This tropical Bali dream house, located in Padanggalak, 3 miles north of Sanur, is what my husband Mel and I like to call our 'third child' (we also have 2 boys). Building on our cross-cultural marriage, we chose to blend the open-air feel and tropical materials of Mel's native Indonesia with the exposed wood, open floor plan, and cathedral ceilings of the old barns of my native rural Massachusetts.
Before building, we'd spent years renting houses in Bali, so we were very clear what we did not want. We wanted to avoid the sort of villa you see all over the island that is built to look romantic - open-air, no doors, thatched roofed -... but is in fact very impractical. Coming from New England where the winters are so rough, I'd always thought of the tropics as gentle, but those houses taught me that a tropical climate has its own hazards: bugs, dust, mosquitoes, ants, mold, gecko's, smoke from burning fields, and a very fast pace of decay. In the open houses, we couldn't keep nature out because there was no way to close in the space. Mosquitoes were abundant, and the thatch would shed, and the geckos living in the thatch would contribute their own fall-out. We'd essentially spend a good part of each day just sweeping up!
Armed with a concept and a list of things to avoid, we chose Balinese architect Ketut Arthana. Internationally recognized, Ketut has a reputation for optimizing and managing space. He instantly understood what we wanted. He set the ceilings high, like a barn's, but added variety to the roof-line by slightly lowering the kitchen roof and using the typically Balinese cross-hatched exposed rafters. He wasn't afraid to recommend tile over thatch for its strength, quality and ease of maintenance, and we found that by lining the under-side of the tile with basket-colored woven rattan, we were able to achieve the same soft, natural effect from inside as you get with thatch, but without the problems. Ketut placed giant sliding glass doors and windows around the perimeters of the entire house, giving the space light and ventilation during the day and an open-air feel, but with the option of shutting out the bugs, wind, water and dust at night and during storms. Above these doors, Ketut added a ring of slim rectangular windows for ventilation and style.
Once complete, Ketut handed the drawings over and we took charge.Mel oversaw the building process, and I made the interior design decisions. I was never focused on making the house fit into a category (rustic, modern, contemporary…). I just did what I found beautiful. The result is a huge mix of influences, combining primitive and modern, old and new, raw and finished. I brought my love of Mexican color into my paint choices, and my appreciation for Shaker simplicity into my choice of old, strong, and simple wood furniture.
Color is a major theme. The main living space has a soft cream terrazzo floor contrasting with two bold papaya-orange walls and another sailor blue wall. The ventilation windows hold circular coins of colored glass framed in teak, giving a warmth and funky flare to the entire space.The kitchen and bedroom floors are richly colored in traditional Dutch-style cement tiles. More color flows through the deep-set, vertical, and whimsically stained-glass windows along the stairs.
In contrast to the bright colors, raw materials ground the house in the natural and neutral, creating what architect Yew Kwan famously described as "high-style primitive." Raw teak trees frame the kitchen space and act as pillars on the terrace; Y-shaped stripped coffee balusters and teak banisters form the railings along the stairs and balcony; marble stones and large plates of slate form a mosaic on the master bathroom wall; and worn gray river stones provide drainage where house meets land.
Outside, the property is ringed with a mustard-yellow fence overflowing with pink, purple and yellow bougainvillea. Verdant gardens border the walls, offering the eye tropical richness. A rice-terraced-shaped pool fills one corner, while lush mango & Frangipani trees create umbrellas against the sun. Ocean breezes blow in from the east, cooling the land and house, even in the hottest season.
"The house has a warmth and grace and artistry to it, but it is also a very livable house, peaceful and soothing, also fabulous for entertaining, and very convenient to the beach, stores and restaurants in Sanur, to Denpasar and to the culture and yoga in Ubud," says one renter. "Many happy memories were made in that house," he continued, "and we want to return again if we can."Read more
Stunning, Spacious, Colorfully Artistic Bali House Bali, Indonesia
Additional Location Information
This property is located in a village that is set away from the bustle of south Bali, while still being convenient to many attractions. We can easily help you to hire a car and driver, or if you wish to save money, there is excellent and reliable 24-hr taxi service directly from the house. Taxis come within 10 minutes of calling them, and can take you easily to Sanur or Kuta or Ubud.
The spectacular white-sand beach in Sanur is about a 10 minute drive. This beach goes for several miles. There are lots of parts to the beach, some local, some more touristy, and plenty of places to eat and shop and hang out. People go kitesurfing, kayaking, sailing, glass-bottom-boating, and there are other water sports as well. And gazebo's at the end of stone piers that go out in the water where you can picnic or get massages or manicures. The waves are small as the beach is protected by a reef, so it is great and safe for kids. Sanur beach is not crowded compared to the beaches further south (Kuta, Seminyak). Sanur has plenty of great restaurants also. And you can rent bikes for the day and bike along the bike-path which goes along the beach. Very fun and cheap and lovely. Our house is in a great location as it is not far from Sanur, but also not too far from Ubud (with its cultural riches and yoga retreats), Denpasar (with its convenient travel agencies, department stores and government offices) or east Bali (with its adventurous escapes to beaches, weaving villages and fishing towns).
Location Type Tropical, Village
AvailableUnavailableLast updated: March 03, 2014◀▶
Left on 09/19/2012 for a stay in September 2012 | fisherfolks
We had a great stay here! I stayed with 2 work colleagues as we had work to do in Benoa Harbour. The house is clean, open, breezy and beautiful. The pool and garden are amazing. Wati and Sis were very friendly and helpful. Wati's cooking is sublime! The owners are friendly and helpful and well and provided excellent customer service. Would definitely stay again! You can't go wrong.
Left on 04/25/2012 for a stay in April 2010 | Tracy Rickers
What a wonderful way to really sink into the rhythm of life on Bali! Our eyes were soothed by the open floor plan of the house, beautiful stained glass windows, natural wood beams and railings, esthetic and comfortable furniture, and the shaded view of the lush gardens. Our bare feet enjoyed the cool floors and the green lawn on the way to the sparkling pool. Our meals were so easy to prepare in the well appointed kitchen and our nights were spent dreaming in the quiet rooms upstairs. We sigh as we remember and hope to return to the Maliki home once again.
The best house we've ever rented - even better than the pictures
Left on 04/22/2012 for a stay in March 2012 | Lotta
We were three generations coming together in this house, and it was a perfect place to spend quality time. The space was just so beautiful, and the rooms even more lovely than photos can say. The best thing was that it felt like a home - probably because it is a real home, to a real family (who has now moved elsewhere but still manages the house very closely).
As a result, everything "works", not just functionally, but as in the spaces work. Kids can jump and run around (did they ever!), sit and draw, swing in the hammock and last but not least; swim in the pool! Which has enough shade and light, and different depths for different sizes. My kids were just so happy going between these different spaces and activities, which gave the adults a chance to relax in any of the comfortable chairs and overlook the gorgeous garden.
Then there is the food... The housekeeper is delightful and a gorgeous cook. The owner went out of her way to help us out with tips and toys.
As the descriptions state, transport is needed. If you want to go anywhere, taxis are readily available. We took 10 minutes to the beach in low traffic and over double in heavy traffic. The house is set in a suburban area among other houses (and cows and chickens, which is the charm of Bali). Since one of our children is very young, it would have been great to be able to just "pop out" and immediately be somewhere, but for others this is probably not an issue.
When we did go out, no matter to how nice a place, it was always lovely to come home. I think that is one of the highest commendations I can give a place.
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