Featured Post

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My 5th Child

My 5th and final (I think) addition to my inventory of Short Term Rentals is DONE!!   Well, 99.5% anyway.   But, done enough and clean enough to take photos and get it boarded onto the Airbnb and FlipKey websites.   Now, just waiting for the bookings to come in.   Come to daddy....COME TO DADDY!!!

I have 2 other apartments in the same building.   But, they had already been remodeled and just (just) needed painting, decorating, and outfitted with furniture, pots/pans, dishes, silverware, TP, salt/pepper, and on and on and on.  

However, THIS apartment was a completely different animal.  It was in desperate need of remodeling.   An expat chiropractor used to operate out of it.  But, when he heard I was going to being renting out the two units above him to travelers, he freaked and decided he 'had' to move.  He didn't like the idea of running into strangers in the nighttime in the stairwell.   Well, what did he THINK those apartments were going to be used for?   A family of dust bunnies?   SOMEONE was going to live there and those people might have friends over and therefore he might meet strangers in the stairwell!!!  EEESH.  And, HE was the one that told me about their availability!!   Anyone who knew/knows this guy knows he's a bit...ummmm....'nutty' anyway.    So, Dr Delgado (who owns the building) wanted me to take on this apt as well.

It had bare wood plank floors that angled one way, then another.  Some sagged.  Many were not level.  So, up came all the planks, ripped out the stringers and replaced them all back after getting everything level.

After that, new piso flotantes (floating hardwood floors) were laid down along with new moldings.

The crown molding was cracked, the chandeliers tilted as if they were on the Titantic in the last few moments, the walls had water stains and everything needed painting, including the ceiling.

The curtains were ghastly.

The chandeliers had those gawd-awful ugly lightbulbs.  Who knows when all the crevices of the intricate ironwork had been last cleaned.

The kitchen was filthy and needed all the appliances.   The entry foyer had bare wood floors that needed sanding and re-staining.  And, all the drab paint colors needed to be covered over with something more interesting.  On top of that, two doorways were wrapped in 'decorative' wallpaper that was old, dirty, and curling away from the wall.  Dr Delgado thought it was "BELLISIMO!!" (beautiful!) but I thought it ugly.  He didn't think the kitchen and foyer area needed anything.  I, on the other hand, disagreed.  So, I took a leap of faith and painted over the suckers!

I wasn't all that fond of the doors either.  I loved the fact they were very tall and stately and I liked the thin line of gold highlight.  In these photos, they don't look all that bad.  But, as is done very frequently here, they were painted with flat paint (versus satin) which is lackluster and very difficult to clean.   In my experience in gussing up many of my homes in the past, when you paint one thing, the thing next to it looks like 'sh_t' unless it's painted, too.   I hemmed and hawed and hemmed and hawed over the doors for a long time trying to envision what would look good, but everything I kept coming up with was too dramatic, too carnival-ish, just....tooooo much.   I needed something simple.  What I ended up doing came about purely by accident. 
The balcony needed a facelift, too.   The wrought iron railing paint was in bad shape, the floor was broken concrete, and the face of the building needed a bit of powdering, too.  So, off came the French doors so new tiles could be laid down on the balcony floor, then the doors needed their bottoms cut so it would clear the new height.

The bathroom had what is known as a 'widow-maker' shower head.  Why?  Because back in the old days, there was little, if any, hot water plumbed in the buildings.  So, to accommodate 'hot' (more like lukewarm) showers, an electrical wire was brought to the shower head and connected to a bulbous contraption that contained an electric heating coil.  As water passed the coil, it would be 'instantly' (yeah, right) heated and provide a....ummmm....hot shower.   If all was done properly, there was no risk.  But, as you know, water and electricity don't mix.  If it wasn't done properly...well....thus the name 'widow-maker'.  The bathroom is very tiny and it was very grungy looking.  I spent HOURS with bleach and cleanser and other cleaners and brushes and scrapers to try to resurrect this area of the apt.  Because it's so small, the only other option was to chip out all the existing tiles and replace them...a horribly tedious and messy job, or lay new tiles on top of the old (the most common solution).  But, that would make the bathroom even SMALLER!!!
Like many kitchens in Ecuador, the laundry is located there.  I hate that.  It's primarily because that's where the plumbing is and builders want to take advantage of that versus routing a channel through concrete or brick to another destination.   Since this is a short-term rental and not MY home, I didn't care much.  But, there was no hot water.  So, new plumbing had to be routed to where I planned to sit the washer and dryer.
Then, where do I put this monstrosity of an armoire Dr Delgado gave me to use?  It's too big for the bedroom.

Lastly, what to do with this REALLY cool light fixture.  It screams to me to make some sort of moonscape out of it.  Like when a full moon is just rising above the horizon, it looks gargantuan and old and crusty.   Or, maybe the rings around it could be colored in a Saturn-like way.  I don't know.   To be determined.  Film at 11.

Ok....ready for the unveiling???
Crown moldings repaired and ceiling painted.

...and new drapes and liner were made.
....kitchen cleaned up, appliances added, and decorations added.  Ceramics made by famous local artisan Eduardo Vega.

...chandeliers cleaned, straightened, and lightbulbs replaced with something less Frankenstein-like.

...a space was made for the large armoire.  An 'addition' was made onto the bedroom.

...all the bland colors of the foyer and kitchen were covered over with chocolate brown, copper, and beige.   That 'wallpaper' trim was painted over with a crackle finish.  The doors painted with a wash finish.  The wainscot was chocolate with copper trim/outline, while the upper walls were made lighter with a calm beige color.


The paned glass window between the bedroom and the kitchen was covered with colored foil crafts paper to mimic the colored glass of the front entry doorway...and provide privacy to the bedroom.

The bathroom vent located in the upper wall of the bedroom looked very blah.  It needed something.  So, I painted a fake frame with a crackle finish.

There's an area of Cuenca known for its metal workers who create iron gates, fences, railings, wall art, sconces, etc.   I approached one of them and gave him drawings and photos of what I wanted created.   I love candles and I wanted some tall candelabra stands, wall sconces, and a few other do-dahs to adorn the apartment.  I even had him make a chandelier to replace the totally out-of-place modern chandelier in the foyer.

Clock made by the ceramics lady on Remigio Crespo, candle sconce by the metal worker.

There's a lady on Remigio Crespo who makes all sorts of ceiling tiles, sconces, and wall art out of plaster of paris (?).   VERRRRY cheap!!!   So, I bought a bunch of things from her as well.  I saw her ceiling tiles as works of art and chose to display them as such.

Likewise, I wanted to incorporate tapestry artwork created by the Otovalans who sell their goods outside the apartment building on Plaza San Francisco.

Lastly, I love the colorful aluminum artwork done by another local lady who has a small shop a few blocks from the apartment.  I have one of her masks in my own home.


Last, but certainly not least.....add furniture.

Ceiling tile above the bed made and painted by the ceramic lady on Remigio Crespo.

TA DAH!!!!

Now....I just need bookings.  Would you believe this entire apt costs only $60 a night?   I mean, I can't get a simple hotel room in Port Angeles, Washington for THAT!!!

If you're interested in making a reservation, you'll find all my listings on Airbnb, FlipKey, and VRBO.

As of the moment I'm striking these keys, only Airbnb is displaying this particular unit at:


I'm waiting for FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) to get their ass in gear and approve my submission for this listing.   Grrrrrrr.

(I might even throw in a set of Ginsu knives!!!)



  1. Dear Dano: Great photos of the transformation. Seeing all the thought and care you've put into this apartment make me even more happy that I'll be staying in 'Apt. #2' from mid-December onward.
    Good luck with the the booking of your 'fifth child.'
    Pietr Young

  2. I enjoy reading of your experiences. I do the same thing with houses in Florida. You are excellent at your properties. Oh, how I wish I lived in your city. I would constantly being asking you to rehab a house for me. Keep up the good work and say Hi to Gracie.

    ray from Florida

  3. Gorgeous, Dan. Very creative.

  4. Another great job! Can't wait to get back to Ecuador.

  5. Amazing transformation Daniel! I loved this apartment from the start...even before you brought your decorating magic...the lovely high ceilings and the balcony overlooking the square are so much fun! Miss you already and will see you in late October or early November, Stacey and Joanna.

  6. Beautiful! Fun to see the transformation and we can't wait to see it in person!

  7. WOW!! So much work and such a gorgeous transformation! Looking forward to our stay!


Wanna leave a comment? PLEASE DO!!

It's not very intuitive, so let me help you...
1. Write your comment
2. From the list of Comment As, just select Anonymous
3. If you want me to know who you are, simply type your name inside the comment box, at the end.
4. Press the Publish button
5. Click the box I'm Not a Robot
6. Press the Publish button again
7. If a 'test question' comes up, answer it and press the button
8. If you passed the 'test question' press Publish

About Me

My photo
Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

Total Views