The Building of our New Home in Belize, the Good, Bad and yes, sometimes Ugly.

It truly is beginning to look like a finished house !


stained fooring

Hardwood siding stained and ready to go up on outside.

The tongue and groove hardwood siding is now completely up on the entire house. Before they put the siding up they did a first coat of stain.  After the wood was installed, the guys painstakingly went over every inch of every board, sanding off rough spots. They then went over every inch of every board a 2nd time, with filler and plugged any imperfection, which was then sanded smoothly to prepare for the next coat of stain.

stained outdoorroom


The guys then did a very detailed 2nd coating of white paint on the upper board under roof, getting ready for gutter installation.


Ceiling received a 2nd coat of white paint.

Meanwhile the guys are finishing applying the final layer of cement to the entire concrete understructure, in preparation for the white painting to follow. Let me tell you, this has been some kind pf process! They went over all concrete structures chipping it with a hatchet, so there was somewhere for the concrete they “splatter” on to stick to. Its actually an art watching them do this, like a famous painter and his masterpiece.


Finishing off bottom of posts.

All the electric wiring,  boxes and plumbing have been installed in the walls, and I finished installing the low voltage wiring for all my security cameras. This was finished in preparation of the wall insulation and moisture guard sheetrock arrival and install.


The waterfront deck is getting some final things done to it, like finishing off the bases of the 6×6 posts with designer boxes, and work on the wall where my outdoor cook center will be.


Wall going up for countertop of cook center. Electric, water and gas line in.

Inside, the painter works away putting on a final coat of white paint on ceiling. This is really delicate work, and he did such a great job, not getting any on the stained hardwood beams.

Yesterday morning the sun was shining as the crew arrived at 6 AM, and immediately a couple guys started applying the 2nd coat of stain to the outside hardwood siding. WOW! Does it ever look good!


OMG! Insulation up!


And then in the afternoon I hear the air brakes, and sound of a massive truck backing into my driveway. Under the tarps, all the wall insulation and moisture guard sheetrock and “mud buckets” for the inside walls. I watched as the three delivery guys unloaded the entire supply themselves, and carried it to the under house storage room, in 90 degree heat.


OMG Big Time! Sheetrock going up!

This morning bright and early there are the guys, carrying the insulation and sheetrock upstairs for installation. In no time at all I see insulation going up in the inside walls of the kitchen. I just can’t contain myself, and sprint out of the Pirates Cabana up the front stairs. And there it is, insulation up and the guys cutting the first piece of sheetrock for install.

2nd coat

2nd coat of stain looking really great!

When I check back an hour later, sheetrock is up in kitchen and laundry room.

Did I say not only are these guys good at what they do, they are frickin quick!

And lastly, I know that everyone was all wrapped up in the “Big Event”, and I just wanted you all to know that the Pirate caught a glimpse of it on his beach !



Until next time, May the wind always be at yer back, yer sails full and your lips continually passed by Rum!

Cheers All,


Gary ….The Pirate


PS-For those that don’t know, we are having a boat custom made for us here in Belize, a 26b foot Panga. Hull is done and paint done. Waiting for hardtop, electronics, motor, etc. They brought it from shop inside of boat motel in case the hurricane did hit us 😉







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Building our new home in Belize, the Good, Bad and yes, Ugly that can happen.

“Look Ma…..a roof and siding just in time for the hurricane?


 View of our new house from the Maya Beach Bistro Pier

When last we met, I was so excited to see the start of my metal roof, and plywood siding being installed before the tongue in groove hardwood siding. My on-site guys were working their butts off to get that roof done, and siding up as we are the “hurricane season” here in Central America.


Siding and moisture guard wrap installed.

Happily I say the roof is complete, and only lacks the gutter system which comes later. The crew has finished putting up the plywood siding which is really used to add fortification and strength to the house before installing hardwood siding.


              Hardwood Siding stacked and ready to sand and stain.

Oh baby! The panel truck arrives and the guys start unloading the hardwood siding boards. Up they go into the house upstairs, to where they will be installed. Stacked inside I find that the guys setup a couple stations where in one they hand sand the entire boards one at a time, and at 2nd station put the first coat of stain on them.


           Hardwood siding boards sanded and stained, ready to go up.

And then the stained boards start to be installed on the side of the house. This is very thrilling to see them go up, as the house starts to take on an almost finished look. The more they install, the more excited I get.


                                 Stained hardwood siding being installed.

Meanwhile, the painter has been busy re-staining the cathedral ceiling rafter boards, and then the white panels between them.


                       Breaker box being wired.


Outside the guys are work on the deck railings and outdoor shower area.


                       Starting designing outdoor shower/spa area.

At the same time, the Barbecue Center is beginning to take shape, as the guys build the counter up with cinderblocks.


                     Building cinderblock wall for barbecue counter.

As all of the inside walls are framed, and all electrical boxes have been strung with wire, it is now time for me to do my thing, with wiring for the three televisions, and all the security cameras. Although I didn’t initially give security and specifically cameras much thought, I have lately. With my security and design/installation training and background, I decided to install wireless security cameras on my house and property. Luckily for the public today, there are readily available security systems out there online with sites like Amazon that a novice can easily install themselves. They are motion detection cameras, work day or night, and if activated notify and send live pic directly to your computer, iPad or Smartphone. As the notify you, they record the images so you can hopefully catch and prosecute a perp! I decided this was the way to go, as the Placencia Peninsula doesn’t have any Police “response” to standard audible alarm systems. With this system, you are notified immediately, and can call directly the police and your own “response team”.



More on security in a later post.

Until we meet again, I will say all is going well, on schedule, and still looking with a rather mega smile at the full time arrival of my lovely bride Marsha at the end of the year.


Cheers all,


Gary ……”The Pirate”


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Building our new house in Belize, and all the Good, Bad and yes Ugly things!

                               OMG ! It actually looks like a house!


                                             The “bones” of the house.


I have really started getting excited about the framing of outer walls and roof rafters going up these past couple weeks. Getting to see the outer shell skeleton has helped me visualize whats to come.IMG_7314

                         Painted tongue and groove ceiling going up.

And then the tongue in groove panels showed up on a delivery truck, and the guys started paining them white on the finished side. These will be screwed in place above the  large exposed wood beams of the ceiling, white side down. As the guys started laying them in place, almost at the same time, they started installing plywood to the outer walls.


                                              Close up after timbers are stained.

After installing the roof panels, they will then lay insulation followed by the white metal roofing, and there you have it, a finished roof to keep everything dry. The plywood walls will be wrapped in Tyvac wrap, followed by a wood exterior, and stained to match the Pirates Cabana.


                      OMG ! Walls! Plywood side panels being installed.

All the time the crew are installing roofing and wall board, another crew starts defining the interior walls, and staining the ceiling timbers.


               Electrical and plumbing going in bathroom for 2 sinks.

And then one day the electricians show up, and it’s “spaghetti Time” in the Pirates Lair.  It’s quite unbelievable what is actually behind those walls in your homes. I love the fact that I can trace every line, circuit throughout the house and onto the deck. I am documenting photo’s along the way, of all electric lines and plumbing, in case I need to find issues later.


       First time I have seen scaffolding! This is for the painter, lucky boy!

As the electricians wire everything, from lights, receptacles and ceiling fans, they keep checking with me to see if I want or need any additions, something that won’t happen if you are not here. I in fact have asked for extra specific placements not on plans, for outside security lights and other special projects we can talk about in private someday?


             The bags of insulation, like 80 lb.. handed up by one guy!

Then, while the roofers, electricians, painters are all busy with separate projects, the plumbers show up and start running pipe for the sinks, potties, outdoor shower, and Marsha’s laundry/utility room. Note, I call it Marsha’s, but in fact I do laundry, when I have to :).


                       Metal roofing going up over the insulation.

Still amazes me how these guys can stand on rickety timbers, lifting heavy bags of insulation up to roof while 12 feet in the air! And then there are the large metal roofing pieces. Thank god there is no wind today, or they wold become “Steel Kite Flyers”!


Cement delivery for concrete storage room.

And then a couple days ago as I am relaxing in the Cabana with Oliver, enjoying a rum and fresh watermelon juice, I hear a large truck backing into the driveway. I check it out, and here is a cement truck.


                                                     Self explanatory!

I watch as the guys start pouring directly from the truck, down a single shoot, into wheelbarrows, as they wheel and dump into our concrete storage/security room under house.


               We now have a concrete floor in the room below.

Now with added issues is beachfront security in a “3 rd world country, it became evident that I needed to create more of a secure environment for Marsha, the pups and of course our guests. Many others that have built homes on the Caribbean, and those building, have fences on the road side and gates. After discussing with Marsha, we decided I would build a fence, not a solid obtrusive fence, but a friendly and tasteful woof fence.


                                                Beginning of our fence.

After the house is complete, we will be adding a 16 foot electronic fancy metal gate.


                                  Roof completed, ist layer of siding gone.

And thats my story, and I’m sticking to it.


Cheers all,

The Pirate, Gary.






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Building your new home in Belize, the Good, Bad and yes, Ugly.

Just when you think everything is going smoothly, there’s a “bump”!


I’m sure I have told you in the past that my building crew work then days on the four off.  This has caused some “anxiety” on both myself as well as my crew foreman Ricco. With the upcoming rain season looming over us, time is of the essence when it comes to getting the roof and walls installed. With the delay in lumber delivery that put us behind schedule, the guys really got on it when they arrived at 6 AM this past Monday.


Upper rafters and walls roughed in.

Finishing the roof rafters and support structure was the main concentration so that they could start installing coining wood tongue and groove panels. So the guys really got on it, finishing the upper rafters, and starting framing out walls inside the house.


Roof tongue and groove panels painted.

Meanwhile, down in my concrete room beneath the main house, they were busy painting the underside of the wood roof panels white. They will be installed pain side down over the exposed wood rafters, stained dark after roof is completed.

Then finally the day arrived when I looked out of the Cabana and saw the first sheet of roofing going up on a corner of the house, then the next, and next. The first day they almost installed one whole roof section, and started laying tar paper over it to ward off moisture and rain.


Roofing panels going up

The next day, as I watch them installing more roofing, I decided to walk to the right of the house for a roof photo. To my surprise I see the guys starting to install wood siding panels! WOW! Shortly after Kevin my builder shows up, and I ask him about the siding.\He tells me he screws those wood panels on the side of the house for strength, then installs that wood tongue and groove wood panels for staining. Makes sense to me.


Siding panels going up, then wood siding will follow.

So as I sit on the Cabana porch with Oliver, smoking a Cuban Cigar and sipping rum, I concentrate, sort of, on the left side of the house where the outdoor shower will be. It starts to become obvious that we may have a problem with the roofline and shower. The architectural plans show the main roof coming out over the side deck, but a separate roof will come out under that one over the shower area. Thats where the 18 inch flat “rain shower head” will come down from.


Before re-configuring roofline over shower. Was to have 2nd extended roof under this one.


Much better roofline for the outdoor shower !

The problem I was seeing was that it appeared there wasn’t’ room for a second roof under the main, to install the shower head. Well, there was if I was 5 foot tall, but I’m 6’1′. So up I go to the main floor of the construction, tape measure in hand, and shortly realize that I was correct! Not enough room for a second roofline!

I bang off an IM to Tracy our Architect, and Kevin my Contractor, explaining the problem. Within a short amount of time get a reply from Tracy that she will get together with Kevin to solve the issue. It seems that we did make a slight change to the plans, which altered the pitch of the roofline, to where it was a bit lower over the shower area, thus causing the situation.


New  re-design allows for designer shower head.

The next morning when Kevin was on site, we went over what needed to be done, a simple fix, Eliminate the second roof, and just use existing roofline. Also that morning I received an email from Tracy with an updated architect drawing with the new roofline.

The only issue was now that the guys had installed rafters that only came out halfway over the shower area, and they needed to actually extend over the edge of the deck by two feet! The next day the guys starting removing the original shorter rafters, and building longer new ones, and installing them.


Roofing, siding, front deck roof and new outdoor shower roofline completed.

The outdoor shower area is now built in, and really looks great to me.

Also, most of the roofing is installed, and tarpapered, getting ready for the metal roof.

And, the guys have completed building the front deck elevated roof.

So lots of progress this week, with the roof structure 75% completed at this point. Things are moving along fine.


My designer shower/spa unit being installed in Master Bedroom outdoor shower bamboo surrounded area.

However, to my point about the “Good, Bad and Ugly” of building your home in Belize? Had I not noticed the issue with the shower area roofline, more than likely the 2nd lower roof would have been built. Everything would have been finished, and when the plumber starting installing my $2,000 shower unit, which would only function for “little we people”, it would have gotten a lot more ugly. Case in point? Being here is everything!

pirate rum

After all, if I wasn’t’t here, who could possibly judge the Rum Punch Competition ?

On that note, everything is fixed, everyone is smiling, and life is good.

Cheers all,


Gary …The Pirate



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Building our new home in Belize, the good, the bad and the horrible

One thing you will learn about doing anything in Belize, you will never stay within any timelines.”


Morning view from the deck


The guys have been pretty busy this past week or so, building the concrete storage/security room under the house, and putting the finishing layer over all the concrete columns and beams. Its pretty amazing how things are done here in Belize. I watched as the crew went over all the poured concrete and chipped them with tomahawks ! OK, well…actually hatchets. I just wanted to get your attention.


Wood forms removed from stairs. Cool look to the single support post.

Next they got special sand delivered, a massive dump truck full, which they then sifted thru a screen, and mixed with cement.They would then fill a homemade “palate”, and scoop a trowel of this liquid pure cement up and throw it on the columns. Now that may sound messy and easy, but trust me, to have it land and stick correctly, there’s an art to it, which includes a special “flick” of the wrist.


All the forms have been removed from the front and back stairs, and I really love the single column supporting the landing on both front and back.

The security room is pretty much finished, with exception of final finish on walls. The guys have completed the double door entryway, and the window. We will be installing a pretty heavy duty solid set of doors, and the window will enjoy custom steel security bars.


The secure concrete “storage / security” room under house.

Its finally at the time when the roof is the next major project to raise, I looked out the front door of the Cabana last week and saw the guys erecting these long boards on top of the walls, to sort of a point in middle of house. When I asked the foreman what they were for, he told me to walk on while building the roof! They were Belize scaffolding, which I will be mentioning again shortly. hen they were completed, I watched my foreman walking on them, thinking to myself “balance pole anyone?”. Keep in mind that he is walking the plank, about 15 feet in the air, above a concrete floor with tons of rebar sticking straight up!


So the next thing we need after the scaffolding is the special beams being cut special order from Belize hardwood at the mill. Kevin had told me they were delivering it last Thursday or Friday. While waiting the guys proceeded to build more scaffolding all around the outside of the house, about 20 feet high, as the main floor is about 12 feet in air.


Tall scaffolding along sides of the house 

So Monday and Tuesday go by, and no lumbar from the mill. I hear from Kevin that the mill had equipment failure, as in broken plainer. They hoped to get it fixed and have the wood here by Wednesday or Thursday. The crew are getting a bit nervous as they know the rain is coming soon, and they really want the roof up before it starts again.

So to avoid a day-to-day rundown, today is Sunday, and here comes the truck!


Got Wood?

As I watched the guys unloading beams, some over 24 feet long from the flatbed, all I could think about was the fact they would be lifting those beams twenty feet above the main floor to build the cathedral ceiling! Back in the U.S. the crew would have unloaded them with a skid steer and raised them with a crane!


So now I can tell you about “power” / electric in Belize. I have often heard about loosing power here, but over the past 6 months, only lost it a couple times, not more than a couple hours. Until this week, when we lost power at 5 PM and it was out until midnight! Needless to say, with the whole village in a blackout, both Oliver and I were shall we say, alert ? When the main house is complete it will have a whole-house butane generator hooked up to the panel which will continue running everything. But for now…what to do?


Our new generator, lights, fans, security lights and movies ?

Daddy Saves The Day!

Just a little scenery from my trip to Spanish Lookout to purchase the generator.


Got Beef ?


So, the next step is raising the roof. I’ll be back!


The Pirate…Gary





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Building our Dream Home in Belize, the Good, Bad and Horrible

When you finally make that decision to build, buy and move to Belize.


For months now I have been helping you follow the progress of our new home build here on the Placencia Peninsula, Stann Creek, Belize, Central America. I’m going to take a break from that to actually go backwards a bit and talk about what we did when we first made a decision to look at buying, building and moving to Belize. These are steps that everyone should make before making that all important decision.


Sure! Staying at Luxury Resorts is fun, but is it really living in Belize? Really?

So many time and way to often, people do their research, pack bags and drag loved ones down to Belize to experience this country and discover if its where they want to move to. They book a room in a hotel or resort on Ambergris Caye, on the Placencia Peninsula, Corozal, god forbid Belize City or somewhere. They may even book a week in one then another, and sometimes come back to Belize a second time, and book into a hotel or resort again.

And then they think they know everything about Belize, that they can live here no problem, and they purchase land, condo or house somewhere.


Shopping locally and cooking for you and your family is important experience.

I will tell you this is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion, as well as most Expats living here, or those who did this, and moved back to the states or Canada within a year.


Lou’s rental house on beach in Placencia, where we fell in love with Placencia.

What I suggest is what Marsha and I did, because after all, we are experts…right? We visited many area’s of Belize, stayed in hotels, resorts multiple times, and realized Belize was for us. Then we made the correct decision, to rent a house and actually live for weeks or months as close to a Belizean as possible. Shop for food, cook your meals, shop for day to day things you are used to back home. Find out what you can and can’t find, or better yet, what you can live without. Test the waters, the community, see if you can walk your streets after dark. Get to know other Expats and locals and pick their brains.


View from the porch of Lou’s Beach House.

We rented homes twice, once in downtown Placencia and again in Maya Beach, which sealed our decision to build and move there.


Ted’s Cabana / Caribbean front House on in Maya Beach

The 1st house we rented was at the very end, North side of the Placencia Sidewalk. The owner Lou was an elderly lady, living in her trailer behind the beautiful beachfront wood house, built back in the 60’s. Lou was there to greet us and welcome us to her house, and there if we needed her for anything, but staying out of our way. Lou and her husband now passed, were the 1st whites to move to Placencia back n the 1960’s. They were touring Central America in their van, and just ended up here, deciding this was a great place to settle.


 The view of the “Toucan House” we rented in Maya Beach.

Living for weeks in that house helped us make the decision to move to Belize, and that we loved living on our private beach. We were walking distance to everything we would need or want in Placencia. We could walk to the stores and shop for groceries and supplies, like Rum, or choose to hit the Barefoot or Tipsy if that was our desire. The decision to rent that house on the ocean, solidified our eventual decision to do just that ourselves, years later.


Living and full kitchen in Ted’s rental house on beach.

A couple years later we again rented a beachfront house/cabana on the Caribbean, this time in Maya Beach, Placencia Peninsula, Belize. Maya Beach is about 20 minutes from the “village” or downtown Placencia, yet smaller and not as busy. It is being called the “Florida Key” of Belize, and very popular with all visitors to Belize. Again we can walk to five awesome restaurants, a store that has just about anything we might need, a hardware/ lumber store, a Police Station, and friendly wonderful locals and Expats.

This stay in the home on the beach in Maya Beach solidified our decision that Maya Beach was the perfect place for us. We knew that we would have to live without some things, and some we could get in the weirdest ways, which you would never learn just living in a hotel room. Like for instance, a refrigerated truck that makes deliveries once a week to my house, with fresh organic fruit and vegetables from Spanish Lookout. A refrigerated truck that comes to my house twice a week, with frozen chickens and pork for sale.


Although having not a care in this world is nice, we should always be aware of surroundings.

And then there is the issue I would never learn about if I only stayed in fancy resorts. We learned from the owners and neighbors of those houses we rented, that “surprise”, there is crime throughout Belize, even on the Placencia Peninsula!  Go figure, why had i not heard about this before? Now granted, I had known that like any vacation destination in the world, you have pick pockets and petty thieves. But how many of you readers know that almost weekly, someone in Belize is “chopped” by a machete? How many know of the homes being broken into? You won’t learn that from your resort staff or managers, because that would hurt the tourist industry.

So the correct answer is, rent a house or two, meet the neighbors, and really live like a local before you spend that retirement fund.

On that note, Cheers all 😉

Gary….the Pirate

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Building Our New Beach Home in Belize, the story continues.

                         Lots of progress on the ground and in the air.


I am really blown away buy the diversity of my builder’s crew, as I watch them in this building process. They don’t work on just one thing, but move around the build, working on whatever need to get done today, or this week. And like I said before, these guys are like the seven dwarfs, they actually do whistle while they work.


Forms for front stairs built and poured.

The front/road side concrete steps and landing to front deck have now been completed via another amazing feat by building forms, rebar cages to keep it all strong. I can certainly appreciate being able to walk up the 12 foot stairs up to main floor. I can assure you, the crew also appreciates the front stairs instead of climbing and carrying everything heavy, up homemade ladders!


Note what floor looks like here 😉

While that was going on underneath the main floor some 12 feet below, loads of beach sand were brought in and spread over the floorspace in preparation of building the ground level storage/security concrete room under the house. Truckload after truckload arrived and was dumped in the driveway, them moved via caterpillar.


Cinderblocks arrive for underneath concrete room.


Once that was done, the guys started constructing the storage room with cinderblocks. I’m sure that they might have fought over who got that job, because its under the main floor, and quite a bit cooler down there. Once all the walls are completed and floor poured with concrete, all it will need are the 2 security doors. Then I actually will have a secure storage room. Can’t wait!


See what I meant? flooring has been covered.

But probably the most exciting part of the build so far is happening up topside on the main floor. First I looked out the Cabana window and say a wall going up! Yahoo! Then a second wall went up and a third. I was actually able to see the floorpan start to take shape, and my face was all smile!


My honey Marsha blessed me with a ten day visit. Standing on her new deck, actually in the “barbecue / cook center”. Crappy view, isn’t it?

Next the front covered deck support uprights went up and I could walk around and actually get a feel of just how massive our 42 foot deck overlooking the Caribbean was.

This is where I plan to live, with my wife, my cook center, outside suspension swinging bed, overlooking our pier and custom built boat. Am I excited? Yes! Am I a lucky boy? Yes!

oliverlooking down

Oliver looking for the stairs to the ocean 😉

Finally I looked out this morning and it looked like the guys were putting up a circus tent frame that peaked in the middle of the house. The fact is, its basically scaffolding for the guys to walk on while building the roof structure. And yes, these guys walk around up there on top of the wall structure like circus performers or tight walk walkers! And, let me tell you, the ocean winds have really kicked up, and the wind surfers are loving it! Not sure if the guys are.


View of house from roadside.

And so another chapter ends, and another page turns to a new one.

I end this blog post with a heavy heart, because my sweetheart’s ten days here are over and she flew out yesterday. As I start my two month countdown until her return, I can only smile as my memories of her excitement at what has been accomplished were absorbed by her eyes and heart this time. What will be here for her to experience on her return, one can only wonder and hope. I expect at least a roof and walls,

and possibly a chilled bottle of French Champagne, a rose and 2 flutes?


I decided to go fishing ! What a catch ! Actually we were the first purchase at this new art studio that just opened this weekend on the Placencia Sidewalk. Really cool place, story and art.


Cheers all from your Belizean Pirate, Gary




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