Tranquil outdoor spaces surround a house of harmony.
Cool jazz. Moss gardens. Towering bamboo.
The landscape retreat of Bali Modern House is where many people would spend their vacation. One step outside envelopes you in tranquility. Within the landscape are a series of rooms ideal for meditation, yoga retreat, but just as easily utilized for large-scale entertaining including weddings. The plantings surrounding the living and dining area are purposeful. The lush array of plants beckon you through along meandering walkways, but they don't encroach into the paths. Clean lines are everywhere.
The simplicity of the landscape echoes the Ibsen-designed architecture, most particularly the equal weight given both to interior and exterior spaces, as well as the inventive ways they are bridged by the architecture. The landscape design is also informed by its renovator's travels to Asia, especially to Bali, as well as his adaptation of a Japanese school of aesthetics known as "wabi-sabi." This aesthetic approach champions asymmetry, simplicity, economy, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
From the calming garden of broken moss at the entry to the compound, to its rectilinear, modernist koi pond presenting constantly changing fish flecks of gold, orange, black and white, this place was designed for contemplating nature by surrounding oneself in it. The effect on visitors is refreshing and calming.
Like other successful modernist architecture of its 1950's era, the main house is nestled into the ground rather than placed on top of it as many newly constructed Seattle houses purporting to be "modern" seem to do. Here, it is the tall plants and berms enveloping the house and extending into the landscape that create a type of architecture that is wholly natural. Outdoor rooms emerge, defined by fencing and 30' tall bright green bamboo. The modern water feature adorning one wall of the outdoor dining room presents clean lines and an elegant waterfall fountain. These elements lure guest into the covered outdoor space and are often responsible for keeping them at the table long after dinner is over. Soft lights bathe the pools of water in a mellow yellow hue.
In the heart of the garden you will discover an outdoor pavilion, currently anchoring an ancient jonglo, - open-air outdoor room shipped from Java adorned with 250-year old hand-carved ceiling. (The jonglo is available for purchase after the real estate is sold). Here, another rectangular pond filled with lush aquatic plants at the reflects the surrounding vegetation and in its mirrored surface. Guests are welcome to stop at the edge of the pool and gaze across at the large statue of Buddha sitting under a canopy of tall shade trees. Unlike the waterfall in the outdoor dining room, the water in the upland pond does not flow, its stillness provides a tranquility to match the soothing rush of water below. Floating candles and garden lanterns sometimes adorn the outer edges and surface of the pond, their soft light further enhancing the peaceful mood.
Tall wooden fences - designed and crafted by Mitchell Smith - surround the property, providing privacy and comfort and a sense of otherworldliness. Bali Modern House's guests frequently remark "you could be anywhere in the world when you're here," according to its current owner.
Rooted in Seattle's classic mid-century design, Bali Modern House was refashioned by a respectful and sensitive specialist to make it congruent with living while utilizing the ancient practice of wabi sabi. The design integrates nature and architecture, allowing you to experience the wisdom and beauty of nature's imperfection. Here, one may observe life through all the senses and better engage in life as it happens, rather than be caught up in unnecessary thoughts. If the sense of calm sanctuary here was not enough to melt away the stress of today's fast-paced life, take a dip in the spa like hot tub, modestly tucked into an upland corner of the compound behind a tall stand of trees.