The guest house

This is a quick post. There might be some spelling mistakes and not so fancy, just to keep you posted.

Some months ago a couple of Magnus friends announced they were coming to visit us in December. They even had their tickets and all! December 15th became an imminent date on Magnus calendar.
So he started working very hard with the guest house hoping (still, as i write), to make it so they can sleep there without being exposed to the elements, at least not completely.  


My has he done an amazing job! The wall structure was there already (by the time of the phone call) so next big thing in line was the roof. I had successfully insisted my way to a green roof which is a somewhat more expensive and certainly much more complex and time consuming setup compared to the regular chapa (metal) roof commonly used here. This is a multilayered system that, given the sheer weight of it, also needs a much stronger structure to rest on with more and stronger beams. And Magnus likes to be on the safe side, so there are many of them. Then there is a layer of plywood, one layer of liquid membrane, then one layer of asphalt membrane with geotextile, and then again two more layers of liquid membrane followed by two layers of thick silo-plastic, a plastic drainage geotextile special thing for living roofs and finally the sod previously cut into perfect squares that were 6-7 cm thick.  Just the cutting of the sod took 5 days or so, so imagine the job! He has done an amazing job. We got help from friends from Caliu Colonia who had already built their own roof to do the asphalt membrane layer since melting and placing it is a tricky business. They did almost half and then I helped finishing later on. The rest he has done all by himself. And here’s the result.



I know…



Then last week we got a couple of friends from another town in Colonia who were very willing to come and help when we wanted so i cornered Magnus and he finally accepted some help. He had started to put the roofing on the galeria that runs all around the house (to protect the future  earth plastered walls from rain) and once that was finished we could start with the earthen floor. Well, the roofing took longer than thought, what a surprise so it ended up with Andres doing almost nothing but roofing, María Eugenia helping along with the earth mixture batches that then Magnus put on the floor as he got them. Previously they had sifted clay and cut hay into small bits. For the last three days I was also in the production chain as well as a volunteer that will be staying here for some weeks (via WWOOF). We finished with the very last patch of floor Sunday at 18:30. Exhausted and with pain on our feet and bodies but we managed to do two months work in one week. So good!



Next now is the straw bale walls. We have had the bales for three years now, stored under roof and I believe there is a mouse town there but Magnus insists they are probably fine. So this week we start moving those over to the house and hopefully they are in good shape and can be put in place in the walls and then get a first layer of earth plaster. Still a lot to be done, but moving forward!




  1. Hello Magnus and Virginia,

    I hope all is well at your end. Can you let me know the status of the guest house built? I’m very interested in a stay to learn and ‘live’.
    Thanks in advance for your reply

    • Hi Annemarie, thanks for contacting us!

      All well here, summer’s in full blast, which means work is somewhat slower than usual. The guest house is moving along nicely – but slowly, as everything else here – and we hope to have it ready before winter hits us again sometime in May – June.
      Cheers, Magnus

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