Building a house is like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients. The flavours need to go well together and not clash. The bakers need to understand each other. To be a standout, it needs to have strong direction, and hopefully, the right taste. With the perfect sweetness and an element of surprise. And of course, if you really want to have a winner, the decoration should be perfectly on point.
For baking or building a house, striking the right balance is the hardest thing to achieve. People in Bali often make building a house look easy. But the truth is that it’s not! Building any house is hard, just ask any architect or builder or client! But building a house in Bali can be particularly challenging. Nothing is ever perfect, or straight, and so-called experts are most times not experts at all. But when you have homeowners with a vision, great attention to detail and a sophisticated design aesthetic, you can achieve greatness.
And this is the case with Emily and Robert. A Swedish couple that has decided to make Bali home for part of the year. Robert is a serious and reserved Scandinavian man with a background in product development and a family history of architecture and design. While Emily is an extroverted fashion designer with a playful artistic vision and a joyful personality.
Opposing personalities and traits are often what makes a marriage work. In this case, it also makes a design work. They were inspired by brutalist architecture, Brazilian architecture and even some contemporary Balinese-based designs. The architecture is imposing, strong, but there is also delicacy to it. The straight raw concrete vertical lines, used in conjunction with the softness of the garden foliage and hanging gardens, create that perfect balance between tension and softness. On the inside, the different heights between the kitchen and the living room, as well as the suspended solid corridor upstairs, create drama, intimacy and a sense of both wonder and achieving the impossible.
Robert and Emily decided on 3 different materials to use throughout the home, and they are perfect. The first ingredient was concrete, and that has been used on the inside and on the outside. On the inside, it’s polished. On the outside, it’s been left raw. To oppose that cool element, they chose a rich coloured wood for panelling, cabinetry and framing. It’s been used in a utilitarian way and to set off the cooling effect of the concrete. And the last element which is seen throughout is glass. It adds clarity, freshness and light.
They have crated the perfect house for their family, their needs and the creative life they both lead here in in Bali.
But what has lifted this house to greatness are the use of colour, texture and the chosen interior products.
For decoration, they use large colourful rugs to cover the wall spaces. Some of the walls are fairly high and large, so what better way to add interest and dynamism than by adding a wall hanger (in this case rugs) to add texture and colour.
But what I love more than anything, is all the furniture they have created for their home. Each of the furniture pieces was made to order for this home based on their taste. And there are so many beautiful pieces. Starting on the outside area, the outdoor table is not what comes to mind when you think about the sort of furniture you can create here in Bali. But, in Bali if you have an idea and find someone that can make it happen, then you can do anything you want! And luckily for them, they had found the right manufacturers to create their very specific ideas and visions to make all these amazing furniture pieces.
Other pieces I loved are a small wooden and terrazzo table used as a coffee table. The kids wooden craft table is adorable but also modern. I’m completely jealous of the stools in the kitchen as I wanted exactly the same ones for myself! And I love all the chairs and lounge chairs they chose. A great combination of pieces from Scandinavia, Italy and beyond. Every single piece is classic and versatile.
And just like the pieces that they chose to add as furniture and décor, their build has become a timeless and modern creative home.
These bakers have created their perfect cake. One that speaks both subtly and loudly about each one of their passions, strengths, characteristics and obsessions.