June Donaldson and Edward Garry live at an altitude of 2,600 metres in Mosoj Llajta, Yotala, 20 minutes from the colonial city of Sucre in Bolivia, South America. Using earth and stones from the land, we have sculpted beautiful buildings which compliment the high desert landscape and incorporate creative and innovative elements of design.

We have designed a high quality hotel in Sucre for guests who want to get off the treadmill of travelling from city to city in South America. At Sky Hacienda you can dictate your own timing and choose how to enjoy your stay, whether it is doing very little or exploring the best that the Andes in Bolivia has to offer.

31 December 2010


Kitty was returning to London via Lima, Peru. Ed and I had decided to take a break and drive her as far as Puno, on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, where she could get a bus direct to Lima.

On New Year's Eve morning we left Sky Hacienda in the capable hands of our new resident caretaker, Rosando.

We had a photo op at Puente Mendez on the road to Potosi.

Kitty wanted to make a quick stop in Potosi, the highest city in the world. We wandered around in the sunshine, and popped our heads into the beautiful Casa de la Moneda, (Money Museum) before it closed for lunch.
Then it was time to move on to Oruro, where we planned to break our journey to Lake Titicaca.

We had transported another bottle of Italian fizz on ice to celebrate the New Year.
Ed has a habit of ejecting the cork with maximum velocity, which is why you see Kitty looking so apprehensive in our hotel room.
Although very weary from the long drive, we managed to stay awake long enough to enjoy the fireworks from our balcony at midnight.


28 December 2010


Kitty only had a few days with us after Christmas so we decided to show her some of the local attractions.

We went to the Dinosaur Park in Sucre. If you look closely you can see the dinosaur footprints on the left of the photo. Ed is dwarfed by the model of one of the prehistoric monsters!

We went to the rural town of Tarabuco which is popular with tourists for its indigenous Sunday market. The town is also famous for having routed the Spanish in a clash before independence was declared in Bolivia. The statue in the town square shows a triumphant inhabitant holding in his hand the heart ripped out of a Spanish soldier. There are no fancy restaurants for tourists - lunch in the market is served in a large hanger.

We also took some trips into Sucre to visit museums, restaurants and parks. Sucre has a musical fountain show in Parque Bolivar every Friday evening.

25 December 2010


In the days leading up to Christmas we go crazy decorating the master bedroom/living room. The fairy lights on the tree reflect in the window and light up the adobe floor.

Kitty enjoys cuddles with Sumaq.

On Christmas Day Ed pops the cork of the nearest thing to champagne we can buy here in Bolivia - sparkling wine from Italy!

We line our gifts up outside.....

....and June opens presents from family back in England.

Kitty tries out her new Bolivian hat and Xmas shades as she starts the barbecue.

Chorizo and morcilla - mmmmm!

Next course finger lickin tasty pork ribs. Not a vegetable in sight!

Then it's time to flop in front of the TV to watch the best - or worst - of the south american festive programmes.

20 December 2010


Our workers take a well-earned couple of weeks break for their annual holiday, and our thoughts turn to the arrival of my daughter Kitty from England for Christmas.

We have been working hard to to get the pool finished, but she arrives with the painting still to do.

Kitty immediately gets into her bikini and to work with the paint roller.

Only when the pool is finished does she put her feet up.

The pool looks so different with its new colour and even bigger. You can just see Ed in the corner sweeping up.

Of course, the pool is enormous for two people, but will be used by our guests when the business is up and running.

Kitty takes an amazing photo from inside the pool.

Sadly she is not able to use the pool during her short stay as the paint must cure for 10 days without rain before it can be filled with water.

14 December 2010


With the floor of the pool complete our workers quickly moved on to building the walls.

Wooden forms were placed on the inside of the reinforced steel and braced with posts to prevent collapse from the pressure of the cement.

The steps were lined with thin sheets of plywood and filled with cement.

David is starting the process of working the cement to a smooth finish.....

......and the result is perfect - a great place for our future guests to sit and cool off.

Our maestro, Geronimo, surveys the pool once the posts and forms are removed. There is a bit of final polishing to be done, but our team have done an amazing job.

06 December 2010


The pool was covered with tarpaulin to protect against sun and rain.

We hired a cement mixer to supplement our own.

The mix was poured into wheelbarrows to be transported to the pool.....

....and tipped down our makeshift chute to our workers below.

The mix was roughly spread over the reinforcing steel and then levelled out with wooden beams.

The surface was then trowelled out.

Our men worked until 2 am polishing out the drying concrete.

They slept on site and then went home for a well deserved day off.

27 November 2010


We were faced with the possibility that if we did not finish the pool before the rainy season we might negate the hard work that had gone into the excavation. The pool was essential to the success of the business we were setting up at Sky Hacienda, so we decided to go ahead with its construction.

Firstly, we built adobe walls around the shallower part of the pool to act as forms for the concrete. We carved steps out of the earth to one side.

We used stones on the bottom of the pool to reduce the amount of cement needed and to provide support for the reinforcing steel.

The stones were laid out in rows and then the lines of reinforcing steel placed over them.

The steps were given an initial concrete cap.

Arming the steps with steel was a very labour intensive job.

Each piece of steel had to be cut and bent by hand to form the correct shape.

Every piece of reinforcing steel was wired together by hand.

At last the pool was ready to receive the cement.

We will pour the floor of the pool first.

21 November 2010


In the middle of November we moved into the single storey section of the Roundhouse. We had a roof, walls, floors we could walk on and windows. It was a bit bohemian - no internal doors, mattresses on the floor, a makeshift kitchen in the utility room, suitcases piled up in the wardrobe, and a lot of finishing still to do..... But it felt a hundred times better than living in the rented apartment in Sucre that had been our home for the past 18 months. And no more daily commuting!

We had already decided that there would be no curtains at our windows. It was fantastic to turn off the lights at night and see the stars in the inky black sky and the moon casting shadows on the mountains.

And as for the sunrises - beautiful shades of red and gold on the Andes and the sun shining through the bottles in the bedroom wall.

17 November 2010


Excavating the pool may have seemed premature, but it gave us sufficient earth to finish all the adobe floors in the Roundhouse.

We needed to get the floors completed so that we could move into part of the house, instead of the daily commute from Sucre.

The next layer was installed in each room and crosshatched to take the final finishing layer.

The final finishing layer was hand polished using a stainless steel float to remove any cracks. Ed had read up on this technique when studying polished concrete and it worked well with the adobe.

3 coats of boiled linseed oil were applied, all of which needed time to dry and then a coating of wax to seal and waterproof the floors.

Luckily we found a floor polisher for sale in Sucre, which made life considerably easier.

The final result was beautiful - like old shiny leather.

Our new floors were so comfortable to walk on with bare feet and so warm.

It had been a lengthy process to achieve the finished effect, but well worth it.

16 November 2010


With the floor dry, we needed to quickly move on to pouring the walls of the pool. Our men were taking their annual summer holiday from the 16th December until after the New Year and we wanted to finish the pool in time for Christmas.

We lined the walls with wood then braced them with eucalyptus posts. Again, re-inforcing steel was used to strengthen the walls.

On the right of the photo you can see the wheelbarrows lined up to take the cement mix to be poured into the walls.

The pool steps were a little more complicated, requiring forms made of thin plywood to hold the cement in place.

The finished steps looked amazing - sharp and smooth. Our design combined the features of a lap pool with a sitting and cooling off area to the side for our less energetic clients.

It only remained for some final trowelling out of the rough edges.

Our maestro, Geronimo, was rightly proud of the finished product. He and his team had worked hard to get the pool finished. Armed with their traditional gifts of Christmas food baskets they left the site for a well-deserved holiday with their families.

15 November 2010


We decided to choose metal frames for our windows, to provide a contrast with the fluid adobe walls of the building.

We found an artisan builder in Sucre whose work reflected the quality we were seeking.

The thick adobe walls gave us the flexibility to install the flat window frames.

Once glazed the windows looked better than we had envisaged.

We particularly liked the way the view from one side of the main bedroom to the other and beyond was framed.

Now the build was really moving!