Finally, we are starting construction in Loulé

It’s taken 4 years, but we are finally ready to start construction on our modern, minimalist home on the hills above Loulé, Algarve.

Our project started over 5 years ago, when we decided that it was time to build the home of our dreams. We had been planning for many years to move to Italy. Researching every area, and spending many weeks each year looking for the perfect location. We never found anywhere which felt like home.

We were watching a TV show about building homes overseas and spotted a few nice filming locations in Portugal. Whilst watching the show, we decided to book a flight the same week to explore north of Lisbon. We spent a few days in the area, checking out the Atlantic beaches, small villages and towns on the Silver Coast. The weather was awful every day we were there. It was April, cold, raining constantly and nowhere felt like somewhere we could settle. Reluctantly I checked the weather in Algarve. Of course, it was much warmer with clear blue skies. We packed our bags and headed south in the hire car to explore the coastline and towns of southern Portugal.

We explored from Sagres, all the way to the Spanish border. Stopping in different towns and swimming off different beaches along the way. Again. Nowhere felt like home. We sat and talked about what we needed from a town. We lived close to the market town of Totnes in Devon, with it’s quaint little boutiques, independent shops and weekly market. This is what we were looking for – Totnes in Portugal. Did it exist? I googled ‘best market town in Algarve’, and top of the list was Loulé. We headed straight for the town and the market hall. Parking was easy and free – good start! There were so many little cafes and shops on the way there, it looked promising.

On entering the market hall, it happened… we both declared ‘this is it!’

Now, here we are 5 years later, finally building our home. When we started, we had anticipated it would take 1 year to design the house and get full planning. This is what everyone told us, but that (as it turns out) was very optimistic indeed.

Today I have a meeting onsite, to discuss the bore hole and fencing on the property to make it  secure. This is the first meeting of hundreds (if not thousands) which will take place over the next 18 months as the build progresses.

We have August pencilled in for the diggers to prepare for the concrete and steel structure, which is due to commence in September. I am prepared for these dates to slip, after all, this is Portugal and we are (hopefully) at the end of a pandemic which has slowed construction projects and limited the availability of materials.

Our plot is large at almost 7500m² so the cost of fencing the whole area will be quite sizable. As we are on top of a hill, the cost of the borehole will be high too. I’m keeping a spreadsheet with all the costs so it will be interesting to see how far the budget stretches. We plan to make use of solar, water via borehole and maybe even a small wind turbine. If we can make our running costs almost zero, and complete construction without a mortgage, I will consider this build a success.

I will start vlogging about the build once things get underway, so check back often for new posts and videos. Thanks for stopping by, if you have any questions, please send to hello@loulehills.com and I will do my best to help you.

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