Inspired by Bali, this home is designed for relaxed living

Bali’s popularity has everything to do with a laid-back lifestyle and 
a holiday vibe. And recreating it here in Brisbane was what the owners of this suburban home did, when they decided to renovate their red-brick sixties home. Words: Margaret McGuire

Bali style home entrance

As a keen surfer growing up in Noosa the male member of this partnership was an early convert to the magic of Bali – the long days in the surf, the aromatic taste sensation that is the food, and the way that nature pervades every facet of Balinese life. The use of stone and timber, the luxuriant gardens where water is an elemental inclusion, the way that stone deities live in alcoves, dressed in flowers which have been offered by the local people … all of this is what charms Western visitors, and what this couple wanted for their home.

But how do you achieve the authentic look? Well in this case, with a personal shopper. “I simply didn’t know the best places to go for the materials I needed, so it made sense to take advantage of insider knowledge and use a personal shopper,” recalls one of the owners. “If I said I wanted to buy Uluwatu stone, or black lava stone, he knew where to go to get the best deals … I knew what I wanted but not the best place to find it. When it came to furniture, I had a lot of it custom made by Andrew from Sourcing Asia in Bali.”

Bali style surf home

Bali gardens Buddha

The plastered walls and carved timber doors on the front boundary open to a lush tropical garden and an undercover outdoor room at the front of the house where black lava stone cladding on the wall and sandstone paving set the organic tone. Music is added by the two lovebirds who live here, and colour with the flash and splash of the goldfish who make their home in the pond which is obligatory in any Bali-style garden worth the name.

Through the front door and to the left is the formal living/dining room where extra-height casement windows draw breezes inside. All the furniture here was custom-made for the owners in Bali, and features rich dark timber and cane light-shades which filter soft illumination onto the table – but this room is not much used because as part of the extension which the couple designed they included a spacious deck overlooking the pool, terrace and pavilion.

Double doors open from the kitchen to a corridor which leads to the master bedroom down the hallway, and through matching doors opposite to the courtyard outside.

Bali style home

Bali style kitchen

Bali style bedroom

bali style bathroom

Japanned timber floorboards look cool in both senses of the word, and crisp, fresh white bedlinen is the perfect foil for the four poster bed, which took days to assemble – but, it was certainly worth the sweat (we’re not sure if there were tears). Floor to ceiling sliding timber framed doors open out to the pool terrace, allowing full access to cooling breezes as they play across the water.

Adjacent to the bedroom is the luxuriously appointed bathroom, which is all very well, but just in case your every need is not answered, how about an outdoor bath? Walled in with white Uluwatu stone, but roofless to enjoy a starlight bathe, this is romance in spades.

The deck area where the couple spends most of their time is equipped with a teak table which has been whitewashed and ultra comfortable tub chairs. This is the preferred spot for meals, and with the same wide Surian cedar framed sliding doors as are featured in the bedroom, the transition from indoors to out is blurred to the point where it virtually disappears.

Stylish ‘3D’ loungers in rattan were custom made in Bali as were the matching sofa and coffee table. The owners specified that the deck furniture should be in light colours to contrast with the carved doors and the timber floor. To ensure privacy, a screen of bamboo was planted at the end of the deck and has grown enthusiastically to give a lush green backdrop to the carved timber screen panels. Drop-down blinds subdue the sun, and, say the owners, keep out most wind and rain. Glass pool fencing allows uninterrupted views of the pool, where black slate, which the owners sourced here from Outdoor Stone Centre, defines the shallow play area.

But Bali is here in the ledge which supports pots on the margins of the pool, in the pavilion with its shaded daybed, in the recess at the end of the pool where a benign goddess watches over the swimmers and in the tropical plantings behind the wall of white Uluwatu stone.

It whispers serenity, and peace, and calm.

Bali style home garden

Bali style pool

Bali style garden pond

Tropical love birds Bali home

Photography: John Downs