Almost immediately after we decided that we wanted to buy a house in Goa, we started shuttling back and forth from Bangalore in pursuit of the perfect property.
An exhilarating house-hunt of about two years finally led us to a crumbling Portuguese manor tucked away in a drowsy Goan village and we fell in love. We were enchanted by everything that came with this little slice of paradise; the neighbours, the location, the seasonal lake on the edge of the perimeter… We’d finally found our home.
What followed this magical discovery was nothing short of gruelling; although we were sure that we’d found the place of our dreams, there was a LOT of work to be done for the dilapidated structure to finally resemble the heritage home that we envisioned.
The house was over two hundred years old and had been abandoned for forty before we took over, so it’s easy to see why it was in a complete mess. In fact, it was in such a bad shape that the first time we tried to heave open the heavy front doors, we were greeted by a flock of bats that reluctantly spilled out into the sunlight.
There weren’t any bathrooms if you exclude the couple of outhouses plonked in the backyard, the plumbing was nonexistent, you can forget about electricity, the back portion had been originally constructed with mud was falling apart rapidly… We DEFINITELY had our work cut out for us.
Considering how both of us have next to no experience in architecture, interior design, engineering or any field that could be used in building a house, it was only logical that we needed professional help.
So we hired a local contractor who assured us that the house would be ready to rock in a year with minimal inputs from us. We were so glad that we’d found someone who seemed capable and willing to do Arco up and the fact that everything was smoothly clinking into place led us to heave relieved sighs and exclaim that it was all too good to be true.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
In a couple of months, the contractor called to let us know that he wasn’t going to be able to complete the project due to issues with the labourers AND that he’d already stripped the entire roof thus exposing the house’s interiors to the advancing monsoon.
As if his news wasn’t catastrophic enough, the architect coolly let us know that we’d already overshot our budget three times, mercilessly confirming the ugly truth; we were in a REAL pickle.
A quick decision and some hasty phone calls later, we were in Goa, ready to fully immerse ourselves in this renovation and get the job done.
And so we worked; for three years we toiled to restore Arco Iris and get her back to her glory days while simultaneously working full-time jobs back in Bangalore. Suffice to say it was an adventure!
We read hundreds of online articles, scouted around for people with experience in restoration, hunted supplies from across India, pleaded with labourers to work for us and basically tired ourselves out.
It all turned out to be worth it in the end because two years, three contractors and a LOT of coffee later, Arco Iris was officially unveiled.
The original plan was to convert it into a cosy holiday home for friends and family, but we soon realised that, what with all the extensions we added on, Arco was too big for occasional visits. That, coupled with how Bangalore was steadily turning more unliveable, made our next step obvious; we relocated to Goa, turned our house into a boutique homestay and invited travellers from all around the globe to experience our very own cloud nine.