Build Diary – Bertrand Part 2 (The reveal!)

Bertrand is a retired airline pilot who has just finished building his Bali dream home, called NEST, in Pondok Gede, just north of Canggu. The area is still close enough to all the restaurants and amenities of Canggu, but still retains the flavour of “old Bali”.


Want to see more? We visited Bertrand’s gorgeous home as part of our A Peek in Paradise video series HERE


When did you get your land?


I got the land in 2018.



When did you start building?


About 15 months ago.



Why did you wait before you started building?


Well, this was going to be my retirement home and a home for the whole family. That’s for sure. Back then, I was commuting from Honk Kong, where I worked as a pilot.


To be honest, I wasn’t planning to start to build this house now. I thought I’d wait 6 or 7 years. And then, COVID hit, and we all know what happened then.


For me personally, I decided to retire early, and decided to get on with building. So I started, and then 15 months later, here we are!



What was your original time frame for the build?


I thought it would take around 13 months. We did it in 15, so I was happy. The reason it took a little longer was simple – the rainy season slowed us down.

Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 bedroom
Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 bathroom
Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 living

Did the pandemic affect the build?


Not at all! In fact, in some ways it was easier because a lot of people were available and looking for work. So I had a lot of people working on the project. I didn’t have to get anybody from Lombok or Java or other islands. So, in that way, we were lucky.



Did you make any changes during the project?


Yes absolutely. This happened after the design phase. Originally, we were supposed to have additional access to a bedroom, but as we were building, we realised that it might be a little claustrophobic so we decided not to do it. This was something that we only realised as we were building and could see the villa appearing in front of us.


There were some material changes as well. For example, I wasn’t planning on using ulin wood on the deck. But, as we built, we realised that these features would add some authenticity to the project so we decided to make the change.


We also made some changes with the garden. We added 11 extra trees. In fact, we only brought them in a couple of weeks ago.


So there were some small changes, but the house itself is as we designed it originally. While I was a pilot, I had a lot of time to think and plan and design my home, so I really knew what I wanted before we started. My previous home was also L-shaped, and I really liked the flow of the house. This home has a similar layout but on a bigger scale, with a few extras.


I also wanted to make maximum use of the views and I wanted green and garden. I wanted to see green from every room. There’s glass everywhere, so we can see all around. Perhaps this is a result of living for so many years in a shoebox in Hong Kong! I really wanted space! I really wanted to breathe!


Equally importantly, we all know that the rainy season can be intense. So I needed a home that we can easily and completely close up. This rainy season has been a great test and I am very happy that everything is completely waterproof. No issues!



Tell me a little about the swimming pool


It’s a long one. It’s 30 metres by 4metres. I chose salt water because it’s better for the skin. I do laps almost every day and I can do them without goggles, which is such a nice feeling.


We have computer downstairs that manage the chemical levels in the pool. It’s all automatic. It’s quite amazing!



How were your emotions as you built?


I think the emotions come when you start and finish. Those are the emotional times! At the beginning when you break the ground, and then at the end when you are finishing things and you are really focussed on the details because you don’t want to make mistakes. This is a house for myself, so I want it to be perfect!


Timelines from the suppliers were stressful as well. It’s always good to speak with them in advance so you can plan around them.


Overall, I think it was a very positive experience. We had excellent communication with all the team. Using a WhatsApp group, we could fix problems as soon as they appeared. Honestly, I was lucky because I used my own team from Island Living Bali so I knew I was in good hands. We also have the amazing Annie G who was the interior designer. We also have a great contractor and architect on board.

Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 Bertrand in living
Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 Bertrand in kitchen
Bali Interiors Build Diary Bertrand part 2 Bertrand with pool

What are your favourite features?

Hmmm, I really love the kitchen island because it is the air foil of an aeroplane, which is a nice link to my past. I also like the fact that everything is really open and breezy.  The garden is another special place for me. I really love that there are different feels in each room. I like the ability to change environments and not get bored!


Did you stay on budget?

Yes, I did! I stayed on budget except for a few things that I wanted to spend extra. So I made a decision to improve or upgrade, and therefore I wanted to splurge a little on them. Some examples are the Ulin decking, the extra glass windows and the solar power which can supply 70% of the power. So everything that was over the original budget was something new that I was adding.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to build a home in Bali?


You definitely have to do your due diligence. I think it’s also important to spend time on the design. Sometimes people get very excited about building and they jump in very quickly. Perhaps, they rush in too quickly. It’s better to spend time on the design so you don’t have to make changes later. If the planning is done thoroughly, then the build will be quite easy.


We spent about 6 months on the actual plans. Then, when we were actually building, I came to the site and I was always very pleased with the progress because they were following the plans. We had a delay with the rain but that was out of our control and is just one of those things that happens.


Being prepared during the finishing part is very important too. Make sure you have planned for this before. Draw everything early so you know what suppliers you need to contact, particularly if you are getting things custom-made. These sofas for example took 6 months to make! I know too many people who finish their house but then they have nothing inside it because they were not thinking about what they will need in the future.


Organisation is key. Both before you start, and then as your building so you are ready for the final stages.



See more of this gorgeous home as part of our A Peek in Paradis video series HERE


Photos by Bali Interiors

Words by Bali Interiors


If you are building in Bali (or have just finished) and would like to be featured in our Build Diary, please contact us at

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!