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.
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.
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.
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.
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.