Great Spaces: A Balinese Joglo

This enchanting backyard pavilion contains thousands of pieces of a centuries-old Indonesian puzzle.
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Tom and Sonya Ricketts’ Indonesian “joglo” (Photo by John Cole)

Tom and Sonya Ricketts were shopping at Arhaus in Tysons when an intricate store display caught Tom’s eye. Inquiring whether the ornate, hand-carved, four-post structure was for sale, he learned it was the interior of an antique Balinese “joglo”—a vernacular house type dating back centuries.

The couple, avid travelers and collectors of Asian artifacts, envisioned a future for the joglo behind their home in Woodmont. They had already enlisted Anthony Wilder, whose eponymous design-build firm is based in Cabin John, Maryland, for a succession of renovations and home improvement projects—including customizing Tom’s home office with a set of Hutong doors. Soon Wilder and his associates were designing a backyard pavilion to house this one-of-a-kind find.

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A close-up of the joglo’s intricate hand-carved design (Photo by John Cole)

Over two days, the team painstakingly photographed and tagged the joglo’s 3,500 hand-carved wooden pieces (believed to be 500-year-old teak) before disassembling it, storing its cataloged parts in a climate-controlled space and eventually reassembling it on a raised platform in the Ricketts’ backyard.

The antique structure is now nested inside a sweeping cedar-and-steel pavilion surrounded by black beach stones meant to mimic calming water. Louvered cedar doors on the rear wall of the pavilion offer privacy from neighbors, but the rest of the structure is open on three sides.

Sonya furnished the space with RH all-weather seating upholstered in a durable Chinese red fabric, and a Moroccan-style lantern from VivaTerra. Two Cambodian stone sculptures perch on custom pedestals. At night, LED lights illuminate the joglo and the surrounding landscape.

“It’s almost like an Asian resort,” Tom says of the three-season spot, where their three daughters love to huddle during thunderstorms. Completed in 2018, it’s an immediate conversation-starter when friends visit.

Wilder still remembers urging the couple to go for it after they spotted the joglo in the store. “The detailing that’s gone into this, it’s all hand-carved,” he says. “It just floats in that space.”

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Categories: Home & Design