Corrugated City

Friday, 29 February 2008

Renovations-Finished II

So here are the rest of the photos I promised (and ahead of schedule too-the late afternoon light was really nice).

This is the master bedroom-the tube in the corner is where the chimney/flue from the wood burner downstairs will pass. The floor in this bedroom is rauli, for which I have no English translation. It's the only room that doesn't have Douglas Fir floorboards-we ran out.

The white door leads to a little triangular en-suite.

The view that awaits us every morning.

The only change to the layout of the house was cutting a large room in half (and adding a bit of corridor) to create a third bedroom and a small reception area with recycled oak beams on view next to the kitchen (which is upstairs).

The kitchen isn't quite finished. The window obviously needs its double glazing (long, boring story) and there'll be a work top all along the right hand wall where the drawer unit you see will also go. The kitchen cabinets are handmade from recycled oak. And if you click on the renovations label, you'll find a post that shows the floor tiles being handmade.

This is the second bedroom with en-suite. The photos are so yellow because the wall on the left is painted that colour and the late afternoon sun streams through the windows and make the entire room look yellow.

Finally, the skylight looking up through the roof.

Once the kitchen is done and we've got all our stuff moved in (and tidied up), I'll post more photos.


I've been away for the past few days down in Santa Cruz, looking for a nice vineyard in Chile for some clients. We got back yesterday after putting another 1000km on the back's totally killing me but it was a pretty successful trip and we also got to meet up with a friend of ours as well, which was cool.

Anyway, the house is finished. Today, the hot water will be connected and the central heating will be completed next week (we're missing a radiator, not too important in summer). Most of upstairs is a still covered in cardboard to protect the floors but downstairs is empty, so here are a few photos. More to come over the weekend. You can see the stages of the renovation process by clicking on the 'renovations' label at the bottom of this post or in the sidebar.

The two main rooms downstairs:

The white doors are going to be stripped back to the wood, like the windows above them, but we're going to do that in a few weeks once we've got another place to make a mess:

The ceiling molds and cornices are all new plaster except the corner 'faces' (there's a man in one room and a woman in another), which are the original papier mache ones. We made plaster molds to replace a couple that were too damaged to re-use.

I already have my office in place with a view of the hills:

The entrance hall:

Downstairs corridor and staircase:

The three bathrooms are all the same design. This is the easiest to take a photo of as the other two are even more triangular:

I'll have more upstairs photos and the kitchen uploaded sometime over the weekend.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Reader who emailed me on Saturday-I deleted your message by accident...

So if you're the reader who emailed me on Saturday-you read this blog, you're married to a Chilean girl and you're interested in the loft conversions in Valparaiso we're doing-please can you send me another message. I only got to read half of it and I didn't even see your name. I deleted the message by accident and when I was trying to get the message out of the trash I proceeded to delete it permanently. I might have had a tipple. Anyway, hope to hear back from you soon...

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Dry Dock Version 1864.

I'm having trouble working out where this photo was taken from. By my reckoning, it must have been around Cerros Florida, Bellavista o Yungay but I can't be sure.

Anyway, the most interesting thing about the photo is the huge dry dock to the middle right. Not really being a sea-faring man myself, I hadn't ever really thought about when dry docks were invented, but it's easy to see that the system hasn't really changed much over the years. The photo below is obviously not from the same angle but shows the Sociber (Sociedad Iberica) dry dock that lives in the harbour these days. The Sociber is a little further around the harbour than the 1864 version was.

I wonder whether the sea-lions commandeered the dinky little boats in 1864 like they do today?

Another interesting thing to note is the building with a spire in the middle of the photo. This building was Latin America's first ever stock exchange.

Anyway, with a gay abandon so typical of Valparaiso today, the building was torn down in 1884 to make way for this pretty crappy statue to a Prat and the 'Heroes' of Iquique (there's a British flag wreath there because there was a Royal Navy ship in Valparaiso at the time).

The water used to reach all the way to its front steps until a couple of hundred metres of land were reclaimed. The following two photos- borrowed from Churchy's website-show what the area looked like in 1861 and 1874, with a small dock out the front of the building.

I haven't been able to find out when the land was eventually reclaimed. I'm guessing around the time the building was knocked down, in order to build the Plaza Sotomayor around it? Anyone know?

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Unlocking Your iPhone in Chile

I bought my iPhone way back in October and unlocked it for use with any SIM card without any hassles (apart from the waiting and hoping that it wouldn't brick itself). It never really occurred to me that other people in Chile might be wanting to unlock their iPhones as well until a friend proudly showed me his iPhone...I asked him what network he was on and he said he couldn't unlock it. Oh dear...anyway, as luck would have it, the latest unlocking tools for Out The Box (OTB) Versions 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 had just been released, so I pointed him in the right direction and hey presto! an unlocked iPhone.

So if you want to know how to unlock your iPhone for use with any sim card just take a look at the following links for step by step instructions. It's actually really easy and it's freeeeeeeeeeeee (although i'd suggest doing the decent thing and donating a couple of quid to the super-geeks whose hard work has made it all possible).

To upgrade from 1.0.2 to 1.1.1 click here

The master resource for downgrading, upgrading, unlocking and modding your iPhone.

A forum full of useful resources but it's frustratingly slow at times for some reason.

This is the newest way of doing it and it's not a method i have personally tested.

Happy Unlocking..!

Dying in Valparaiso: Sorry, we're a bit full...

Here's a photo of Cerro Panteon or 'Cemetery Hill' as it was known to English speakers in 1861. This is a view of Cementerio Numero 1 although back then it was almost certainly known simply as Cementerio because they didn't open Numero 2 until the first one was getting a little overcrowded. The cemetery opened in 1825, so in the photo it had almost 40 years worth of the (Catholic) dead buried there

And here's a photo of what it looks like today. You can even make out one or two buildings right at the foot of the hill that have amazingly survived all the natural and man-made disasters thrown at them. Unfortunately, these days you can't get that nice unobstructed view across anymore due to the roofs of the buildings.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Firefighters and Internet Piracy

Whilst following a link back to how a reader found this blog, I came across a US university library website that had a load of old photos from the 1860s of Valparaiso, Santiago, the north of Chile and the south of Peru (which would become the north of Chile a couple of decades later of course). Now, apparently, I have to submit a handwritten request to the university to be allowed to publish the photos but I say nuts to them-a university library should be willing to freely share its resources without limitations. So I downloaded the lot. I also downloaded Knocked Up, so I'm a real internet bad boy.

Anyway, one of the photos was of the First Company of Firefighters, the Bomba Americana and taken in 1861.

I think it was taken just off Plaza Sotomayor, a few metres down from the big blue Naval HQ is now but I could be wrong. I love the old wagon and the uniforms are pretty cool as well.


Friday, 15 February 2008

Renovations: Finished...Ma o Meno

Remember when we didn't have a house, but a war zone?

Well, today the builders and painters are leaving. At last. Over the weekend the floors will have their last two coats of varnish and on Monday the house will be done, with the exception of fixing mirrors, putting up a couple of lights and putting up a shower curtain pole. By this time next week, the floor varnish will be hard enough to then move all our things in. Yey..!

I'll post photos on Monday or Tuesday. So you'll have a whole, sleepless weekend thinking about what it's going to look like.

It's actually only been 8 months since we started the work. 8 months to rebuild entirely a huge old house. It's been tiring and stressful at times, but that's the work we've chosen to do. And we do it kind of well...the quality of the work is way higher than anything that's been seen here in private home renovations in Valparaiso before and we did it all for 50% less than it should have really cost.

So this is the part when I say that we can do this for you here in Valparaiso. We are involved in loft conversions in Valparaiso and other projects that will help make Valparaiso one of the Southern Cone's coolest cities to travel to and in which to live and work. We also offer a full real estate consulting service in Chile. So, for Valparaiso, Chile real estate and property-you know where to come.

Apologies for the outrageous and none-to-subtle's just that I'm proud of the work we're doing here and want others to join us in this amazing city. If you're looking for something different in your life, then Valparaiso's a great option.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Dying in Valparaiso...Isn't Always Glamourous

This is where we'll all end up some day. Except me. I'm going to live forever or I'm going to die trying.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

More Cute Kitty-Kats

You may have realised by now that I quite like cats. I've had cats all my life. I've got two here in Valparaiso that I brought over with me from Buenos Aires. My sister-in-law is even more of a cat-freak than me though and after about 10 years of not being able to have a cat she finally got one at the weekend.

Otis (first photo) is quite cute, but he's not a patch on Tonto and Polly.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Dying in Valparaiso: Foreigners

As you should already know if you've been reading this blog for a while, Valparaiso was built by a mix of local Chileans and foreigners attracted to the port city by dreams of riches or simply sent here as part of their job as seamen. The Cemeteries in Valparaiso are testament to this mélange of immigrants. Along with the British and Germans, the following nationalities are commonly found in the graveyards (I'm sure there are more but these are the ones I came across).

Above is a tomb to a Basque family, the Bastias.

Below is the tomb of a Serbian family, the Bradanovichs



The Van Buren family were from the US, originally by way of a town in Holland. The son of the two mentioned, Carlos Van Buren was a tireless worker for social rights and gives his name to a major hospital here in Valparaiso.

Italian (only the Italian tombs have photos of the deceased)


Chinese-despite there being a pretty decent sized Chinese community here in Chile, Chinese food is far and away the worst I've had the misfortune to eat anywhere in the world. Chop Suey is the height of Chilean-Chinese food sophistication. Shameful.