Where does the interior design aspect come into living in the tropics? What does living in the tropics mean? Many people think of Costa Rica as tropical but there are many altitudes and weather systems with 12 climatic zones and hundreds of microclimates, not all of them tropical.
When I arrived in Costa Rica in 1977 my first night in the country was spent in a small town on the Caribbean coast named Cahuita. Cahuita was named after cawa wood by the Indians living there.
Cahuita in 1977 was very underdeveloped. To this day it still retains its small town environment with most of the development inland from the coastline. I lived in a wood house surrounded by jungle with a small path leading to the beach in the front.
It took a while to acclimate to the hot humid weather of the jungle. Sweating was a part of life, there was no getting away from being continually moist. Clothes were hard to dry; did I mention we didn’t have electricity? We also had to pull water up from a well and collect rainwater in tanks that came off of our roof.
The beach was beautiful, a very fine black sand beach. The ocean was always warm, very comfortable for swimming and we surfed every day we could. There were few months without rain, and just two months a year when the ocean was flat and calm.
When we did get electricity we got a refrigerator! But the constant salty ocean spray gathered on our screen windows every morning and made a film on the appliances causing them to rust out very quickly. We learned to paint even new appliances with an extra coat of anticorrosive paint to try and stop the rust.
Living in the jungle had many rewards, the incredible beauty of the environment, the wild animals, the warm weather and good waves and beautiful beaches made living in such an
extreme environment a good experience.
But trying to maintain a clean house was really hard! There were no floor coverings that could last with all the humidity. We had woven mats but had to sweep underneath them every day. We had to sweep and mop the floors every day.
It wasn’t until many years later that I picked up a Mother Earth magazine and read an article about Lisa Curry Mair and her work making hand-painted canvas floor cloths. I thought this would be a perfect thing to make in Costa Rica. Finally, a rug or floor covering that was impermeable to the humidity, sand, and salt from living on the beach.
It’s been a long journey creating these fantastic rugs and so many people appreciate the ease and beauty of having them in their homes.
If you live in a hot humid environment, or in a desert or on a beach, canvas rugs or canvas floor cloths are the perfect choices for interior décor.
Please leave a comment below. do you have any questions about life in Costa Rica?
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