Our first ever build
A few years ago, before building a villa from the ground up was even an idea, we decided to renovate a villa. We’d been living in Canggu for a year or so, and one day as I was visiting a market, I ended up going down a random little lane and saw a half-completed villa with no-one in it. A few weeks later I passed by the same lane and noticed that the villa was in the same condition.
I stopped in and had a chat with the landowner who was building the villa. Basically, he’d run out of money. He was very keen to have the villa finished and offered us an extremely low rental price if we would complete the villa first. It seemed like a fun project, and turned into our first adventure in building in Bali. It went quite smoothly (and was probably the seed of the idea to one day build from scratch). We turned it into a gorgeous villa, furnished it, and decorated it ourselves
Fast forward a few years, we were living in another villa that was fully-furnished, so we didn’t need any of the furniture we had bought for the original villa. We left it at that villa. However, these days we’re in a much bigger villa, and we need all the furniture we can get, especially for all the photo shoots I am planning.
It was time to take back all our stuff! I went down to the villa with my team of workers and we went through the villa like scavengers. Looking for what could we take and use in the new villa, or even sell. With much fewer foreigners on the island these days, the second-hand villa furniture market has dried up, but there are always people looking for bargains.
Measure twice, cut once
We had 3 bedroom sets (bed base, queen mattress, sheets and pillows, mosquito net). I was able to sell one, and gave the other two to our incredible nannies/housekeepers, Umi and Annie. And as they were a little big for their homes, we used our own team of workers to measure and cut down the bed frames to perfectly fit their rooms!
Of course, it wouldn’t be Bali if things didn’t go to plan. Some of our furniture had been built on-site and was too big to fit through the doors. So it was either over the edge of the balcony (and lowered down by extension cord and garden hose!) or over a side wall. Our workers were quite ingenious at finding a way when all seemed impossible!
We had also installed some built-in cupboards, and that same wood had held up well. So we decided to strip it out. We have a few different places in our current villa (studio kitchen, studio bathroom, office bathroom) where we need some cupboards built in. Amazingly, some of the original wood fits the new spaces well, or can easily be cut to size by our team. It’s quite serendipitous that wood from our first Bali build can be used to fit out our new Bali home.
We’d just about stripped out the house. This included taking some hanging rain blinds to protect our open laundry and 2 semi-open bathrooms, and looking around I thought we were just about done.
I was upstairs at the now-empty villa, sitting in the shady gazebo…..and then it occurred to me that I am sitting in a gazebo that I built, and I need a new gazebo at our new villa, perhaps we could take this one?
We’d built the gazebo at that villa because the roof top (which had an incredible view) was simply too hot to spend any time on during the day. And we face the exact same issue at our new home. The pool is lovely, but the open space next to it is simply too hot during the day. Even putting out some sun-loungers and an umbrella wouldn’t work.
So, my mind got working…perhaps we could harvest the strong wood, Perspex and bamboo from the original gazebo and transplant it to our new home? I explained my plan to our team and they said it could be done, so it was a matter of dismantling the old gazebo and loading it up in a rented truck to take to our new home. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to use it in our new home!
Surprise Birthday Party!
We have grown close to our team of 3 workers. A while back, we had lunch together and found out that one of them, Gus, who is from a remote village in Sumba, doesn’t actually know his birthday date or even how old he is. He never went to school and has worked all his life. He’d never celebrated a birthday so we decided to throw him a little party. We got a cake and shared it all together. It was great to take a moment to share something small but important together.