This was the home of my dreams in Rio de Janeiro. Just look at her shining in all her glory.
But we didn't meet that way. No no, I'm not one to fall for something so shiny. When I first saw her, she had been abandoned for a while. Grey and moldy. My diamond in the rough.
Imagine my surprise when I passed her a few years back and saw she was getting some work done. I never judge a lady who gets things lifted up and put back in their place, but it broke my heart a little. I knew she now had someone and would never be mine.
You see, there are many abandoned homes in Rio de Janeiro. A lot of them are too expensive for the owners to fix up, have back taxes, or have relatives fighting over the rights of them in court. Regardless, the poor homes suffer as they are left to rot in their own stink.
I saw the house above my first visit to Rio in 2003. I fell instantly in love. As with all my romances, I immediately started forming ridiculous fantasies about the lives we'd have together.
I saw Mr. Rant and I somehow making a crap load of money and buying that house out from under whatever drama it was drowning in. We would hire an amazing architect who would bring our baby back to her prime. Obviously we would do a lot of the work with skilled workers to help with the hardcore stuff. Hell, we would have the time and money.
We would bring Villa Sylvia back to life and then fill her with even more. Our world would be grand with our numerous children running around filling the spacious rooms and tiny yard with laughter.
Ah well, unfounded fantasies normally leave us disappointed anyway. But this time that is not entirely true.
After a tad bit of researching, aka 10 minutes on google, I was able to find out who fixed up this little lady. Apparently someone does own it and they busted their ass trying make things right. Since the building was originally built in 1913, it is considered a type of historical landmark. The owner had to jump through quite a few hoops and maybe even over a barrel to get this home fixed up.
Everything had to be as close to the original as possible, including saving whatever building material salvageable. They looked into old, old, crazy old Rio de Janeiro water records and stuff! No new tiles here. Just shiny up the good stuff from a classic age.
And while there will be other houses and fantasies, this one will always have a special place in my heart. You see, it was my first fantasy about living with Mr. Rant in Rio de Janeiro. Every time I walk past that place I remember the white California girl who wandered around lost in the streets, the language, and the culture.
It seems that while the building developed, so did I.
For more on this story, check out: Oglobo Fyi, this site is in Portuguese.