Build diary 19 – The New Normal
Corona life continues
We’ve settled into our new normal. Home life, home-schooling, and thinking about our next meal dominate most days. Fortunately, I’ve been able to do a few shoots as well. Masks, hand sanitisers, and social distancing on shoots are challenging but possible!
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness” A Tale of Two Cities
We are incredibly lucky to not be personally affected by the devastating health issues associated with the corona virus (and my heart goes out to all those with loved ones who are suffering). The new normal has revealed the best and worst of our community. Watching people ignore social distancing rules and put others in danger is tempered by seeing the amazing response of so many organisations to support the many Bali families without an income due to corona. If you want to contribute, check out this unofficial list.
When the medical emergency has passed, there will still be a significant delay until tourism starts to return. Without a concerted effort from many people and organisations to keep Bali fed and well, the situation will remain dire.
As the build slowly morphs into a house, I’m increasingly looking for inspiration to help me create the home I want to have (and can afford!). This house caught my attention – Spanish-inspired, natural, and comfortable. I want a home that no only looks amazing but is a joy to live in. With less income due to the current economic disaster, our tight budget is becoming tighter by the week.
After pouring the floor of the second floor recently, now we’ve started building walls of second floor. Our builder Agus says this stage is quite quick and he hopes to have it done in the next week or so. Then they can start on the roof of the main residential building. He will bring in specialist workers to build the roof structure.
The master bedroom and the two children’s bedrooms.
My studio (yay!) and entrance hall + work offices.
With so much being built so quickly, it was almost inevitable that a mistake would be made. That’s one of the reasons I’m visiting the site as much as possible. Fortunately, I saw a couple of mistakes that the workers had done. They weren’t too serious, and are easily fixed. So I called Silvia and Agus to let them know and they’ll be fixed asap.
LEFT: There shouldn’t be a low wall here as this is the master bathroom that overlooks our rice field view. RIGHT: There shouldn’t be an internal wall at all. This is at the top of the stairs.
Stairway to Heaven
This week the workers started building the staircase to the second floor. The staircase will give us access to the top floor bedrooms. The outside of it (facing the internal courtyard) will be a feature wall. More on that later, as I continue to think about how I’m going to make that wall amazing!
Remember that soil sample report that was missing a stamp and we had to resubmit it? Well, that saga is not quite finished. The company had completed the report and then redid it with the required stamp….but they didn’t do it right.
The person who signed the document was away, so they got a different person to sign it. However, that means that there are now 2 sets of names and signatures in the report, which is not permitted.
So…. the government agency that reviews our building application has (quite rightly) rejected the report. They need a single person to write and sign the report – 2 names is unacceptable! I’ve contacted the company that wrote the report, and the original author came back to sign the document yesterday.
Today I picked it up and gave it to our consultant Lily to submit (again). Fingers crossed that this time there won’t be any issues. The new normal that has been created by the corona virus has given us a lot of perspective. Bureaucratic annoyances are just that…annoyances. It may take a while, but they’ll get solved eventually.
DON’T pay in advance
One thing I’ve learnt after living in Bali for some time is that things will break and need to be fixed. I subsequently learnt to not pay until the job is done! Sometimes I may need to pay a little up front for parts, but don’t pay the whole bill until the job has been completed.
We broke that rule twice and this happened:
1. We renovated and furnished a villa a few years ago and had no problems…..except for the 6 custom light shades we had designed for the 3 bedrooms. Foolishly, I paid it all up front and of course, they weren’t ready on time, or a week later, or a week after that. With no financial motivation to finish the job, it took a lot longer to complete.
2. I used to have a handyman I used regularly. Every week or 2, we’d call him in to fix something small or install little bits and pieces. I recommended him to friends (good tradies are worth their weight in gold!). In short, he got a lot of work from me. He’d come in to quote for the job, I’d pay a little for parts, then he’d do the job and I’d pay the full amount after he finished the job satisfactorily. He always did.
One day I needed to go away for a week for a shoot so I got him to come in and quote for a medium sized job that would take a couple of days to complete. I sent him a message approving the job and the price he had quoted, and detailed exactly what was included. I decided to pay him the full amount in advance because I was going away and wouldn’t be able to pay him until I got back. He had already done over 50 jobs for me at the stage so I had confidence in his ability……well you can see where this is going…..
Not only did he do terrible rushed job, there were parts of the job he didn’t actually do. This was the first time he had done such a bad job. I took photos when I came back and explained what he hadn’t done and asked when he would come to finish the job. He refused, even though our messages clearly stated what the job included. He’d only come back to do the original job if I paid him more!
To be honest, the relatively small amount of money lost wasn’t the issue. It was the fact that even though I was a repeat customer who gave him a lot of work (and recommended him to others), he was clearly trying the screw me over. I never used him again. Lesson learnt!
Breaking my own rule
Even after these experiences, I’m going to break my rule and pay in advance. I’ll be on shoots (and exhausted by the time I get home) so I’m transferring the money to cover the IMB permit application now. I want my consultant to submit the application with the payment asap, so it can be processed even when I’m away. We’ve had so many annoying little delays that I just want to get it sorted!
However, it says a lot about my trust in our consultant Lily. Her job is to help us get our building permit. Lily and her team have been great throughout this whole process. We’re nearly at the finish line. I wouldn’t pay in advance unless I really trusted her!
Windows, windows, windows
In my last build update, I described my ongoing fascination with windows. Well, not much has changed as I am still obsessing over which frames I want! Sylvia wants our builder to mock up a sample frame so we can see how it looks. That means I need to decide the frame material and frame shape for each of the windows.
This is how Silvia and I used to discuss the build, now we do it via FaceTime or wearing masks.
We’d been um-ing and ah-ing about which shape frame to use. The rectangular ones are practical and gorgeous. They can be opened up all the way. This is essential as we really want a light and breezy home. Our current villa doesn’t have good airflow and we know how annoying that can be. We’re designing our new home to have great cross breeze from the courtyard through the open windows of the main building and into the garden.
But….. there is something truly magical about curved/rounded windows too, so I’ve decided to include both in our home. I’ve just got to find a way to include these different shapes seamlessly.