I didn’t have an opportunity to travel much as a child. Both my parents worked so hard and really loved this country and had no desire to see any others. They have only recently in their retirement started to travel more. I got the bug when I met my husband, Christian. Our second date was a road trip across the country in a Ford Econoline Van, camping the entire way. It was one hell of an experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

After over 20 years together we have managed to see most of this country, And a few others. We have felt it is so important to bring our children with us. Traveling with the kids has been such a gift. We are blessed that the kids have learned to look at the new environments and appreciate what it takes for the locals to live and find beauty in the natural world.

me and meco truck

We love to drive everywhere we go. It gives us the opportunity to go slow,  turn around when we see something interesting or unique.

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I’m obsessed with the different building materials, styles, structural techniques in Costa. I am forever asking questions about the structural details, reasoning behind an architectural detail, or engineered design. It is different in different sections of the country.

Last summer we managed to stay in Costa Rica for over 3 weeks. We stayed far south, close to Panama. We would make a few grocery runs to the border which tico housewas always fun. Found a great bakery on the way with pastalitos that were so yummy. Otherwise that far from any real city all there is to eat is beans rice, fish, chicken and fruit. The veggie truck came through once a week and that was it. 

The building styles in Costa are vast. Most of the neighborhoods are built with concrete block and metal roofs. There are a fair amount of tiko style houses. More and more we see a very modern style of building residential. Also a great movement using containers as homes.

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We have made some new friends there one of whom is a husband wife team, GC and designer. They are Core Construction CR. They had me help them with a heavy work load a few months ago, with some production drafting of a home for a client of theirs.

parris_house

This was a great opportunity. I was able to learn in detail how they build new homes in tune with the climate and terrain.

This house in particular is designed with steel wall framing as well as steel roof trusses. The drywall they use is closer to our green board- what we use in showers or wet spaces. They have so much humidity, rain and insects they have to build an almost bullet proof house.parris_floor_plan

The other issue they battle are land slides.

They use more and more steel simply because the beams made of teak are few and far between. They have over forested their real farms so tensile strength of the new wood just won’t hold up. They simply don’t have the resources we do ship engineered materials up a mountain side.

Coming home with this knowledge I have started to embrace more and more the idea of using metal roof trusses and metal studs if the allowance is there. Just think, no termites! We all fight with that monster here. wood roof trusses, top plates, garage door bucks, there is wood in every house.

Color in Costa is abundant. What they lack in material interest or design they make up for with color combinations. Locals paint their homes in every color under the sun. This makes total sense to me since you are surrounded by the color of the rain forest.

red tico house

When we return home after these visits, the first thing I jump on is my garden. When guests or clients see our back yard, they inevitably ask what our inspiration is. I find great joy in working in the garden, feeling grounded just pulling weeds can be my saving grace some days. WE tell everyone who visits that Costa Rica is our inspiration. The peace I find on  those trips, the slow pace of life, aka Tico time, is brought back to me when I sit in my garden. I can simply sit, to be and know. Feeling disconnected yet connected to what is important. That is what travel solidifies in me and hopefully my children. I ever grateful for my husband who gave this bug to me and for all the friends we have made through the years of traveling.

truck shopping

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