Mexican Remodel Complete
One problem with using this door and window arrangement was that once it were in place, the door is too small to allow larger objects to pass through. The "patio de servicio" is in the back yard, through this door, so if we ever want to have a clothes washing machine in there, this would be a problem. My solution to this was to mount the entire steel unit as if it were a large gate, hinged on one side and installed in such a way that if we ever want to open the entire end-wall, it would be relatively easy to do. This means that we could open up the mid-section of the house to the back yard for a party for instance, or for gardening activities.
Around this time I removed part of a concrete block wall to open up a view from our upper deck and I used some of the rubble from this to fill in areas around the window/door frame, leaving a little space at ground level for a cat door. Now that the room is enclosed it is possible to control the temperature in there to a much greater extent. There is a large screened-in vent on one side near the top of the roof, and with the openable windows and door the ventilation is pretty good. The shaded fiberglass roofing allows plenty of light to enter the room, without too much solar heat gain. We purchased one of the local hand-woven woolen bed spreads to use as a curtain across the whole end-wall, so that on sunny days we can block the sun from entering the room. In the winter we will be able to heat the space by allowing more solar gain.
The final transformation that has occurred is painting the entire exterior with tinted whitewash. This is a very inexpensive and lovely way to paint walls, especially masonry. The local approach is to mix the hydrated lime with liquid latex and water to a consistency of thin paint, and then add cement colorants for tints. The resulting paint has a wonderfully varigated and subtle pastel apprearance. Five gallons of this can be mixed for less than ten dollars.
You might compare the picture near the beginning of my last post of what this house looked like when we first rented it, with how it looks now. The difference in feeling and function is enourmous! All of this was done for under $500, and I consider it well worth the time and money.