Living the Costa Rica Pura Vida Life

the coast is where you can really enjoy the pura vida life

Meaning “pure life,” pura vida life is the slogan of Costa Rica, or at least the country’s collective philosophy.  This laid-back attitude is one of the main characteristics that draws many expats to the country in the first place wanting to experience the pura vida life.  

This concept of slowing down, letting things just roll off your back, and relaxing is a great outlook to adopt.  It’s likely one of the reasons Costa Ricans are among the healthiest and happiest cultures in the world.

the sloth is the national symbol for the slow pace the pura vida life implies

More details about the Pura Vida life

Costa Rica’s economy is heavily dependent on ecotourism.  And if you’ve even seen so much as a single photo slideshow highlighting the country’s natural beauty, then you can easily see why.

This Central American country literally has it all, with terrains and eco-climates ranging from long stretches of undeveloped coastline to towering volcanoes to dense jungles and rainforests to lush valleys to waters teeming with all sorts of exotic marine life to inland lakes, streams, and rivers with cascading waterfalls and I could go on and on.

arenal volcano area
Arenal Volcano

About the weather

In North America, the way you choose your desired temperature is by adjusting your thermostat.  In Costa Rica you can tweak your weather by carefully selecting your location and more specifically your elevation.  

If you are you looking for a year-round consistent climate with temps in the low 70s and the anticipated daily shower each afternoon, try the Central Valley, near San Jose, which thousands of expats already call home.

But if you are OK with enduring a little more heat and humidity in exchange for the laid-back lifestyle of one of the country’s amazing beach towns, then try a quaint little village on the coast, that’s where you will find the authentic pura vida life.

A word of caution, though, the rainy season runs from May to November.  And, depending on where you live, “rainy” could mean anything from the aforementioned afternoon shower to torrential downpours that go on for days on end.  The Caribbean coast usually gets more rain than the Pacific.

Costa Rica’s great weather and amazing natural beauty have made it extremely popular as an expat and tourist destination.  As a result, there are tons of ways to experience the outdoors and get your adrenaline going.  

You can go deep sea fishing in a record-breaking catch, soar through the canopy and see the rainforest via zipline, go whitewater rafting on a raging river, hike to the top of a volcano, learn to surf on some of the world’s best waves, or even just enjoy the exotic flora and fauna that’s all around you.

surfing is a great way to experience life in Costa Rica

The country’s popularity as a tourist destination can also be quite profitable for entrepreneurs living in Costa Rica.  All those visitors need food, lodging, tour guides, and other niche services that savvy expat investors are more than willing to provide. Costa Rica is a great investment opportunity!

Costa Rica is incredibly safe, pura vida .

Due to the country’s peace-loving nature and stable government, there are also no riots or other political uprisings, it’s often referred to as the Switzerland of the Americas.    

That being said, Costa Rica still has its share of petty crimes.  The good news is that much more of them are property-related.

Homes, particularly those that are only used seasonally, are frequently broken into.  Tourists are often pickpocketed.  And leaving items unattended in an unlocked vehicle or lying around outside your home is a good way to ensure they won’t be there when you come back.

Prevention is key for those visiting or living in Costa Rica.  If you’re a tourist, try not to look or act like one.  Don’t wear loads of flashy jewelry, accessories, sunglasses, etc.  Limit any excessive carrying of electronics like camera, smartphones, iPods, and other devices.  And, whatever you do, don’t go waving around wads of cash, particularly large bills.

As long as you use common sense and stick to the more traveled and well-lit thoroughfares, especially at night, you should be just fine.

While many of these and other factors about living in Costa Rica may seem like a lot to sort through, most all of them can be easily weighed by just scheduling a trip to bring your family down and decide for yourself.

Worst case scenario?  You’ll have one of the best vacations of your lives.  Best case?  You could find the home you’ve always dreamed of.


Follow the link to learn more about life and design in Costa Rica

Beach Condo Kitchen Remodel Transformation

For this small beach condo kitchen remodel, the client asked me to update it as it looked “tired” and the color palette used was very dark and made the space look smaller and warmer than it had to be. Here are a few images of how the area used to look.

Remodeling a small condo kitchen is always quite a challenge I love to take. Because the results are much more dramatic. So let’s take a look at what we did.

The Condo Kitchen Remodeling

After studying the actual functionality of the space, the colors and textures already existing. I came up with the proposal of a cooler color palette along with more modern natural wood textures. That would bring the space to a more modern spirit. See for yourself the results, I must say the client was very happy!

What did we do?

To make this condo kitchen remodel we started with painting the walls with a light gray color, to make the space feel cooler and bigger. Also changed the kitchen cabinets, to brand new high quality compressed wood ones. The front doors of the cabinets are real natural wood, with a very light finish, to bring light into the kitchen. We kept the existing granite top as it was still in good shape and there was no need to change it.

It is important to remember to use all of our resources to the maximum in any aspect of our life. And design is no exception, if there are materials or furniture you can recycle, please do. There are always shops where you can have things redone and make them look brand new! This is a very important part of my philosophy as a designer. Let’s create based on sustainable sources!

If you’re interested in learning more about my work please follow this quick link

Arborea Condominium Custom Made Outdoor Furniture

This condominium project located in Santa Ana, has a very nice club house and pool area, that needed some custom made outdoor furniture. They got in touch with me to help them out design and custom made the outdoor furniture for them.

Of course, I immediately went ahead and examined their needs and budget, so I could deliver exactly what they had requested. We made a great team to successfully accomplish what they needed.

Cetus outdoor sofa set custom made for the clients terrace
gray on gray finishes to make it look more modern and fresh

The custom made outdoor furniture

As you can see on the images below, this is a version of the Cetus sofa set. Only that we changed the fabric color, for it to be gray and gray, as per the clients request. It looks great on their wooden terrace, making it look cozy and modern at the same time.

Club House Furniture

For the club house, there was a need to have a table set with umbrella for the rainy days. And again we were working with a wooden floor, so we used the gray on gray theme which works so well. It was important to keep a same line of design here to make everything look as a whole. We wanted to create continuity, for which we used color and texture.

beautiful custom made outdoor table set with umbrella

And then of course we needed to add some sun loungers to sit next to the pool. These were made with the exact same finishes as the table set, which sits right next to them. I love the way all the furniture was perfectly custom made to make everything come along and work so nicely together. We did a great job creating unity for these outdoor areas.

custom made sun loungers seating next to the beautiful pool

The sun lounger and table set are great quality outdoor furniture. The outdoor Sunbrella fabric we used is high quality, water proof and UV protected, to endure the high traffic.

On the inside of the club house, there is a lounge area that needed some seating furniture. For which we custom made this beautiful sofa set, with clean straight lines to go along with the style of the architecture, which is very modern. Because we wanted to add some more color in the design, we used different yet still neutral colors. Very light cushion fabric, which makes the sofa look very neat and inviting.

As you can see on this post, is very easy to have nice custom outdoor furniture to work with your designs. You don’t have to just settle for what you see on the shops here, or pay overpriced furniture.

I can gladly help you out design and custom made your outdoor furniture. If you found this information useful, please follow the link to learn more!

Private Residence Remodel in Santa Ana

The owner of this beautiful condominium located in Río Oro de Santa Ana, wanted to remodel the social areas of her residence. When she contacted, me she did not have an idea of what she really wanted. So after our first meeting, I came up with a concept of mixing modern neutral colors with a lot of natural wood to add some warmth to the space . She was very happy with my concept and ideas and we moved right ahead with the project.

Here are a few images of how the house used to look. The spaces were very flat, she had nice pieces of furniture, but there was no connection between them. And there was not a defined color palette.

So What Did We Do to Remodel this Residence?

First of all, to accomplish a successful remodel for this residence, I carefully analyzed the spaces of the house. Getting together the textures already present in the spaces and the contemporary style of the house. I decided to embrace the clean straight lines, and warm up the spaces with natural wood textures in the new furniture. We changed the wall colors for something neutral with different shades to add some depth and warmth.

the residence remodel included some nice wooden custom made furniture pieces
entertainment center for this remodel was made in cedar wood with very clean lines

All of the furniture was custom made for this residence remodel. We carefully picked the fabrics to work with the design, but also to be washable as there are kids in the house. I love how the neutral scheme works so perfectly with the design of the house, without making if feel cold. On the contrary, the spaces feel very light and airy, but also warm at the same time. This is a well balanced design.

Here are also a couple of photos of the custom made furniture, so you can really appreciate them.

accent chairs for the social area in this residence were custom made with a beautiful printed fabric to add color
Accent chairs for social area.
this tufted leather chair makes the residence look elegant and classy
Dining chairs were made in real leather, with wooden legs, a real statement piece in the residence remodel.

Interior Renovation Design for Luxury Villa

The owners of this private villa in Manuel Antonio wanted an interior renovation design for their spaces to make them look more elegant and barefoot luxury style. For that purpose I used neutral color palettes with rich textures to balance the design.

Before the Interior Design Renovation

Let’s talk about how the house used to look before the interior renovation design we made. First of all, the existing furniture was a mix of colors and textures which didn’t make sense together. The wood finish on some of the pieces was too red, and the upholstered sofas lacked some texture. The dining set was for an outdoor space, not appropriate for a main dining room. Also, the terrace furniture was a very outdated rattan set, which did not work with the design of the house.

How the Spaces Improved After the Renovation

For this interior renovation design, the main scheme I used for this project was natural wood finishes with beige and grey as the main fabric colors. And a few accent patterned fabrics to add some dynamism and color to the spaces.

Straight clean lines were my main design feature to create this fresh and contemporary look.

beautiful custom made sofa set for interior renovation design on the terrace

The terrace sofa set was custom design and made for this specific area. It was made with natural teak wood and Sunbrella upholstered cushions. This a very chic and super comfortable set to lounge on and with this view, it’s a win win!

the terrace was fully designed and renovated and the outcome is amazing

We also worked on a couple of furniture pieces the client already had in the house which they wanted to reuse. So I helped them pick neutral and fun fabrics to improve the look of these beautiful pieces. And they came out so nice and perfect for their use. As always, it is important to use all of our resources to their maximum, and reupholstering is always a good idea when it comes to recycling furniture.

4 Qualities of a Happy Designer-Client Relationship

Cultivate trust, flexibility and more during a design project, and it could be the beginning of a beautiful alliance!

Image result for interior design

There is a rumor about designers, that we’re all bossy people, who whip together a design plan and then steamroll through your house executing our vision, without caring about the client’s needs and vision. Truth be told, most of us have strong opinions, but believe it or not, most of us have gotten a lot of invaluable tips, design ideas and trend information from our own clients.

Some will admit that even though they hated a client’s choice of rug or fabric, the end result was fabulous. I actually learned about Houzz from a client and it has forever changed my business. Here we’ll discuss the qualities that can make for a great client-designer experience.

Trust. Some of the best design projects happen when designers and clients trust one another.

Flexibility. Be flexible with your design choices when working with a designer or on your own. When you have your heart set on something, it’s hard not to go crazy if it’s been discontinued or is otherwise not available. But when it comes down to it, there is always a similar item that your designer can source that’s just as fabulous as the one you had your mind set on. Budget can cause similar issues, but when it comes to design,there are many ways to achieve the same result, and a good designer-client relationship will give you room to explore those options.

Diplomacy.There are going to be plenty of things you and your designer disagree on, it is normal, and it’s okay. I suggest handling these issues with diplomacy and respect. When someone colorfully expresses their hate for an item without presenting a solution, nothing gets solved. I’ve seen loads of projects stalled over intense differences or worse, the designer and client part ways with only bitter tales to share at happy hour, and that’s not the goal.

Collaboration. An open mind to share ideas and take risks can make a big difference in a designer-client relationship. For example: I love bold colors and often suggest using them in projects, but not every client is thrilled with this idea at first; some need some guidance before taking the risk. Collaborating on ideabooks to see how a color works in a space, choosing paint and fabric samples together to consider other options, and taking a few calculated risks in the overall design can help both designer and client achieve the best outcome.

Tip: It’s never too late to seek design guidance! Even a quick consultation can save you a lot of money and pain.