One of the biggest challenges for the Costa house isn't going to be the actual building of the property (they do that pretty well down here), but rather the furnishing of it. When we first met with a project manager about the property he warned me, "this isn't like in the states where there is a Home Depot on ever corner or a West Elm... you really have to search for things here." Considering that my passion is interiors, this was a little disheartening but since then I've done some digging and I've found that a number of US companies (like West Elm, Anthropologie, PB, Target) actually do ship here. The catch? They don't ship furniture. So, I can get rugs, and lamps, and soft goods but what I can't get directly from these vendors is the actual essentials. Places to eat, sleep, and lounge.
The other day I was discussing this with an ex-pat who is building a home /rental property down here and he told me you basically have two options, ship from the US or Bali via a crate and a shipping company OR make your own furniture. Both have their own complications, but if you can find the right builder, quite a bit of the furniture cost can be absorbed in the building cost of the home if you have them actually make the furniture themselves. That would obviously be better than paying absorbent shipping fees or worse!!! having our furniture held hostage by customs so I've been thinking about what it is that we could have made. Obviously, most of the builders are not furniture makers by trade, so the challenge is going to be to fund someone who is (unlikely) and /or keep the design simple enough so we are happy with the end result.
Here are the pieces that I've come up with so far that I think we could easily have made. (Said by the non furniture maker, of course!)
The first is our living room furniture. As I've mentioned we probably won't be spending a ton of time indoors but during the rainy season when the mosquitos are out in full force we definitely want a place to chill out. My best friend found this image in Architectural Digest a few months ago as inspiration for her cape house and I immediately squealed YES!!! when I saw it. This type of square furniture would be so easy to recreate and I could have all the cushion covers made in the US and then bring them down when we fly. This is definitely the style of house we will be building so I would feel pretty confident that it would look great in the space.
Now, obviously we wouldn't be doing white cushions given the kids, and the fact that this will be a sandy beach house, so I was looking for an outdoor fabric that was light but that also had a pattern in it so it would wear better. I stumbled upon this fabric from Serena and Lily while making suggestions for some bench seating (again for my best friend's cape house) and I think it would look so cool on the furniture above.
The other obvious choice for furniture that we could make would be all the beds. Right now I am thinking we will have one king in the master, two queens in two guest rooms, one bunk room with eight bunks, and a guest house with a king. That is a LOT of beds and financially it really just makes sense to make them ourselves. I really think we could do a platform style bed (our preferred choice) and in each room do a unique headboard. I love live edge furniture so it doesn't even need to be that complicated. We basically just need to find enough oversized slabs of wood and then have them affixed to a simple, rectangular bed frame. That should be easy enough, right? (Famous last words, I know).
In addition, I would love to have an island in the kitchen and a huge farmhouse style dining table in our outdoor covered area. Almost every restaurant in town has these features so I'm pretty confident that these things can easily become a reality.
Then of course there are "the extras." The bunks for the boys. vanities in the bathrooms, a surround for a tub (do we want a tub?), bench seating, a console table... the list goes on and on. For me these things really depend on what kind of wood I can get my hands on. It used to be that everything around here was make with a dark, orange hued wood which is definitely not what I'm looking for, but more recently we've been seeing a lot of lighter wood. The problem is that it's still a little waxy and artificial looking and I'm not sure if it's the wood itself or the treatment on it. I'm hoping we can track down some rustic pieces with a little visual interest but right now that is a big question mark. (Listen, I also hope that my kids will one day sleep past 5:45am but that too is a big question mark and I'm not counting on it any time soon! ;))
Luckily, we now have a contact down here that is going through the process so I'm sure in 18 months or so when we actually have to start making / purchasing things that we will have a lot more information. At least we know 1) that it's possible and 2) it's possible. Clearly I'm not lacking in inspiration and at least that's a start! Xx