Ilse and Atiba – Part 2 (the reveal!)

We first met Ilse and Atiba, the Digital Travel Couple, last year when they decided to buy an off-plan villa in Cepaka, just out of Canggu. Buying off-plan has recently become an extremely popular option for many foreigners in Bali.


We recently sat down to discuss their experience buying off-plan and see how their villa turned out.

Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal bedroom
Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal living and loft
Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal sofa

Why choose to buy off-plan rather than get land and build in Bali?


(Ilse)  We both didn’t have experience building in another country other than The Netherlands. When we saw the ad for this project, for this house, we were immediately so in love with the pictures. At that time there was already 1 unit completed so even though it was off-plan, we could still see what our future home would look like. We could see it in real life and touch the wood. See the quality etc. After we met the developer, we were also so convinced about the quality and standard of work.


We realised that we might pay a little more than if we did everything by ourselves, but we would also get a great house, which is completely finished, much earlier than if we did it ourselves.


(Atiba) And we don’t have to deal with all the day-to-day problems!


(I) That’s right! We’ve heard so many stories of problems, that doing it this way was a really good option for us.


(A) If you want to do it all yourself, it’s more stressful and it takes longer.



What did you get in the end?


(A) We got a 31 year lease and the house from the same company.



When did you sign the contract?


(A) I think it was June 2022 approximately.

Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal drone before
Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal drone after

What did the block of land look like then?


(I) It was empty. Just land.


(A) It wasn’t even level yet.



When did you move in?


(I) – December 2022


(A) It was super quick! About 6-7 months! When we moved, there were still a few things they needed to fix up, but that was fine for us. We really wanted to move in, and then we could oversee as they fixed all the little things.


(I) – Well there was one big thing, which was the light switches in the bathroom.


They were on the wrong side of the wall! They were hidden behind the open door. So they had to re-do that! That was a little frustrating!



During the build, how often did you come and visit the site?


(A) – Once or twice a week, while we were in Bali.


(I) – Then, during the final stages, we came almost everyday because we wanted to check everything. We are very precise people, so it was good to able to oversee everything. The contractor had other projects to manage as well, so it was good that we were there and could check everything. The workers were always very willing to do things to our standard.


(A) – I think a lot of it comes down to how detail oriented you are. We’ve seen other villas from this complex, which were also built off-plan, and the owners were not as careful as us, and we can see the difference in the finishing.



Did you have any problems during the build itself?


(I) – Just the light switches, so nothing too big, and of course, we could fix it.



So you were happy with your contractor?


(A) Yes very happy, and he’s still building the rest of the villas in this project, and it’s going well. We definitely recommend our builder Dennis



What was and wasn’t included in your off-plan package?


(I) – All the furniture, fridge, cutlery, crockery, glasses and homewares etc were included. Homewares are quite personal, so we chose them ourselves. There was a budget as part of the package and we could spend that budget on the homewares we wanted. If we wanted to spend more and get other things we could. We just have to pay the difference. It was lovely to be able to personalise our home. For example, Atiba chose the candles under the stairs so credit to him!


(A) We could do the same with the chairs and table, and so we were able to make it feel like our home.


(I) The only thing we had to buy were the mattresses. The sheets were all included!



What are your favourite features in your Bali villa?


(A)  I love this seating area just here. We can open the doors and feel the cool freeze in the evening or watch Netflix. It’s great!


(I) – The upstairs office is so great. It’s serene and quiet. We have some local squirrels that we see everyday. Each morning we bring up a cup of coffee and it’s a lovely way to start the day.

Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal living portrait
Bali Interiors Build Diary Ilse and Atiba part 2 the reveal bedroom portrait

Did you go over budget?


(A) No way!


(I) We signed the contract at a price and that was the price we paid. We didn’t go over at all. I think that’s another advantage of buying off-plan. You know how much it will all cost! It’s a fixed price!



Would you recommend that other people build off-plan in Bali?


(A) If you are in a situation like us, we would definitely recommend it. You may pay a little more, but the there’s much less stress. And it might save you money as a lot of people who build themselves often experience unexpected costs during their build.


But if you are a designer and you are passionate about designing every detail of your dream home, then it’s probably better to design and build yourself.


(I) I think you need to do your due diligence to check the company that is offering the off-plan project and the pricing etc. But I think it’s a great way to build in Bali. We definitely recommend our builder Dennis. It was easy to work with him. Also, being able to see a completed home before we actually signed on the contract was an excellent way to see and feel what our future home really looks like.



Explore Ilse and Atiba’s work HERE

Words by Bali Interiors

Photos by Bali Interiors + Ilse and Atiba


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

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