Author Ayu Utami in her working room
These philosophies are relevant when talking about the house of author Ayu Utami.
The writer of 1998’s seminal novel, Saman, had a clear concept when she designed her house in Utan Kayu, East Jakarta.
“I am the type of person who knows what I want. I like nature, so I want an open house. I also like simplicity, so I built a house that has no make up. The concept is a garden house,” she tells The Jakarta Post.
Ayu uses garden elements to incorporate all rooms of the house with air and sunlight. A climbing wall and other sporting equipment are put in the garden, so she can practice anytime she needs.
“To me, the energy of my house is the sun. That is why I made a small garden in the middle of the house, so no single room is away from sunlight.
The sunlight is very important for me,” she says.
She fancies every part of her house, saying the rooms cater to all of her needs. Unlike people who buy a ready-to-sell house and have to fit their stuff inside, she feels grateful for being able to be creative in designing her house after buying a vacant block of land.
Realizing her need to have a view while writing and reading, Ayu designed an office overlooking her yard with a view of the sky.
“Our eyes need to relax from daily accommodation. At night, sometimes I can enjoy watching the moon from the window while working,” she says, adding that she can also enjoy the moon from her bathroom.
Her kitchen is another place where she spends time with husband Erik Prasetya. They barely buy prepared meals, preferring to cook at home as it better suits their taste buds. The writer, who does not like too much seasoning and fried food, says that she shares a cooking schedule with Erik. She makes breakfast and he makes lunch.
“Cooking is not my hobby, but I am a good food-tester. Eric is the one who likes cooking.
We like to spend our time together in the kitchen because we love eating,” she says.
A fabulous design was not on her mind when it comes to the interior. She picked a simple and functional interior for her house. She says she measured her collection of novels and books before ordering a simple bookshelf to make sure that there would be no space wasted.
“Modesty and function are the most important things to me, not style. When I bought a piano, for example, I measured the size because I wanted to know whether it fitted well in the room,” Ayu says.
There, she is happy. The author of Bilangan Fu is living in her beloved house, showered by sunlight and surrounded by greenery.