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Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

I know I promised that Talavera transformation, the end was the end of the talavera tile projects.  However, what can I say?   It’s been almost two years and the outdoor counter was too small to be functional, not to mention that the 25+ year old glass tiles kept loosening and falling off the sink area.

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Modeled after my kitchen sink project, two other kitchens in my apartment complex had recently received a facelift and had used up most of the tiles squirreled away in the bodega.   But, I was determined and the expansion project began.

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Despite the lack of tiles, the previously mentioned, Sebastián and Leonardo began framing the new counter top.  The first attempt at purchasing more tiles at Materiales Venecia (on the way to Tule) ended in a police bloqueo.  We (thank you, Chris) turned around and headed over to Home Depot.  No talavera tiles.  Then Romasa.  Also, no dice.

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Push came to shove, the tiling needed to begin!  So, the following day, we again set out for Materiales Venecia — this time, smooth sailing and success.  With dimensions, a design, and a calculator in hand, the math was done (while squatting on the sidewalk) and boxes of green and dark terracotta tiles were purchased.

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I’d bought the accent pieces years ago at a Oaxaca Lending Library bazaar, had planned the design around them, and was SO glad to finally see them being put to use.

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After two weeks of on again/off again work, depending on their work schedule and my ability to obtain materials, the counter was finished and I immediately went out in search of stools, so I could belly-up to the bar to sip my morning coffee and sunset glass of wine.

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I love it!  And, besides serving as a delightful place to eat breakfast and dinner, the added storage under the counter is fantastic.  No more looking at the plastic garbage cans holding dirt, stacks of buckets, and leftover paint cans — thanks to shower curtains.

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What’s next?  Who knows…

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Just because the concrete stairs were ugly, the bodega held more tile, Nalo is a maestro…

2 concrete stairs

and what’s a little more talavera between friends?

2 stairs with tile on risers

The end, I promise!

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Initially, when I came face-to-face with the kitchen at the bigger and better Casita Colibrí, I was convinced there was NO way I could make it work and that IT should be numero uno on the make-over list.  A double sink, but no counter space?  A grungy ancient copper-colored stove that may or may not have been safe to light?  A cabinet door that couldn’t be opened, because said stove was in the way?

Small kitchenWith a little pleading (whining), management replaced the stove with a new one that had been hiding in the storage shed.  I installed the shelf unit I’d gotten for my old apartment and I had the cabinetry painted white — making it more functional and easier on the eyes — and I was happy.  Hey, a friend even wanted to practice using his new fisheye lens.

Kitchen with white cabinets and appliances

(photo by Alan Goodin)

However, the talavera transformation in the bathroom turned out so well, I was inspired, plus the cement at the base of the kitchen sink unit kept falling out.  Thus, talavera transformation, part 2 began two weeks ago.

Framing for kitchen counter

The old cabinet was demolished (oh, the polvo!) and the new counter, with new sink, began to materialize from the dust and debris.

Cement base on kitchen counter top

Again, I scavenged tile from the bodega.  Luckily, there were several boxes of russet orange tiles, but they were slightly smaller than most of the other orphan tiles, making finding accent pieces a challenge.  I didn’t want to introduce another color into the blue/cream/orange mix that already tiled the walls and so was hoping Nalo and crew could salvage some of the old tile, but it proved far too time consuming.

Russet orange tile on counter

The result?  I love the cleaner, less busy, look for the kitchen.  And, the crew took about 6″ off the top of my old shelf unit, so it would fit under the new counter and I wouldn’t lose the storage space.  It’s faintly visible on the right behind the blue plastic curtain.

Russet orange tile counter with accent tiles.

One of my grandmother’s oft-repeated sayings was, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”  — but I’m trying!!!

h/t Chris for the shower curtain idea.

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For those of you who may not be aware, most Mexican bedrooms and bathrooms are small.  In the US, it’s what I grew up with and lived with most of my life, so I’m cool with that.  However, what has driven me nuts is the lack of a bathroom counter.  How does one handle toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, and water bottle, without at least one of the items ending up in the sink or on the floor?  And, forget trying to apply makeup!

Small white bathroom sink

So, when I moved into my bigger and better, but also with the aforementioned deficiency, apartment a year and a half ago, it became number one on my “find a way to fix” list. Serendipity motivated me into action, when I happened upon a talavera sink and surround on sale AND discovered a treasure trove of leftover talavera tiles in the bodega (storage shed) here at my apartment complex.  Project proposed and permission given by the property’s owner (thanks Doug), I hired a contractor, and work began.

brick and wood framing for counter

Being completely ignorant of construction of this type, I was fascinated by the process.

Concrete countertop

Once I’d received the okay for the project, I began hauling up buckets of mismatched tiles from the bodega and laying them out on the floor of my main room — in an attempt to create some sort of unified design — it was exciting to see it materialize.

Counter with tile

The finished project…

Talavera bathroom sink and counter

And, take a look at the side — it’s what one see’s when opening the bathroom door.  I think Nalo and his crew did a super job!

Side of talavera counter

What a difference a bathroom counter makes.  Form and function!!!

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After 6+ months of being Under construction,

today, the waiting is over!

This morning, Oaxaca’s governor, the city’s mayor, and the head of the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development opened the newly constructed entrance on Independencia…

and welcomed vendors and shoppers to the newly renovated Mercado IV Centenario.

New stalls, with improved electrical and sanitation systems are part of this renovation project.

Vendors, including one of my favorite vegetable sellers, began moving their goods from the temporary site in Jardín Morelos to their new stalls.

After only a few hours, my vendedora de frutas already looked happily ensconced in her new digs!

There are still a few stalls waiting to be filled…

Any takers???

 

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One of the pleasures of living here, is grocery shopping at the traditional mercados.   As the map from my local Mercado IV Centenario shows, the variety of items sold rivals any US supermarket chain.

Color coded map of Mercado IV Centenario stalls painted on wall.

The freshness and quality far exceeds anything the chains have to offer and you can’t beat the personal attention.

Woman vendor in her produce stall.

There is something comforting about being recognized and greeted by favorite vendors and gratifying about purchasing tamales proudly sold by the loving hands that made them.

White-haired woman sitting behind two plastic buckets full of tamales

However, on May 14, 2012, Mercado IV Centenario, operated by the municipio of Oaxaca de Juárez, began a much-needed major renovation.  The doors have been locked…

Chains locking double doors.

and demolition has begun.

Construction workers demolishing interior of mercado

According to a May 25th article, the project includes a new roof and bathrooms, waterproofing, installing tile floors, interior and exterior painting, and rehabilitation of the water, sanitation, and electrical systems.  In addition, an access door on the busy avenida Independencia will be constructed.

For the duration of the renovation, the merchants and their stalls have been relocated under a big blue tent in Jardín Morelos on Independencia, across from the chain supermarket, Soriana.  Rather than hurting business, the vendors report sales have increased at the temporary site and are hoping to bring the new customers along when they move into the newly renovated Mercado IV Centenario.

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On my first visit to Oaxaca, I was introduced to Jardín Sócrates, part of the Templo de la Soledad/Plaza de la Danza complex, between Independencia and Morelos.  The original Jardín Sócrates was constructed as a public garden in 1881 and remodeled for its 100th birthday.

Pink and white iron chairs and umbrella in front of a neveria stand.

I have a weakness for ice cream, sherbet, and gelato and, thus, was completely “in heaven” being surrounded by stands selling the most amazing flavors of  milk and water based frozen desserts.

Green and yellow iron chairs and umbrellas in front of a neveria stand.

Everyone has their favorite vendor, my friend G was partial to Nevería Malena, and so we sat down at one of their yellow and white iron tables.

Yellow and white iron chairs and umbrellas in front of the Nevería Malena stand.

It was SO hard to decide what to order; being tempted by too many choices and being mystified by what many of the flavors actually were.

Nevería Malena sign listing 34 flavors

What in the world is Beso de Angel?  I settled on a scoop of Leche Quemada (burnt milk) with a scoop of Tuna (fruit of the nopal cactus NOT the fish) on top.  I was hooked!

Bowl of leche quemada and tuna nieve on yellow and white iron table.

As it worked out, two years later I moved into an apartment only a block away and I pass by Jardín Sócrates at least a couple of times a week.   However, in mid October 2011, carpenters began constructing wooden puestos along Independencía below the Jardín.  Ready for a feria?  I wondered.  Then they were painted!  These took on a semi-permanent character.  Hmmm…

Wooden puestos lining sidewalk.

Soon, a sign went up explaining the Jardín Sócrates was undergoing an “image enhancement,” courtesy of the federal and municipal governments.

Programa Habitat 2011; Gobierno Federal sign.

Demolition soon began, including the removal of the original green cantera (stone) pavement.

Pile of old paving stones

And, the neverías began moving down to the temporary puestos on Independencia.  I found Nevería Malena, ordered my usual, and asked how long the relocation was going to last.  “No sé.”  (“Don’t know.”) was the answer.

Iron tables, chairs, and puestos on sidewalk.

Eight new stalls were constructed, the cantera was replaced with red terracotta tile, and new tables, chairs, and umbrellas materialized.  After five months,  the newly “enhanced” Jardín Sócrates opened on March 29, 2012.

Fountain and green umbrellas on terracotta paved terrace.

It does look lovely — orderly and coordinated — but I kind of miss the color and funkiness of the old.

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A clean-looking Oaxaca, brought to you by Oaxaca’s Secretary of Infrastructure.

Sign on street:  "Todos x un Oaxaca + limpio"

According to the state government’s website, a 45 million peso project was launched to “visually rehabilitate” 94,000 buildings in 25 urban communities.   Begun in July in San Bartolo Coyotepec (14 miles south of Oaxaca City), it has now reached my ‘hood.

2 painters with 10+ buckets of paint

Ladders, paint buckets, and painters up and down the block.

2 painters painting a pale blue building

By the way, because this is the Centro Histórico, the colors are selected from a previously approved palette.  Baby blue?  I wonder if the owners of the buildings have any say…

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