One couple transported a traditional Javanese villa to the shores of Bali to create this characterful beachside retreat.
years ago, Marcello Massoni and Michela Foppiani were invited by a business
partner to open a ceramics factory in Bali, Indonesia. Their company, Gaya, now
produces handmade ceramics for a number of high profile clients. The Italian
couple have a home close to their workshop in Ubud, but at the weekends they
retreat to this beachside villa, a short drive away in Sanur, to spend quality
time with their sons, Martino, Matello and Mario.
discovered this century-old Joglo house, traditionally constructed to mimic the
look of a mountain, on the nearby island of Java long before they found the
plot to accommodate it. As is common practice in this part of the world, they
bought the woodframed building, had it disassembled on site and then
transported to a new location, where it was rebuilt piece-by-piece. When the
lease on the land expires, the family has the option to move on, taking the
property with them. In spite of this, from the start of the project, the duo’s
priority was to create a home that conveyed a sense of permanence and
modernity. As such, they commissioned Italian architect Matteo Leoni to update
the 230-square-metre space.
created a sociable seating area at the heart of the house, which is framed by
carved timber pillars supporting a grass- lined ceiling. The bedrooms are at
the rear of the open-plan space and concealed behind curtains. The building’s
traditional structure acts as a foil to the contemporary surfaces used by the
architect: the cement herringbone tiles on the floor; the concrete kitchen
crowned with Carrara marble; and the iron-framed windows and doors that divide
the living area from the bedrooms.
and Michela’s interior eschews a cliched Balinese aesthetic. The furniture and
accessories throughout are custom- made (many are the pair’s own designs). The
couple’s original style underpins the bold choice of prints and the clusters of
original ceramics that are scattered across the space. ‘It was important to
inject a playful sense of fun,’ says Michela. ‘We didn’t want things to be too
serious, as this is a family home and our children should feel just as relaxed
in it as we do.’
laid-back, airy ambience is largely down to the lack of boundary walls in the
building. The façade is a classic pendopo structure, where a large roofed area
opens directly out into the garden. Grass screens, which can be rolled down
when needed, provide the only privacy. The family’s bathroom is a freestanding
stone tub nestled among the tropical foliage. For Marcello and Michela, this is
the epitome of indoor-outdoor living. ‘The beauty of the tropics is that you
can live outdoors year-round. We don’t want to be locked inside,’ says Michela.
‘Being in the open air, surrounded by the fragrance of the garden and with the
sea breeze wafting through the house, is, for us, what makes for a great
quality of life.’