Build Diary 31 – Back on track!

The last couple of months have had more downs than ups at our build. Progress was painstakingly slow. Our foreman was ill and away from the build, and our workers weren’t being pressed to get it done. This came to a head recently when we had it out with our builder. It was unpleasant but completely necessary.

Fortunately, there has been a radical change. Our workers are now on task, well-supervised, and making good progress. With builder Agus or foreman Doni are on site at all times. This has been such a relief and hopefully the build will continue in this vein.

Building a house, in Bali, in the midst of a pandemic, has been an adventure to say the least. There have been plenty of frustrations along the way, and as we’re far from finished, there are probably a few more to come as well. Even in my line of work, which involves liaising with architects, designers, creatives and builders regularly, I still wasn’t fully prepared for this build process. I’ve certainly learnt a lot so far! There’s no doubt it has also changed how I view completed homes, especially when I’m photographing them.

Bali Interiors Build diary 31
Bali Interiors Build diary 31

Free rent


We’ve extended our current lease as the build is not ready for us to move into. We’ve known this was on the cards for a while now. As the build has gone over-schedule, our building contract says that we can withhold some of the build payment to pay for this rent extension. We were very creful to include this in our contract. However, we hoped not to use it.


Gardening quotes


As the build continues, I’ve been thinking about our garden and how we can make it fit the design of the home. Way way back, when we were budgeting for our build, we were shocked to realise our build cost would be over double what we had assumed it would be, and so we were looking for ways to save funds. One of the sacrifices was our garden budget. It was just a line item at the time, we hadn’t even broken ground.

However, now, roughly a year later, a dirt pile of a garden simply won’t do. Especially as the house will look so good. So I need to find a way to spin gold out of straw! We’ve had 25 truckloads of soil delivered to bring up the level of the garden.

Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level
Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level
Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level
Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level
Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level
Bali Interiors build diary 31 raising the level

I’ve been jotting down garden ideas whenever they popped into my head. I’ve also been checking out different gardening shops. There are many on the main road of Canggu but they are priced for the many foreigners who live here.



Anyone who knows me knows that I rely on my instincts a lot e.g. I met my now-husband when I was a mere 17 years old, and I knew in that moment that he was the one for me. More about that crazy time here. I’ve learnt to trust my instincts. Sometimes you just know.

And I had that feeling when I met our landscape designer/garden guru Diane. I’d heard about how amazing she was, and I’d seen her finished work when I shot at villas where she had done the gardens. I just had a good feeling, so I got in touch and asked her to visit my build.

We hit it off immediately. She knew my aesthetic and knew how to make it work. She could even do it on my minuscule budget! So I visited her nursery to see her incredible selection of plants and trees.

Build diary 31 Diane
Build diary 31 Diane

Cables cables everywhere


My family and I use the internet every day. It’s essential for my work and leisure. In our new home, we’ll need a few modems as the villa is quite spread out (e.g. offices, studio, 2 level residence). My internet provider come out to the build to quote for installing the same (generally) reliable internet that I currently have.

The problem – setting up modems in different parts of our complex. Their solution – hang lots of cables in the air between the buildings. Sorry, that won’t cut it for me. I’m not building my dream home to string cables between it as though they were Christmas lights.

So we’re looking for other solutions such as putting cables underground (like we did with the power cables) and then running them up through the ceiling so they can’t be seen. I sat down with my electrician and we found a way that should remove all but one cable, and that one is tucked around on the side of the house so won’t be seen. However, it’s Bali, so I can’t be sure until I see the finished product.




On one particular feature of the build, I’ve been very indecisive – the counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. I’ve been flip-flopping between marble and resin. Recently, I went out to one of my favourite marble suppliers with my kids to see if they had anything new to offer. It was an interesting visit and I think I may have decided what I want to use.



Bali Interiors Build Diary 31 - shopping for marble


  1. jannette m bartlett November 23, 2020

    ha you made me laugh, and remember the time the indosat man came out to my villa in seminyak and suggested that they drop the cable down through the roof and then through the ceiling and let is hang into the middle of the room. Bali!!!

    1. baliinteriors November 25, 2020

      It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest! The sort of thing that only happens in Bali!

  2. Azucena November 23, 2020

    If one day I build a house in Bali, I will have to read all these posts again! Thank you for sharing, it’s great advice! Can’t wait to see your new dream home 🙂

    1. baliinteriors November 25, 2020

      Thank you Azucena! I can’t wait to show you our house once its finished!

  3. Sia Toscas November 23, 2020

    I really enjoy reading your newsletter. Cant wait to see your build finished looks stunning.

    1. baliinteriors November 25, 2020

      thank you so much! We cant wait to show you all what we have done!

  4. Miranda Lee White November 27, 2020

    Hi Sheila
    I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog.
    I start building on my Canguu land next year with my Indonesian husband.
    I’m curious to know how high I should go in price per m2 to achieve great quality.

  5. Gabi December 1, 2020

    Diane is the best! You are in great hands. I am on my 3rd project with her, and she never disappoints! I love working with her.

    1. baliinteriors December 1, 2020

      That’s great to know! So far, so good! We’ve had plenty of other issues related to our build, so I’m happy to know the garden will be stress free!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interiors & Architecture Retreat

A week full of inspiration in Bali is waiting for you, come join us in 2022

Never skip a bit

Follow us on our social media channels to be always in the know

Join the Bali Interiors community

to access our interiors inspiration every 2 weeks, straight to your inbox

let's connect

We are creators of interiors and lifestyle images. Through our media channels we help businesses reach millions of people worldwide.

You'll get notified about new articles!

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Thank you for subscribing!