Malaysian 2-storey Shah Alam home is a peaceful haven with a bright garden space


Photos: Syafiqah Sazeli

Having done their own interior design since their first rental back in 2012, Syafiqah Sazeli has a new place she calls home.

The 35-year-old accountant and her husband, Mohammad Shahazim Mohd Sidek, sold their first property and bought a new house at Alam Impian, Shah Alam in 2022.

The 22ft x75ft (6.7m x 22.9m) intermediate double-storey house with a build-up of 1,670sq ft (155sq m) has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Syafiqah said that the main reason they bought the house was because of its freehold status and its location not too far from the city centre, which is about 8km away.

“I would describe my home decor as a transitional design where it has a mixture of traditional and modern styles. It balances antiques and new pieces to create a serene and soothing atmosphere,” she said.

Syafiqah and her husband did not hire an interior designer but they source for design styles and ideas from social media platforms like Pinterest and other homes on Instagram.

“The handover was in February 2022 and we gave a two-month deadline to our contractors to complete all the wet works like hacking and plaster ceiling, electrical and lighting installations.Syafiqah’s home features a transitional design style that blends traditional and modern elements.Syafiqah’s home features a transitional design style that blends traditional and modern elements.

“We were glad that they met the deadline and we finally got to move in in May 2022,” she said.

But the renovation was not all smooth sailing.

“Throughout the renovation process, we did have some arguments due to the differences in opinions and ideas. But we managed to accommodate each other and come to a decision in the end.”

Because of a tight budget as well, Syafiqah said they could only go forward with a simple renovation, instead of an extensive one. They fully extended on the additional land at the back to add extra space to the house. From the extension, they managed to make a wet kitchen and mini indoor garden, along with a laundry-cum-store area.

Despite the limited kitchen space, Syafiqah decided to add a kitchen island, a decision she did not regret.

“I am so in love with it. It is like a dream come true to have an island for my kitchen. At first, I was worried if the island would cramp up the area but in the end, it worked out and I am happy we decided to get it,” she said.

The overall end result is an open-concept interior that features a neutral colour palette which includes black, white, light grey, beige and brown tones.The kitchen's colour palette of beige and white tones brightens up the area along with the open area at the back.The kitchen's colour palette of beige and white tones brightens up the area along with the open area at the back.

Power of plants

A mother of three girls, Syafiqah actively documents her home decor journey on Instagram, where she has accumulated around 5,000 followers.

There she shares snippets of the renovation process, design details and decor items she adds into her home, as well as her plant diary.

A variety of plants, which Syafiqah said is “harder to kill”, can be seen around her house, including pothos, philodendron, spider plant, snake plant/sansevieria, monstera, aloe vera, dracaena, dischidia, rubber plant and a philodendron burle-marxii.

“Plants really have healing powers. After years of taking care of them, I have learnt which plant is easier to care for and as a very forgetful plant mum, I only grow low-maintenance plants.

“We have an extra backyard outside the house where I plant all my unsuccessful indoor plants to give them a second chance to live. Fortunately, they grow healthier here.”Syafiqah keeps plants that are ‘harder to kill’ indoors.Syafiqah keeps plants that are ‘harder to kill’ indoors.

Recently, Syafiqah’s home was selected by @ighometourmalaysia – a local home tour group on Instagram hosted by home decor enthusiasts to inspire one another and share ideas on home design and decor – under the theme #ightmplants.

Syafiqah said that staying in an intermediate house does not allow a lot of natural sunlight to come in and the only way to obtain it is through the front and back of the house. Unfortunately as the front porch is covered, there isn’t much natural light for the living room either.

“This is why my husband and I decided on a clear awning. It gives us lots of natural light for the kitchen, garden and laundry area.”

The fully extended back was built with a see-through roof awning which allows a lot of light into the area throughout the day.

As her plants won’t be able to get proper sunlight indoors, most of her vases around the house are filled with artificial flora.The kids’ bedroom wall was painted with a scalloped design and adorned with confetti stickers to give it an ice-cream theme.The kids’ bedroom wall was painted with a scalloped design and adorned with confetti stickers to give it an ice-cream theme.

Complementing those are a French-inspired coffee table and frames, as Syafiqah is into Parisian designs as well.

Most of her decor pieces, such as her vases and frames for her living room and dining area, were found in thrift stores.

In addition, Syafiqah is secretly a talented artist and when she couldn’t find the right piece of art for her staircase landing area, she took it upon herself to create a beautiful piece of textured art using fabric and plaster, adding a personal touch to the space.

Another DIY project was the kids’ bedroom, featured on her Instagram as well, done up in an ice cream theme where the walls were painted to reflect the pattern of an ice cream.

Due to budget and time constraints, Syafiqah said their renovation focused mainly on the common areas on the first level.

On the second floor, no major renovations were done except for plaster ceilings and coats of paint.The dining area has a  cosy feel with woven chairs and lamp-shade lighting.The dining area has a cosy feel with woven chairs and lamp-shade lighting.

Syafiqah and her husband managed to complete their renovations and interior decor with a cost of between RM40,000 and RM50,000.

She adds that she has plans to do more in the future. But for now, Syafiqah is very happy with her home.

“My favourite part of the house would be my garden. I usually spend my morning having an early breakfast there.

“It feels so refreshing and bright with sunkisses throughout the house.

“Sitting on my sofa in the living room makes me feel so calm and peaceful. Everyday, I feel so excited to go back home not only to meet my family but to be in my home too,” she said.


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