Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One More Villa

Last year a bunch of our friends who started in the Foreign Service with us came to visit us in Indonesia. Some of them spent a few days in Jakarta, but then we all met up in Bali for about 5 days. (This was the same group we met up with in China in the fall of 2007.) We rented a really nice villa which slept 8 of us, and having our own pool and kitchen was really nice. We never did any blog entry about that trip, but here are some pictures.

We wanted to do one last reunion in Southeast Asia before we all head back to DC or onto our next assignments. We all decided Phuket, Thailand would be perfect: it's centrally located to all of us, not an expensive vacation, and has beaches and fun activities.

We leave tomorrow to spend 9 nights in Phuket, and we recruited a couple friends from Jakarta this time. All in all we have 14 people total staying at the villa, although some are coming the first half of the week, and some the second half. We decided - along with another couple - to stay the whole time. We'll truly get to relax as well as scuba dive and see some of the islands off the coast. The place we're staying looks amazing; it is 4 stories and has a rooftop pool! We'll post some pics when we are back.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indonesian furniture

John and I decided to get some furniture made here before our Indonesian journey came to an end. There were 3 main advantages to getting stuff built here: We knew we'd be getting high-quality furniture made from teak wood; we could play a role in the design process; and the price is much better than comparable items in the US.

I had no idea what teak really was before now: "Teak is a very hard, closely grained wood high in natural oils. All three of these properties help maintain this wood's endurance. If properly made, it will not warp, rot, split or crack and teak withstands the test of time. Teak furniture can be more than 50 years old and still not show signs of aging."

We first decided to get a dining table, 8 dining chairs, and 2 benches made. I fell in love with a table we saw. I found it really unique, as it was a square dining table as opposed to a rectangular one, and because it sits on a center base, it doesn't have legs to get in the way while guests are sitting at it. We thought it would be neat to have the option of switching out the 2 chairs on either side for a bench when we felt like it.

We invited people over recently for a casual dinner, and 2 guests showed up unexpectedly. We had a total of 10 adults eating at the table with plenty of room. (3 people on each bench.) It's also a very social table, since everyone has the opportunity to see and hear everyone else equally, and isn't stuck on one end of the table and getting left out of fun conversations.

We also designed the backs of the chairs. We came up with 4 different designs and had 2 chairs made with each design. We really like how they turned out. You don't necessarily notice they're different, but I like the fact that we have something unique that we helped design.

After the table and chairs were a success, we decided to get a coffee table and 2 end tables made. The same store had a really cool coffee table with two drawers and a glass-inlaid top, which allows you to see into the drawers. I liked that you could sort of change up the decor by putting different types of things inside the drawers of the coffee table (as long as we don't let them fill up with junk!)

We initially saw the coffee table on the display floor of the store, and as they had no end tables that matched, John had the great idea for us to have them design two end tables that were the same style.

I ended up putting our wine bottles inside the drawers of the coffee table to see what it would look like, and I think it's kinda cool!