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The Crazy Guy

The Crazy Guy I'm known amongst the Spanish where I live as "El Loco", largely because, despite my advanced age, I'm always active, doing this and that. So I'm "The Crazy Guy". This blog is about some of the things I've been getting up to lately.

Montejaque Metamorphosis
Thursday, December 29, 2022 @ 9:44 PM

When The Crazy Guy bought an old Spanish house to do up in Montejaque (Málaga) in October 2020 he had a clear overall vision of what he wanted to create.

His aim was to turn the 19th Century village house into a vivienda rural, a holiday rental, as quickly and cheaply as possible.

That idea didn’t last long. He got to love the place so much he decided to up the spec and create "something special", a second home, rather than a basic, run-of-the-mill holiday let.


The vision

I quickly settled on a set of basic principles:

  • Retain as much of the original fabric and decor as possible, eg original wall and floor tiles
  • Use recycled, found objects and second-hand items as much as possible
  • Turn it into an eco-house and make it as environmentally friendly as possible
  • Do much of the work myself, in order to save money and because I enjoy DIY.

Rather than try to complete the whole project in one go, I decided on four distinct phases:


Phase 1

To get the house on the rental market as quickly as I could

  • Complete electrical re-wire
  • Complete re-plumb, ie remove original lead piping and replace with copper
  • Remove two internal walls on the ground floor in order to create an L-shaped lounge, dining room and kitchen
  • Install two new bathrooms, one on each floor
  • Modernise the dated kitchen
  • Refurbish two bedrooms on the first floor
  • Fit banisters to stairs
  • Install TV and Internet
  • Decorate throughout

This went more or less to plan, yet took a year - much longer than I had planned.

Major hold-ups were caused by two Covid lockdowns, totalling four months, when we couldn’t work; and the need to demolish the kitchen ceiling/bathroom floor, as the wooden beams had rotted and it was unsafe.

Undeterred, we pressed on and the Casa Montejaque was ready to receive its first guests in October 2021. They were friends of ours, Hovis, Jacqui and Richard, and they agreed to "snag" the house, which was very helpful. They were very positive about their stay, yet made some constructive, and valid, suggestions.

My next guests, a German family of six, stayed for nearly two months in February/March of 2022. Dad Ollie, a time-served joiner, and I made a deal. He would do carpentry work on the house in lieu of rent. A win-win for all of us.

Meanwhile, Mum Lily was still breast-feeding the youngest child, Cailan, yet found time to join in the free Spanish classes in the village, while the three older girls, Leyla, Amy and Alice enrolled at the primary school.

After that amazing barter arrangement, phase 1 was finally finished and Casa Montejaque had a steady stream of guests throughout 2022, from Alicante, Sevilla, Ubrique, Denmark and the UK.


Phase 2

Extension of the roof terrace

Apart from providing more outside space, it would solve a leak problem above the main stairs.

Four of us worked on the construction for a month, and I spent another month completing the waterproofing, tiling and painting. Phase 2 is now complete, apart from a bit of tidying up, and the terrace is now three times as big as before. Job done!


Phase 3

Conversion of a former workshop and store into a third bedroom

This has been a major task. The existing roof was of corrugated iron sheets with clay tiles laid on top. So the room was hot in summer and cold in winter.

A friend helped me to install wooden beams with polystyrene insulation in between, which I subsequently finished off with bamboo. I must say it looks very traditional and rather nice.

The uneven wooden floorboards had to recovered and levelled, some extra power sockets installed and the whole room decorated.



In order to make CASA MONTEJAQUE as environmentally friendly as possible, I did the following:

  • Used re-cycled items
  • Up-cycled furniture
  • Bought many items second hand
  • Installed new double-glazed windows and front door
  • Purchased new electrodomésticos, ie hob, oven, washing machine, iron, and vacuum cleaner, with low energy ratings
  • Installed a new gas caldera for the hot water
  • Installed a state-of-the-art pellet burner for heating
  • Fitted solar lighting in external areas


Phase 4

Next on the list are photo-voltaic solar panels to provide all our electricity needs

This is pending until we’ve saved enough to pay for the work.


Digital nomads

The finished bedroom, to be called The Workshop, has two single beds, a built-in wardrobe, bookshelves and, la pièce de résistance, an office area to allow for remote working by renters and guests (digital nomads).


With just a few bits and pieces to finish off, CASA MONTEJAQUE will be ready to go as a "sleeps 7" by the end of January 2023.

You can view the results of my endeavours on my website. Please click on Interesting Links (right).

Should you wish to book, please do so directly via that link. It works out cheaper for you and for me.



Originally I christened the house CASA REAL in honour of the three generations of the family who were the previous, and only, owners of the house. Their surname is/was REAL.

However, I have been advised by experts that the name doesn’t work as regards SEO (search engine optimisation), so for marketing purposes I’ve changed the name to CASA MONTEJAQUE, which "does what it says on the tin".


© The Crazy Guy


Further reading:

Casa Real: A building project in Montejaque - Part I

Casa Real: A building project in Montejaque – Part II

Casa Real: A building project in Montejaque – Part III

Ollie and Lily

The houses that Jack built!


Tags: bathroom, building project, Casa Montejaque, Casa Real, DIY, eco-house, found, holiday rental, kitchen, Montejaque, photo-voltaic, recycling, re-plumb, re-wire, roof terrace, second-hand,, SEO, solar panels, village house, vivienda rural

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