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Landlady? Who?

When Oky died in 2019, I was suddenly left with Gupondoro, an estate of about 750 square meters in Lembang, Bandung. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this needed a HUGE adjustment on my side. To be kind to myself, I clearly had many other issues to deal with those months. As nice and romantic as it sounds to inherit a beautiful, architecturally special home, real life has a way of waking you up with cold water, doesn’t it? Being a landlady is no walk in the park.

Newbie House Owner

To give some background: although I had lived by myself in the States for about 6 years, I never owned a room, let alone a house. The longest time I stayed in one apartment building was 1 year. Going from renting a room and having a system handy to call if anything went wrong to OWNING land and trees and a four-story HOUSE in a matter of one day was, to be honest, overwhelming. I’m a landlady? What does that even MEAN?

The infested tree.

Well, apparently it means when lightning rods break down I had to do something about it. It means when the huge tree in front of the house becomes infested with bugs and is likely to fall down, I have to take action before it goes the way of the lightning rod. It means dealing with gardeners that don’t have phones because they are too poor, and are hard to find, and as such obviously hard to communicate with. It means renovating the stairs when one part of the steps is about to collapse. It means dragging up water supply during the dry season because there is NOT ENOUGH WATER FOR THE WHOLE VILLAGE.

Hey, I didn’t sign up for this, I say to myself.

But wait, who is going to do it for me if I don’t learn? Damn.

Broken lightning rod.

The first consolation for me is that I partnered up with Alexandra and Marcel to prepare the house for receiving guests on AirBnB. It was the only way to cover all the maintenance costs that seemed to pop out of nowhere without end. I learned quickly that owning a house means you must build an emergency house fund. Anything can happen, and you’re screwed if you’re caught unprepared with some extra cash.

I love architects!

The picnic table needs a major reconstruction.

The next consolation for me is that my second husband Cung is also an architect. This means he can advise me on the necessary steps I have to take (for free, tee hee). People ask me why I married another architect again. Well, what can I say? They are pretty handy people!

Recently, the large wooden picnic table and the long chairs in the garden finally gave way to the weather, time, and rot. I called Rendy, who incidentally was one of Oky’s best friends. Rendy was also the one to introduce me to Cung (now that’s a juicy tale to tell) and asked for his help. Rendy (who is also an architect!) specializes in creating furniture from recycled material. He took up the challenge with Conture Concrete Lab. The whole process took about 2 months. Everyone is happy with the results.

New table!!!

I’m relieved for now, but also slightly anxious at what problems will come up next month. Goodness, look at me talking like a landlady.

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Falling in Love with Gupondoro

The first time Oky brought me to this house was a couple months after we started dating. I had gotten the brief from his friends: he designed an amazing house-office for himself. But nothing could have prepared me for experiencing Gupon (as was the nickname for the house) for the first time. Coming from the side, it stood alone on the top of the hill. The entrance felt like a mysterious passageway in which one merged smoothly from nature and the outdoors into a cozy wooden cabin. I called it a treehouse for the longest of time. 

The stairs of the cabin revealed nothing of what the living room and loft was like. It was a clear night, and the glass walls allowed the sexy twinkles of city lights to seduce me. This was the second breathless moment, after that magical passageway. Later on there would be other moments in which Gupon stole my heart. As if it was a person you could get to know from various different angles. On that night though, I simply thought I could definitely live here. It just needed a piano…

Written for “Sketches and Regrets“, a permanent exhibition at Villa Gupondoro. The exhibition is accompanied with the book under the same title. To read more about the time I lived in Gupondoro before Oky died, visit this post: Did You Plant Those Trees.