For chef Chris Salans, a home is not just a place to return to but where his heart belongs.
The owner of award-winning restaurant Mozaic Ubud, and newly opened Mozaic Beach Club in Seminyak, both in Bali, has a house by the beach that most people can only dream of.
Villa Salans, surrounded by a lush garden, is on the right as one arrives on Ketewel beach in Gianyar and far away from the hustle and bustle of tourist beaches.
Passing through the automatic front gate, guests are taken to a wide parking lot enclosed by fruit trees.
The foyer of the house is more impressive and better stocked than the typical Balinese museum. The 8-meter white stone carving set, in the wooden wall is, quite literally, breathtaking. A Javanese kris hangs over toy horses set and pictures of Salans’s beaming family members smile harmoniously from the walls.
Moving through the spaces of Salan’s house is a journey from awe-inspiring, through overwhelming into mind-boggling. The house’s main feature is a huge single space incorporating the kitchen, dining room and the living room, running the full length of the villa, with the seaward side composed entirely of tall, sliding, glass doors.
Behind this vitreous architectural miracle between the hardwood deck and the beach, a long swimming pool stretches out beneath the backdrop of the vast Bali Sea and Sanur coast.
Salans’ kitchen and dining room show a strong set of contrasts combining red lacquered cabinets, walls of raw stone and an unshakably sturdy teak dining table that can comfortably accommodate 14 diners.
Between dining and living areas a big jardinière perched on a cube of wooden blocks gives a hint of Salans’ wife’s central Java origins.
Traditional ornamental Balinese geegaws and knickknacks strewn along the window ledge and dining table, show that the owner is proud of the heritage of his new home.
This father of three’s favorite place in the house is the kitchen area, but not to cook. Instead, he perfers to enjoy food his wife prepares.
“I rarely cook at home because I am always in the kitchen at work. Here the queen of the kitchen is my Javanese wife. She is very good at cooking and my inspiration. I learn a lot of Indonesian recipes from her,” Salans says.
The motif of hardwood blocks dividing one space from another continues into living area, where the same rectangles which support the planter give a distinctive accent to wall and support the coffee table. A wall of mirrors doubles the size of the room. Abstract paintings, wooden Javanese statues, books and the toys of his children, breathe life to the room.
The residence is comprised of two buildings: the main building and a secluded guesthouse. All seven bedrooms in the house have fantastic sea views.
The most spectacular part of a spectacular house is probably the master bedroom. The magnificent verandah is the perfect place to enjoy an amazing view.
But this verandah is so much more than just a view. It features its own garden, fishpond and a sunken bar, inspired by a resort in Eco Beach in Canggu where he and his wife stayed several years ago.
Salans designed the house himself, without recourse to an architect.
“This house is built based on the surrounding environment. These large glass doors to protect from the strong wind which usually comes from June ‘til September. Also, I asked my contractor to make sure the floor was not slippery for safety during the rainy season, but also because we swim often and it always gets wet inside,” Salans said.
His family love to spend time in the garden, where his three children play and run amok when they’re at home or where Salans enjoys his morning swim before going to work.
Apart from coastal trees which can survive the strong sea winds, there are also frangipani trees. And, hidden from the strong gusts, are several fruit trees and a herb garden, which Salans often makes use of in his commercial kitchen.
Before moving to this house about three years ago, Salans and his family used to live in Batubulan. The land here was intended as an investment, but when his wife got pregnant again, the growing family needed a bigger house.
Salans said at first, his children didn’t like the new house, saying it was too big and made them feel far away from each other.
“We keep on telling them that this is an amazing house, we are lucky to have this house. And now they love it so much,” he says.
For Salans himself, this house gives him much peaceful environment where he can relax and play with his children instead of thinking more about works.
“This house is very relaxing. It’s a place I come to relax after a long hard day at work. But the feeling is more because of my children, not only the house itself,” he said.
Salans also dreams of having his own cooking school and can see himself getting old in the house. He does not think he will live anywhere else for decades.
“When we built this house, it was to be the last house we built. It’s our dream house. The house where my heart is and the place where I and my family unite.”
For Chris Salans, a house is a living thing. You always have to add, change, maintain and clean. With a big house comes big responsibilities and when you have a beachfront house, it’s another story. Biggest threat is the sea wind and salt water, so the right choices of building materials are vital.
Here are several tips on how to build a beachfront house.
• Choose lighting carefully. Regular lighting will give up the ghost within months, so better buy the best international quality that will last longer.
• Choose the right wood and stone so that they can survive the salt water and the floor will not be slippery. Wall can easily get covered by moss and if you are not careful, the wood will soon be full of termites.
• Choose coastal trees for your garden.
— Photos by maxxxmotion