Monday, November 24, 2008

Changes in Founders

I just came back from a very quick 4 day trip to Loreto to follow up on some small home maintenance items and was very pleasantly surprised with the progress going on in the development. The most obvious of which was the landscaping of the courtyards throughout Founders Village. Most of the cobblestone walkways are complete or very near completion (even right up to the beach) and the plantings are well underway. I've created a slideshow of photos taken on my discovery walks throughout the Village during my stay (for larger format pictures, just click on the slideshow for a separate window). The landscaping has given the village a whole new life. The neighborhood is vibrant with color. There are places to congregate in your own little clusters vs. just the inside of your home or at the hotel. All of the courtyards are different and I must say that the plantings are very unique and complement each particular home. Some homes have walkways lined with uniformed plantings, some have a mix of trees, palms, groundcover, succulents, bouganvilla and other vibrant baja plant life. The exterior of my home is starting to blend with the interior of my home, the gardens seemed to flow into and out of each other. There is finally a unity to it all.

I spoke with Doug Brown who is a homeowner contact for a Permachink vendor in town. He and his family have spent the last year living full time in Loreto. He admitted to me that he thought their adventure living full time in the baja was just about over and it was ready to start something else new and exciting but once they got back to Loreto after a brief hiatus this summer, something was different. The changes in the development, the true spirit of community that is starting to emerge made them fall in love with Loreto all over again. I think they will be sticking around for a while. ;o)

Speaking of permachink, which has been a hot topic for all existing homeowners. Should we or shouldn't we? Is it really necessary? Our home is only a year old, etc. These are all questions we have asked ourselves. I wondered myself but when I was in Loreto in August, three of my neighbors had the permachinking done to their pergolas and I definately noticed a difference. The wood of my pergola was starting to look faded and dried out, so I decided to do some investigating. I did find out that certain clusters window and door makers did not use permachink as a finish. Instead they used a shellac finish which does not last in the baja. It was a product gentle to the environment and therefore met the sustainability requirements for window and door vendors, but it has not stood up to the harsh weather conditions of the baja. Later clusters did include the permachink finish and are weathering a bit better. In the states, the permachink finish would last anywhere from 5-7 years before a resealant was needed, here in the baja we can count on 2 years. I have included a slideshow of homes that have just received permachinking and others that are just about a year old, that show signs of aging and should probably be preserved. I realize that it is difficult these days to get to Loreto to keep on eye on all of the things that need our attention, so hopefully these photos will give you an idea how quickly things can age in the hot Mexican sun.

I have also gathered a list of permachink vendors that can be hired to wash, stain and seal your pergolas, doors and windows. I also believe that TCC is doing something very similar on their site as well.

Doug Brown (FV 489)for Jose Luis Avila

West Coast Woodworks
Bryan Evans

Artesanias del Sol
Owner: Gustavo Flores Cardenas
Email: artesdelsol (at)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back and forth to Mexico....

It's been a busy few weeks for me. I just returned from Mazatlan, doing a site inspection of the condo's interior furnishings install. I thought it was going to be so seamless and a lot less work for me by hiring a local NW designer who has had experience in Mexico. But boy was I wrong. I was very disappointed to say the least. I will have to redo most of it. I spent the last 3 days shopping in Mazatlan for new furniture pieces, hiring a seamstress to finish the window treatments (she hung raw pieces of fabric to clips on a drapery rod) and took as many photos as I could that would make the unit seem rent-ready. I should have just done the whole thing myself. I enjoy that kind of thing, but I was in a rush and had very little time available. Oh and learn, right? The condo unit should be ready in a few weeks, (see new photos on the La Perla del Mar blog, listed in the right column). I'll have furniture delivered, new artwork hung and we should be good to go. Whew! I got spoiled with Joel and Luis......I hope all of you Loreto Bay homeowners appreciate their commitment to customer service and the quality of their furniture. They stand behind their commitments 100%. I will always refer new homeowners to Casa Mesquite. They are what a "preferred vendor" is all about.

Speaking of Loreto......I will be leaving for Loreto on Thursday. It will be some nice R & R just for myself. I have some odd jobs to take care of around the house, such as sealing all of the countertop and bathroom tile grout, hanging the artwork, sconces, etc and inspecting the pergola treatment that Doug Brown and Jose Luis Avila are doing for me this week. I have come to rely on Doug and Ann Brown. They have been living in Loreto for the past year and really have kept in touch with what needs to be done for home maintenance as well as provide resources for additional upgrades, ie. additional wrought iron towel bars and hooks, a small water softener unit for the homes (this is being tested right currently with a few homeowners) and now Doug has teamed up with a Loretano who's son attends school with his son to provide an additional vendor for the pergola treatments. Their prices are very reasonable and I love the fact that I am helping a local launch a new business for themselves. That is what community is all about.

I am also very anxious to see the additional changes that are taking place within the common areas of the village. I know that this has been a priority item for RePlay as well as the paseo redesign. The cobblestone walkways had been installed around my home when we were there last August but the landscaping of plants and trees was still left to be done. TCC had some links to new photos in their November 08 newsletter posted on their site and they are making great progress. The pool across from the hotel is all plastered and almost ready for sealing, tiling and then filling it up! I'm sure the homeowners in that area will be thrilled to have that additional amenity for use as well as it will add appeal and value to their homes.

I will post as many new photos for you as possible when I return for those homeowners that don't get to Loreto as often as some of us can.

Until then........Adios!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A season for change.....

Fall is a beautiful season in the Pacific Northwest, and this one in particular. The summer has been mild and clear and the fall crisp but not too cold at night. All of those things combined have formed the perfect conditions for the magical color transformation of all the dense foliage everywhere. This morning I was sitting at my kitchen table watching the golden maple leaves fluttering down from the trees, with a clear blue sky as a background. The green grass was being carpeted ever so slowly with the gold color from above. I had to snap this photo before the leaves would be gone until next year and the vivid colors along with them.

I'm preparing for multiple trips to Mexico within the next few months. The Mazatlan condo has been furnished and a friend and I will be traveling there in the next few weeks to do the final sign-off on the interior install and sign it up for the rental pool. It's an absolutely beautiful location, see the blog to the right labeled, La Perla Del Mar for more details. I'll be loading some additional interior photos upon return of my trip.

The week after that I'm heading to beautiful Loreto for a weekend to myself. I've got lots of small details to attend to with the house and I also hope to meet up with several new friends that I have met who will also be visiting their homes for the Thanksgiving holidays. I'm anxious to see the progress on the paseo and all the landscaping taking place in the common areas of Founders Village. They were also starting construction on a few more custom homes right in front of my home that will line the beach when we were visiting in August. Hopefully our magnificent view will not be obstructed.

I will also be present for the Homeowners event in December as well. The goal is to meet more homeowners, share information that we have acquired whether it be car storage, transporting household goods, a new contractor for a new service, etc. It's a true community coming together and supporting each other's dreams of living in Mexico and being able to experience all that the untamed baja has to offer.

I've met some wonderful people over the last few years, some relationships lasting, some fleeting but all have had an impact and my world as I know it has started to expand and actually change direction because of it. As I said above, it is a season for change.........I'm just going to make sure that I am receptive to all the options that will present themselves and see where my life takes me.