Before this blog starts, I need to explain: my name is Clare and I work with Jodie. So this is written as her follower, her shadow, her note taker and writer. Because Jodie was frantically busy on this day while she did what she does best, I took notes and photos of the whole day. Jodie really has two roles, both important and varied and with tasks that change daily, sometimes hourly. Today was a combination of both roles and if she wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day, I certainly was!
Today was a sourcing, errand, research and development day. Jodie had a list of things that needed to be done but what occurred to me was that while it was all for the villa, it’s a reflection of her work as an interior designer. The villa has been featured in several international magazines, as well as prominent online architectural, interior design and travel websites and blogs, so every piece in the villa, including personal collection items, has been carefully considered in keeping with the feel and personality of the villa.
I met Jodie at the beach because an errand day for Jodie when she is here starts with the boat trip across from Nusa Lembongan. We jumped in the car, compared lists, swapped stories and had time for a quick ‘here’s us in action’ selfie.
First stop was Utama Spice. Always a lovely way to start the day when you are in the head office of Bali made body products that smell divine. Staying at 353 Degrees North is a luxury experience – in fact, we feel that 353 Degrees North is an experience, not a destination. And every part of the villa reflects this…including the body products. Jodie is working with Utama Spice to create a signature range of body products that all guests can use during their stay at the villa, and they can also purchase gift packs to take home with them. Using body products that remind you of a holiday in paradise is a fabulous way to feel instant calm and relaxation. Now I can’t tell you what the key scents are (it’s top secret of course!) but I can tell you that if the relaxed holiday in luxury vibe could be captured in a bottle…well..that’s what it is. We spent hours considering what Jodie wanted the products to feel like on the skin, and how they should smell, and how we wanted them to make people feel. It might sound simple but factors have to be taken into account like the climate here, what the ocean does to hair, and how scents layer on your skin to create a signature all of their own. Jodie has refined the list and now has signature products being created for the body and the home.
We’d already been on the road or in the factory for hours so before any more key decisions could be made, it was time for lunch….or was it? Jodie spied a beautiful antique store just outside of Ubud. The creations and pieces inside were truly stunning, and watching Jodie consider each piece and ask about its history and story was educational. See when I shop, I just see things I like and hand over the credit card. Jodie’s trained eye sees the story behind the piece, the beauty in its production, and how it will ‘fit’ in the space. From the old and masterfully hand painted Hindu calendar, to the 19th-century cabinet (which featured in a collectors album), to the pieces of timber taken from an old Balinese home before it collapsed, it’s like Jodie is learning a history while she looks at the pieces. This was where Jodie bought a horse. It’s beautifully handcrafted and now has a home alongside other pieces in Jodie’s personal collection in the villa. Jodie once said to me that each item in the villa presented itself at the right time so the villa is evolving all the time, now I understand what she meant. She didn’t set out to buy a horse but the piece now seems intrinsic to the feel of the room.
Brains need replenishing with great food, a glass of wine and a spectacular view, all the while we had our lists out, ticking off or adding to what had to be done.
Next came a trip to the framers. Jodie was recently in Central Asia (‘the Stans’) and found gorgeous Suzani fabrics and talismans, handcrafted many years ago and beautiful in design and colour. Each piece needed to be framed in a way to show the clever skill required to make it and also to enhance the shapes and colours of the design. The framer wrote notes and measured each piece and loved when Jodie sketched what was required for each piece. That’s when I saw Jodie the Interior Designer. You see I work with Jodie from afar in a sense so I never actually get to see her in action. But seeing her in action has made me appreciate even more what she does. I knew she was brilliant, she is busy with clients and her work is featured in so many publications, but when you can actually see someone like that in action, doing what they do, it makes me understand the hours it takes to find the right piece, the right colour palette, the theme and how each piece compliments the other in some way. The framer just kept saying ‘bagus’ with a great big smile, and then he joined Jodie in combining frames and taking more measurements, all with a great big smile. For a craftsman like him, finding a specialist like Jodie who is so passionate, must make for a great workday.
A few more little errands, lists being ticked in the car and work chats about future projects, and it was time to go home. I’m sitting at 353 Degrees North while Jodie talks to her builder about things to be done and ideas she has. The villa might be built, it has entertained many guests and every day has new people falling in love with it, but for Jodie, it’s still a work in progress, a work of art and a work of heart.
A personal note from me Jodie: thank you for taking me on this ride with you and letting me be part of the team. Big lessons and big laughs every day. Big love xx