Creating Home in Bali Bali / Education / Family / Personal

We’re enjoying Bali more now than ever. Last year, we were quite ready to leave when I wrote about what we love about Ubud and what we feel is lacking here. But lately, many of those lacks have been filled. From finishing a year-long remodel project, to finding several wonderful classes and friends for our girls, to connecting even more with open and welcoming people – at this point, we’re not wanting to leave at all!

It really is nice to live in a house that’s been designed specifically with our family’s needs in mind. It also helps knowing that we can use it for the next 12 years (or more, if we extend our lease). It was no small challenge to complete this renovation in a foreign country with language barriers, no building standards, different quality preferences, cultural dynamics, and combining two separate houses into one. Fortunately, we had a lot of help!

While many hands played into completing the project, our biggest thanks goes to our Belgian friends known together as “QuemKun” – an amazing architect and designer couple, who immediately recognized ways to improve on my original sketches of the house, and saved a project that was in many ways falling apart from my inexperience, lack of vision, and poor communication. They brilliantly coupled our ideas with their own, and somehow managed to squeeze everything we wanted into a luxurious, elegant, and relaxing design that respected the original Balinese elements in the house, but added modern touches in a perfect merging of Old and New. Not only did they design it well, they also tirelessly executed the finishing of the project in our absence, overcoming so many hurdles and setbacks, it would take pages to write them all. They are like angels to us, and we are truly awed by what they’ve accomplished. We continue to notice the attention they gave to the little details and are ever more appreciative of their insistence for quality. Here are a few before and after shots of the results.

House from garden:

old from bale higher new pool toward house

Dining room (we removed the stairs). Pool table becomes dining table.

old dining and piano new pool table toward art wall

From the entrance looking in
old from pond to kitchennew entry toward pool

Looking toward the garden:

old stairs to gardennew sitting toward pool 2

Our home now has three bedrooms (plus a family room that can be converted into a fourth bedroom), four bathrooms, a large dance / yoga room, an office (yay for me!), swimming pool, a beautiful rounded kitchen countertop/bar, a large sitting area with exotic lights, a dining table that can convert to a pool table, staff room, beautiful artwork throughout, an entry-way fountain and pond, plenty of storage space, a lovely and quiet balé overlooking the river, and so many nooks for reading and relaxing, including in a lovely garden that has become an extension of the house. Here are a few more pictures.

DSC01233 DSC01335 DSC01354 new sitting toward guest 2 DSC01176payogan-garden-1

The villa is for rent on Airbnb from May to the end of 2015, if you or anyone you know would like to spend some time here this year. We’ll be heading off to Southern Spain, France, Victoria Canada, and the U.S., ending with a white Christmas and New Year with extended family somewhere on that side of the world.

Kids Classes

Our kids enjoyed their drama class when we were here last year, and since then, Yellow Coco creative nest has taken itself to a new level. With a brand new bamboo building, more kids and staff, they’re working on a big musical production of the Lion King! Marie is playing the part of Timon, and Emily is Rafiki. I peeked in on one of their rehearsals and was really touched by the interaction of kids from all over the world, and the way they’re working together to put on this show. I’m so glad our girls can have this experience, and get to work with a genius teacher like Susan Allan.


Beyond that, our kids have joined a small homeschool group that meets three times per week, for four hours per day. There are about eight children from 9-12 led by an amazing former Green School teacher, who’s facilitating holistic learning of many subjects, from math and English, to geography and emotional intelligence and more. They’re also taking philosophy, permaculture, art, and chess classes from different teachers periodically, and enjoying lots of play time and sleepovers with friends, and alone time to explore their own interests in more depth. We feel it’s a really good balance for us right now.

We found some great staff for our villa as well, including an attentive driver who takes our kids to all their classes, a sweet and thorough house keeper, an occasional gardener/pool maintenance man, and an amazing cook who speaks excellent English. We feel very well taken care of here.


Putu, our house keeper

There are, of course, things we could choose to complain about, from the mold and mildew that tends to form on blinds, cushions, and bedding during the humid rainy reason, to the time it’s taking to wrap up the finishing touches and repairs on the house, to the mosquitos, termites, and other creatures that occasionally pester us, or even that mango season is ending :(. But overall, we’re very happy with the lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves here. Jen and I are even finding the time to work on some creative projects together (soon to be announced), and we’re choosing to spend one day a week at home without electronics to help us connect more as a family, away from the vortex of email and Facebook that so easily sucks us in. Hopefully we can maintain this balance until we leave in May, when we’ll shake it up again in new ways through our travels.

Here’s a before & after video I made of our house.

And here are some recent clips since we’ve come back to Bali.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. I’m all smiles! :D What a fun post! It’s been a long time coming, but it feels so great to be here in our beautiful new home with such great helpers, friends, and opportunities surrounding us. Enormous shout out to E* and M*, and sending lots of love their way. Our home was also their first building and design project in Bali, so even more impressive they were able to create such an amazing result. I love the video of the house before and after and also the video of little clips of the fun we’ve been having since we returned. I’m also loving our new creative venture we’re working on together!!

  2. Beautiful home, congratulations! BTW, what is “periodic philosophy?”

  3. Wow what a beautiful house you’ve created. Wishing you all the happiness in the world there. Love the blog, and the inspiration it gives us to get out there and experience the world.

  4. Hi Jennifer and Brandon and the girls,

    What a wonderful house you have now. The furnitures, art pieces, and remodeling are just fantastic!!! It looks lovely and perfect for your family. The cushion area is just wonderful. It looks so cosy. I will take a look and share your link from AirBnB on Twitter.

    Just wanted to let you know I loved the video where you filmed part of your neighborhood and your new remodeled house. It’s nice to see some videos of you ;)

    Take care,

  5. Love this, Brandon. I’m so happy you’ve found your home. It’s beautiful and videos (especially the 2nd one) are adorable. Best of luck, my friend, in all your endeavors and new beginnings this new year 2015.

  6. Aysia is going to be a BELTER! LOL :) Thanks so much for the peek into your lives – the neighborhood, the home, what you’ve been doing, and especially video of the family. Miss you all so much, but so proud of you… and inspired/excited by what you’re creating.

    Really looking forward to my next visit (maybe 2016?) to see your new home!

  7. I love that Aysia loves to “take a bath with mommy and my sisters” LOL

    • Jennifer Pearce Says: February 7, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Yes, she has a lot of fun in the bath now, but still doesn’t enjoy getting water on her head. Lol! She’s easing herself into it though. :) She’s really making good use of our pool too, taking a dip multiple times a day! Still likes her floaties, but got brave swimming with just one for a while the other day.

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