at home in Turkey


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We have called many places home throughout our lives - the Netherlands, America, France, Canada and Turkey, but the latter is where we have always gravitated to. We met in Turkey in 2006 and lived in a small village near the sea, but moved to France in 2009 to assist Ellis's aging parents on their small farm in northern France until the health of her mother dictated that they needed to move back to the Netherlands. France is a delightful country, but it simply did not have the feel of home to either of us.

So we decided to go to stay in the empty bunkhouse on a working cattle ranch owned by my niece and her husband in the panhandle of Texas. The plains of Texas seem rather barren and lifeless until one spends time living on them. The ranch had a diversity of wildlife and the 360 degree panoramas offered a quietness that was only disrupted by spectacular thunderstorms that would build high into the sky during the day and then unleash impressive rains and hail in the afternoon. But again, America no longer seemed like home to me and Ellis was dreaming of being back in Turkey

Once again we squeezed everything in the way of possessions into 5 suitcases and flew from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Brussells, Belgium where Ellis's brother-in-law picked us up and drove us back to Middelburg in the Netherlands where Ellis had grown up and where her family all live. After about 10 days in Middelburg we boarded a flight to Dalaman International Airport in Turkey where a friend was waiting for us to drive us the 40 kilometers to Dalyan where she had arranged a rental house for us to stay in until more permanent housing was put together.

Dalyan to Çandır

We arrived in Dalyan in the evening and were greeted by a group of friends that had all gotten together prior to our return and collected furnishings, linens and towels as well as stocked the refrigerator with food and even a couple of bottles of wine. We knew we had arrived where we belonged and thanks to our friends had been warmly and kindly welcomed. It had taken us almost six years to return, but finally we had made it home.

Next we set about the task of planning and initiating the building of a house on the land Ellis had bought in the small village of Çandır across the river from Dalyan and just walking distance beyond the ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos - one of the seaports for the Carian region of western Anatolia. Ellis had planted trees on the land and had a wall built to enclose it when she first purchased it - over ten years prior. Friends in the village had kept the trees watered, but the land was waist deep in weeds and overgrowth.

We crudely drew a floor plan and began to contact builders for estimates on putting up the shell for us as we intended to do all the finish work ourselves. We found a builder through an old Turkish friend who said his relatives in Köyceğiz, across the lake of the same name, were builders and could start almost immediately. We met with the Ismet Lazoğlu from Köyceğiz and signed a contract within days. To arrive at this point we had been living in Dalyan for almost one year.

The Last 3 Years of Labor

The house began to be built in September of 2015 with the Lazoğlu brothers and their father building the foundation, erecting walls and a roof. They also set all of the windows and doors and interior ceilings made from tung and groove pine. They also did the electrical and plumbing including the digging of a septic tank. Before they finished their part they also stuccoed both the interior and exterior walls. We also had them add a connection for the future guesthouse to both the water and the septic system. As part of the contract they also installed bathroom tile and shower fixtures and a toilet.

After they completed their part, it left us to install ceramic tile on all floors except the bathroom. Prime and paint all the stuccoed walls inside and out and stain the exterior woodwork. All this Ellis did while I started building the kitchen cabinetry and the wooden cabinets for Ellis's workroom. When the interior of the house was pretty much finished and liveable, we began to build an exterior kitchen on the back side of the house. A wall with an antique window was added, a commercial stainless steel sink and cafeteria style seating booth was built out of wood.

The flooring in the outside kitchen was natural stone from the mountains layed with cement grouting. A roof was built using large pine timbers with galvanized corrugated sheeting covering it. After the outside kitchen floor was in we continued out into the garden with the same mountain stone laying paths around the raised bed garden areas. All in all, there were 13 tractor wagon loads of stone used.

Work Our Way Across the Garden

A drainage ditch was dug from the back corner of the land down the back side of the house and across toward the shop building with an exit point in the far front corner of the wall. This was lined with stone and the bottom from used red clay roof tiles. Quite a bit of dirt was dug from one area and moved to another to fill all the stone lined raised bed garden areas around the house. When we recieve heavy rains this drainage ditch is flowing like a river taking water through the garden away from the house and directing it outside of the wall into the street drainage ditch.

In the back corner of the garden is a chicken coop built from both wood and red clay block. I do believe it is the only chicken coop in the village with a red clay tile roof and galvanized metal gutters. It sits back in the corner behind the large Yuccas and is barely visible. The wood came from our neighbor who replaced his entire roof and wanted only a little cash for all the wood and roof tiles.

The wood used for the chicken coop is only a small part of what we bought from the neighbor. The rest of the wood was used to build a 4 meter by 4 meter workshop on the front wall where there was an existing 4 x 6 meter concrete pad. The shop is framed from wood and the walls are sheathed with wood in a herringbone design with a red clay tile roof over it. It has small French doors for an entry door and large double paned windows that we got for free. It also has a roof out over the front to keep rain from weathering the French doors in the entry.

Building A Guesthouse

After we have completed the house and all the little unfinished projects, we intend to build a one bedroom guesthouse next the main house. It will be for friends and family that visit and rented out to people that wish to visit the area and want a quiet and tasteful place in a spectacular location. During the tourist season boats from the Çandır Boat Coop leave every morning to provide water taxi service to the beach and returns late in the afternoon.

It will be a one bedroom with actual accommodation for posssibly four with two in the bedroom plus a bed set up in the front room that will be folded away during the day. Cars, motorbikes, scooters, quads and bicycles can be rented across the river in Dalyan and a ferry boat service will bring vehicles back and forth over the river from 8am to 8pm. It is also available to cross the river and go over to Dalyan by taking the rowboats manned by locals during daylight hours for a few lira.

The guest house will also have a small kitchen and a full bathroom with shower. It will have its own porch area with BBQ grill and privacy. It will be fully furnished and ready for guests to occupy. There are two restaurants that serve only breakfasts at this time, but that may change to include lunch in the near future. The ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos is within walking distance in one direction and in the other direction it is a short walk to the harbor connected to the waterway to the sea.

Questions or Comments?

info@athomeinturkey.com




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