Sunday, July 19, 2015

House Project files (pt.2)

It's been a month since I posted the progress of my house project. Basing on the photos, I don't think it will be done in September this year. Not being pessimistic but that's how it looks to me unless extra manpower will be involved. Anyway, here are latest photos.

The stairs had been changed. The railings, as per latest information, were taken off and will be changed to something more good-looking.

The terrace. It's quite big which also covers the little sidewalk leaving nothing for passersby, LOL. The original design of the house (refer to previous post for virtual assistance) was flat making it possible for rain to seep in through the doors even with the presence of a small roofing under the door. Thus, the terrace idea. Well, I love a terrace in a home. It will serve as my reading area and a hang-out place.

The extension above the extension. The kitchen area was not in the original design. I know, the original layout was very small it could not possibly pass as a family home. Above this extended area will be the master's bedroom.

The Toilet & Bath needs a lot of work. We will start from zero.

The kitchen. I was thinking of changing the windows to be more consistent with the rest of the house but on the contrary, for cost saving, maybe I should keep it. 

The countertop will extend to the right wall. The current state is too small for a working space. So far, no room in this house has given me any excitement than the kitchen. I don't even enjoy cooking much but I am interested in expanding my culinary skills. A nice and functional kitchen would be conducive for learning.

It's still a long way to go but surely it will be finished this year, and get to spend Christmas on our very own home.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

House Project files (pt.1)

In 2005, I bought a house & lot (attached, corner lot) from a low-cost housing project located in Mactan Island, Cebu. The purchase was a product of (me) wanting to invest in real property. I was single at that time and had savings enough for a downpayment. The balance was mortgaged to Pag-Ibig. Five years after purchase, I was debt-free.

The house before 'The Project'. There was already an extension built at the back and surrounding fence had been installed (covered with vines). The poor thing has not seen a human stepped inside for a long time. 


2015: The house is in the brink of deterioration and badly needs improvement since it's been uninhabited for eight years. Both T and I were out of the country so it never occurred to us the immediate need to renovate it. There were plans of renovation and to have it rented but things have changed. We have decided to make it as our primary abode while Amber is growing. A place to encapsulate her childhood memories. Anything can change but so far this is definitely the closest to reality. If plans change like migration or whatever, we'll try to figure it out when it happens. For the time being, a home for us is the priority.

The quality of course is not good but what is there to expect from low-cost housing. However, it can be improved by contracting a third party to do the engineering, procurement and construction. Good thing, the contractor is a friend of T's. Currently, construction is in-progress. T is the assigned Project Manager but I always have some input at everything. The renovation excluding the kitchen details and cabinets (my favorite part) is expected to cost more than half million (almost the same as the pre-selling price of the unit in 2005).

Renovation formally began in late May. We got rid of the French windows because those are soo passe. In place will be plain tinted glass windows because they look modern and easier to clean.

The door on the second floor does not lead to nowhere. It will lead to the terrace (explains the exorbitant renovation costs!). The original layout of the house is actually very small which led to a decision to have it extended for the kitchen area. The extension was constructed five years ago to which we never got to finish due to priorities.

Interior. The house is now full of holes, LOL. We really took the natural light seriously.

The doorway at the left leads to a recess that leads to the bathroom and the middle door leads to the master's bedroom (located above the kitchen).

It's funny because before my heart was never into it, putting too much effort on the renovation or make it as an official residential mailing address. The primary reason was Amber. A dwelling place for her. For us. 

As the construction progresses, the more I am getting excited. I even created a Pinterest board to draw some inspiration, have been itching to visit Ikea to shop for interiors at this very early stage, and I constantly expedite PM for updates with photos! That's how demanding and excited I am. About the cost, I have long accepted it because quality matters most to me. I could care less about the exterior (we both want just simply white painted all over and huge glass windows for natural light) but the interior should be amazing (defined as all white with a splash of neutrals here and there, and modern lighting fixtures). 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shibuya and Marunouchi #TokyoDiaries

As part of my Summer Goals, I put no. 3 into effect, two Saturdays ago.

06 June 2015, Saturday
The famous
Shibuya Crossing. 

Made famous (in my era) by Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. Love the movie by the way.


It was my first time in 5 years to be there again. That famous Starbucks looking down the crossing is always full of customers so I did not bother going in. I decided to explore non-mainstream cafes from then on.
I strolled around the many shops but surprisingly nothing piqued my interest (except for a CdG wallet which I have been wanting to have because I need an extra smaller wallet for my small cross-body bag).  Yes, as I said, I was glad that nothing interested me.

In my quest for non-mainstream cafe, I found one inside Shibuya Loft. 


Shibuya City Lounge. I was too shy to take photos of its interior but I tell you it is chic. High ceiling, natural light, and wood interiors. Food was nothing special but my book-reading experience was nice. Or maybe I can easily shut off the world when engrossed with a book. 

13 June 2015
Tokyo Station. Marunouchi area


Always my favorite. It connects to every line around Tokyo Metropolitan area. Its detailed history is yet for me to discover. I've seen old photos and was said to have a striking resemblance of Amsterdam Centraal Station. I'd like to read more. Actually, the history of Japan is one of the things I'm interested in learning.

I like walking around Marunouchi area because it is the seat of Japan's government (note to self: take a photo of The Diet Building), shops and cafe are many, streets are wide and benches are many to where I can sit and go on with my book-reading whenever my feet are too tired to proceed. And if you walk farther left of Tokyo station south exit, you'll be led to Ginza. You know you've reached Ginza once the road gets narrower.

Interior ceiling of Tokyo station.

Had lunch at Rose Bakery located inside Comme des Garcon in Marunouchi.

Vegetable and Salmon tart with salad and Apple + Carrot juice.

Finally bought a CdG wallet perfect as a weekend wallet to go with my small crossbody bag.

My outfit for that day. Everything I wore are old stuff. Shirt and pants were bought in 2009 or 2010, the MbMJ Natasha bag was bought in 2012, and the black Saltwater sandals were bought last year in Cebu.


 That's why I vowed not to buy a lot of clothes for Summer because I still have a lot to survive the season.
I think it has to do with four seasons. In a four seasons country, granted you're not fashion conscious like me, your Summer clothes tend to last longer and stay durable because one gets to wear it for a span of two months maximum, not whole year round (as in the case of tropical countries like Philippines). 


Good that I don't easily get swayed by fast fashion because I always opt for the classic (a.k.a boring) clothing. I'd love to throw more colors and crazy prints into my wardrobe but as per experience, it tends to end up in storage for a longer time. In office, I always go for classic look: white oxford shirt, a pair of black pants, and a pair of flat shoes (mannish as one officemate commented). I told her that I don't want to spend too much time thinking what to wear for work.

Next in my list:
Akihabara Last time was five years ago. Someone recommended me to try any maid cafe. Girls in French maid costumes serve you and will sit next to you while you talk. I know, there's a lot of funny services here in Japan. T will probably like it there, LOL. Not a priority though.

Asakusa It reminds me of what Japan looked like in the 80s. There's a lot of old establishments and shops there.

Ginza. For the reason of watching a Kabuki performance. I have been meaning to watch. 

MoMA in Omotesando. We were lucky to have been there twice last year. Amber was so young at that time. 

Museums, museums and more museums. Tokyo holds a lot of exhibits from international artists. Local museums are many too, this will expand my little history knowledge about this country. One I hope to see, though not from here, is an exhibit of Terracotta Army someday. I know it looks bleak knowing the political situation between these countries but for art, let it happen.