12. Can I see a light at the end of the packing boxes?

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Front of the cave house

Can I see a light at the end of the packing boxes?  All I can say is that it’s a good job we have so many rooms in our new cave house.

The cave property has been excavated all the way through the hillside to give a front and back to the cave house.  Two long corridors take you down from one side to the other.

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Rear of the property

 

You may also recall that it has an added bonus of being easily separated into two private dwellings or kept as one, albeit one big one.  We live in the first half as there is work needed in the second half to make it fully habitable.   This second half is still quite full of packing boxes which all need sorting. Some items will be used, others repacked for future use and some for a local dogs charity to be used as they see fit.

The whole cave structure looks like this;-  bano = bathroom, Cocina = kitchen,  domitorio = bedroom, comedor = dining room, sala = room, salon= living room, recibidor = reception room, bodega = winery!!

Back of the cave house.

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Front of the cave house.

As you can see it is quite a network of rooms.  To make this property into two indepentant units you would need to lock/block off the middle bathroom,  (third room at the front of the cave as seen on the bottom row of the diagram).  Each half would have a front entrance and a rear entrance all of its own.

The number of rooms is fantastic but what we will use each one for is, and will be for a while yet, working progress. It does initially depend on whether we use this cave property as our main home or separate the cave giving us two rentals. We said we would give ourselves a couple of months to live and relax here but I can see after only a few weeks that we are here to stay. We love it. Not only do we feel relaxed and at home but the potential here is endless. The cave has so many connotations and the outside space is mind boggling. Secret gardens that lead to a quant church, the path leading down to the river and the three driveways all need careful consideration to what we do next and how we use these quite different spaces. Imaginations can run wild.

We have started work in the cave within the living room space.  This room is the first room on the bottom row of the above diagram.  We have so far had the walls ‘re-plastered’.  It was not actually plastered but Yeso’ed but you get my drift.  There was not much wrong with the old walls but they did not have a great finish to them and as Yeso is only a couple of euros a bag we thought ‘why not have the room as we would like it’.

The old large wood burner that sits majestically within the fireplace works brilliantly and throws out so much heat but it is showing its age and the door mechansism is faulty.  So, in a couple of weeks we will have a lovely new estufa (fire) and the old estufa will be placed in one of our secret gardens to be used as a barbecue (your idea Chris so get your thinking cap on please).

As I write this update I am working on ideas for the lighting in the lounge. I am leaning towards replacing the old wall lights with roof tiles.  Roof tiles that have been doctored. By doctored I mean drilled by yours truly.  Here are a couple of ideas I would like to use.

I may get more adventurous as the time goes by but at present I am happy with drill holes that appear haphazardly to allow some light to get through. I have seen tiles with such intricate patterns in them but it may take some planning and a few trials before I can begin to get to that standard. But, if you know me, you know that I will keep trying and one day……

The ceiling light is a challenge for me.  You may recall me saying that I do not like such lights and rarely use them.  I think I am going to have to leave it be for a while and see how the lighting works during the winter and spring and which type of lighting I do actually use in this room.  I have seen a lovely candle holder made of iron used as a ceiling light in our lovely neighbour’s cave which took my eye.  Steve and Sandra, watch out, it may just go missing, you have been warned.

The tv is now fixed on the wall and the leads and plugs just need to be hidden behind tiles and rock.  The only other idea we had for the lounge area was a charging station which Chris will be finishing off as soon as he returns to Spain.  I wanted one place where we could recharge our electronic gadgets, iPhones, iPads, computers, kindles, apple watches etc etc etc. All the leads and plugs would be in one place and not spread around so you have to hunt for a lead or try to remember where you left you iPhone on charge.  We have the ideal spot in the lounge.  An area that you cannot do much else with.

The last job to do in this room will be to paint the fresh Yeso in brilliant white.  We will then have one room in which we can sit back and be proud of.  Onto the next room which will be ……. I am truly not sure yet as I have so many ideas I have no idea where to start next!

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Some wise person (and not me!) said, ‘The way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away’.  I have made a start and have so many ideas I could fill a cave – our cave!

 

9. It’s Happening…Goodbye Cyprus.

It’s happening.  We have sold our two properties in Cyprus.

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The sale of the house is going through ok after the many meetings and phone calls to get the house deeds amended.   The one missing piece of paper actually arrived and has been approved, stamped and lodged with the correct department.  That left us with the apartment still on the market.   Until, on the day I was flying out to Spain to view other cave properties,  I received a phone call to say an offer had been made on the the apartment. This offer was raised slightly and duly accepted by us both.   Wonderful.   My trip to Spain was starting off well.

In my last blog you may remember that we discussed whether to rent for 12 months in Spain whilst our own cave was reformed or whether to buy a second cave which was  ready to move into immediately. The later would give us somewhere to live for the 12 months and, when we moved out, would provide us with a rental property which would give us a little income.  Win, win.

Well, during my visit to Spain last week (with our great friend Dave Nelson), I found the perfect 3 bed cave for us to move into immediately and…..it has another 3 bed cave next door which just needs finishing off!   Two large caves, 6 beds, 2 lounges, 2 kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a large expanse of outdoor space all for a great price of €83,000.   The second cave even has stone steps that lead nowhere!!

The properties had been on the market for €135,000 but they had been reduced a matter of days before we arrived.  A great deal of interest had already been received by the estate agents in the area and I was not to sure whether we would be the successful purchasers but…. we were.  The phone call came from Sean at Spainish-Inland-Properties to confirm we were the proud owners, as I arrived back at Birmingham airport.

What a week that was.  Thank you Dave Nelson for going through it all with me, sharing the ups and downs and wearing out shoe leather.  I hope all the great tapas we endured went a little way towards compensation.

In less than 12 months we will have not one but two great and unusual rental properties. I am over the moon.

There may be a little work to do and a certain amount of planning of the outdoor spaces but that is going to be fun especially when we will be living there.  Inside needs a coat of paint in certain areas and each room needs a good clean . The outside area of the new caves is quite extensive. Part of the area has trees which will need to be cut back and hedges that need to be taken out. We will need patio areas, stone tables and benches, hammocks, four poster sun beds….. and maybe a pool? We are undecided about that, (sorry Dave), as a pool is quite work intensive, expensive to run and maintain and is it really necessary? Jury is still out.  We do have a few volunteers keen to help us get settled.  Chris, Dave,  Tracy… fancy putting your rubber gloves on??  Block you diaries for the second half of October!

But for now we have the hard work that only John and I can do.  The planning, arranging, dealing with solicitors, packing and moving contents of a large house and 2 wonderful dogs to Spain. I will admit that it is all rather scary as we do not have a sales agreement for the house signed as yet – apparently that happens on the day of exchange  which is to be 10 October.  This all happens a few days before we are due to fly out of Cyprus on the 15 October.

As I write this update we have had a couple arrived to look at our two cars.  Within 5 minutes they were sold and all within an hour of advertising them on Facebook.  One has been taken away and the other we can keep until the 13 October!  How good is that?  Only John’s bike to go now.  Help!  So far everything has had perfect timing ….long may that continue.

Thank you for following our exciting journey and I hope you will continue with us all the way. x

 

7. How Do You Light Up A Cave?

It may sound straight forward but is it? There are ceiling lights, wall lights, light boxes, light tunnels, strip lights and … you get my gist! Then… you have to consider the power each unit may use.  Remember we will not have mains electricity so usage will be quite crucial when we move into our cave. We will be dependant on systems such as solar, wind and/or generator.

As I look at the various options for lighting, I am tending to move away from ceiling lights and wall lights. In Cyprus we live in a large villa/house. Yes it has windows all around and yes it is not a cave, but when night falls, it gets dark. When we need light we use table lamps and floor lights. We very rarely use ceiling lights except for the kitchen, bathrooms and halls. This may be because that is the only source of light in these rooms!

This got me thinking. Can we live without ceiling lights? As I am not a lover of standard wall lights, I may extend that to, can we live without ceiling lights and wall lights?

After searching through the web and looking at Pinterest I have concluded, (for now anyway but I am happy to consider your thoughts too), that we can do without these types of light fittings in most (if not all) areas of the cave.

The modern variations of floor and strip lights on the market are unbelievable. My plan is to try and make a feature of the lighting in each room.  Funds permitting.

I love these particular examples.  We will have small corridors within the cave which would be ideal for strip lights as shown in the first picture.  I would also like to use the strip concept in the bedroom as shown in the second picture.  How good would it be to have the base of the beds, which are to be built in to the room, having strip lightening at the base. That would look amazing.  As you can see in picture three, lighting can also be art.  Just up my street!  The final picture is lovely or the bathroom.  A circular mirror surrounded by light but I do concede that another source of light would be needed especially in a cave bathroom.

Then you have floor and table lighting.  The sky is the limit, (especially if you have the budget which sadly I will have to limit quite a bit).

Did I say that I did not want ceiling lights in the cave?  Well, I did say I may have to reconsider and that I may just do.  Look what I have found.  I just love them.

 

The next consideration is what kind of bulb should be used? Again after research I am leaning towards LED lighting. They are cheap to run, use little electricity, last 2/3 times longer than most other bulbs and do not get hot.

Talking to the architect, he is looking at designing a light tunnel – not sure until I see the drawings – but it is worth consideration at least.  My only concern would be leaks and heat.  We have had many problems with leaks over the years so we are trying to avoid anything that may cause us problems in the future and… one of the positives of buying a cave is that they keep cool in the heat of the summer.  Not sure if these are valid reasons for not having a light tunnel so need to do my research.

If you have any other ideas, suggestions or have a favourite light fitting you would like to share with me, please do.  I need help!

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