Sunday, September 14, 2008

Taking Shape

Petit Paradis is officially taking shape this week, with the arrival of our architect, Boonma Yongprakit. Boonma is originally from Thailand, but we met him four years ago in Boulder, Colorado. Boonma answered an advertisement we had posted on Craig’s List to do some preliminary sketches for our project’s concept paper. We liked his work so much that we hired him to come to Costa Rica in 2005 to design the buildings for our larger (20 bungalow) project. Now that we have scaled things down considerably, Boonma is back again to reconfigure his original plans and add a variety of new design elements.

Some of the new touches are a result of Boonma having spent the last two years in Hong Kong working on resort contracts for a large architectural firm. His job took him throughout Asia, where he was able to visit some of the most beautiful resorts in the world. One of Boonma’s most recent projects was designing the masterplan for the new Four Seasons hotel in Hainan, China. To say that we feel fortunate to have Boonma working on our little Balinese~style project is the understatement of the year. Thanks Craig’s List!

Taking current construction costs in Costa Rica into consideration, it now looks as though our mountain retreat will consist of three separate structures (if all goes as planned). The main building will have a restaurant and an area for nature talks and indoor exploration (with telescopes, exhibits, and library). It will have a separate, private wing, which will serve as our living quarters. Our wing will be separated from the restaurant by a small but elegant infinity~edge swimming pool. In addition to the main building, we will have two bungalows for overnight guests ~ ~ one with one bedroom, and one with two. If there’s anything left at the end of the day, we also plan to construct one or two open~air pavilions for yoga, meditation, or massage services.

Once Boonma finishes his sketches, he and Patrick will spend next week in the office of our Costa Rican architect, who will be in charge of managing the project throughout the construction process. Together, they will transform the sketches into architectural plans, which we will then present to local construction companies for bid. The collaboration is tricky to begin with, but considering a Frenchman will be serving as translator for a Thai~American (with an accent) who speaks no Spanish and a Costa Rican who speaks no English, it’s really a spectacle to behold!

The next challenge we face will be finding a construction company that is capable of building what the plans call for, and finding quality construction materials at a reasonable price. Although we haven’t found many builders who do the quality work we’re looking for, they do exist here and it’s just a matter of finding them. With strength and determination powered by the dream of an outdoor soaking tub and deck overlooking the ocean, LET THE SEARCH BEGIN!

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