On top of everything else happening in my life, I am also building a house. Sometimes I question my sanity. I actually bought the lot while I was in England two years ago. No it’s not in England. I’m not that crazy, though doing anything in Hawaii that requires interaction with the state or county government is always dicey.
While I was on that six-week solo trip across southern England in 2016, my now-Ex texted me to say a surveyor was marking the land on the empty lot behind my house. The owner from Florida was finally selling.
I always wanted to buy it, mostly to preserve the peekaboo ocean view from my back lanai. But if anyone else built on it, I’d wind up with a view of someone else’s new house. In fact, even the peekaboo view had become compromised. The invasive trash trees growing on the lot completely blocked it.
So I asked the Universe to help me buy the lot. I immediately texted Stacy, my realtor and friend, and she investigated. Within two weeks we had written up an offer and it was accepted – all long distance! Processes usually take a long time with multiple snafus in quirky Hawaiʻi, so it was a pleasant surprise that the purchase went so smoothly. All the paperwork was completed electronically and I got home just in time to sign the final documents at the title company on September 27, 2016. After that whirlwind, I just sat with the idea of owning this property. That didn’t last long. I wanted the trash trees out so I could actually see it and get my view back.
Enter Steve, my friend and yard guy. I call him a Force of Nature. This guy can move mountains. He single-handedly cut down all the vegetation and most of the trees with a machete and a bow-saw. It took him six weeks, three or four hours a day to chop most of it down.
Every day I would check, hoping to be able to see the lower street from a vantage point in my yard (the lot slopes downhill) but it wasn’t until near the end of this clearing phase that I could get any sense of the lay of the land. Even after Steve called in some guys with chainsaws to get the few big trees down, there were so many piles of brush and logs that I still couldn’t really see it.
I began to toy with the idea of putting a little cottage on the lot, as a long term rental. It seemed wrong to leave the land unused, especially given the shortage of housing on the island. I was sure I could place a cottage on the lot in a way that would not obstruct the view from my lanai, perhaps behind the large avocado tree. But to see if that was even possible, we had to remove all the piles, instead of letting them compost in place which was my original intent.
About this time it began to rain steadily for five weeks, making the lot a sea of mud. It was a good time to start a different project, fencing the property along both sides. Steve brought in Chey and the two of them worked around the periphery where the mud wasn’t too bad.
By January, Steve found a grubber and brought him in. Mark did a nice job of digging out all the trash tree roots. Now I had piles of logs, brush and roots. Mark even transplanted the banana trees that were in the middle of the property to the edges, beautiful sentinels along the new fences. They thrived there and are bearing fruit.
I soon realized that if I wanted to build on the lot, I’d need to find a different way to access it because the street it’s on is basically a one lane road with steep hills and curves. No large equipment or delivery trucks would be able to maneuver to my property.
So I did something drastic that set me on the course to building: while Mark’s CAT was there, I had him removed all the foliage and brick planters along the Hilo side of my house. My East Garden was now gone, replaced by a long access driveway to the new lot. It felt like I had made a no-going-back decision, and I questioned my sanity.
But now we could clear the lot through that access. I brought in three 10 yard dumpsters, one after the other, and Steve and Randall trudged the logs up the hill to the dumpster for hauling out. They removed a total of 9.2 tons of green waste in less than a week. Like I said, a Force of Nature.
After this, even Steve cried Uncle and he found a guy with a chipper. In February 2017, Bully ground up the remainder of the logs and brush. As a final touch to this phase, Steve and I planted some ornamental plants, and threw what seemed like tons of grass seeds on the land.
I could finally see what I had bought. My new lot has a steep slope, but also has quite the view. With everything on the land done, my thoughts turned to that cottage.
I was fearful because I had never built a house before, and was definitely getting out of my comfort zone. But sometimes I cannot talk myself out of taking a risk.
Continued in Building a Home in Hawaii Part 2.
If you like my blog, you’ll enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column. And please join my mailing list.