At Home in Ecuador: Affordable Housing at it’s Finest


It may sound strange, if you live in North America or most parts of Europe–

But our house here in Ecuador has no number, and out street has no name.

Still, it’s no U2 song we’re living.

Rather, we’ve settled in a house we love, a place that’s begun to feel like home, one where we’re reaping the rewards of no residential postal service and, therefore, no junk mail to clutter our counters, to litter our tables, desks, and drawers.

Even better, it’s in this house our Cuenca adventure is being written.

It’s here we’re being rooted, from here we’re telling a new story.  It’s this space that grounds us in the present, gives us past places to remember and future spaces to anticipate.

Sara and I have shared a number of homes—houses in four countries, three continents and one earthquake-ravaged island in a dark corner of the Caribbean, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

So when we decided to sell our house in the US and move to Ecuador, no one in either of our families was terribly surprised.  Our parents, siblings, and friends were accustomed to us packing our belongings and trudging, two spoiled dogs in tow, to whichever corner of the planet had suffered the most recent natural disaster.

(Some of you may not know that Sara has been an international aid worker for more than two decades, having directed Habitat for Humanity’s response to both the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.)

So settling into a new home, far from the US, is nothing new to us.  What is unusual in this instance, however, is that we’ve sold our house in the US.  In the past we’ve lived overseas for a year at a time but maintained a residence in the States simultaneously.  This time around we’ve uprooted ourselves completely, gambling on the rich culture, staggering beauty, and strong economy Ecuador has to offer.

And in the past 8 months, as we’ve made a home for ourselves on a new continent, we’ve not been disappointed, not once, not even for a moment that either of us can recall.

Since moving to Ecuador the first of May, we lived for a month in a short-term rental in the heart of colonial Cuenca, before finding a more permanent place to live a bit further from the city center, and shipping a container to Ecuador with all the things that make our house a home—our art, our books, personal pictures, and a few family heirlooms.

As it turns out, we just finished celebrating our first Christmas in Cuenca, both with friends who visited from the US and the many new friends we’ve made since coming to Ecuador.

Christmas Day 2013, Cuenca--

Christmas Day 2013, Cuenca–

Our first Christmas tree in Cuenca--

Our first Christmas tree in Cuenca–

In honor of that and the fact that so many of you have asked to see photos of our home here in South America, I’ve decided it’s time to take you on a tour of the 4 bedroom house we rent in Totoracocha—a middle class, Ecuadorian (as opposed to expat) suburb—east of downtown Cuenca, south of the Cuenca airport, and just north of Monay Shopping Center.

(By the way if you’re wondering about housing costs in Ecuador, it might interest you to know that we lease our home for $350 a month.  And utilities are equally affordable.  Per month, our gas bill is about $5, our electric $12-20, our water less than $5, and home phone $2-3.)

Living Room

house cuenca P1030158 (3)

DSCN9974 (2)

P1030174 (2)

house cuenca P1030159 (3)

DSCN8169 (2)

P1030176 (2)

P1030161 (2)

Dining Room

Dining area on the far left--

Dining area on the rear-left–

At our neighborhood Mercado, I buy 20 long-stemmed roses for $4.

At our neighborhood Mercado, I buy 20 long-stemmed roses for $4.

P1030162 (2)

P1030155 (2)

Sara’s Office

P1030180 (2)

DSCN8171 (2)

P1030164 (2)

P1030165 (2)

Painting of the Haiti earthquake--

Painting of the Haiti earthquake–

Kitchen

P1030202 (2)

P1030204 (2)

P1030203 (2)

Patio

DSCN9927 (2)

DSCN8175 (2)

DSCN9934 (2)

Garden

P1160361 (2)

P1160362 (2)

P1060059 (2)

Stairway

DSCN8145 (2)

DSCN8146 (2)

DSCN9920 (2)

DSCN9919 (2)

Upstairs Bathroom

P1030201 (2)

P1030197 (2)

Studio

P1030182 (2)

P1030189 (2)

P1030183 (2)

P1030184 (2)

Master Bedroom

DSCN8124 (2)

DSCN8122 (2)

Johnny’s Room (Johnny is my nephew from the US.  He’s living with us for 6 months.)

DSCN8128 (2)

DSCN8130 (2)

DSCN8137 (2)

DSCN8140 (2)

DSCN8144 (2)

Guest Room

DSCN9905 (2)

P1030716 (2)

P1030714 (2)

So, if indeed, home is where our personal stories get started, Sara and I are drafting a new chapter of that tale, and we’re doing it here in the Cuenca house where we’re now nesting.

And this week, we’re feeling even more at home in Ecuador, since my 20-year-old nephew has come from the US to live with us for six months.

Johnny and Aunt Kathy at the Guayaquil airport!

Johnny and Aunt Kathy at the Guayaquil airport!

Johnny’s arrival, the presence of actual family in our new country, makes Cuenca feel cozier and more comfortable than ever.

Where do you feel most at home?   What’s the place you feel most rooted, most grounded?  Does your current house or apartment feel like a place you’d like to permanently live?

201 thoughts on “At Home in Ecuador: Affordable Housing at it’s Finest

    • Love to you, too, Emily! So glad you enjoyed the organization. I suspect you’re referring to all of the jars in my studio. When you make the kind of art I do, you have to be organized or your work space becomes too chaotic. Hope you all are staying warm, and avoiding road trips with Offspring #1 as driver!

      Like

    • SPLENDID! One question: Why do we drag hundreds of books with us every where we go? My kids keep asking me to thin out my library.. I tried once; think I disposed of three. Those books are some kind of symbol, arent they? Like magical tours ingested 10, 20,30 40, even 50 years ago; stuff we still have inside ourselves; stuff that was the mortar of our evolution. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who does this. I thought I was crazy but now I know I’m just in GOOD COMPANY with others who do the same thing.

      Like

      • Glad we’re not alone either. We can’t get rid of our books, try as we may–books and art–that’s mostly what we moved in our container. Yes, they become a part of us. And you have said it SO beautifully; it is a magical ingestion, so to speak–a transubstantiation of the literary kind.

        WONDERFUL to hear from you, my friend. WHEN are you coming to visit? Our guest room has your name on it!

        Like

      • Hi Cathy and Sarah! I love your blog. The photos are so rich, warm, and inviting. The courage of you two to up and move is very inspiring. I love, love the books! I look forward to following. I up and moved to a new state and come close to relating to how you feel. I hope to try it again. I love my temp rental right now, but no it’s not perm. I am excited just looking at your photos and reading your blog. Looking forward….God is good!

        Like

      • Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to hear from you today. Glad you enjoyed the tour of our house. Glad you are enjoying your new home, as well. We are, indeed, blessed! I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

        Like

      • Yes, books that one has accumulated over the years are often difficult to part with. When I left Hawaii after living there for over 20 years, I boxed up 30 boxes of books (mostly academic/scientific) and had them delivered to the Junior College in Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Since they were lacking in marine science books and were attempting to establish a makeshift library (sparse as it was), I was certain they would be put to excellent use by the local students. This made it so much easier to part with these cherished books on my mind and has left a mental picture of contributing to these students education with me. Pass them on you will be pleased you did!

        Like

      • Oh, how wonderful that you passed along your books to a library. That’s the perfect solution, isn’t it? LOVE your story and giving attitude. I suppose that means you were an academic. I was, also, in a former life.

        Great to hear from you. Thanks for your comment. Hope you’ll come by again soon!

        Like

    • Thanks, Darla! We love our house. And it’s still amazing to us that it rents for a mere $350 a month. Ecuador makes us feel rich. You are welcome any time! Next you gotta meet South American bloggers in person! Right?

      Like

    • Yeah, can you believe it?! We still can’t at times. I imagine things are pretty expensive on Saba. That seems to be the case on most islands where things have to be shipped in. And the books–yes, we love them too. I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that! LOL

      Like

      • I wasn’t surprised about the books since you are a writer. I just to see books displayed. I always read the titles as an indication of what appeals to you. Books say a lot about a person.

        Life is expensive here for a lot of reasons which include importing everything. What doesn’t exist as yet is significant taxes. The Hague pays for almost everything.

        Like

      • Yes, yes, yes! Fun to look through someone’s library, as it is such a window into who they are. Excellent point. Plus, yes, I love to see books displayed, as well. That’s one reason we decided to ship a container, as we couldn’t be without them.

        Fabulous that you all don’t have taxes yet, as I hear they are high in the Netherlands!

        Like

      • The majority of people here try to work for the government. Other than the government you work at a small hotel, restaurant etc.

        In 2010 we became a city in The Netherlands and Holland is slowly exerting itself. If we want the benefits we need to pay. Holland has been footing the bill but we all know in time that will change. Regardless of what happens we’ve decided to make this permanent. If not here I know I do not want to return to the US.

        Like

      • There were four or five founding families on this island and when they arrived they split the land among themselves. There are huge tracts of vacant land belongs to these families and they do not pay taxes. Everyone believes it is only a matter of time before real estate taxes are put into place and these land owners will be the first to be hit. The island is too small to support itself and there isn’t any competition because the island is too small.

        Like

      • Yes, that makes sense, about the size preventing the island from being self sufficient. I’d LOVE to read a post about those founding families and the vacant land they own. That would make for fascinating reading!

        Like

      • You have to be careful what you say here cause the island is so small everyone knows your business. No matter how long you live here we are outsiders but I will attempt to perhaps find away.

        Like

  1. Could I become your new niece and stay a while? Your home looks lovely.
    It’s said that “home is where the heart is,” so I have to wonder….my house is okay, but it is just a building. I feel like I have wanderlust flowing through my veins.

    Like

    • Yes, we are looking for nieces to “adopt,” as neither Sara nor I have any in our families. All of our siblings have boys. Seriously, I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing our home. You should try visiting Ecuador. We’d love to introduce you to our adopted homeland!

      Like

  2. I am sending HGTV to document and photograph your house! Amazing. Culturally beautiful with your world travel collections, of art, fabric, colored to capture the essence of each space… your art looks wonderful throughout your home.
    During my reading and viewing I was imagining myself there! Wow!

    You ladies have done well!

    Big Hugs
    Jeff

    Like

    • Oh, Jeff, thank you! You are such a sweetie! When you are able, we would LOVE you to come visit. I know it may be a while, since you have to care for you mom, but one of these days, we hope you will come visit us in Ecuador. And I am SOOOOOOO totally serious, my friend. Hugs to you, too! Great to hear from you. And stay warm!

      Like

  3. Great to see your space again. There were so many people there on Christmas, I missed half of the art and I love how you painted the walls and placed all your wonderful treasures! oxoxoxoxox

    Like

    • Oh, Laura, how great to hear from you today! We LOVED having you and Clay at Christmas. There were SO many people, it was hard to see the space. Exactly! Hope all went well on Sunday. We were SO disappointed we couldn’t come. Meeting went well.

      Like

  4. Love the U2 reference at the start (and I don’t think I’d have spotted it if you hadn’t pointed it out!). 😉 Your new house is amazing – I love every colourful room…and the patio…and the garden! My house-dressing sense is even worse than my body-dressing sense. I think it’s because I don’t really have any great attachment to a home or stuff…something that would be completely obvious if you walked through my front door! Maybe one day I’ll find my spot, but for now I pretty much feel grounded wherever I lay my hat, which is right beside Mr Warm Ginger.
    And can I say a massive hello to your nephew Johnny? No wonder he’s grinning so widely. Six months with his crazy aunties in Ecuador…what joy for you all! 😀

    Like

    • I will CERTAINLY pass along the greeting to my nephew. He IS such a sweetie, and WE are the lucky ones–to have him here.

      I’m like you, in as far as, I feel at home wherever Sara is. Still be like having our books and art–and our dogs, of course. Plus, how a place is decorated is NOT what makes a house a home, right? Hugs to you today. I LOVED your post today. I shared it on twitter.

      Like

      • Thanks for sharing my post. I know I said this the other week, but I must get round to sorting out my social media! Don’t have a smartphone though, so although I’ve got a Twitter account, it’s laying dormant.
        Nephews are special aren’t they? I can’t wait until mine are finished with school and can come and stay with me for six months!

        Like

      • Yes, you mentioned the social media stuff, but I’m with you–still trying to get my brain around it and do the work. I have only had a twitter account for a year, and have only in the past 4 begun to use it. I don’t quite get twitter.

        Yeah, nephews are awesome, and even more so, since I don’t have any kids of my own. It is wonderful having Johnny here, and he’s a writer! Imagine that! Damn DNA, I guess. LOL

        Like

      • I was hoping he’d do a guest post or two on your blog, and as he’s a writer I guess you won’t be able to spot him. He’s lucky to have such good lineage!

        Like

  5. We are sitting here in southwest France freezing, no money to enjoy the beauties of Europe, it all costs too much now. Our 200 year old farmhouse, our home for 18 years, is now on the market and my British husband and I (American) are going crazy studying all the possibilities for our final home. We lived/worked in the Middle east for 20 years, and now in our mid-60’s, are up for one more big adventure. Reading this wonderful article and seeing your pictures have made the decision for us, compounded by what we have been reading the last year on Ecuador, there really is no other choice. My husband lived in Mexico long ago and is fluent, Why did we even consider anywhere else?? Thank-you for publishing your album!

    Like

    • Bless your heart. I know Europe can be expensive. If you have lived internationally for that many years, I suspect, Ecuador, will be wonderful for you. PLUS, it’s SOOOOOOO affordable–and beautiful. Give it at go. And let us know when you come to visit. Great to hear from you today. Thanks SO much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!

      Like

  6. Wow, Kathryn, your house is amazing. And for $350/month?? That makes it even more amazing! I’ve been sitting here looking at your cozy and colorful home, with your collections from all over the world and nearly as many books as I have and I’m wondering about Ecuador. It sounds like it would be a lovely place to live. What’s the weather like there? Are you both retired or are you working? I am dreaming and dreaming!!! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    Like

    • I’m so happy to hear from you this morning! Ecuador is SO incredibly lovely and has a huge variety in climate. The beaches on the cost are amazing and warm–like you would find in south Florida, for example. The Andes, at this elevation, means perpetual spring. Love about 50 every night–highs in the low 70s. Of course, the Amazon is much more hot and humid. The Galapagos Islands are gorgeous–though we’ve not been there yet. Try visiting Ecuador, if you are looking or an affordable and gorgeous place to live. We work but make very little. Sara is an editor for a local, English language newspaper and I’m a writer.

      Thanks so much for reading/looking and taking the time to leave a comment. Hope you will stay in touch!

      Like

      • Thanks so much for your reply, Kathryn. I’ve never been to South America at all, and now that I’ve returned to the USA from Oman, I’m feeling wanderlust all over again! I plan to stay in the Western Hemisphere for a long while, so I think I need to explore Ecuador. I am a writer too, but make no money at this point, although I hope to finish up my novel soon and do some travel writing. My dream is to find a beautiful place to live and write, if I could make a living at it! We’ll see what the future holds, but I certainly must put Ecuador on my list to visit. The weather sounds perfect. 🙂

        Like

      • Yes, it’s worth a visit, when you have the chance. And that’s the way we felt when we returned to the US from Haiti. It was good to be home for a short while, but then we got the itch. Looking forward to checking out your blog. And cool that you will soon be finishing a novel. I’m working on a memoir, but have not tried fiction—YET! Hopefully, that will come.

        Like

      • I wonder if one can ever be cured from wanderlust! I’m not even sure I want to. But I need to find a way to support my travel itch without resorting to teaching ESL, which is what I did in Oman for two years and in Korea for one.

        The first draft of my novel is finished and I’m working through the first revision, only 10 more chapters to go. Your memoir sounds fascinating! I look forward to following more closely to catch up!

        I used to have a different blog, A Nomad in the Land of Nizwa, but I don’t write on that anymore since I returned home to the US. I’m really envious of your life! 🙂

        Like

      • Interesting that you don’t want to teach English any more, and I wonder why. I’ve never taught outside of the US, so I’m curious to know the downside–long hours, poor pay?

        At any rate, I’m thrilled to hear from you. Hope you are having a great week!

        Like

      • Well, Kathryn, I had the unlucky circumstance of teaching at the University of Nizwa. The pay abroad for teaching is much better than in the States, and so I had no complaint about that. UNIZWA was difficult because of the power-hungry, dictatorial administration, and the students who are very entitled, spoiled and act like middle-schoolers. I really wanted to teach at university level because I wanted mature students eager to learn, but this was not the case where I was. So mainly, it’s the classroom management issues I dislike. I didn’t really have long hours or poor pay ABROAD, though in the US, teaching ESL, I had both long hours and poor pay!

        Thanks again; my week is going pretty well, but I need to focus more on my work and not be so easily distracted. I hope your week is a good one too!

        Like

      • I think many countries have much lower pay than the Gulf. I think Saudi Arabia pays the most, Oman 2nd, and then the Asian countries like Korea and Taiwan are next. I believe, from what I’ve heard, the South American countries pay much less. Same with countries like Vietnam & Cambodia. 🙂

        Like

      • Good evening Kathy! I feel as though I have known you for years! What a free spirit and fresh soul you are! My husband and I will be moving to Cuenca in about five months! Reading your story makes me want to pack and leave tomorrow. I am replying in hopes we could connect as we too navigate through our up coming move. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Melody

        Like

  7. with slow internet, only a small percentage of the images loaded, but there were enough to make my jaw drop more than once!!!!!  i’m so happy for both of you – you have an amazing home with enough space to have an elite boutique b&b!!!!!

    one of the images that loaded gave a great peek into the creative studio, all orderly and ready for projects.  it made me want to dash downstairs and tidy my paints! 

    great post, and i’ll be back to peek again when i’m in town on faster internet.   

    ________________________________

    Like

    • Oh, Lisa, how wonderful to hear from you this morning! I’m tickled to death you liked our home. So when are you going to come visit?! I know you may already have friends here you stay with, but we would SOOOOOOOO love you to stay with us, if not. Please know you are always welcome. Just tell us when you’re coming. No need to wait for a specific invitation. We can make some art together!!!!

      Like

      • thank you, and yes, that would be fun.. i’ve been pondering a five-day workshop – or maybe a three-day one and need to talk w/the museum folks… i’m not sure when i’ll be able to head to cuenca, but i will definitely give you as much warning as possible!

        Like

      • in 2012 i had three shows through the museum systems in manta, portoviejo and bahia de caraquez. i visited w/a man w/the MAAC in gye, and we discussed a much-bigger show.. when i want to study artifacts, i can go to the museums here in manabi on mondays and work undisturbed on their ‘closed’ day and he could arrange for me to do that elsewhere – only i stay very busy and haven’t made time for that.

        through those channels, and also through ‘walk up/cold calls/ i will be looking to see who could accommodate a workshop (a problem i’ve hit here) and after that we’ll set a date… it was always so easy to work with arts counsels in the usa, though working with the museums has been a very positive experience.

        Like

      • Fascinating to hear about the museum work. Here in Cuenca, there is a new place that opened about two weeks ago called “Case de la Vida.” It’s in Gringolandia–a community center that is offering art classes. Also, my friend here in Cuenca Laura Inks Bodine, directed an arts center for years in Santa Barbara, and she and her husband Clay are getting ready to open an arts center in el Centro. They’ve just rented a wonderful colonial building! I can put you in touch with either place. We are also friends with Tara, the director of Casa de la Vida.

        Like

      • Bless your heart! I would believe that. I could never have even hoped to upload a video when we lived in Haiti. I remember the frustration of trying to upload a single image! Look forward to seeing the video!

        Like

  8. Beautiful, warm, cozy and wonderfully decorated! I love all the color. May your next chapter be filled with light, love, peace and new beginnings. We’ve relocated so often that recently no place truly feels like home. We are currently living in Puerto Rico and while the island is beautiful it is not without challenges when it comes to living here. I’m looking forward to our next move although the location is yet to be determined. I look forward to following your story.

    Like

    • How wonderful to hear from you this morning! I’d love to know more about what it’s like living in Puerto Rico. We lived in Haiti for a year, and though they are geographically close–probably, there’s no real comparison. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico.

      Check out Ecuador, if you’re looking for a new place. The cost of living is INCREDIBLE and the country is so amazingly beautiful!

      Hope you will stop by again soon. I’ll check out your blog, asap!

      Like

  9. 350 a month! Wow! I pay more for a week. I loved seeing your home. So colorful and reflects your personalities. And now you have a new member of the tribe. How fun. As for us, we are living in a small flat that we intend to keep for only another year. Then we hope to buy something. Might have to look in Ecuador. 350 a month! Sorry, I just can’t get over that.

    Like

    • I know. The cost of living is incredibly low. And the country is stunningly beautiful. If one has the ability to make a living from anywhere and you want to live well, Ecuador has a LOT to offer. I know that London is incredibly expensive. Sara was the finalist for a job there, but the NGO offered it to a Brit in the end, so as to avoid having to get Sara a work permit. But we were concerned about what our standard of living would be like, since we would have to spend so much on housing. I haven’t been to London in more than 25 years.

      Great to hear form you today, my friend. Hope you are staying warm!

      Like

  10. I love the new place and think you’ve done a great job with the paint. I particularly like the way the paint job in your studio frames the art. It looks warm and cozy with beautiful light. I’m not sure I’d want to leave! Your nephew may have a hard time going home in 6 months. Have a great spring visit.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lisa. I’m SO happy to hear from you and know you enjoyed the tour. We are delighted to have my nephew, and he may not go home in 6 months. I suspect, if he can find a way to stay, he may. Hugs to you–and PLEASE stay warm!

      Like

  11. Good morning Sweety, Wednesday is becoming very special to me when I seat at the dining room table with my cafe con leche……it would be even better if cinnamon buns were involved and read your blog. David and l love your home and being dear friends has made it even more phenomenal. Looking forward to many more causal and formal times together! Love ya girls!

    Like

    • Oh, dear Juan, we love you guys, too. How blessed we are to have made friends like you here in Ecuador. It’s hard now to imagine being here without you! I don’t know when Sara will next make those rolls, but, I agree, they are awesome. Next time we come over, I promise to bring you a chocolate cake! Hugs to you both, my friend!

      Like

  12. Thanks for the share Kathy.
    My wife and I love following your lives in Cuenca. We really enjoyed our visit there last summer. The people and culture are a great fit for us. We explored some middle class residential areas, and thought them a good fit for us as well. Being about 3 years from making our decisions regarding the next stage of our lives, your posts are invaluable to us. We will return to Cuenca a few more times to check it out. We would love to meet you two. Be well.
    Bill Koch

    Like

  13. Hello Sara(and Kathryn)! My what a beautiful home you have! I pray that this new chapter in your life is filled with blessings.And as you have obviously learned,” home is where the heart is”. I have learned over the course of my life, that the physical surroundings(size of home)doesn’t really matter. It is the love that fills that home. I could live in a tent the rest of my life if I was with someone I loved. I will look forward to more pictures of this beautiful country.

    Like

    • Yes, you are so correct. It’s love that makes any dwelling a home! I may not exactly want to live in a tent, but if I had to choose between a tent with Sara or house without, I would definitely select the former.

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s wonderful to hear from you!

      Like

  14. What a gorgeous home you have! I love all the dark wood–your dining table and chairs, especially. Thank you so much for inviting us in to take a look at where you live! What will your nephew be doing with his time while he’s there? How fun to be able to live for six months with such cool aunts 😀

    As you know, we moved a few months ago, and gee, I love it. Our home is rather more ramshackle than yours 😉 but we are slowly making it our own. More than that, I feel as if we belong here. I’m not sure if this will be the last time we move house, but I can see us staying in this little city for a good long time.

    Like

  15. We live about 1.5 Kilometers from Mal Del Rio and arrived about the same time you both did. Instead of renting we bought a home across from the Trarque Rio by Circo Social. Our road has a name but it is not posted and we have a number on our house but it to is not posted.

    Both the name and house number can be found on the deed, but since you are renting you do not have that deed.

    Lovely home I see a lot of similarities which are Ecuadorian – bathroom, stove to small for the space, etc. I had the spave between the stove filled in by a custom made spice cabinet.

    Oh, we love itz here, especially the weather. I think the bible missed the garden of Eden by half a world!

    Like

    • Ha, LOVE it, Arlene! Yes, the Bible is geographically challenged! Hadn’t thought of that.

      Yes, there are quirks with regard to the housing, but nothing too bad. You are fortunate to have purchased. We may do that one of these days ourselves. LOVELY part of town you live in! Interesting to know that the house number is on the deed. I had no idea that was the case.

      So glad you enjoyed seeing our home. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

      Like

    • You and Jeff are both so sweet to suggest the decorating magazine–though I’m not sure we’re exactly in that league. It’s still fun to think about! Hope you are staying warm up there on your little island!

      Like

  16. Love, Love, Love what you have accomplished by creating your new home. Well done Ladies! My husband and I visited Cuenca last summer. Entire look see was 3.5 weeks. Adored Ecuador and the expats we met as well as some lovely ecuadorians. My one sticking point was when we went on a day excursion to see some of the housing options in Cuenca. If I had visited your home I would now be packing up my container!! Confession: I’m a bit of a house junkie having a residential construction business(Santa Fe and Santa Barbara) for almost 3 decades and now have a cabinetry business. (www.carvedcustomcabinets.com). How in the world did you find a place for $350??? Everyone we spoke to said, “Well, we got here a couple of years ago but don’t expect to be able to rent/buy for what we did.” You are so talented!! What amazing collections of textiles, art and furniture!! Love the ladders on the wall and the old door. Colors!! Can’t think of any room I didn’t OOOOHHHH and AAAAAH over. What an amazing place to call home. Hope we can meet someday in the future!! Almost have our paperwork done…waiting for my youngest to graduate from HS. Kind Regards! Lannie

    Like

    • Wonderful to hear from you, Lannie! I LOVED your website. Your cabinets are exquisite! Also, I left a comment on the expat forum about how to find more affordable housing. The key involves not using a realtor, as then prices are jacked up.

      WE would love to meet you all one of these days! Hope you all get to Cuenca soon. If you have a child still in high school, then you are younger–like us! Hooray!

      Like

  17. Considering that our house is about to hit the market – maybe as soon as tomorrow – I can’t say it’s a place I feel I could live very long, lol. But it’s been a pleasant enough 7+ years and felt like home during that time. I have to say, there is just so much to love about your house! Everything, from the vibrant colors and stacks of books in Sara’s office to the mural of the Andes in the backyard – it’s all pretty awesome. You guys have such great tastes!

    Like

    • Sorry you all are having to sell your townhouse. But maybe it will be fun for you and Tara to pick a place together once you get ready to buy again.

      I’m so glad you like our house. I think books help make any place feel cozy. Thanks!

      Like

  18. Beautiful! I love the painted furniture, the colors, and the Georgia O’keeffe red pop. Growing up in the Southwest this of-course appeals to me. But it’s not over done Southwest with the mixed in green and soft quilts. The ladders for bookcases are an idea I’ve considered and I can see now they just might work. I have just one question–where is the dog hair??

    Like

    • Oh, my dogs produce ONLY invisible hair! Okay, invisible to cameras. No, actually, it’s everywhere. The only good thing is that only one of our two dogs sheds. Our female is a Maltese.

      So glad you enjoyed the house. Thank you! Yes, try the ladder thing. It’s fun!

      Like

  19. Kathryn and Sara – your home is absolutely beautiful! Among other things (everything!) I love the Haiti artwork and photos throughout. Your blog and photos warm my heart.

    Like

  20. I love your home!!! Thank you so much for the tour! I have been considering a move to Ecuador as well when I retire at the end of this year, and I hope to pursue the art career I never really had time for before. I love your organized studio and I am curious what type of art do you do? (p.s., the dog is adorable too!)

    Like

    • Thank you, Kate! It’s wonderful to hear from you. Love that you are considering a move to Ecuador and hope to pursue your love of art. And thanks for noticing my studio. I do mostly collage and mixed media. The huge round piece of art on the wall of our patio, the one that looks like an abstract flower, is a piece that I did.

      Like

  21. Ecuador should hire you to head their Tourism Bureau, Kathy. I’m a barnacle to New York City, but I do enjoy these glimpses into your life over there. This edition of House Beautiful Kathy and Sara-Style was particularly fun, more so when Ralph and Lucy just happened to grace the shots. The appearance by your nephew Johnny was delightful, too. You Americans in Ecuador are influencing me to revise my bombast. The next time that a political candidate I’m for loses an election, I’m no longer going to declare, “That’s it! I’m moving to Canada!” My new blather will be, “That’s it! I’m moving to Ecuador!”

    Hey, do my glasses need to be steam cleaned or do you have a new template? Very nice. Very sleek.

    Like

    • Thanks, V! Yes, I have a new theme for the blog. I was getting tired of the old one, had been using it for like two years, if not more. I really wanted one that allowed for a larger photo display.

      Of course, you ALWAYS make me laugh! I think also that Ecuador is bound to beat Canada–especially in terms of the climate! Not to mention cost of living! LOVE hearing from you! I will mention to the dogs that you enjoyed seeing them. I’m sure it will make their day!

      Take care and stay warm!

      Like

  22. I absolutely loved the vivid-color, eye candy photos you shared. Oh my gosh — exceptional! Thank you for the virtual tour of your home. Clearly the beautiful-toothpaste-commercial smiles are in your family’s genes as evidenced by the great photograph of you and Johnny!

    Like

    • Thank you, Laurie! I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. I wish I had Johnny’s teeth, but my sister told me just this morning the fortune invested in that smile. Great to hear from you today. Hope you are staying warm!

      Like

  23. Love the beautiful bright colours and all the marvellous “stuff” you’ve collected along the way. That guest room will suit me fine. 😉

    Nova Scotia is my adopted home and I love it here (in spite of the horrid blizzard that is currently raging outside!) Love the ocean, the sparse population and tides on the beautiful Bay of Fundy.

    Like

    • Glad to hear that the second guest room will work for you. When will you be arriving? Sorry you are having a blizzard, but, goodness, it sounds cozy to me. Hate to say it–the climate here is pretty much perfect, but I kind of miss the snow. Great to hear from you, Sybil. Hope to hear from you again soon. We’ll keep the light on for you!

      Like

  24. oh Kathy, as much as I loved the look of your home in Kentucky, I LOVE this house even more. it has such a happy energetic feel about it. The more you tell us about Cuenca, the more I see us moving there. oh my!

    Like

  25. Thank you so much for sharing all the photos of your beautiful home – it has the feeling of a life being lived well, and all the colors and textiles are so wonderfully vibrant and alive. Absolutely gorgeous, and lovely.

    Like

  26. Oh my heavens I’m in love with Johnny’s smile!!!!

    I could look at the pictures of your house for HOURS. There is so much to see and appreciate. I am so impressed with your’s and Sara’s stories. I can’t wait to read more chapters. And hopefully one day there will be a chapter where we pop in for another visit. (DB still checks air fare every week! Because it’s nice to think some day we just might!!)

    🙂 Hugs from a happy to see your happiness and home friend.

    Like

    • Oh, Colleen. Thank you! I mentioned to my sister this morning the comments about Johnny’s smile, and she emphasized the amount she had invested in it. Yikes! She’s happy to hear that folks are able to appreciate it!

      We DO hope you and David will visit one day soon! Your room is ready and waiting. Just let us know when the price of airfare looks about right. We’ll keep the light on for you!

      Miss you! Hugs from both of us to both of you!

      Like

  27. Kathy, I just loved this tour. I’ve been dying to see all your rooms and how you’ve decorated. I especially loved the ladders-turned-shelves in Johnny’s room. How exciting that he’s staying with you for 6 months.

    You have such a terrific decorating sense. Everything looks like it was made to go together so beautifully even though I know that you’ve picked up your treasures from different places around the world.

    Do you plan to stay in this house for a long time or look for a house to buy?

    Like

    • Thank you, Jackie. You are right. Collected the stuff from everywhere, but Sara has a knack for putting it all together. We will probably stay in this house for another year or so. Don’t know if we will buy. More likely we will build. It’s hard to not want to rent here, however. Rents are so low and, unlike in the US, renters had paint and make other changes to the house. We’ll see.

      Hope you are staying warm, my friend! Greetings to Reggie!

      Like

  28. That place is adorable!!!! It truly makes me want to switch gears, but I’m too chicken! I’ll have to live vicariously through you….

    Envious in Indiana,
    Tia

    Like

  29. Hi Kathryn – your place looks fabulous!

    I’ve been trying to decide what of my art to take (it’s had to leave anything behind) and have been concerned about being able to hang paintings on the masonry walls – but I see that you have hung a bunch! Are there any issues, especially when you leave – is patching and repainting enough or do you have to re-plaster the wall?

    Much shared happiness,

    Alan

    Like

    • So great to hear from you, Alan! We have had no issues hanging our art. Yes, you need a drill and anchors for your screws, but it’s not hard to do. We hung all of our stuff ourselves. When we leave this house, we will patch the holes and paint over the patches, but not re-plaster. But we repainted before we moved in, even thought it had been newly painted. Thus, we have the paint to match what is here.

      Thanks so much for your comment! Great to hear from you!!!!!

      Like

  30. Kathy, your place is stupendous! I love the colors, the creativity, the simplicity, all of it! For the first time, I can picture myself living there. But if I did, I’d want to be your neighbor and I’d want you to help me fix up my little house. Ooh, it’s so nice! Lucky you and Sara. Lucky nephew for getting to spend six months with you. You adventurous spirit is inspiring!

    Like

    • Just let us know if you’d like to visit. We will leave the light on for you. And should you ever decide to move here, we would locate you nearby, and it would be a BLAST to help you decorate. Gosh, you know the language already. And after the prices of California real estate, you will have a fortune to spare! Hope your week is going well, Monica!

      Like

  31. I have lived in one home for 40 years, Kathy! LOL! I can’t even begin to imagine elsewhere, but I so admire you for being such an adventurer! Your home is just fabulous. I love the artwork and the colors and the overall sense of vibrancy. Thank you so much for the time it took to upload all those fabulous photos, and I am really pleased for you and your nephew to have this experience together. At his age this is just the beginning of many such adventures. He’ll learn so much from you and Sara! Just wonderful!

    Like

    • Oh, thank you. Can’t tell you how glad we are to have Johnny here. And how wonderful to have lived in the same home for so many years. You must love it! Glad you enjoyed seeing the art and all of the photos. Wonderful to hear from you! LOVE hearing from you!

      Like

  32. Kathy, there is so much color and flavor and beauty in your home. And books! I am stunned that you were able to transport so many of your beloved things down to Ecuador. Your house makes me smile and say, yes, artists live here. Creativity and art and color abounds. Our style is very Zen, simple, minimalist. Yet I adore visiting people who celebrate their love of life like you and Sara do here.

    Like

    • Kathy, you’re a sweetie! Glad you enjoyed seeing our home. Yes, we shipped a 20 foot container here, mostly so we could move our books and art. We just couldn’t stand to part with them. Wonderful to hear from you. Hope you are staying warm!

      Like

  33. Hmm, I tried leaving a comment yesterday and I was denied! What the heck? Hopefully it works out today…

    I just wanted to say– again– how beautiful and lovely your home is. I love how you and Sara always make your surroundings gorgeous and inspiring, and it’s motivating for me to get my living space creative juices flowing! I hope your week is flowing well! Thanks so much for sharing these photos. xx

    Like

    • Gosh, sorry you were denied yesterday. I have no idea what the problem might have been. This one got through, however. Thanks for trying again! Hope your week is going well.

      Glad you enjoyed the tour! Great to hear from you!

      Like

  34. Kathy, I’ve been following your adventure for a while. I thank Monica for introducing me to you. I love how you’ve made the house, your home, with your stamp on it. I love color, with the beautiful wood tables and simple pieces that make your home so inviting. A place that is pure and serene. Books, I love books, seeing your library space, reminds me of mine.
    Btw, I too found out on my recent trip to Costa Rica, there are no house numbers – I absolutely loved that.

    I did not know Sara worked as an international aid worker. What a wonderful career. Did she visit Sri Lanka by any chance? we were terribly ravaged. I was born there, grew up in Australia and now live in San Francisco.

    If I had my wish, I would settle in Florence. We travel with our young children whenever possible and I would give them the world if I could afford to travel every year. I left my heart in Tuscany. I could see myself there, easily. There is a piece of me that is strongly Mediterranean and I cannot explain it.

    Like

    • Oh, thank you for leaving a comment! And thanks to Monica for the introduction. I’m so glad to know you’ve been reading!

      In fact, Sara did work in Sri Lanka–quite a bit, actually. She directed Habitat for Humanity International’s response to the tsunami in the 4 most heavily damaged countries–Indonesia, Thailand, India, and, of course, your country. I remember her once being in the Colombo airport when there was bombing nearby that I reading about online. Scared me when she went there, but she says it’s such a gorgeous place with people she came to love. Fascinating to know you are from that lovely island!

      Thank you SO much for leaving a comment. I must now visit your blog! How fun to meet you!

      Like

  35. Oh, my goodness! You have truly captured the love in your home with these amazing pictures! You have a beautiful home and a beautiful life. I’m absolutely in awe. 🙂

    Like

    • Gosh, thank you so much! What sweet things to say! Glad you enjoyed the tour. We love our home, love to entertain, love to have visitors from far and near. I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

      Like

  36. LOVE LOVE LOVE your home! you and Sara always have the most gorgeous homes. You both have a knack for decorating. How wonderful your nephew has come to live with you! What will he be doing?

    Like

  37. I have to go to work soon so I will revisit this wonderful blog post. You’re house is so lovingly and artistically arranged and decorated ..in an organic way! Love the colours and different art pieces. My home becomes more my home when I do have some art pieces that I’ve made and I’ve bought..but my place, is not as wonderfully arranged as yours. In fact, I feel the slight burden of my “stuff” , of acquisitions because it’s split across 2 Canadian provinces.

    Like

  38. Thank you for the tour, Kathy. You seem to have a rich life — in the simplest and most beautiful ways. I love the floors and the chairs, and all those books. It sounds as though you’re really home.

    Like

  39. Your home is so beautiful, Kathy. It appears to be decorated with love. I don’t suppose I could get you to visit and help me out with mine? It’s still chaos here after eight months.

    Like

    • Oh, I’m so glad you like the house. It takes time, Robin. Remember. We’ve been in our house 8 months, but we haven’t had the kind of construction and renovation projects you have. That makes a huge difference! Would love to help you! Hugs, my friend!

      Like

  40. Thank you for sharing your absolutely beautiful home with us – beautiful because it is so obviously well-love in, the colors and objects show the joy, warmth, humor that surrounds you all in your environment.

    Like

  41. You always make everything so cheerful and bright in your home!! I love seeing all the diverse and colorful and happy stuff you’ve collected from all your travels — and you certainly know how to work with color and fabrics!! Such a creative, lovable and happy home!!! (plus, your nephew looks adorable — what fun to have him in your home!!)

    Like

    • Thank you, Betty. My nephew is a sweetie. We were walking down the road in Cuenca last night, and he discovered a woman with a flat tire, so he stopped to change it for her. Neither Sara nor I had even noticed the poor woman. So, yes, we are blessed to have him. Glad you enjoyed the tour!

      Like

  42. Stunning, Kathy, just stunning. –The vibrant colors and creative decorations — ladders hung on the wall horizontally, serving as shelves — who knew? All set off by a dozen red roses in the foreground, and the sweet dogs that make a home a home. The best, though — I love, love, LOVE Sara’s library in her office, or may it’s your joint library.

    As for my roots, I don’t know at this point. I love my Victorian home; I love having lots of rooms — 4 bedrooms, full dining room and large kitchen. I could live in a castle and think of something to fill every room. So, this keeps me in Delaware, because it’s affordable here. But, based on my current income, Cuenca should be my goal of where to spend the rest of my life. Since I spent most of my adult life in Redondo Beach, Calif., I still think of that as home — but I’d be lucky to afford a closet there these days.

    So, recently I have been thinking about where I want to wind up.

    Thank you ever so much for this beautiful and thought-provoking post.

    Like

    • Thanks for the sweet comment, my friend! Listen, given your recent post, you might think about Cuenca. Should you want to visit, please let us know. We have a guest room with your name on it. And should you ever want to move, we would, certainly, help you get settled! Hang in there. I’m thinking about you!

      Like

  43. My goodness. 350.00 coins? That’s smack dab unbelievable! If I wasn’t with boyfriend, I’d pack up soon as you could shake a leg and bat an eye. Though, I’m not close to retirement, so I’d need to work and whatnot. I don’t speak a lick of Spanish either. It is Spanish-speaking over there, right?

    Like

    • I know. It’s an amazing price in the mind of most North Americans. It has become more normal to us now, but the cost of living was one of things that drew us to Ecuador. Should you ever decide to visit, let us know. Yes, Spanish is the national language, but one can get by without, if need be. I know a number of expats who don’t speak the language. My Spanish isn’t all that good.

      Great to hear from you today!

      Like

    • It’s wonderful to feel at home in more than one country. I don’t know that Sara and I necessarily ever want to go back to the US to live, but it does feel like home, since our families are there. Hope you are having a safe trip back to Australia!

      Like

  44. How beautiful! I love the color, the artistry, the way you and Sarah have made this house your home. And the cost of living! Wow! My husband grew up in Venezuela and he often talks of moving back to where we can afford to retire. 😉 He also talks of the postal systems south of our border, no street addresses, and how mail is–or is not–delivered! Thank you for sharing a part of your world with us.

    Like

    • Hi Cecelia! I’m so happy to hear from you! Had no idea your husband was Venezuelan. Interestingly, the post I just published is about Ecuador, but also about I trip to Caracas I took with my parents as a kid. You might appreciate it. So is school over? Are you blogging again?

      Like

  45. WOW! Your home is beautiful (I wish you could see my face when I read the price). I love the library! Also I love all your bright happy colors. My home is the same way!

    Like

    • Ha, ha! Wish I could have seen your face, also. The cost of living in Cuenca is incredible compared to most of North America. Glad you enjoyed the colors and the tour, in general. Fun to hear you decorate with bright colors, as well. Hope you will stop by again soon!

      Like

  46. I salute you Kathy. Look at all these comments and you’ve answered every single one of them with more than one sentence.
    Thank you for taking us on a tour of your beautifully decorated home. I love the artwork, the pillows, and adore the wall colors, and oh wow all those books. We also love books – I called Mr F over to see all the books in Sara’s study. 😀

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Rosie! How wonderful it is to hear from you. This post was fun to put together and it was SO fun to see response it got. (Yeah, that meant LOTS of comments to respond to.) I will mention to Sara how much you enjoyed the books, as well. Hope you’re having a good week so far!

      Like

  47. Kathy, your home is so colorful and welcoming! After 25 years in our house, I still feel that it’s never quite put together. I wish I had your eye for decor and design!

    Is that a cookie jar shaped like an apple I see on top of your kitchen cabinets? If so, my mom used to have one just like it. It was probably my grandma’s at one time and my sister now has it.

    I’m so glad your nephew is with you now. I’m sure there will be many adventures to tell about during his stay.

    Like

    • Good eye, Terri. Yes, that IS a cookie jar shaped like an apple. It belonged to Sara’s mother. Interesting to know that was one floating around your family, as well.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you are staying warm. Thanks for stopping by. Wonderful to hear from you!

      Like

  48. Hi Kathy, I absolutely LOVE what you have done to your home! I have been wanting to move to Ecuador for quite a few years now, watch all I can on it. I’m retired and have been wanting to get out of the US to live peacefully in SA, but being single and older, it’s a hard jump by myself, I hope to get to know people down there so when I go for my initial “is this my “home” trip”, I won’t feel so alone. I have to have 3 part time jobs to survive on my retirement here, and all I want to do everyday is my art! I am still very able to do remodeling and if I could get 1/2 as lucky as you and Sara to find a nice place to rent for under $350, I would be there in a flash. If you are seriously thinking about moving in a year or 2 (of course I hope to be there long before that) is it possible to get me on the list to rent it when you go? I am very serious…! I can’t wait to start going through all your posts, so glad someone on Ecuador Expats posted a link to your page!! I hope to keep in touch with you if you don’t mind! Your nephew is so very lucky, I bet he doesn’t go back home, lol…Again, what a beautiful place you have made! Nice to meet you! Sue

    Like

    • It’s so wonderful to hear from you, Sue. I’m sorry to hear you are having to work so many jobs in retirement. That doesn’t sound fun, at all.

      I think you would find a number of women here who are in your same situation. Seems they have quite a sense of community, so many of them facing an international move alone.

      And honestly there are a number of affordable places to rent here. You would not have trouble finding a place comparably priced to ours. Yes, you might want a condo in a high rise, at least for security, but that is not hard to find.

      Let us know if you ever decide to visit. And please stay in touch!

      Like

      • Hi Kathy, I will be watching your blog and links, really enjoying reading your posts/sections and Sara’s daily pics, spent waaay too much time last night on them, lol… i don’t care if its a condo or a rental house or apartment,(in good condition & naturally in a safer area). The cost will be my concern, Its good to hear that there is a good possibility for a nice little place under $300, thanks for that spark of hope! I will certainly be in touch!

        Like

  49. Thank you for sharing your home with us. It is so beautiful. I hope to find something akin to this when I come to EC. How far are you from Cuenca and is it necessary to have a car to get there into town, or is there bus transportation?

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your comment! We live in Cuenca–about a 10 minute bus ride to el Centro and just south of the Cuenca airport. NO, we don’t have a car. Just don’t need one. We have buses that we can catch within about 2 blocks of our house. And buses run about every 5 to 10 minutes. Bus rides cost 25 cents.

      Great to hear from you today. Hope you will, indeed, consider a move to Cuenca. There are a number of places that are similarly priced.

      Like

  50. WOW! The light quality through all of the rooms is crystal clear and makes those gorgeous bright colours inside come alive. I envy your massive bookshelves, they look full of incredible titles to enjoy. Your nephew is a lucky chap to have a brilliant time in Cuenca. I’m pleasantly shocked how reasonably priced this high quality property is available for. I love your posts Kathy, it’s inspiring to learn about your Humanitarian work, here’s to you stars!

    Like

    • Oh, Lita, you are a sweetie. Thank you for your kind words. We love our house and our bookshelves, as well. We moved all of our books and art to Ecuador. We just couldn’t leave behind the things that make our house a home. And, yes, the prices here are insanely affordable, which is part of why we’re here. We like the ability to make decisions that aren’t economically-based. Living here allows us to do that.

      Hope you are well, my friend–having a great week. You are, truly, sweet! LOVE hearing from you!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s