building a house in belize

Build (me up buttercup) in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Well, the first thing I want to ‘say’ is a BIG thank you to tacogirl  aka Laurie Norton for allowing me the opportunity of being her guest blogger. Platitudes out of the way I will now get on with my story!

So where do I start? Well, I am British, retired and in my early 60s. My wife is Irish, also retired and much,much younger than me ( my wife took over the post momentarily but I have control of it again).

Struggling for a location to go to for our holiday in 1998 we decided to give Belize, and in particular, Ambergris Caye a try and I booked accommodation at Lily’s Hotel ( now Tio Pil’s Hotel).

Six weeks before our holiday Hurricane Mitch hit Central America and wreaked destruction in its wake. Family and friends implored us to cancel but I am pleased to say that we did not heed their warnings. We went ahead with our trip and fell in love with what we saw and felt.

So much so that within 8 weeks of returning to the UK we had purchased a condo at the Banana Beach Resort and so began our annual (sometimes bi-annual) trips to Ambergris Caye.

It didn’t take too many trips for us to realise that when the day came for me to pack up work it was to Ambergris Caye that we would relocate.

With this decision taken we looked around for land to build our dream home on and in 2004 purchased a canal lot in San Pablo ( just up the street from where tacogirl lives actually). Over the next two years we bought two adjacent lots which gave us (well obviously we paid for the land) combined land space of 15,000 square feet. Enough to build the  house of our dreams on.

This plan changed in 2007 when we saw some lots for sale on the lagoon side of Tres Cocos. We decided straight away that this is where we wanted to live when that day came so bought the two lots which together are around 40,000 square feet.

north ambergris caye
Ariel shot Tres Cocos

The plan to retire here was accelerated in the summer of 2009 when I was made redundant ( this is the only sad part of this story so handkerchiefs away).  Rose and I set about preparing our apartment in  London’s Docklands for sale and divesting ourselves of the many
possessions we had accumulated over the years. We also started thinking about the type of house we wanted to build.

We compiled a room by room, floor by floor written specification for the house we wanted and, after seeking advice from acquaintances in Ambergris Caye, appointed Strukture Architects Limited in Belize City to produce plans for us. We had considered appointing an English architect but concluded that it made more sense to use someone who had first-hand knowledge of the climate and the building regulations.

We also started to give serious thought as to who we wanted to build for us and started to communicate with people that we knew had built in Ambergris Caye and when we visited we went to look at the projects builders had worked on and met the people that they had built for.

With the apartment sold and our worldly possessions disposed of ( given to family, sold, given to charitable donations ( to a children’s hospice), some put in storage to join us later or what was of no use to anyone we just threw away) we moved to Ambergris Caye and arrived
here on 31 May.

Within three weeks of arriving we had finalized the plans for our home and by mid October had chosen Daniel Camal to build it for us.

building a house in belize
First steps is to building a house is designing one – home exterior

Clearance of our land started within a week of appointing Daniel whilst we waited for planning permission which we got on 2 November and on 5 November the build officially started.

building a home in belize
Roadside before clearance
north ambergris caye
Roadside after clearance

It is scheduled -weather permitting – to be a 40 week project and we are already in week 6 and are exceptionally pleased with the ways things have gone so far. We know that there is a long way to go but we  like what we have seen so far.

steps to building a house
Foundations In

As to living in Ambergris Caye? Well, we love it . It is everything and more than we had thought it would be.

To record the build and to keep my family and friends in touch with what we are doing I have stated a blog . So, if you want to see how the build progresses you just need to go : A Belize Home for Us.

Oh, the feed for the headline comes from the 1969 hit ( number 2 in the UK and number 3 in the US) ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ by The Foundations ( rather apt that because they have just been laid for our house).

Thanks again to tacogirl for allowing me this guest appearance. John

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