our space {picking it}

Hey, hey!  Happy Monday!

Well…here she is…

Ta Da!  Picture me with Vanna White arms, in a Vanna White outfit suitable for the tropics, standing to the side of the house showing her off…with a slight grimace.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about our little rental house that I affectionately refer to as our breadbox.  🙂

And I say “ask and you shall receive”…

                     … unless, of course, you ask for something I don’t want to give.

So, I’m going to do a little breadbox breakdown.  Sigh.

When we finally made the decision to move to this little island we then had to decide whether we were going to buy or rent.

We had been home owners with a tendency toward serious DIY projects (more here) for the previous 8 years, so that was more of a mental hurdle than a real decision for me both of us.

We talked about buying a place we could rent after we move off the island, like a vacation rental.  It would need to be ocean view, convenient location to beaches, 2-3 bedroom to maximize our rental audience.  And that just wasn’t practical for us.

We still own 3 houses in the US that we rent out and really, the idea of another mortgage gave me heart palpitations…and cold sweats…and the shakes.  So, renting it was.  But, the mental struggle remained.

Here’s the thing.  I pretty much hate spending unneccessary money.  Like really H-A-T-E hate.  I don’t know where it comes from, it started as an adult, and I really am thankful for it, but it makes me ponder every. single. little. spending decision.

But, housing isn’t really an option and since it really didn’t make sense to buy, renting was THE option.

Man, what an interesting process the house hunt was.  Our necessities list consisted of:

  • fenced yard for the dogs
  • 2 bedrooms (hahaha)
  • not more than 20 minute commute to Joel’s work
  • safe neighborhood
  • semi-private outdoor space
  • rent of less than $1000 USD per month (if you happen to be my favorite tenant, living in my favorite house, and maybe paying more than that please don’t think less than $1000 is a reasonable rent amount)  Love you P-Diddy!

I knew I would be spending a lot of time alone at the house and I needed to feel safe and at home.

Spacious, private yard space and my stringent price range quickly became our limiting factors.

The end result, however, is that I feel incredibly lucky to have found this place.  I know many of my friends would NEVER live here.  What can I say …  we’re simpletons.  And wear the badge with pride.  🙂

The major things we LOVE about it are:

  1. The huge fenced yard.  Size is all relative, but you don’t find big weedy grassy yards around here and Marley and I agree that apartment living just isn’t for us. That dog lays outside morning and night, rain or shine, just watching life go by.
  2. The outdoor space in addition to the yard.  We have a covered patio that is just outside our little living room and is pretty much just an extension of the room.  AND we have a covered roof.  Meaning the roof to the main floor is flat, livable space, and it has a roof on top of it for shade.  We ran cable to the lower patio and to the roof  so we often use these as additional living spaces.  What, you don’t have a grill on your roof?  😉
  3. The location.  We are 15 minutes to Joel’s work, 5 minutes to a few beaches, close to grocery shopping and the organic farm, near neighborhoods where many of my friends live and in a neighborhood that suits us.  Hey, our doctor lives 4 houses down the road…in a much different looking house.  🙂
  4. The breeze.  The apartment that we lived in for my first two months here had no breeze at all, it was stinking hot.  Curacao is 12 degrees from the equator and the sun can feel like it is literally sitting on your shoulder.  Without the breeze it is not uncommon to just break out in an uncontrollable sweat.  Which is totally awesome, let me tell you. 😉 But our place has a breeze!!!  Especially on the roof.  We used to have two flags…
  5. The view.  It has deteriorated in the 2 years we have lived here due to a 7 building condo complex they are building right on the water.  But, we do actually have a water view, if you look REALLY closely, squint your eyes and focus really hard.  😉 But better than that, in the direction we sit and face on the roof, which is towards the water, we don’t have any neighbors.  There are maybe 3 or 4 empty lots and quite a bit of open space in our direct line of sight, it makes our little place feel a lot more spacious and private.  And is not that common in any neighborhood on an island, so we feel incredibly lucky for this intangible space.

Here’s a zoomed in shot of what’s in the distance above.

Ok, now on to the things we don’t like about this place.
Wait, I didn’t mention anything about the actual house in the things we love section you say.  😉
            …please, read on…
Things we don’t love:
  1. The house!  🙂  It really is as simple as that.  And, since it’s a rental I’m kind of stuck with it as-is.  Last year when our first year lease was up we did some searching and it turns out that all of the things we love, combined with our awesomely cheap rent more than make up for the lack of more bedrooms or desire for nicer tile or even an extra bath for guests.  So much so that we negotiated a reduced rent with our landlord in exchange for making some basic upgrades and signed on for another 2  years (we’re in our 15 month of that 2 year lease.).

We’ll hold off on any more pictures inside the house, as to not totally scare you away.  🙂

But, we are hashing out a few ideas for an updated roof space…I hope it works.  Fingers crossed.

Oh, and here’s a pic of the Curacao flag we put up March 2010…did you see it’s remnants in the flag pic above?
And a pic of the biggest oil rig I’ve seen in the bay…the picture is from August 2010 … you can see two blue roofs, those were the first 2 of now 7 condo buildings on the water.

So, what are your must-haves when house hunting?  Do you weigh the outside as much as the inside in making your decision?  Would you ever move to a Caribbean island?  Ever needed to get an iguana off our roof because you had company coming over?

And, if you have not seen my friend Tonya’s blog, Love of Family and Home, you HAVE to check it out.  Especially her awesome project where she turned her coat closet into a home office space.  How cool is that?  Well, it is so cool that they have featured it in the current (April) issue of Woman’s Day magazine.  Congratulations Tonya!!

I am sharing this post here and at:
BNOTP, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Sugar Bee Crafts.

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  1. i think i would take ANY house in the caribbean! what a dream!

  2. When the weather accommodates, we basically don’t see the inside of our house because we live on the screened porch. Even have been known to sleep there once or twice. Your roof top perch {porch} is the reason I’d move to an island and I think the house would only serve to provide private indoor plumbing, cooking facilities, and a place to hang my spare bathing suit. The iguana adds a bit of flair to the scene too. [I get your point about it being windy up there and how the hutch might have a bit of a struggle] Looks wonderful to me. Enjoy!

  3. You are living in a beautiful place, rental or not, the outdoors make up for the interior spaces you do not like. And the weather is probably perfect! I would spend a ton of time in the outdoor spaces – gorgeous! Off to check out your friend’s site.

  4. My list is the same as yours and we may have to put that on a sticky and look for a new rental soon. After a year in California, we may also have to make peace with renting. What a marvelous opportunity you have to live on an island! How many of us have that on our “one day list”.

  5. Your little space looks nice enough to me…and in the Carribean? No problem! I am pretty sure I could live in a tent there and be happy! I think…. LOL! Thanks for sharing with us!
    Hugs, GraceinAZ

  6. Thanks for sharing your little piece of the Carribean. We’ve never been there so it’s interesting to me to see what it’s like, not only vacation spots. I’d never survive the humidity, neither would hubs. But there are days in CT I sure wouldn’t mind trying!!

  7. Oh, thank you so much for sharing this post and those pictures! How very cool to live on a Caribbean island …

    … and I bet that oil rig looks scary crazy huge up close. Did you go down to the bay to see it up close? I remember being in the Boston Harbour on a tour boat and passing those gigantic ships in port while being in that little tiny tour boat was both frightening and thrilling!


  8. I’m so glad you shared these pictures! I’ve been wondering about your view and the outside of the house! The outside definitely looks like paradise!

  9. I loved seeing this! Your outdoor area and views are to die for. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Don’t you realize most people would trade places with you in a heartbeat! Where are the pics of you lounging on that chaise sipping your tropical elixirs?!

    By the way, since your flag is so weathered, I’d be happy to send you a Giants Champions flag!

  11. Oh, Karah, your view is lovely.
    I’ve spent a few weeks in the neighborhoods of the D.R. and yeah, not a lot of time is spent inside. It’s all about the outdoors, the breeze, the sun, the SHADE!

    I used to watch House Hunters International. Ever see it? Folks usually had to trade off on the inside v outside and location, location, location.

    For us? In the next few years, we would want something close to where we are now to stay by family. A ranch style.or at least 1 bedroom on the first floor is a requirement. Room for a wheelchair ramp. I would love either a large patio or deck to gill out on. Hopefully part of the deck or patio would have shade to sit out. We’d love a fireplace. Love. I would love a cabin in the woods.

    Later? Well, first we’d have to pick a state. Someplace warmer, close enough to the woods to drive there. But, I think we would be okay leaving the Chicago snow behind.
    ~ Dana
    Cooking at Cafe D

  12. It’d make me feel lots better about being here if you said it snowed there too. In any case you are living my dream! Thanks for the linky love to our RRR party too!

  13. You have a rooftop patio which is just fabulous. I have snow on my roof , would you like to swap places!!? Selecting a place to call home is so hard and you always compromise on something. When we moved to Chicago we ended up buying the ugliest house we saw. everything was dark, every room was painted brown and there was a horrible smell that made me wheeze (old shag pile carpets and dog dander!)

  14. Can I live on your roof? I’m totally jealous! We’ve moved a lot and we do take in to consideration the outside and inside. We usually walk around making mental changes in every house we look at, it’s hard to find the perfect one…but even with the things about yours that you don’t like, it’s a pretty cool location!

  15. Wow….you are a lucky, lucky gal. I know that you don’t have the tile or the bathrooms you want but you have a home in the Caribbean!!

    That’s awesome that you were able to negotiate your rent down…we’ve never owned so I can’t really share my must-have’s in house hunting. I wouldn’t mind buying in Curacao though 🙂

  16. Man, I agree with all the comments – if the trade off to living on a beautiful island and lounging on the beach any time I wanted is a breadbox house…well, I’ll take the breadbox house. 🙂 That said, I’m also a total sucker for Victorians, oversized bungalows and other mid-sized charmers, so I think I’d miss having a home with character. Renting definitely seems like the right choice, but I can imagine how hard that decision must have been – we moved into our first house because I was getting fed up paying rent.

  17. I would totally. Absolutely. I’ve lived in dumps for years and made it work. But for now, it’s kinda nice living an a newer home. We won’t be here forever, I know!

  18. The outside space is definitely a consideration when choosing a home. Yours is fantastic!

    When we lived in the little mobile home while we built, I looked around at cracker-box ramblers or split levels on bare little lots staring out at the cul de sac, and thought I was luckier to live in the mobile home than in one of those because of the luscious and private 2 acres. Not that 10 people in 900 crumbling square feet didn’t get old, but it was definitely the ability to get into the outdoors and love our surroundings that helped make it work.

  19. It sounds like you are living such an adventure. Maybe your house is little, but at least the weather’s pretty good, so you can spend more time outside.

  20. WOW!!! Now… I guess it’s not all ”glamor” living in the Caribbeans… HOWEVER I still think you’re pretty lucky!! 🙂

    This is really a great post!! And thanks so much for sharing it at The DIY Dreamer!

  21. WOW!! Those views are absolutely gorgeous! SUPER jealous of you 🙂

  22. What an adventure! There are positives and negatives to everything, and most of life seems to be finding that perfect balance. Looks like you’re getting close. Thanks for linking up @ the Delectable Home.

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