Finally, we get into the new house!

14 September, 2008

Hey folks,

Yep we know its been a while since we updated the blog – sorry – but we have been busy kids!

Greg was finishing his book (it’s off to the publisher now) and Cath was busy at work (as usual) and amidst all this we have been trying to find and sort out our new house.

As with lots of things in Brasil, the processes for renting somewhere to live is subtly different to the way we have done it in the past in London and Oz and Nz, and importantly a somewhat longer process. Greg will do a follow up post with some lessons we have learned going through the process of renting a home in Sao Paulo soon as lots of people have been visiting our blog and asking for information on our experience.

We choose to rent a house over an apartment because coming from Oz and Nz we are not really apartment people, even though we were living in an apartment for the last eight months, and have previously spent 12 months in one in London, we enjoy having a real outdoor area, and most importantly not having people above, below and beside us, so even though the security risks are somewhat higher (apparently) we decided that a house was the right home for us while we are in Sao Paulo.

So last Friday we finally said good-bye to our forty-eight square metre studio (which included the balcony and ten boxes of stuff shipped over from London last month) and said hello to our three hundred square metre house. The house was built in 1977 (what an awesome year, lots of quality produced in that year) and I don’t think anything has been renovated since.

When we finally arranged a time to hand over the keys we were in for a bit of a surprise, as well as the keys to the front gate and the front door, we were told that the rest of the keys for the house were in the box in the kitchen – we didn’t really realise what we were in for here though – the box contained over 180 keys “for the house” none with any labels, so our first challenge was trying to match these keys to the forty odd lockable doors, windows, cupboards and drawers in the house! Here is Greg half way through the great key sort:

The “keys to the house”

So the house is actually divided into two separate houses, in the main house, we have three bedrooms, four bathrooms, kitchen, conservatory and two dining rooms… you get the picture. It is huge.

Then there is a separate house at the back, its double storey and on the top floor it has an art studio with amazing views to the city and to the park. Downstairs is where the maid would live, it also has a laundry room, a small poolside party room and a bathroom for the pool, taking the grand total of bathrooms to seven.

Oh yeah and it also has a pool and a second larger “sala de fiesta” which translates to the party room!

So here is a quick tour of the new place, starting at the street and working towards the back:

The front gates (and the car)

The Sala de fiesta (just waiting for the pool and ping pong tables)

The lounge

The conservatory (and Gregs soon to be cactus garden)

The dining room

The kitchen (with new cooker and fridge)

The “yellow” bathroom, we also have similarly “lovely” grey, brown, chocolate and white bathrooms too!

The second bedroom leading to the pool

The second house

The artist’s studio (now gregs office)

So as I mentioned rental agreements are a bit different here and our new house is really tired inside, the kitchen, bathrooms and paint doesn’t look it has been touched since the place was built, so we negotiated three months rent free so that we could spend the rent money renovating the kitchen, bathroom, and re-painting everywhere.

There are lots of things that are different between a Brasilian house (well our Brasilian house at least) and the houses that we have lived in before, the electric showers is an obvious thing, instead of having hot and cold water in the shower, there is just cold water, and an electric shower head which heats up the water before it comes out the nozzle, a great idea once you get used to mixing electricity and water! But Gregs favourite thing is definitely the numerous hammock hooks around the property (inside and outside the house), there are a couple set into the wall near the back door of our place (where there is a nice breeze), they are a great idea, the fold into the wall when not required and are definitely something that could definitely catch on:

Hammock Hooks

So, the house is definitely a lot bigger than what we were planning to get, but after four months of looking for a house we were quite keen to move somewhere/anywhere!!! As well as an amazing house where we live is in walking distance to loads of great restaurants, the biggest park in Sao Paulo, and is considered to be the safest neighbourhood in town, and the best thing is that the rent for this house is not much more than we were paying for a small 2 bed terrace house in Chiswick, London.

But of course the first thing that everyone wants to know about when we mention we are living in a house and not an apartment is the question of security, so for those who are interested, the house is surrounded by three metre high walls, with an electric fence on top, a motion sensing alarm system, panic buttons in most of the rooms, a secure inner locked up area (where you can “double lock” at night) and a guard outside twenty four hours a day that guards our house and the ten houses around us. So I think we will be fine!

Its pretty funny, though this level of security may seem extremely high to some of reading outside Brasil, it already feels completely normal and we feel more secure in house that we ever have before in a house!

So the painters start tomorrow, so hopefully in a month of two our house should be fixed up nice, just in time for summer and a pool side bbq party or two!