'm going to post some details soon.

      Delete
    2. YAY!! yes, I would personally LOVE to :)! I have vacation coming up ;).

      Delete
  10. My mind is exploding over how awesome this is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, so glad you like it. :) We feel so lucky to be in this house. Of course the price here in Ecuador makes it more doable. But we're glad to have the experience.

      Delete
    2. What does that cost? I have heard that it is much cheaper there.

      Delete
    3. Yes, it is much, much cheaper, which is why we are here. We are paying what most college students probably pay to share an apartment with a roommate. :)

      Delete
  11. What a gorgeous home! Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm sure that as much as you want to renovate, the love and peace you and Danny will bring the house will make it feel better the longer you live there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, thanks for such a wonderful comment. You are SO right. And having love and peace is by far the most important thing, anyway. We're definitely trying to bring that kind of light to this home and have talked about it a few times. So far so good. And hopefully we can share that with others, too. This Friday we'll have our first gathering here. At church we got asked to lead a large group of young single adults. So we'll have a get together with them this week.

      Delete
  12. Oh my gosh! This is like the neatest thing I have ever seen! The character is OOZING through my computer screen :)

    What a wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL opportunity for you both. So happy for you!

    And the sunlight… oh, the sunlight. It is dreamy! I DO hear you on remodeling. I used to do contract design and a house like that is already amazing, but with a little updating, it would be even more wowzers. But I agree, enjoy it for what it is :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. **New construction design** not contract design. Sorry :)

      Delete
    2. You are the CUTEST!! And I'm with you on the sunlight. Years ago in my first home, after living partially below the ground floor of a brownstone on a shady street, I learned how absolutely LIFE CHANGING it is to have a sunny home. Every home decision since then was based on sunlight. Also! what a cool job you had. I'm jealous. :)

      Delete
  13. Oh my goodness Mara!! What a dreamy home. That door, the staircase, yoga loft, outside living area... So wonderful! :) we REALLLLLY need to make our way down to Ecuador!!! -Elena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elena, we would be over the moon to have you guys visit! I'm serious. It would be SO fun. Come stay for a month! We could go hiking and camping in the Andes or visit the Amazon.

      Delete
  14. Hi Mara I am originally from Colombia!!! :) but I have been leaving in Utah for almost 20 years!!! I am jealous of your new home and your new opportunity to enjoy my cultura and people. You will LOVE It there..... BTW why did you guys moved there? Much blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! So cool. We got to visit Colombia recently and absolutely fell in love with it. Hello, Guatapé?? SOOO charming. We also stayed in the most lovely town of San Carlos as well as Medellin. Oh my, I've never seen a city quite like Medellin.

      So, we moved to Ecuador as the costs here are so low that we are able to live off of some rental income we have in the U.S. It allows us to take a sabbatical of sorts to travel, work on our blog, work on projects, pursue some spiritual and creative endeavors, etc. Having time to do all this is unreal, and we're so grateful for this opportunity.

      Delete
  15. Such a beautiful home!
    I'm just wondering, how it feels for you living in such luxury in a country with such great poverty? I'm just wondering, how you deal with the ethical aspect of so much living space while there are street children in Cuenca and Ecuador in general?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon - we have moved here because the costs are extremely low and it has allowed us to pay a staggering amount LESS for our lives instead of more. We pay only a fraction of what any American would pay for their housing. We are able to help more people on the streets and support the local economy here because the costs are low (though unlike what you are imagining, we actually have not seen one child that we would characterize as a street child. We see children all the time, but they are with their working parents). I would like to think that all of us try to do what we can to help others, including any one reading here (like you) who just typed on a computer in a world where people experience great poverty.

      Delete
  16. Are you thinking of adopting some poor ecuadorian children?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The costs to adopt here (as expats) would be staggering -even more expensive than adopting in the U.S. (and it would likely involve years of red tape). Adopting some "poor Ecuadorian children" is not as easy as you might think, unfortunately.

      Delete
  17. You're here! You're back! Hoorah!

    OMG Mara, your place is AWESOME, wow!! It's so sweet how you talk about all the space and how 'ridiculous (yet amazing)' it is!! I'm so happy for you guys! What a great home tour :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Mara (and Danny),
    *long comment alert*

    It has been fun following your recent adventures. I am an on/off reader of your blog. I was just thinking as I read this post+comments, and other posts of yours (+comments) where financial stuff has come up, how it is kind of an interesting phenomenon that being one of your readers can actually sometimes be a test in and of itself of the philosophies you promote on your blog. Money; who has it, who doesn't, and what we are doing with it, is a topic that is on so many people's minds these days (probably in days past too). I know in my current stage of life many of the things you promote on your blog are WAY out of my price range. Sometimes I can know that and just smile and shake my head and dream over "Well, maybe someday..." and other times it's hard not to feel envious or judgmental.

    Which brings me back to my point that I was appreciating today that, with that being the case, I am not just getting good reinforcement and lessons for a lot of the ways I try and live (love, peace, seeking for the better part of life's experiences, etc.) from your blog, I also get a bit of a microcosm to get to practice those things in my overall battle for self-completion/perfection/self-actualization/accomplishedtermofyourchoice, and that's kind of neat in one of those "oh right, I have more pride than I like to think I do, sigh ...at least I can sometimes recognize it?" kind of ways. So, um, thanks for the (likely) inadvertent lessons you teach here, and definitely thanks for the intentional ones.

    TLDNR: I am excited to see how gardening goes for you, and how the house comes together as you live in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Lauren, thank you SO much for this comment.
      Thank you so much for the reminder that we all need to put into practice that battle to keep our own self worth in tact, no matter what we see around us. I think this is such a difficult thing to do in this internet age.

      Aren't blogs the funniest things? It's so easy to see something and want it. Crap, I do the same thing when I see the gorgeous homes people are renovating or the amazing wardrobes so many bloggers sport. But I know EVERY person is just trying to do their best - trying to live the best life they can depending on what phase they are in. And EVERY phase of life or desirable part of one's life involves some sort of sacrifice whether it be time, money, security, care taking, wellness, etc.

      This life here may seem glamorous to some, but the reality is it is so cheap that we are paying what most American college students pay to share an apartment with roommates. This life also comes with a lot of sacrifice. We are giving up living in the states for a time (we couldn't live with this kind of freedom in NYC or in other places.) We also don't have cars here and take buses everywhere - often times for 10 straight hours. We don't even have health insurance here. Health care prices are more reasonable so we have decided to risk not buying insurance and instead plan to pay out of pocket, as needed. But most people would never fathom living this way! Most people we know think what we're doing is pretty nuts.

      Anyway, I mention those things because while this life may seem desirable or something, this is actually not a life that a lot of people would be willing to live (living without a car, away from family, giving up future financial or career pursuits and the identity that comes with that, living with no jobs and the potential uncertainty that brings, living with no children, and living without insurance in a third world country.) If someone wanted to live this life, I guarantee you they could. It just all depends on what we want the most and what we are willing to do.

      Thanks, again, for your comment. And may we all be FULL of all the power and wisdom we need to be WHOLE and HAPPY and GRATEFUL, no matter what our circumstances. On my end, I work on doing this every single day as this life without children continues.

      Much love, Mara

      Delete
  19. beautiful home! beautiful people. thank you for sharing - i'm so excited for the adventures you'll have there. also, your responses to all the comments are so amazing - that is always where i can see your love and kindness the most. you truly practice what you preach!

    ReplyDelete
  20. gorgeous! it is so exciting to finally get set up in your own place. my husband and i have been in otavalo for 3 years, house sitting for the first year and a half, and while that was a WONDERFUL start to our ecuador adventure, finding an apartment of our own, and filling it with our own furniture and personal touches has really made this country feel like home for us.

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you! We read each and every comment. Thanks so much for taking the time to contribute to the blog.

Hostgator Promo Code