The hard part about decorating in Mexico: Execution

Whatever you need to hear to get the gig, they will tell you

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

It’s Week 3 of the renovation of a three-bedroom, ocean-front condominium on the water.

We are well on our way to getting everything ready for our clients. They plan to do a quick update of their condo they purchased and had decorated 10 years ago. Their goal is to get it on the market before high season.

If you have been following along, we have decided on a new décor theme (beach/coastal), selected paint colors (cream, white, sand, turquoise) and inventoried the furniture already in the home. This gives us a firm grip on what we need to do to achieve our vision. Our next step is to begin contacting our suppliers to provide scope, specifics, and timelines so that we can get quotes.

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For anyone who has owned a home in Mexico, you will not be surprised to hear that getting work done here is often the most challenging part. (Notice I used the word “challenging.” Others have used the words “frustrating,” “irritating” and “soul-sucking”) Many companies and suppliers are quick to provide a quote and promise delivery by your required completion date to secure the job. Whatever you need to hear to get the gig, they will tell you.

The challenge is to know who to believe and who to avoid. Unfortunately, the answer comes only from word of mouth or first-hand experience. Since we have been doing this for more than 10 years, we know which suppliers are good, which are bad, and which are downright ugly to work with. Luckily, we have enough experience that we have built up our A-list of who to go to for reliable results, a reasonable and fair price, and quality work.

Are there still problems? Sadly, yes because nothing is foolproof. For example, logistics in Mexico are still woefully behind what is done in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Shipping companies in Mexico do not use GPS, so you rarely know where they are in their journey with your furniture. Although it is getting better, a lot of shipping in Mexico is still done by independent contractors. If you are looking for confirmation your furniture will be delivered on a specific date within a defined window of time, you are living in a fool’s paradise.

This is where the laid-back, relaxed vibe of Mexico can haunt you. As we tell our customers, nobody can promise a specific delivery time. They can only guarantee that it will get there when it gets there!

With a tight timeline of only a few weeks to get everything renovated, re-covered and ordered, we know that it will be a challenge to get everything in place. We will need to count on well-established relationships with our suppliers to get the job done and get it right. Our orders are in, but will we get everything completed on time?

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Next, we find out what may put the whole job in jeopardy!

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store and an expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all budgets, in Mexico. 

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