Marie and Jake are entrepreneurs who are building their dream home in Batu Bolong, Canggu.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jake and my partner is Marie, and we are influencers and content creators. We work online and remotely, and do content creation. We have an online academy where we teach people how to leverage social media to build businesses and use them for marketing purposes.
That academy is called Club Life Design. It’s about life design. We’ve been able to create a life to be proud of, where we can travel, or live in Bali, and use social media and the internet to generate online income to be able to fund this lifestyle. We teach people how to do the same thing.
What brought you to Bali originally?
My partner and I met in 2016 in Thailand. We fell in love very quickly. I’m Australian and she’s German. We went from Thailand to Vietnam together, and she went to Bali while I went back to Australia. After a week I was missing her too much and so I flew back to Bali and spent 12 days with her.
This was the 12 days that sealed our relationship! It was a romantic and incredible time. Then she came to Australia, and we travelled and worked. After that, we moved around a lot, but Bali was always very special to us. We would just keep coming back to Bali.
About 3 years ago we started spending more and more time in Bali and it quickly became our base.
What do you love about Bali?
I love most things about Bali! First of all, for us, there is a level of freedom that you don’t really feel anywhere else. The people are always open and kind and forgiving. You don’t feel like there are strict rules. If you have a dream, you can make it happen! There’s always a way to do it, whereas in Australia there are so many restrictions.
The food is the best food in the world! We’re plant-based so there’s no other place in the world with as many options. The amount of variety of landscapes in Bali is incredible – volcanoes, white beaches in Uluwatu, black beaches in Canggu, surf, hiking, jungle.
Why did you decide to build in Bali?
We knew that Bali was going to be our base for at least 6 months a year. We still have family in Europe and Australia, but we knew Bali would be at least 6 months. Because we had felt all of these amazing emotions and feelings, having friendships and connections and networks, and learning about the potential in terms of investment opportunities, we realised that this was also a great opportunity for us.
3 years ago we started diving into this world of investing and building in Bali. It took 18 months of trial and error, meeting new people, hearing stories, and trying to figure out what we would actually do. That involved starting our own company, figuring out if we wanted to buy a pre-existing structure or build from scratch, finding the developers.
Where did you first find land?
We initially bought one piece of land in Babakan that we thought would be our place. And then after paying for it, we realised there was a temple in the corner and it blocked our access. The locals couldn’t move the temple and of course we respected that. And so our land, that we had just bought, was basically useless. Luckily, we were able to sell it to friends in Australia because they were happy to move their project a bit to the side while we didn’t want to.
That was a huge lesson for us. We had to take a step back and realise that we really need to consider everything. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to learn these lessons. Reading the Bali Interiors blog and your IG stories and listening to other stories is essential, but you’re still going to have hurdles along the way.
How did you find the land in Bali?
We ended up finding our dream piece of land on Batu Bolong, Canggu. It was a fluke because there was no access to this land before. Then the owners of the land built access and suddenly the land was available. Throughout all of this process, we were sharing our experience on our Instagram. We got a message from a woman here who had seen our experience, and she said “Hey, if you’re looking for land, my partner is a developer”.
So we reached out and asked them for guidance. A couple of weeks later they said “we may have something for you”. We came and checked it out and the land was amazing. This was at the beginning of Covid and we were able to get a really good deal.
The land is 7are. We have 5 bedrooms in total, made up of 4 mini-villas. 1 master villa, and 3 separate smaller villas. In this way, Marie and I can live there, and still have some guests. We have a really big community on instagram who we love and we wanted to give them an opportunity to come and stay with us.
When did you start building and how long will it take?
We started our construction about 18 months ago. It was July 2020. We are about 80% done and expect to move in the middle of January. Then it’ll take 8 weeks of living there and doing the entire interiors while we are there.
Did you use an architect/designer?
Marie and I have been travelling a lot and have been all around the world. So we knew what style we wanted. We wanted modern Greek architecture. We love the arches, the white buildings, the curved walls and edges.
We got an outline of our land, the shape of it, and we put it on a notepad. Then we just sketched out where we thought the buildings could go because we knew we wanted to have separate villas. It was just a really rough sketch.
After we drew it, we went to the architect. His name is Gede and he’s a young, talented, and ambitious architect. We showed him the sketch. He said “Whoa, Ok!”. We sat down with him and after we explained what we wanted, he said “We can make it work”. He refined our ideas and made them fit local requirements. He was always very accommodating and happy to include what we wanted.
How often do you visit your build?
Up until recently, not so often, maybe once every fortnight or so. But we’re at the stage now where we need to visit a lot more regularly. Previously, we’ve been working on the structure and there’s no much I can help with. However, as we do the finishing, we’ll need to be there more often.
Having said that, when we did visit, we were able to pick up things we wanted to change. For example, a lot of the furniture is built in concrete, eg. beds, kitchen tables, benches. It’s all built in. But when we came in, we saw that the step up to the beds was too high so we asked the builders to cut in a step to make it easier to reach.
A great benefit of buildings here in Bali is that you can make changes as you build. If you don’t like something, you can change it. In a lot of other places, if you want to make changes, it will cost you a lot of extra money.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to build in Bali?
Definitely take your time to feel out who you are working with. Don’t just go for the first option. Figure out your budget first, and then in order to stick with that, you’ll need to decide if you can use a local builder or a foreign developer.
I’d suggest moving to Bali. It would be very stressful to do this from overseas. You need to be here so you can feel out the land. To see some of the things that you can’t always see on a map, like if you have a breeze or if the area is noisy.
Remember that in Bali there is always a way to fix every problem. If you work with people, you can always find a way to solve every problem. We are close to a karaoke bar and it can be a little noisy, so we went to them and offered to put in insulation to dampen the sound. They were absolutely happy to do that. So we were able to find a solution! In Bali, there’s always a solution!
Follow Marie and Jake’s build journey at Maja Canggu
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