When we all read/watched Eat Pray Love many moons ago, we fell in love with this magical place far far away called Bali. Due to that book alone, Bali’s popularity increased significantly and it put Bali back on the map, making it one of the most visited destinations in the world. That book/film depicted Bali in such a beautiful light that I can understand why so many millions of people wanted to recreate Julia Robert’s experience.
After living here for so many years, I feel like that scenario has become almost mythical. Until recently, no well-known place in Bali looked or felt like that. Over-tourism and over-development had spoiled Bali. It almost felt like every person that had visited Bali had taken away a little bit of that magic with them, emptying Bali of its beauty, charm and mystery bit by bit, to the point that there was almost nothing left.
Although Covid it has brought so many issues worldwide and of course devastated Bali, it has also had some amazing positives.
Bali’s nature is thriving. Mass tourism is gone so we can now see the trees from the forest. The water is clean again. And all those absolutely stunning areas that were so hard to get to before because of the insane traffic are now completely accessible and more beautiful than ever before. Bali has never looked this pristine (well maybe before the 1980’s!). This island has become again the slice of heaven that used be and we had almost forgotten.
I’m always searching on Instagram for something that catches my eye. A while back, I saw this villa and I had a feeling I was onto something good. Honestly, the photos were quite terrible (sorry 😐 ), but they were taken on a phone so that can be forgiven. But there were some elements that intrigued me. I had a gut feeling this was something special. I just needed to come and check it out. After quite a bit of research, I finally found the owners of the house. Fortunately for me they needed some photos to be taken so I offered my services and here we are.
Arriving at Villa Safia is a dreamlike trip in itself. They had told us we had to park the car in a carpark about 500 meters away from the house as this home is only accessible by foot, bicycle or scooter. They brought us an old-timey wooden cart so we could load it up with the camera gear and styling props. The narrow path to this house is ridiculously beautiful.
When you enter the path, it almost feels like you have suddenly clicked your heels three times and all of a sudden you have just stepped into The Wizard of Oz. A place where all things are fairylike and the people wave at you, smile at you and everywhere you look feels enchanted. The houses are filled with charm, we passed a small warung and the owners smiled at us and started a conversation. There are rice fields on each side and gorgeous little house, joglos and cute ducks doing their thing. Where am I? How is this place real? Could I love Bali even more that I already do? Holly molly! This place is beautiful!! These were the thoughts in my head and I haven’t even stepped into the house yet.
After this delightful walk we arrived at the house. And wow! Wow, wow, wow! This simple house is everything and more that anyone needs. So much more! The home is a mixture of a joglo (a wooden house, mostly they come from Java) and a MUD sustainable home. All the walls are made of the most lovely texture and colour (due to the way they have been built). Similar to Moroccan houses. It doesn’t surprise me that the owners co-own an eco-design & construction company. They use only organic, natural materials such as earth/cob, stone, bamboo, and recycled timber. Everything is super simple but made with such exquisite taste. It’s literally a dream house.
The internal and some external walls are made with an organic material. The front door is built from the recycled wood from an antique joglo. The back of the house is completely open with the most incredible view I have seen in a long time. The pool is designed in a way that it looks like part of the tiered rice fields blending the home with the environment in such an unblemished way that the house becomes one with the land. There is no separation. The union of great architecture and landscape design.
The house is simple. Humble you could say. But behind this humility, there is clearly a lot of thought and refinement. The kitchen, two of the bedrooms and the living area have simple wooden shutters that can be closed or opened to allow more or less light. This is nothing more than an aesthetic detail as the house is completely open at the centre….. but this one feature has such an impact that although it may not be the first thing you notice, it creates a unique atmosphere.
The kitchen is gorgeous and simple, but with a very beautiful marble table top. The kitchen island has cute little niches with carved doors with light on the inside. The bedrooms are simply stunning. The beautiful bedding adds that element of luxury but in combination with this simple space, it makes the small details ever so sweet. The bathrooms are effortless, all with copper tapware and basins. The master bathroom has a big copper bathtub that sits underneath a window overlooking the rice fields in front. Bliss!
In the centre of the living area is a rustic round breakfast table with a a tasteful sofa and sofa chair next to it. On top of the round table hangs the only statement piece of the house – a hand knitted large lamp. On the outside porch, overlooking the rice fields and palm trees, is another dining area. It reminds me of a country style table and sits 10 people comfortably. Behind the shutters of the living room area sits another beautiful large Balinese day bed that is perfect for watching farm life and serenity unfold before your eyes.
I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t want to own this house. Its allure, in combination with the feeling it gives you and its surroundings, is almost too exquisite for words. In times like these, I wish I was a poet and could express with the utmost grace how special this home is. But the universes has gifted me with other skills which I hope I have used to pay it the respect it deserves.
Villa Safia Designed by MUD Sustainable Homes
Photography & words: Sheila Man
Styling: The Interior Tailor
If you would like to enquiry about leasing this house long term, fill up the form below with the subject ‘Villa Safia”