Christina and I have decided to stay in Jakarta. Our new plan is to fix up the house and convert part of it into an income source. The past couple of months have been spent on remodeling.

We now have three small apartments, all rented,Ā  and 1100 sq ft left for ourselves. With rental income taking care of the property, we can spend more time traveling Southeast Asia. It was a challenge, but we are pleased with the results. It took longer than I anticipated. I’ve had to learn patience living in Jakarta. (I’ve done well, except for yesterday, the day before that, the day before that, etc., etc., etc.). šŸ™ƒ

The big challenge was to brighten it up. We put glass blocks in the wall above the stairs to let in more light. There is a small bedroom above and an entrance into the hallway and patio upstairs. The remainder of the second floor is two rental units.
The kitchen is more apartment sized, but perfect for us. See the two round vents on the right side base cabinet? Thats for the propane tank like Americans use for the grill. We use the small 6.5 lb cansā€”one can lasts about a week and costs 22,000 RP ($1.50). Unlike the U.S., the smaller quantities are less per KG. The government subsidizes the small ones. Same with electricityā€”the more you use, the more it costs per unit. The idea is to make it affordable for the less fortunate and more costly for those who can afford more luxury, like air conditioning. The problem with this sort of social engineering is … no, I’ll save that conversation for another day.
A wall was removed here to open things up. We added a lot of glass and changed an outdoor storage area into a nice garden/light well. The room next to the garden is our office.

Plants really like this little patio.

View from the patio upstairs
Between the front gate and fountain is a nice area for potted plants.
Formerly an open porch, this is now a rental.

How to build a septic tank by hand in an afternoon.

It was less expensive to add a small septic tank for one bathroom than to run a 3″ pipe to the main tank. It’s made of three sections of 1 meter diameter sewer pipe stacked on each other. The only leeching is the dirt at the bottom. Two workers did the work in an afternoon. First they dug out for the first section of sewer pipe and placed it in the hole. Next, they dug under it three feet until they could get the section to drop. They added the next section and dug down another three feet. So, I have a tank about 39″ diameter by 8′ deep. Punching a hole in the side for a three inch pipe was easy.


  1. Hi Mike and Christina,

    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity and accomplishments with your home. I have enjoyed your blog and will try to check in on your periodically. Mike, I received your note, so nice to hear you are doing well.

    To answer your question, yes, the old neighborhood is rapidly changing. More and more new construction with home prices increasing what seems daily. You may return one day and not recognize it.

    Keep up the good works and inspiration !

    Your friend,
    Kirk Killebrew

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