The excitement you feel when you move into your house is such a high, I can barely imagine what the high must have felt like moving into the villa after all the planning and designing and sleepless nights worrying about power, running water and whether the concept would work.
” Kyra and I rocked up on Lembongan as excited as 5-year-olds on Christmas day. We had boatloads of furniture waiting to be delivered and unpacked in what I thought would be my finished villa. We arrived to find a team of workers still living on site, all my white goods and mattresses piled up in a room and the Villa about 2 weeks away from being habitable. Add to that, we had no running water…at least not from where running water was meant to be anyway.”
On top of this, Jodie had about a week to get everything organised before the blessing ceremony and house-warming party – to which many island friends had been invited to see the villa in all its glory for the first time. Jodie didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, possibly a combination of both would have been appropriate. But Jodie being one of the strongest women I know, did what you could expect – poured a big gin and tonic, grabbed a broom and got stuck into the work!
“My beautiful neighbour Donna from Villa Nusa came to my rescue and I was able to sleep at her place, in the room I’d been staying in on and off for the last 2 years. Then my amazing sister Kim arrived 3 days later to help. ” They spent the first night in the villa, cleaning and laughing and doing as much as they could to get the villa ready. The next day, after waking bleary eyed from working all night, Kim went to have a shower and called out to Jodie – there was running water, but not from the shower, from the bathroom cabinet instead!
Running water and taps may have been the stuff of nightmares in those early days. Jodie recalls when one of the site managers came to her and ‘Ibu, come see.’ Finally, running water! A tap had been installed in one of the bathrooms. High 5’s all round – celebrating the little things became important. Later that night toothbrush in hand, looking forward to using the running water in the bathroom, it was discovered the tap so proudly installed hadn’t actually been connected…back to bottled water to brush her teeth!
“This is construction in island style. It will all happen in time. After a while, you just have to relax and go with the flow, see the humorous side, drink more gin and enjoy the amazing view!”
As the days followed and friends arrived to help clean and unpack the rugs and personal collectables, it was finally taking shape. The final stage of 353 Degrees North took the best part of 2 weeks to finish, with the number of workers dwindling daily, the pool despite being full of water was still cloudy and un-swimmable. However the villa was beginning to resemble the dream Jodie had when she first saw the land and that was when she was able to relax, take a breath and enjoy the view around her.
Even though Jodie had been sleeping in the villa for almost a week, the first official night for her was when the workers left before 10 pm. The only sounds were that of nature and the magic of 353 Degrees North was restored. “That night falling asleep to the twinkling lights of Bali, and waking to the view of Mount Agung…the reality really hit me then and the wait was more than worth it. It was an amazing feeling because it has been the most amazing journey.”
I feel that I can say with some authority as a guest, being that I was lucky enough to spend a few days at 353 Degrees North, the journey Jodie went on with the project might never be appreciated by anyone other than Jodie, her closest family and friends. You see when you stay at the villa, you don’t see all the little things that happened or went wrong or took longer than expected. You see a simply stunning masterpiece of design. I’ve only ever had one fault with the villa – it’s not mine!
” To stand on a piece of land with a dream and hope that this is what I will wake up to if I design the villa with the master bedroom here…and then two years later wake up and realise your dream has come true, well that’s a pretty special feeling.”
I love this photo of Jodie taken during those final few weeks of the build. Complete exhaustion led her to the only place to sleep but still, waking up from the power nap and looking at what she had created, must have brought a smile to her face.