On our recent trip to Bali we met up with Sheila, the talented photographer and writer behind the site Bali Interiors. We have followed her blog and instagram well before we made the trip over so it was lovely to meet in person and find out more about Sheila’s love of tropical interiors, how different life in Bali is to her life in Bondi and what inspires her.
Sheila moved to Bali almost two years ago with her husband and two children after spending almost 20 years in Australia (Sheila is originally from Argentina). What fascinated us most about Sheila’s journey is how she has adapted to the much slower pace of living Bali offers. ‘Bali time’ really is a thing, there is a bit of a mad rush out on the streets of Seminyak but the majority of the time everyone is much more leisurely in their approach to life. Coming from fast paced Sydney we took a few days to adjust to this slower way of life and truly embraced it by the end of the trip (hopefully we’ve been able to bring some of this new attitude back to Sydney!!). Sheila loves this new lifestyle and struggles to imagine going back to the big smoke.
We chatted over breakfast about our mutual love and appreciation of decorating and how inspired we were after visiting so many beautiful villas during our time here. With new restaurants and villas opening in Seminyak almost weekly Sheila will have a full schedule of content to shoot for many years it seems!
Read on for a peek into Sheila’s Balinese lifestyle.
1. You photograph so many different styles, how would you describe your own style?
It’s a hard one. I love so many different styles its hard to choose one for me. But coincidentally I just photographed a house this week which was actually my dream house. It had quite a few different textures such as Polish concrete, exposed brick and lots of wood. The interior was quite modern but not over the top. Just like this house my style of house would have quite a few colours and lots of prints and art on the walls. I love to collect art! I guess my style is semi modern industrial. I say semi because I need a bit of warmth and too industrial sometimes can look a bit cold. I usually go pretty bold with some colours. I’m a little bit eclectic!
2. What do you love most about the Bali interiors you shoot?
I love everything about it (except for the heat!). I love seeing places in detail. I get amused but how they decorate and create a space. For me it’s a total pleasure to photograph spaces. I love taking my time and the whole process of it. Love taking the photographs and also love the post production. It is a bit like people that take real pleasure of trying exquisite meals, for me is the same. I feel like I’m degustating a place. Thats why I like to shoot when there is noone there, so I don’t get distracted and completely take it all in.
3. You spent 20 years living in Australia before moving to Bali. Are there any similarities between Aussie living to Bali living? What are the main differences?
I used to live in Bondi so actually between Bondi and Canggu there are many similarities. I’m pretty much living in the Bondi of Bali! The surf life, the yoga centres, the beach life, the yummy cafes! It’s actually very similar! The main difference is that in Bali is hot all year around!
4. Bali time is much slower paced to Sydney’s hustle and bustle, what do you love most about Bali time?
It’s too hot in Bali so you can’t do too much or you end up with a headache! I only plan 1 or 2 things a day. Sometimes 3! But thats it. You can’t do too much and thats ok. I think when you start doing too much in Bali you take a step back and then you ask yourself. Why did I move to Bali? The answer is to have an easier life. So you take your own advise and you slow down. There is no rush! Everything comes in time!
5. What prompted you to start Bali Interiors 2 years ago?
A few reasons. I moved here and after a month or two of getting massages and lying on the beach I had enough of it! I was getting really bored! So I thought there was a gap in the market for a blog that focus on interiors. I didn’t want to take selfies of myself (not my thing!) and I have always loved interiors and the beautiful things, so I decided to do it myself. And I just did it. I didn’t tell anyone, I just started it and went for it!
6. What are your top 3 villas to stay in Seminyak?
The Island Houses have beautiful villas so anything they do is amazing. I recently shot Africa house and is pretty special. I love Villa Casa Luna (which is in Canggu), one of my favourites and the other one is also not in Seminyak (Seminyak is great but there are so many amazing places to discover in Bali!) is Villa Shanti Sari, which is in Munggu and its this beautiful slice of paradise in a traditional villa.
7. What are your top 3 restaurants to visit in Seminyak?
Bikini is probably number one. The food is just out of this world. Total fine dining. Merah Putih would have to be the second one on my list. Also exquisite food and the interior is insane. And third one, so hard to choose! I would say Motel Mexicola for their friendly vibe and the extraordinary interiors.
8. What are you favourite interiors stores?
Kim Soo is just incredible. You go in and you want to buy the whole shop. Also they have a great cafe so I love to have a coffee and cake when I’m there. Jungle Trader would have to be my second choice as I love their selection and their point of view. And third one, also so hard to choose would have to be Beyond Borders. Totally different from the other two but love all of their kitchen wear and also the kids section.
9. Can you list a few tips to get the tropical vibe at home?
Maybe let’s start with a wicked rug or a beautiful Kilim rug. Then get lots of plants and put them in cute seagrass or rattan baskets, maybe mixed with some concrete pots. Add some beautiful throws and get some tropical vibe prints like the ones from my online store! Some big Rattan pendant can transform a space and if you are brave make a feature wall with a tropical wall paper.
Emma & Sonya xx