When we moved to Buenos Aires in July of 2008 the plan for living here was always open ended. We had no idea where life would take us and how long we'd stay. In some cases that hasn't changed, however slow but sure we've recently been hearing the States calling us back, and last week we decided to put our home here on the market. What does that mean? I'm not really sure since moving anywhere revolves around the sale of our home. Plus we have no idea where we'd even be moving back to, so a great deal of uncertainty stills abounds in our daily lives. In the meantime I figured I should at least share the before and after pics of the apartment I said I'd post while we're still actually living here.
Eight months of our time in Buenos Aires was consumed by the remodel of this place. When we found it, it was nothing but an empty space with concrete floors and pillars, on the top floor of a 25 story building. The bathroom was a closet with a broken toilet. There was no kitchen. What it did have though was an unobstructed view of the city and amazing potential. It was a blank canvas.
The eights months that followed were challenging ones. Anywhere a remodel can be a stressful and difficult undertaking, but doing one in a foreign country where they don't speak your native language complicates things even more, e.g. dealing with different construction techniques, different tools, etc.
During the final four months of the remodel we lived within it. Definitely not a strategy I recommend for staying sane, but in the end we survived. When we first moved in the windows were yet to be installed allowing the wind to come through unabated. Our kitchen sink was a 5 gallon bucket on the terrace, and battles with concrete dust, or 'muthaf##king concrete dust' as I often referred to it, were a daily occurrence. At night we slept on a single size bed split in two. I took the box-spring and Annie got the mattress. Eight months of construction didn't exactly help us make any fans amongst our neighbors either. One of them, an old retired cop, even went as far to call us his enemigos (enemies). I've never had someone tell me I was there enemy, and in Spanish no less. How awesome is that?
In the end though it was an experience I am thankful for. It was extraordinary interaction with the culture here where I learned not only a great deal about Argentina, but also about myself in relation to having the world around me flipped upside down for months at a time. As for the home, since it's completion I've come to think of it as a piece of artwork. One that I helped design and work on for many months. Until we move on it also remains, not only our home, but the place where I create, hang and share my newest work - Gallery 24B. Gallery 24B is open by appointment, and if you're interested in stopping by just send me an email and we'll figure out a time to make it happen.
Remodel Before and After pics (click to enlarge).
More info our place can be at www.rivadavia2151.com
by Peter Matthiessen
Currently Listening To:
Song: Pet Elephant
Artist: The Traditionist (myspace) (Daytrotter)
For more on how we first ended up in Buenos Aires check out the first post of Harmony and Dissonance.
other DANK links:
Check out my artwork | jimmydanko.com
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