My New Panama Home!
My new rental house
in Coronado, Panama is perfect. And by perfect, I mean: ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE.
A view from the street of our giant Panama tree on the right.
Jeff and I will be here for 2 months before we embark on a 6-week backpacking adventure through Central America, and we’re loving every second in our humble house just 2 minutes from the beach on foot.
Jeff the Passport-to-Design-Mascot standing in front of our humble abode.
The best part about moving in was re-arranging all the furniture to better suit our needs.
We made a few adjustments to the decor (and by that, I mean we replaced all the kitschy Panamanian decor that came with the house with our own limited possessions). Luckily, the house came furnished, so all there was left to do was “beautify“. Working with the existing colours, open concept and limited, mis-matched furniture was challenging at times, but we made the best of it.
BEFORE: The sitting room/living room/foyer - one small area all wrapped up into one!
AFTER: We re-arranged the furniture to include an entry console table and covered the seat cushions in our favourite batik textiles. The space feels more functional now.
AFTER: A few accessories - decorative toss cushions, candles and greenery from the yard help make the space feel more inviting. I wish we had a small area rug...
AFTER: The Entry Console Table is flooded in sunlight in the mornings. I love how I can see straight through from the front door to the back door. The hallway is less obstructed now.
AFTER: In order to save money on buying vases, I spray painted glass bottles instead (shown here: olive oil and coca cola bottles). A great way to recycle and beautify at the same time!
The house has two bedrooms (the guest room has 2 bunkbeds…the perfect beach-party house!) and one bathroom. There’s no hot water, but in the sweaty Panama sun, I’m hardly missing it. The layout of the house is quite efficient – each bedrooms shares an opposite wall with the bathroom (located in between the two). The house is more or less divided into public vs. private areas.
BEFORE: The master bedroom. The bed was pushed up against the wall and a collection of furniture was pushed up against the opposite wall, as well as lace curtains on the windows.
AFTER: The Master Bedroom. The bed is centred on the wall with nightstands on either end. The lace curtains are gone since the windows are louvered and offer enough privacy. A beach sarong from Bali helps add some visual interest to the room (and yes, that's a fly swatter on the nightstand!).
AFTER: I like to wake up to things that make me happy - a silly photo of Jeff and I (and my dog!) along with a Ganesha statue from Vietnam, a jewelry bowl from Sol de la India and some of my favourite books.
BEFORE: Guest Bedroom. A lack of bedsheets and no furniture make this space feel like an orphanage. There's another bunkbed on the other side of this small room.
AFTER: Guest Bedroom. Removing the lace curtains and adding some bedding helped make this space feel more inviting. This room doubles as our guest room and storage area - luckily there's a built-in closet at the foot of the bed.
The kitchen is small and has no storage, but since we have very little housewares (the gas-tank stove is practically as small as a shoebox!) it’s not a major issue. We’re using stack-able plastic storage trays and a TV stand to house the essentials (like wine glasses!). In our case, all our goods are on display – something that I’m not usually fond of (I like to hide my mess), but it works with the overall beach-house mentality of an easy-going, fuss-free life.Plus, it sends a “Help Yourself” message to our visitors :)
BEFORE: Kitchen. A cluttered counter in the background and a plastic table cloth on the island made this ktichen feel dingey and old.
AFTER: Kitchen. Removing the plastic table cloth and replacing it with two straw placemats, candles and flowers helped update this kitchen (if that's even possible?!). A few open-storage pieces on the right-hand side make the kitchen area more functional.
AFTER: Kitchen. More pretty flowers and objects that make me smile. A jar of seashells I've collected from the beach, my favourite incense flower from Bangkok, a gaint beeswax candle and a large tea light on a clam shell from the beach make my Buddha from Vietnam feel right at home.
AFTER: Kitchen. A typical Panamanian stove complete with optional covered top and gas tank. None of the houses are piped with natural gas - all gas or propane is kept beside the stove (or water heaters if we had one) and refilled at the local hardware store. We hung some utensils on the wall to free up more counter space.
The front porch has become the most widely used area of the house. Jeff and I both sit on the porch to work on our computers, and eat every meal outside as well. We swing in the three hammocks daily and really try to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the sounds of the chirping birds, barking dogs and crowing roosters (our neighbours have two roosters that have no sense of timing).
BEFORE: Porch. A collection of randomly placed seating was cramping my style. It's like a furniture store out there!
AFTER: Porch. The seating is re-arranged to be more conducive to conversation. A small coffee table helps offer a place to keep drinks and snacks (even though it's housing my coconuts at the moment).
AFTER: Porch. Another painted coca cola bottle houses a flower picked from our yard. In the background you can see a decorative cushion that adds padding to the bench and introduces some colour and texture. Another tall glass jar is used to house candles (that won't blow out in the breeze).
AFTER: Porch. Coconuts on the coffee table beside more beach findings add to the beach-bum ambience of the house.
AFTER: Porch. A view of the porch from the lawn. The two hammocks frame the space nicely and offer additional seating (swinging?).
AFTER: Porch. This area has become the dining room. The artisan leather chairs remind us of the Panamanian culture while the Indian-inspired doorway beads help offer some privacy in the house and keep out the flies.
AFTER: Porch Details. When it's not in use, this hotplate functions as a placemat for the outdoor candles. The straw adds some texture to the space and the candles help create an inviting (and romantic!) ambience at night.
The true beauty behind our house lies in the property. The yard is approximately 4 times larger than the house itself. A giant Panama tree with a 5-foot wide trunk sits majestically on the front lawn. An equally impressive mango tree occupies the backyard along with a tangerine tree and several bushes. The house perimeter is garnished in flowering bushes and colourful shrubs. The house feels like our own little jungle oasis.
The glorious tree trunk of the Panama Tree on the front lawn.
A view of the back of the house.
Jeff picking tangerines from our tree in the back yard.
Free fruit tastes better! (Am I right? Or am I right?!)
The giant mango tree cannot be captured in a single photo (not with my digital camera lens). Can't wait for the mangoes to ripen!
Included by request, here is a photo of Jeff's pride and joy - our humble motorbike suits our humble beach home just fine :)
And there you have it. A typical Panama house to call my own for a few months.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour :) It’s a great beach house and I’m so happy here. (Don’t forget that there are 2 bunk beds…that means we can sleep at least 4 guests (8 guests if you count all the hammocks and the couch!).
You’re all welcome to visit anytime!