Laura and Finn are self-employed digital nomads from Germany who are renovating a villa in Berawa. After meeting during their university exchange in Bali, they returned to the Island of the Gods in 2020. They have set up their home base in Bali and decided to renovate their villa.
Where are you from?
(Finn) We’re from Germany and we moved to Bali in 2020 during Covid. Actually, we had met in Bali in 2017. We both studied at university here.
Did you enjoy studying at university in Bali?
(F) It was less study and more experiencing Bali!
(L) It was more growing up! Great for life experience.
(F) We met during our courses through mutual friends.
(L) I’m originally from southern Germany so when we came back to Germany after our study, we didn’t know if the logistics would work because Finn is from northern Germany.
(F) But it worked out and here we are!
Why move to Bali?
We decided to move to Bali after visiting the Philippines. We decided that we wanted to live in Asia and we already knew Bali from our studies so we knew how to live in Bali.
What were you doing in Germany before then?
(L) At that time, we were both studying Master’s degrees in Germany but because of Covid everything went online, so we could study from anywhere. We were really lucky that we were able to finish our studies online while we were in Bali
(F) I was also working as a software engineer. As everything went remote, I could also work online. Laura did social media marketing online too.
(L) I feel like Covid showed everyone that not everyone needs to work in an office. It allowed us to work from anywhere!
What did you do when you moved to Bali in 2020?
(L) We got a yearly lease, so that we had a home base and could study easily. However, after a while we realised that we wanted to live in different places.
(F) We knew we wanted to be more location-independent, so having a house wasn’t ideal! We found that we weren’t doing many trips at all, even weekend trips.
(L) It seemed like we had just moved our home from Hamburg to Bali.
(F) So we decided to let the lease go, and that allowed us to travel around.
(L) We moved around a lot, from Berawa to Pererenan. In 10 months, we moved 9 times!
Is Bali your home now?
(F) Yes, it’s definitely our home base now. We have a KITAS here so this is our home. We love to travel but this is our home! In fact, we have a 10 year lease on our home here.
What do you love about Bali?
(L) We come from cold Germany, so the hot weather is definitely an attraction. The weather is great! We want to live close to the ocean. Plus, we also need reliable, good wifi!
(F) We love the Canggu bubble! We have everything we need here. The food is incredible We love being surrounded by interesting and creative people. We also love the Balinese culture. The people are so welcoming and kind and friendly.
Why did you decide to renovate here in Bali?
(F) It’s time to make our own home, and here we can do what we want!
Was it difficult to find a villa?
(L) We were looking for a while, and in the beginning, we saw that you could see a villa a few times before you had to make a decision about renting it. But then we noticed that it was becoming harder. In fact, if you saw a villa once , you needed to make an offer that day or it would be gone. We lost 2 prospective villas in that way. So we knew we needed to find something quickly!
(F) Then, we found a great villa in Berawa, which is close to all the shops, and Finn’s, and the beach. We found it in May 2022. It was 10 or 15 years old, and had not been updated. We wanted a big villa so our friends and family can visit.
What type of renovation are you doing?
(F) We’re going to redo all the floors and tiles. We need to completely destroy the bathrooms! Everything is going to be completely new. We want them to be nice!
(L) Also the kitchen we are going to redo completely.
(F) Even the garden we are going to enlarge. We’re making a lot of changes
What is the timeline for your Bali villa renovation?
(L) We started renovating at the end of May. We hope to finish by the end of August. So far, we are on track!
How did you choose your building contractor?
(F) We had spoken with 4 different contractors. And we found 1 who are a husband and wife team. She is from Europe, and he is Balinese. She really understands our ideas and can make sure the builders can stick to our aesthetic.
We chose very carefully because we definitely didn’t want to get a recommendation for a builder that is based on a commission. We wanted one that is based on the quality of the work! So we reached out to our friends who had built here. The team we chose were highly recommended by people we knew, and had been recommended for the right reasons!
(L) We had heard so many horror stories about building so we wanted to choose carefully!
How do you keep the renovation on schedule?
(F) We speak with the builder regularly and we see what things they are going to need soon. Then we make sure we choose and order those things in advance so they are ready when the builders need them. That means the guys don’t waste time sitting around. We need to plan in advance!
(L) We don’t want them to wait for us! So, for example, we just ordered the showers because even though they don’t need them now, we know they will need them soon.
What has been difficult for you during your renovation?
(F) We had some discussions with the owner about the lease taxes. We tried to make sure it’s all nice and clear in the lease. Hopefully, we can resolve this easily.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to build or renovate a villa in Bali?
(F) Take your time! Don’t stress yourself! It’s always better to see problems in advance and try to solve them before they happen!
Make a list of everything you need to buy, and also a timeline, so you know when the builders will need those things that you have to buy.
(L) Expect problems! It sounds very negative, but it’s not. If you know these things may happen, then it’s not such a shock when it happens, so then you can easily focus on fixing the problems.
Remember that renovating is much more than just buying decorations. During a renovation, you will break and remove things in your villa, and the work will get dirty. Perhaps you may imagine it’ll just be fun as you go to shops and buy decorations, but that is like 1% of it. Most of the renovation is much less glamourous! But we are sure it will be worth it!
You can follow their adventures here!