The lone artisan

It’s not often to find solitary workers in the building trade in Indonesia, as helpers are so easy to come by. But our terrazzo artisan is running solo.

I wanted to use terrazzo on the floors and stairs but after interviewing terrazzo contractors and seeing their work, I concluded that it’s a pretty high maintenance item. Best to use it sparingly.


One minute of workers working

These 19 seconds shows about a typical minute of work. The clip is running at 4X normal speed.

While everyone in this clip is actively working, I should mention that due to the heat the workers do take several breaks throughout the day, in addition to lunch. Their pace is still quite impressive considering the tropical setting.

If you multiply the effort in this tiny movie by over 100,000 minutes that crews of various sizes have been working on this project, then you’ll get some idea of the total work.


Week #33 — 50 workers

We are ramping up to get the finishes done. We have workers encamped from three villages, an electrical & plumbing crew, and a team making custom windows and doors.

You can imagine that labor must be cheap and you’d be correct. There’s a lack of electrical tools since saving a few minutes on each task may not seem worth it. But if it was up to me I’d upgrade to electric as the benefits seems to outweigh the capital cost. But I try to go with the proverbial flow and not demand that my builder change his ways.

Today you can see our kitchen and island coming together. You will be able to join a cooking class and learn how to make amazing Indonesian food.


Interior spaces: finally something to show

Above: our mural artist Maria, whom we met in Bali a year ago, came back from St. Petersburg, Russia especially to create murals on our walls.

We first started working on the interior in bits and pieces, in different rooms, and it seemed too random until I told Wayan (my builder) that we wanted to move in to the residential side of the structure by the end of February. After that the majority of the workers switched their focus.

The floor is a dark gray but you wouldn’t know it from the mud that has been tracked all over it. To the right are two walls: both will have the plant mural seen above.

As a side note, the temporary bamboo support is just one of dozens of McGyver techniques the Indonesian people use when faced with extemporaneous situations.


Week #32 – Tile floors & the kitchen sink

We have reached a point where the latest work on the project is bringing a sense of aesthetic and completeness. While not a single room is actually finished, there are pieces of the puzzle that are coming together.

My builder has completed a couple of his other projects and is now more focused on “getting the job done” as well.