Friday, March 20, 2015

The Big House Project

Here is the first of the promised blogs catching you all up on our lives in February and the beginning of March! 

The project that consumed most of our time in February and early March was cleaning, painting, and then moving to a new house in Cochabamba. We had a year contract with the house in Pairumani, but  early this year we got an email that this house in the city would be coming up for rent. Since Rudi started taking the Hogar kids to school every school day, and then picking them up and taking them home each day, it made a lot of sense to be in the city, rather than a 30-40 minute drive one way. Basically, all of our ministry is in the city and we were doing a lot of driving. Yes, it was peaceful, but it was costly in time, energy, and gas! So, after much prayer and our landlords graciously letting us out of the lease, we decided to move back down into the city. 

The house we are now in took a good amount of work and elbow grease to get in into "livable" condition! It was a fun challenge and project to work on as a family... Our current landlord is taking all of the cost of paint, supplies, etc. off our first few months rent. We think he is getting a good deal, because we did all of the "manual labour" for free! 

The house is big and spacious with five bedrooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms, three bathrooms, spacious hallways, and a big office/room at the very top of the house. We think it is over 3,000 square feet, which makes it the largest house we have lived in yet! 

One of the projects that I took on was painting all of the kitchen cabinets and doors. I think they turned out great and they are now super easy to clean!
Clancy and Clara with the kitchen cabinets-before painting them!
A before picture of the dining room wall and molding at the top.

Before picture of the dining room.

Cleaning tons of junk out of the kitchen
When we started all of the kids LOVED painting and would constantly be asking when and what they could paint. By the end, none of us liked painting...well maybe just me! and they were ready to never see another paint bucket again in their lives!!
Myles and Clancy getting started on the painting!

Rudi and Ruth painting the downstairs hall!
We took 80 lbs of linens in the form of drapes and couch covers to the professional cleaners. The load in our car made me sneeze on the way to the cleaners, because of all the dirt, dust, and pet hair. I am not allergic to animals, but the house was so full of pet hair and dust that it made me itch! Everything came back sparkling clean and beautiful. The house wasn't ready to put it back in for two weeks though!
Before picture of the living room.

Clara and I painting the kitchen cabinets.

Myles and Clancy painting the hall up to their room.
We had Tia Techy and another friend come and help us clean one day. We focused mainly on the floors. All 3,000+ square feet of tile were scrubbed three times before we moved in. Emily and I would scrub until we ached and then scrub some more! I went to bed with my whole body aching a lot of nights. They should offer tile scrubbing at the gym, as a work out choice!!
Emily-Tile Scrubbing Champion-
After getting the painting done, it was time to put it all back together again. We had two gentlemen helping us with odd jobs, like fixing screens, hanging light fixtures, some upholstery work, repairing plaster on the walls, putting on new door handles, and making sure that the doors and windows could close. At the end they did a lot of finish painting up high and stuff we just couldn't get to. They also re-hung the kitchen cabinets for me.
Adolpho hanging cabinets,
After picture of my beautiful cabinets!

We are using the "second" dining room as a game and school area. The chairs for this room are cloth covered. The cloth was really dirty and full of cat hair. I wanted to reupholster them with new fabric. Remijio (one of the gentlemen mentioned that was helping us) suggested taking the original fabric off and washing it and then putting it back on again. This is what he did for us and the end result was wonderful. The chairs look like brand new!! We learned a lot about Bolivian engeniusness (a new word for you!) doing this project. They truly know the meaning of reuse and recycle here! It gets to be addicting seeing how you can renew something, instead of just throwing it away and buying something new! We did the same thing on the wall lamps* below, but more about that later... We also moved the light fixture from our main dining room area to the second dining area. The main dining room is more of a hall and this fixture hangs down into the room more. It looks great in the second dining room.
After picture of the second dining room.
Please notice the beautiful light fixture above the table!!
We painted the ceilings white downstairs, which I think makes them look really elegant. It also "lifted" them. We hung a snug fitting light fixture in this room. The far wall we painted green for contrast. It looks really fresh against the white curtains!!
After picture of the living room. 
Another after picture of the living room!

After picture of the upstairs sitting area.
Please notice the classy wall lamps!

Ruth and Paula in their new room!
I don't have the best after pictures of the dining room, but it turned out bright and cheery! This house came with all the furniture, just like our house in Pairumani. The dining table seems like it was made for our family with 12 chairs!
After picture of the main dining room
Emily chose this really neat green for her accent walls. It turned out great. It is almost a lime green, but is classier...
Emily's room
*Earlier I mentioned the wall fixtures that we redid. I will now expound about them... From the first time I laid eyes on these monstrosities, I wanted to throw them all away. (I can't believe I don't have a before picture of them, because you are never going to believe just how bad they were.) Anyway, they had this dark wood piece that they were attached to and the lampshades were a hideous "raffia" type material with years of dust and grime on them. They did not attach to the wall very well and kinda came out and grabbed you as you walked by...ick! There are nine of these things. The ones in the hallways were the worst, so I thought that we would at least replace those. After shopping around, we decided that it was too costly to replace them. I thought that I would paint the wood they were attached to, some kind of lighter color and I had already planned on buying material to change the lampshades. Then Remijio suggested just taking the wood piece completely off and hanging them without it. It TOTALLY changed the light fixture for me. They are now elegant and classy and all I spent was $3 on the material for the lampshades. Of course, Remijio got paid for putting the material on, but that didn't cost much! They are snug to the wall now and would never even think of attacking someone!!
Spiffy wall sconces!
From another angle! Cute, huh!
More about our move and such...coming soon!


  1. What a fun account and photo tour of your new house, Carla. I like before and after pictures; thank you for taking time to document in the midst of your scrubbing, sneezing, scrubbing, and "smearing" paint. Your house is so much cleaner, lighter, and brighter now. I like the red cabinets in the kitchen and the contrasting green wall in the living room.

    I was wondering why the owner did not have the cleaning done. I was glad to read that he deducted rent for the cost of the supplies. :) I think you were able to do things the way you prefer by doing the manual labor yourselves. I loved reading about the ways you reused and refurbished/made over certain items.

    After all that work, you still love painting, Carla. Whew! I like painting on paper, but a wall--not so. Way to go, all of you!

    Thanks, again, for sharing!

    Lots of love,

  2. I love this post and enjoy seeing pictures of your house! I love all the fixups you did, this is a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing. Do you prefer life in the city vs. life a little outside? Are there still places in the city that are a bit private for noisy kids and noisy dogs?