Coming from the US, we are used to a certain style of construction. In Panama things are often done differently. This house came up for rent in our neighborhood so we stopped by to look in the windows.
Houses here are usually made from cement block with cement floors and metal roofs. Most of the houses I have visited have drop ceilings, and many have tile floors. This house, however, has neither. The walls go up to the roof, and the metal roof is visible from inside.
I think I would be concerned about heat in this house. If the sun is beating down on the roof and heating it up, would it be hot inside, or would the heat be trapped above while cooling breezes flow through the windows? Roofs are usually painted a brick red color. Many thought we were odd for painting our roof white but it helped to keep the house cooler.
Single overhead lights are very common here, but I’m not a big fan. Of course you could put in lamps for a softer look, with extension cords, another thing. Usually there is only one electrical outlet per room. I wondered why the hardware store has tons of extension cords for sale until I started setting up our house and quickly figured that out.
This house may look very basic to most of us, but one could certainly be comfortable there if the roof didn’t transfer too much heat to the inside. You would have a sturdy, functional house in a very comfortable neighborhood.
There is a lot to be said for Panamanian style construction, especially in this rainy humid climate. A friend in the US just had a water heater disaster that filled her house with water and caused all kinds of destruction. Here, there is nothing water can destroy, only cement. Our house has no wood trim, no sheet rock, just a tiled cement floor, block walls finished with a smooth coating of cement, and metal door frames. The interior doors are wood so if the bottoms got wet that could be a problem. The kitchen has lower cabinet doors of wood but they are part of a cement structure and a few inches off the floor, so I think the water would run out under the doors before it would ever get to that height. Maybe our sofa and easy chair could get wet, but the rest of our tables, chairs, shelves, etc and mostly plastic, done to save costs when we arrived but they sure have worked out great in this climate and our lifestyle.
This is another good reason to live here for a while before you buy or build. When we arrived we would have built a US style home because that’s all we knew. Now that we have seen how they do it in Panama, we have totally changed our opinions. Joel’s work in the US was home repairs and remodeling, and he made a lot of his money from wet sheet rock and water damaged wood. It sure makes life easier when you don’t have to worry about water in the house, termites in the walls, or wood and shingles on the roof.