Build Diary 27 – Learning as we go!
No mask = pay a fine!
Living on a tropical island, it can be easy to feel complacent about Corona. Although the island feels very empty (see below for some pics of when I went to Kuta on Saturday), there is still daily contact with people so it’s important to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain some distance. Perhaps there has been some indifference, which combined with extra domestic tourists arriving has led to increasing Covid numbers.
As a result of these increasing numbers, the Governor of Bali recently decreed that everyone must wear a mask in public, and those that don’t will face a 100,000Rp fine. Already I’ve seen check points on various roads where riders and drivers are stopped to ensure everyone follows the new regulation. Hopefully, people will adhere to this rule more than they do to the laws regarding wearing helmets.
We’ve all heard the stories of life in Bali in the 60s and 70s. Before the masses (myself included!) arrived. Gorgeous empty beaches. Pre-corona you could still find then, but you’d have to get out of the Kuta to Canggu coastal strip. In fact, I rarely visited Kuta. Lots of people, not my vibe. However, due to corona, this has all changed. It’s deserted.
I decided to head down to what used to be one of the busiest beaches in Bali. Normally packed with happy holiday-makers. Driving down into Kuta, passing the rows and rows of empty shops, it was hard not to feel sad. The occasional open one with despondent staff looking for non-existent foot traffic. It was eery.
We made it down to the beach and found a shady spot overlooking the ocean. We were alone. No-one around. Kuta was completely empty. Such a lovely, yet strange, feeling to have it to ourselves. We hadn’t planned to spend all day but it was too beautiful to leave. No shops were open, so we go-jeked over some nasi goreng for a picnic.
Left and Middle – the workers are preparing the land to the left and right of the pool to make a grassed area for the kids to play in and a tiered area for my veggie garden
We are running out of time! We had hoped to have moved in by now. With our current lease expiring in a few weeks, things are getting serious! We don’t want to go through the hassle of moving all our stuff (including furniture) to a temporary villa for a few weeks, and then move into our villa once it’s finished. However, I definitely don’t want to move into a dusty and noisy construction site even if the main building is ready for us.
I’d spoken many times with Agus and the main building was supposed to be done by now. Clearly, it isn’t! The top floor is close, but there’s still lots of do downstairs. Not to mention the offices and my photo studio.
The perils of doing something for the first time
This is the first time I’ve ever build a home, let alone done it in Bali. While I am obviously in contact with builders, architects and designers regularly as part of my work with Bali Interiors, I’d never designed and managed a complete build before. So, there’s a steep learning curve! Especially when it comes to budgeting!
There will be some wood in our build. We’ll use wooden cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and the bathroom. Unfortunately (and foolishly!), I didn’t include the cost of these features when I budgeted the build. It simply slipped my mind! If and when I build something else in the future, I certainly won’t make that error again!
So now I’m doing my best to raise the funds to pay for the carpentry in our house. There are lots of different standards of wood that are possible, and I’ve been looking around at what is available and how much it costs. Unfortunately, a new problem has arisen…
Deliver but don’t install?
A curious scenario occurred as I was meeting with carpenters and getting quotes. Almost all would build to my specifications but wouldn’t install. Ideally, all measurements would be correct and Agus’ team of builders would simply install for me. But I’ve lived in Bali too long to think that would occur. There will inevitably be some sort of problem, and I don’t want the carpenters to simply throw their hands in the air and say “not my problem”.
I need carpenters who can build and install the drawers and cabinets etc. Luckily, I found a solution, and even better, he’s on site!
Our site foreman is Doni. He lives on site with the workers, as well as his own family. He runs the show each day and ensures all is done correctly. He’s Agus’ man on the ground and is vital. Doni used to work as a carpenter and still has his own carpentry company. He put in a competitive quote to do our carpentry and one of the reasons we chose him is that he’s already onsite every day. He’ll ensure the carpentry is done (and installed) right.
Behind the scenes at a massive shoot a.k.a. my hero Putu
I’m a photographer. I post a lot of beautiful images. But I think that’s about 10% of what I do. A shoot involves so much more than just taking pictures. Before a shoot occurs, there’s a lot of organisation as we speak with the client, scout locations and then choose one, arrange for the products to be delivered, arrange stylists, models, and videographers. Then on the day of the shoot there’s almost always so much physical work to be done. Lifting and moving the existing furniture, cleaning underneath and behind, positioning the new furniture and products, and finally taking photos. Then repeat many many times! It’s exhausting. Not to mention all the post-production, and admin, and so much more.
Over the course of a few years, I’ve built up a team of collaborators I regularly work with and trust. Recently, a new member joined our team – the amazing Putu. I met Putu through a friend. I had a shoot coming up that would involve lifting lots of heavy furniture. More than I usually do. We’d be bringing it in on trucks and unloading, then all the rigmarole of a usual shoot, before wrapping it back up to load onto trucks.
I’m no weightlifter, so I knew I was going to have to bring in some hired muscle to help. So I called in Putu to help. He brought 2 friends to work too. What I didn’t expect is that Putu would be a freaking genius! Hard-working, loads of common sense, and a genius at moving and packing. He used to work in freight logistics so he’s done this before. More recently, he had been working as a driver. However, since Covid struck the island, he’s had no income.
Without Putu’s help, there’s no way we would have got through all the furniture that needed to be shot. From then on, I’ve used him for every shoot I could.
I’ve been a big fan of Kevala Ceramics for a long time. When offered the chance to have a personalised pottery session with my kids, I jumped at the chance. Fortunately, their team of expert potters was on hand to show us the ropes. With their help, our ceramics turned out great!