"You could easily build a wall with high windows up here. That way you don't have to see the messiness around you." As the homeowner uttered these words I had to chuckle inwardly. What he said was true, but not likely to convince us that this was the house for our family!
We were standing on the unfinished third floor of the home, basically a flat cement rooftop accessed by narrow metal stairs. A handyman by hobby if not by trade, the man's tools were scattered about and it was clear that this was his favorite place to escape and create while overlooking the nearby busy streets crowded with cars and supermarkets and a shopping mall.
In fact the house on which we stood was his own beloved creation, as evidenced by neatly detailed floor plans which he excitedly spread on the table to share with us. And truthfully the house was lovely, carefully painted and decorated. Under the stairs leading to the second floor a collection of antiques was housed, from ancient pressing irons to a weathered rack of antlers which had accompanied the couple from their verdant home in southern Chile to this dusty desert city in the north several years earlier.
On the first floor a living/dining room led into a small kitchen, with a door opening onto a tiny patio. A bathroom was also on this level, and the front parking area behind a tall metal gate was tiled and served a multi purpose as an additional patio. Upstairs five doors lined a narrow hallway overlooking the stairs: a bathroom, three comfortable bedrooms, and one beautiful, large master bedroom with ensuite bathroom. The bedroom on the end had a door to the outside, and it was through this door that we encountered the steps to the rooftop.
The cost of the house at $123,000 USD was relatively inexpensive for the Iquique market; unfortunately, the house itself outshone its neighborhood and may be difficult to sell for that reason. As Pedro commented when we first saw photos of the interior of the house online, "There's a reason why there are no pictures of the outside!" Neighboring houses were ancient wooden structures, sagging and weatherbeaten and frankly a little scary. In fact, the owner admitted that any other houses purchased in the neighborhood had to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch as his was.
For someone with vision for what the neighborhood might someday be ... for a couple without young children such as the current owners ... perhaps. But for our family it just wasn't a possibility. Even so we felt a little sorry, because the owner and his wife were so sweet. Pedro mentioned that their home must have been their haven from otherwise ugly surroundings. Potted plants lined the front patio and surely were an attempt at recreating a picture of the green beauty that is southern Chile. In fact we learned that this couple was from Valdivia, a gorgeous city we visited just this past summer. This picture is one I took on our trip:
It makes you understand why they are anxious to return, doesn't it?? So I hope they do find just the right buyers for their house soon. As for us, the search goes on! :)