Chile house — part 1

My kids are out of school, just like yours, only we have a few extra little challenges.  Matt has been gone for two weeks, and was also gone for most of the week before.  Almost all of the friends we’ve made here are in the U.S. for the school break, where we will be this time next year.  So we’re kind of on our own, and while part of me thinks we should be exploring beautiful Santiago, the car accident has left me a little less ambitious about taking five kids to unfamiliar places all by myself.  We did return to the scene of our accident the other day, where there is maybe the most fabulous playground I’ve ever seen (where we were headed when the accident happened).  A friend came with me, and it was good for me mentally to drive there.

So what have we been doing?  Mostly staying home and being lazy, which on balance, isn’t so bad.  I’ve basically got our house in order (see below) and the kids are watching lots of cartoons in Spanish, which several people have told me really does help with kids’ language learning.  Matt comes home tonight, and we resume school in 10 days, which we’re (I’m) looking forward to.

So here are a bunch of photos of this inside of our Chile house.  It’s a nice home, by Chilean or American standards, but it isn’t anything fancy.  It’s on the modern side, style-wise, which is very popular here.

Our little entry-way has a slate floor, which is pretty but shows every crumb.  Our home in Utah had no entry-way, so I appreciate having one.

Nice little powder room — notice how modern the fixtures are (is that kind of stuff interesting?  I love details like that, so sorry if this is boring.)Kitchens here aren’t typically very homey, because they’re considered service areas.  Tile on every wall, and the windows have terribly ugly views.  A lot of the women living around here probably rarely set foot in one.  This is Carmen (I didn’t tell her I was taking her picture — how do you say that in Spanish? — so she’s not mad, just surprised).  She helps me with every conceivable thing around the house and we already think of her as part of the family.  She’s here twice a week, and is one of my absolute favorite people right now.

Our laundry room is tiny (again, designed for the maid and not for the lady of the house), but at least it’s inside, which isn’t always the case here.  That door opens into a great little outside service area, called a logia.  It has a tile floor and a corrugated roof but is separated from the backyard by a door, so you can hide your bikes and other messy stuff from your guests.  No garages here, so this is great for storage.

This is the maid’s room, and I’m not sure if this picture adequately captures how tiny it is.  Ours is the place for random stuff I haven’t organized yet, food that doesn’t fit in the tiny kitchen cabinets, and the ironing board.  But for most families around here, this is someone’s living space.  This one is clean and has a nice little (tiny) bathroom, but the whole concept is still a little tough for me.

Here’s our pretty dining room.  My friend Cynthia made these cute oilcloth slipcovers for my chairs, since we’ll be using this table daily while we’re here (you can’t really do family meals in the kitchen — did you notice the size of the kitchen table?).  Homes here have very little carpet, and ours has this warm laminate flooring in the living areas, tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Living room.  One thing that’s different here is no fireplace.  We did see some homes with a wood stove or a fireplace area, but because of the poor air quality here, you aren’t allowed to have an actual fire.  I kind of miss having a mantel — without one, the living room is just a blank rectangle.  The whole back of the house opens to the outside with big sliding doors, because of the mild climate here.  It’s the middle of winter and we can still play outside most days.  Our friends tell us that when it warms up, you kind of live outdoors.  The tile terrace extends all along the back of the house.  Looking forward to warm days.

Also, I just realized that houseplants are super-affordable here, which means I won’t feel bad giving them all away in three years.  So I’m going to fill the living room with lots of plants.  The piano is in here too, just can’t see it from this angle.  This post has made me realize how hard it is to adequately photograph rooms — this definitely isn’t one of those blogs you look at just for the gorgeous pictures!

If you’ve read this far, you must really love me.  I’ll continue the home tour in my next post, plus some pictures of kids, and maybe even Matt, assuming he makes it home alive (his travel this week involved water-taxis in piranha-infested water, no joke).


7 thoughts on “Chile house — part 1

  1. Robin

    Love all the pictures! What a change from your old house, with all the modern touches. I love those windows in the dining and living rooms, and I can’t wait to see more of your yard. Right now my backyard is a rock pile, so I’m very jealous of anyone who actually has green out there. Interesting about the kitchen–is it pretty isolated from the rest of the house? I mean, I’m guessing it’s not like a great room type of thing. So, are the cartoons all American ones translated into Spanish (how do you say “Spongebob” in Spanish?) or are they somewhat odd Chilean ones?

  2. Sarah

    I’m so excited that you posted all these pictures. I’ve been super curious to know what your house was like. I can’t wait to see the next installment.

  3. Jen

    SO fun to see all the pics and explanations of everything. Keep the pics comin! You are amazing! Kaitlin still asks when she can play with Mary and my other kids say that when we go to Hawaii next summer, can we visit Mary?

  4. Amy Brinton

    Hey, how is Matt away? I thought that you were moving there so that he didn’t have to be away! Isn’t it interesting to see familiar things in a new house? You’ve put it together so nicely. And I’m glad to see your “unorganized” room. That’s pretty much how half the rooms in my house look right now. :)

  5. liz Post author

    Robin, the kitchen is right off the entryway, but you’re right that it’s nothing like a great room. In fact, all of the rooms have doors, so you can close off different areas — good for hiding messes, and also more energy-efficient, I suspect. The shows are American, dubbed in Spanish — “Bohb Espon-ha” (that’s phonetic, not the spelling), and Power Rangers are the current favorites. And we have better cable than we did in Utah, so the kids are loving the selection.

    Jen, tell Kaitlin we’ll meet you in Hawaii.

    Amy, Matt covers Peru, Brazil, and Argentina, in addition to Chile. Usually he’ll probably do one or two short trips a month, so this longer trip was an exception. I’m sure you’ll have that new house ship-shape in no time, if I know you at all. I think with a maid, I may be able to achieve the level of order you accomplish all on your own!

  6. Jill


    I loved this post. I have always enjoyed seeing how people decorate. This is especially fun to see what is typical in a foreign country. Love the pics. Your home is beautiful. We are roasting in 90 degree temps. The kids have been at Nana’s pool lots and I am just trying to keep up with the weeding and wilting plants. I took an unplanned trip to Utah for my parents Bear Lake reunion. I just couldn’t miss it. It was just what I needed. I got to see my family for 5 straight days without work or travel restraints. We miss you and your kids but are jealous for the experience you guys are having. Looking forward to seeing you in 6 months!

  7. Vicki Lambert

    It was great to see the photos of your home. It’s lovely, and fun to see your stuff in this house in Chile. We miss you like crazy!


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