Malaysian 3-storey house in Rawang transformed into homely space with soothing green yards

The backyard is a relaxing space filled with various plants like dwarf heliconia, monstera, Rhapis palm and Philodendron selloum. Photos: 146_hse/Instagram

What Nurhafizatul Haswani Mohd Razak and her husband had in mind when designing their new home’s interior was simple: To turn a house into a home.

Thus, after getting inspiration from social media and many other sources, doing research on how to design home interiors, and creating mood boards for each room, they felt that there was one style that appealed to them the most.

“I felt that the transitional design style suited both me and my husband the best. Even the girls like it so much,” said the mother of two children aged seven and eight.

Their three-storey intermediate house is located in Rawang, Selangor within a gated and guarded community. The 26ft x 70ft (7.9m X 21.3m) home has a build-up of 3,380sq ft (314sq m) and comes with four bedrooms and a utility room, which they have converted into a surau.

“The transitional design style blends traditional and modern interiors, aiming to create a harmonious and balanced look. It incorporates elements from both worlds, resulting in a timeless and sophisticated aesthetic.

“For our 146_hse, I started with deciding the wall colours, which I tried to blend together in a neutral colour palette to create a calm and warm ambience. By doing this, it provides a timeless backdrop that allows other design elements to stand out,” said the 36-year-old project executive with a cleaning and maintenance company.The TV cabinet area features a warm, soft look with arched shelves and wall panel details.The TV cabinet area features a warm, soft look with arched shelves and wall panel details.

Another important design factor is the house’s open floor plan, which allows a seamless flow between the living spaces.

“This contributes to a modern, spacious and calm feel, bringing good vibes into the house.

“Lighting is also one of the important aspects in our design. We have created a layered lights setting by incorporating layered lighting with a mix of pendant, down lights and also eyeball display lights. This not only provides functional lighting but also adds to the overall aesthetics of transitional design.”

In terms of furniture, the various pieces were carefully selected to reflect the same design style.

“For example, our dining table was built using solid teak wood, while we chose more sophisticated, modern dining chairs. To us, it turned out to be perfect, as if the pieces were meant to be together from the start.

“To complete the look for our house, we opted for subtle patterns for our accessories and decor. We did not want the look to be too heavy as it would take away the transitional vibe of ‘simple yet aesthetic’.White textured artworks overlook the solid teak wood dining table and modern upholstered chairs in the dining area.White textured artworks overlook the solid teak wood dining table and modern upholstered chairs in the dining area.

“Finally, for the wall art, we display artworks that reflect both traditional and modern touches. This includes a mix of classic paintings and contemporary sculptures hung on our wall,” added Nurhafizatul Haswani.

“Wall art can significantly contribute to the overall aesthetics of a home, adding personality, style and a sense of individuality to our living space.

“It is an effective way to add texture and dynamism to any living room, providing visual interest and a sense of depth to a space while also creating a focal point,” she said.

Their TV cabinet area also exudes a warm, soft vibe with arched shelves and wall panelling details.

“Who doesn’t love arches? Arches are a popular house interior element because they soften the entire look. Moreover, arches and curves are one of the transitional design elements.

“Arches were a popular feature in traditional architecture and they are now being incorporated into modern design. Hence, we chose an arch design for TV cabinet, added other textural elements like wood, shiplap panel, shaker door and rattan to enhance the whole transitional look,” she explained.The Oriental Spanish tile backsplash is a focal point in the wet kitchen and adds texture to the wall.The Oriental Spanish tile backsplash is a focal point in the wet kitchen and adds texture to the wall.

Nurhafizatul Haswani’s kitchen has a welcoming feel, done up in warm neutral and wood tones, with marble-design quartz stone countertops.

“We chose quartz stone as a countertop as it is a highly durable material which should last a lifetime with minimal scratching or chipping. Besides, it is easier to maintain and known as bacteria-free material.

“Meanwhile, we chose a retro style for our floor tiles to complement the transitional style and be different from other areas of the house that use SPC and wood flooring,” said Nurhafizatul Haswani, who shares her home decor journey on Instagram (@146_hse).

Her house was also selected recently 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 #ightmbacksplash for its unique design.

“During the planning phase, when we were considering the backsplash material and style, we asked ourselves what was important to consider in terms of keeping to the overall rhythm of the space – what is a focal point and what are the colours, materials and textures that can really support this?The laundry area lies next to a landscaped garden space.The laundry area lies next to a landscaped garden space.

“Finally, we decided to choose something like classic subway tiles but with a more textured look. Oriental Spanish tiles often have a rich history and are

associated with traditional Mediterranean and Spanish architecture. Choosing these tiles can evoke a sense of history and cultural heritage.

“As one of my interior philosophies is ‘do not follow the trend’, I chose grey instead of a bright colour and it turned out to be amazing. Spanish tiles can serve as a statement element in a space, particularly when used in smaller doses like a back-splash or accent wall.

“They draw attention and become a focal point for our wet kitchen. I love how it adds texture to the wall and enhances the beauty of the overall kitchen look.

“Most important is the functionality. Many Spanish tiles are made from durable materials such as ceramic or porcelain, making these tiles easy to clean and maintain,” she added.

Outside the home, greenery is lovingly cultivated to create a soothing outdoor space.

“For our porch yard, we have frangipani as a statement plant and Calathea lutea as a fencing plant.

“Meanwhile, in our backyard, we have dwarf heliconia layered with monstera as a fencing plant. We also have Rhapis palm paired with Philodendron selloum and ferns.

“We love to spend most of the time in our backyard because we feel calm and rejuvenated there, but definitely not during hot sunny days.

“For our indoor plants, we decided to choose faux plants because of the limitation of sunlight.

“We chose faux eucalyptus and olive tree plants as our key indoor plants to improve the ambience of the entire room plus add contrast and texture.”

In the future, Nurhafizatul Haswani said there are plans to further enhance the interior, namely by adding final touches to the wall and flooring, and creating better lighting layout and design.

“Another improvement that we are considering is to blend in more secondary colours into our home. As 146_hse is considered a transitional design house, selecting a secondary colour can complement the overall aesthetics and contribute to a cohesive design.

“Transitional interiors often incorporate neutral colours as a base, and secondary colours can add depth and interest.

“Too many colours might change the mood, thus we are still improving the look from time to time by trying to maintain a balance between warm and cool tones, as it will contribute to the harmonious transitional style,” she said.

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