The Design for our Cabins is Ready!


Dear subscribers, readers


If you read our previous BLOGS you may remember that in Blog 4, we asked you to help us decide on a model for the cabins for New Life Peñol Wellness Retreat. At that time, the models we presented included A-Frame structures, Pine Wood Cabins, and a couple of other ideas.


Finally, after seven months of research, negotiations, WhatsApp messages, and (Zoom) meetings with our ARCHITECTS FROM DOT ARQUITECTURA (ANDREA AND LUIS) the final design is ready!


The design process between DOT ARQUITECTURA (DOT) and New Life Peñol Wellness Retreat


Back in April 2021, when we decided to buy the property in El Peñol/ Guatape, we engaged an architect for the design of a cabin. We focused on the models that were available and the number and size of the rooms. The process with DOT was very different. In this Blog, we will walk you through the various phases of the design process with DOT.


Soil Samples


First, they visited our property. Not only to see the place but to also take soil samples. They used a long tube, which two men slammed into the ground to take out the soil at a depth of approximately two meters. SEE VIDEO HERE  Then sent samples of the content of those tubes to a lab for analysis to ensure that the soil was good enough and to calculate the foundation required for each cabin at various locations on the property.



Legal Requirements


They also needed the document “Certificado de uso de suelo” (Certificate of use of the ground). This is a public document, in which the urban development and planning department establishes the specific provisions for a given property or fixed asset.


This simple document helped us discover a problem with the ownership of the property and realize that we were not able to apply for a construction permit without getting the approval from the other owners mentioned on the Deed of Ownership (Certificado de Tradición y Libertad). It appears that in Colombia you can buy a property that is still part of an undivided inheritance (This is not possible here in Curaçao. Here the notary must check that everything is legally split before a sale of the property can take place).


We will not go into further details in this blog, but suffice it to say, that because of this discovery, we contracted a lawyer to help us resolve the issue, and now after five months we are at a stage where we are waiting for the final resolution to register our property in our name.


Conceptual Design Process


During these five months, we continued the design processes. We used the time to explain our vision to our architects, they asked questions and studied our website to get to know us better. We were pleased that they gave us more ideas about how to allow the cabins and the experience of our guests to blend in with natural surroundings and landscaping. We wanted ecological, economical, durable cabins, which would cause minimal disturbance of nature during construction, and we wanted to preserve the landscape and its flora as much as possible. As you know,  construction sites can be quite messy with concrete, and trucks, and often you see waste lying around. We wanted to prevent that if possible.


During our visit to Medellin, Colombia end of April 2022, we had our first personal meeting with Luis. He gave us a presentation and showed us four layouts by structuring the main components and areas that the cabins should have and explained how they would connect with each other. See the illustration below.



We were a bit taken by surprise (read: “mildly disappointed”) because we expected first to see models of the exterior. In the end, that is what designing is about, or so we thought. But during the presentation, it became clear to us that Luis wanted us to focus on the experience first and once we agreed on how the various components would interconnect and connect with the exterior, it would be easier to design the shell around the components.


Bottom line…. you just cannot build four walls with a roof on top and then place inner walls to divide the spaces 😊. It was a new and interesting approach and in retrospect it makes sense. We choose one of the layouts and asked them to go ahead with a design, in line with this philosophy.


By now you must know that patience and waiting are not Theo’s forte. At one point he asked DOT to send us a project plan with clear timelines. We wanted to start our business sooner rather than later and were not happy that months were passing by without us seeing even one cabin. DOT did send us a plan. But still, in Colombia, all goes “despacito” (slow) and we just must take that into account and adapt. Finally, we received the design options with just a little over 2 weeks’ delay.


The Volumetric Exterior Design


On June 10th we had a Zoom meeting with Luis and Andrea (DOT) to present the volumetric design! First, they talked us through the process of why and how they reached the design. Then they showed us their ideas for the interior finishing. They also explained why they thought it was better to use certain materials and structures. Because of the results of the soil investigation, we needed to make changes in the choice of the foundation for the cabins. And they gave us two options for the exterior design. But still no final design.



After the presentation we choose Option 01 as shown in the above picture. We also requested some changes to the interior layout. Theo became very impatient again because he wanted to see the final exterior design and most importantly, he wanted to know the total cost.


The Final Exterior Design


After two weeks, they send us the final designs for both interior and exterior. At last, we could visualize what our Wellness Retreat would look like. We were incredibly happy! (see pictures below)






The colors and the choice of materials matched perfectly with what we had in mind. DOT explained the simplicity of this design and how it achieves our vision as stated at the beginning of the blog:


We want ecological, economical, durable cabins, which would cause minimal disturbance of nature during construction, and we wanted to preserve  the landscape and its flora as much as possible”


DOT told us that this design makes it possible to pre-fabricate small pieces at the factory, transport it to our property and assemble it there. This would not only keep the waste at a minimum, but it would also allow us to build faster while keeping transportation costs low. It seemed like a perfect idea to conserve the landscape and reduce debris and waste.


The Interior Design for New Life Peñol Wellness Retreat


We asked for a light interior. We were pleased to see that the front of the structure was 95% windows and sliding glass doors. This gives a feeling of expansion and will allow our guests to connect with nature, and get that relaxed feeling of breathing fresh air. Our guests will be able to enjoy the sunset and quiet nights under the starry sky and a view of the glittering lights of the town of EL Peñol in the far distance. All while enjoying a glass of wine, or champagne in the private jacuzzi on the front porch.


Check out the visuals below and let us know if you like them in the comments at the end of this blog.



We want to keep the bathroom a surprise. But … we can give you just a hint: When nature calls, you will feel directly connected with nature.














DOT conducted extensive consultation with all the technicians and experts on the structure, electricity, water supply, gas, septic tanks, etc. On 22 July, they gave us a personal presentation of the project and handed over a full archive of the final plans and calculations. We are incredibly grateful for the excellent work they delivered and especially their professionalism, cooperativeness, and dedication. All we need now is for the lawyers to conclude the registration of our property (hopefully before the end of September 2022), to then obtain our cadastral registration number, and be able to request the permit to start building!


Are you ready for Adventures in Colombia? (Peñol / Guatape, Antioquia)


We hope that these impressions of our project put at least a little smile on your face

and helped you visualize the final result and think: “…It is ready, and  I am there now!…”


We hope you enjoyed reading this blog! We do appreciate your reaction and encourage you to share your thoughts leave a comment or ask questions below. If you want to share this blog with your friends, we thank you in advance


We will try to keep you updated every month as we see new developments. If you liked this blog, please SUBSCRIBE and you will receive notifications in your mailbox each time we publish a new update. Do not forget to confirm the email send to you to complete the subscription process.


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Photo credit: NESTOR ZAVARCE




  • Gietje says:

    Nice! I love the design! The outside and especially the light interior.

  • Yvonne says:

    Ziet er prachtig uit!

  • Josette Silva Neves says:

    Love it! Can’t wait!

  • Audrey says:

    Alles is met zoveel zorg en aandacht bedacht. Het ziet er écht prachtig uit!

  • Dorise Ayala says:

    It looks very nice, can’t wait!
    Love the view.

  • Maria Isabel Perez says:

    Se ve precioso Todo el proyecto!! Sera todo un exito les deseamos mucha felicidad y exitos en este nuevo comienzo!!

  • Nadira Marien says:

    Nice, ziet er echt practig uit.
    “Ya quiero estar por aya”

  • Gianna says:

    Geweldig and love the design.

  • Karen Felida-Evans says:

    Beautiful design and looks very relaxing.

  • Danielle Jenner says:

    Wat een hoop werk en tijd gaat er in dit project zitten en mooi om te zien hoe het steeds meer vorm krijgt.

  • Githen Nivillac-Un says:

    Masha bunita
    Bida y salud pa gosa
    Bunita bista y ambiente natural
    Berde y aire fresku y limpi

  • Brigitte says:

    Hopi great! Can’t wait to visit

  • Waanzinnig goede keuze in het ontwerp van deze architecten op een toch al niet makkelijke plek om te bouwen zo tegen deze helling. En voor beide geldt veel respect! Voor Yut Mie, om familie en Curaçao, alle zekerheden en verworven rechten bij jouw werkgever vaarwel te zeggen. Het meeste respect heb ik natuurlijk dat je dit avontuur aangaat met jouw lieve, gecompliceerde, Theo Meijer, uit Nederland, waarvan alles bijna versleten is behalve zijn brein 😉

    Respect voor jou Theo dat je op late leeftijd nog in staat bent een 18 jaar jongere vrouw te overtuigen dat niets te gek is in dit leven en dat alle dromen en wensen kunnen uitkomen. Dat jij en Yut Mi ook dan nog eens de “ballen” hebben dit van de grond af op te bouwen, in plaats van op een onbewoond eiland “cocosmelk” te drinken, ja dat vraagt een diepe buiging. Helaas lukt dat niet, omdat mijn 62 jarige rug al behoorlijk naar de klote is. Kan jij het nog met je nieuwe heup?

    Ik spreek de wens uit dat jullie samen nog lang veel rek en strek-oefeningen kunnen doen en jullie gasten vaak een ontbijtje mag verzorgen of tantra oefeningen zal geven.

    Succes met de verwezenlijking en hoop jullie “schatkamer”met eigen ogen te bewonderen .

    Een welgemeende brasso!


  • Claudia Holanda says:

    Lieve Yut-Mie en Theo,

    Bijzonder veel respect voor jullie waanzinnig spannend avontuur. Ik proef de liefde voor dit mooie project. Geduld is niet altijd gemakkelijk maar je bent er met de ontwerpen van jullie cabins alsnog mee beloond. De designs zijn prachtig en goed doordacht. Geweldig dat jullie zo veel respect hebben voor de omgeving en de natuur waardoor alles mooi samenvloeit. Ik heb zelf net een vier jaar durend bouw project in Guatapé ondergaan dus veel van jullie verhalen is voor mij herkenbaar. Ik weet zeker dat jullie project een succes gaat worden. Ik ben heel benieuwd hoe het met de bouw van de cabins zal gaan. Ook al plan je tot in de detail, in Colombia lopen dingen soms net iets anders. Gelukkig zijn jullie sterk en gemotiveerd om de beren op de weg weg te slaan. Ik kijk uit naar jullie volgende verhalen. Veel succes!!

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