I, the architect

The ground-floor layout, drawn on graph paper by me.*

This springtime will mark the 18th anniversary of the Hacienda. I’ve only owned two homes. The first, in Texas, was mine for just nine years, and I purchased it ready-made, a vintage from back in the 1950s. The second is the Hacienda, which I designed myself with some assist from my child bride.

The downstairs terraza from two directions, drawn by my wife.

Who needs actual blueprints when graph paper is available at the stationery store? The construction began in August of 2002 and ended in May of 2003, which is when we moved in from a two-story rental near downtown. I confess to being something of an architectural copycat. The Hacienda is a much larger version of that two-story rental, a design that I liked and stuck with to a great degree, but not entirely.

Electrical diagram, also done by me.

Among my many talents is that of electrician. Among my portfolio of four-year and two-year degrees and certificates is an Associate Degree in Electrical Construction Technology. I worked as a professional electrician for a spell in New Orleans. So I knew where plugs and lights were needed.

Three talented men and the occasional helper built the house. During the nine-month construction I took a ton of photos, and they all disappeared shortly after we moved in due to their being stored on a hard drive that committed suicide. I stupidly had not backed up any of them anywhere.

A real estate writer on the Houston newspaper where I once toiled wrote a column back then listing the pros and cons of homeownership as opposed to renting. One of his pros was simply that owning a home is fun, and it is most of the time. Renting is not fun.

Though I lost all photos of the construction process, I do have this one I took shortly after we moved in, and at the bottom is a shot from two years ago. It’s been lots of fun.

2003: Fresh paint and disheveled yard. The upstairs terraza is very different now.
That’s the second patio, built in 2019, replacing a grubby stone version.

* The stairwell goes straight up in the drawing. But it would not fit that way, so it actually goes straight up and then hangs a right to complete the turn to the second floor. The revised version is seen in the electrical diagram.

11 thoughts on “I, the architect

  1. You are certainly a talented fellow, señor!

    I recall with much admiration the furniture you painted back in the day. This home is certainly your crown jewel in creativity!

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  2. A man of many talents. I also lost many photos over the years not being very handy at the tech side of life.

    On a side note, when do you go for your coffee in the mornings and which plaza?

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    1. Kirk: Gracias, señor. When do I go for coffee in the mornings? I don’t. Except for our weekly shopping trips to the nearby state capital, we rarely leave home before 4.30 p.m., more or less, and then not for long. I do enjoy a nice café Americano negro on the Plaza Grande, however. Are you still focused on visiting here now? Baaad idea. All non-essential businesses have to be shut by 7 p.m. Both downtown plazas are cordoned off for God knows how much longer. In the fall, especially November, would be a much better idea, assuming all this Kung Flu hysteria has blown over by then, and I suspect it will have.

      But if you are married to the notion of a visit soon, let me know, and I’ll treat you to a coffee on the plaza. Not really on the plaza, but at my sister-in-law’s coffee shop, which abuts the plaza.

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    1. Phil, P.S.: Patio de servicio is service patio, the name for the place in most Mexican homes where one does laundry, plus it often houses propane tanks and water heaters; la sala is living room and chimenea is fireplace; closet is closet; recamara is bedroom; pasillo is hallway; just below the pasillo is the bathroom though it does not say that; cocina/comedor is kitchen/dining room and barra is counter and estufa is stove; terraza is the front porch. And there you have it!

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    1. Thirsty: Yeah, we done good. The only negative I’ve noticed to not hiring an architect is that there is insufficient light in the living room. It bothers my wife more than it does me.

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