our space {picking it}

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 unnecessary 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?

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