This is a home in Jacksonville Florida that I worked on for a friend. I had the pleasure of also living in this house, when we lived in Florida for 3 years over the winter seasons. It wasn’t always a pleasure, it had some bumps in the road for sure. But we made some pretty great lemonade out of the lemons. This was still a work in progress, in this photo, but we were getting close to completion…..
To tell you the truth, the picture above makes it look better than it looked in ‘REAL’ life. The house was a diamond in the rough, purely based on it’s location. It is located moments from one of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen. Atlantic Beach, Florida.
It all happened in a crazy way. When Michael ( my husband ) was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago, he was diagnosed with a cancer that occurs only one in a million. The odds were even crazier, because it only occurs .1 in a million at his age – he was 46 at the time. The primary cancer centre for his care was Harvard – Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Michael worked for a US firm and had US health care coverage. We needed to live in the States for a minimum of 6 months of the year for his medical coverage and care. Hard to believe that a Canadian needed US health coverage ..I know, I know. Rare things happen with rare diseases.
I happened to call my friend and told him that we were thinking of moving to the States – and we had to move soon for the health coverage to be legit. Well…..in true friend fashion…my friend said “Hey, why don’t you live in my house in Florida ?” He made his home open to us. I said ” what house ?!” And there it all began. We, as a family, with 4 kids in tow, literally moved within weeks. The house was a second home to him and he warned me not to do anything because he wanted to renovate it someday.
Well…..NOTE TO EVERYONE …..never leave me unattended in your house.
You are asking the impossible of me. It is like an ancient torture test to leave me alone in a house. I can’t help myself. Over the first winter in Florida, I moved all the furniture, paintings, and the decorative pieces. I hung curtains, brought in duvets, created new mosaics, and made the house a HOME. All the while, I never mentioned a word to the home owner.
Brett and I on the original staircase :
I made a few changes since that original staircase…..This is the hand carved balinese staircase now…..
J’adore doing the little details of projects . All of the hardware in the house came from one of the buying trips in Bali. Every door is hand carved and custom fit. The interesting part about all of this work is that we saved a lot of money on this project. It wasn’t about having a lot of money and throwing it out the window. On the contrary actually. We bought direct from Bali. I personally met every single artist in Bali who custom carved these pieces.
Nothing is factory made. Nothing is mass produced. No child labour. No bad mojo at all…All good stuff. This is extremely important to the home owner and it was to me as well. It feels good to buy pieces that MAKE A DIFFERENCE to another person. As a buyer in Bali, when you buy anything…you are supporting the local workmanship and trade.
Yes,we saved money by buying directly, AND we also made a difference to the person/family that created it. Those are definitely ~ feel good ~ ah ha moments.
Working on this house was a game changing time for me. I loved the opportunity and I was so excited to jump right in and get my feet wet with designing a house from the ground up completely with goods from Bali.
For those of you renovating…it is not always about happy dances and easy street. Quite the contrary sometimes. Somehow, eventually, it all comes together . I love making a house a HOME. I feel so inspired by so many things around me. It really comes down to the people you work with and for. It is what you make of it. It is about relationships and friendships and sticking together through the ups and downs. The contractors who I worked with on this project…made me laugh so hard.
Pictured here is the dining room. The dining room furniture pieces were all created from reclaimed fishing boats.
I was fortunate enough to travel and buy in Bali – more happy dances – to source all the goods to build out and furnish the house. This photo shows the finished master bath with everything from Bali. Hand made concrete tiles, lighting, sinks, towel racks. OK, those mirrors are not from Bali . Those are temporary and ugly…just sayin…
The plans to go to Bali started a new path for me. We wanted to do the house as a Bali inspired house. I scoured through Bali photo books with beautiful glossy shots of stunning Balinese homes. This is what I thought Bali was about. Gorgeous homes and surely luxurious Balinese massages.
Duh, I was hit with the stupid stick.
It is not what it is all about at all. What I didn’t know was that I had a huge learning curve ahead of me. This was only the beginning of the road leading to my buying trips/experiences in Bali.
Bali is chock full of THE MOST INCREDIBLE , WARM, LOVING SOULS. The Balinese are not only SUPER talented in wood carving and creative artisian skills, they are so down to earth, and extremely kind to others . The Balinese people are poor. They have very very very little- financially. They have a whole lot to give from their hearts. I have travelled a lot around this beautiful world of ours, but I have never been so impacted by the warmth and kindness that I feel in Bali.
All the doors(25+), wood trim, flooring, bath vanities, furniture, sinks, lighting, porch railings, and accessories….all came from Bali. We had to buy 26 ‘Javanese’ homes ( they are very small homes) to create the flooring alone. That worked out great. The people of Java were happy to sell their old worn out wood and have it replaced by a new home with new wood. We were happy because we were able to buy some truly authentic gorgeous antique hand crafted wood and turn it into flooring AND that ~ is exactly what we did.
Onward and upward to my next journey.