Malaysian couple's 2-storey home embraces Korean chic and modern organic style

The backsplash is the main character of the wet kitchen. Photos: Shasha Rusley

Shasha Rusley and her husband Afiq Baharudin were most excited to embark on the renovation project for their first home. Their 24ft x 65ft (7.3m x 19.8m) double-storey terrace home is in Rawang, Selangor and features four bedrooms and four bathrooms with a built-up of 2,288sq ft (212.5sq m).

Architecture graduate Shasha, 31, and engineer Afiq, 30, are both working in the construction industry, so they both have the knowledge and experience to design their home.

They earnestly started the renovation process even before the purchase was finalised, completing the design and drawing production stages in six months. As soon as their home purchase was finalised, the couple interviewed several contractors before choosing one to work on their home.

“In order to complete the renovation on time, we spent more time in the planning stage, finalising things before the renovation even began. We made sure to be firm with our decision and trust our design and the process,” recalled Shasha.

Despite their meticulous planning and sourcing for more than five contractors, they still had to monitor the work constantly to ensure they got the results they wanted.

“We visited the site whenever we had a chance during lunchtime and after work. We would immediately mark and report any dissatisfactory work at the end of the same day and ensured the contractor rectified it the next day,” said Shasha, who advised against only checking after the renovation was completed.The living room flows from the kitchen and dining area seamlessly.The living room flows from the kitchen and dining area seamlessly.

They also tried to help their contractors with their requests as some were unusual.

“We actually prepared a construction method statement for designs that the contractor had never encountered, such as the curvy strip LED lighting at our living hall and the usage of dry wall as cabinetry for our TV panel and display pantry,” added Shasha, who often shares her renovation journey and decor projects on Instagram.

Down to the flooring

Recently, Shasha’s home (@kasa.tiga) 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 #ightmflooring for her inspiring ideas on flooring.

Shasha described her home decor as a mixture of modern organic and Korean chic; they aimed for an overall clean look but interjected with fun elements.

“You’ll find the neutral colours in the modern organic look but also features of Korean chic like integrated arched walls in the rooms.

“We also opted for handmade dinnerware that not only looks pleasing in the overall decor but that we also actually use on a daily basis,” shared Shasha, adding that most of their styling items have an organic look but are all purposeful.Sintered stone is used for the countertop and backsplash.Sintered stone is used for the countertop and backsplash.

But playfulness was also integral to their design concept, and this was most apparent in their kitchen.

“The idea is to have at least one fun look in the house and the happiest place for us is in the kitchen because we both enjoy and love cooking,” said Shasha.

In the kitchen, they used terrazo with splashes of bright colours to break the monotony of neutral colours used in the rest of their home.

They also designed the kitchen with two different types of flooring to denote different functions.

“Both designs were chosen to cater to different types of workspaces. One is more suitable for heavy duty so that we don’t have to worry about water and oil.

“The dry kitchen is lightly used and open to guests, so we’re free to choose something that is aesthetically pleasing to the guests,” she said, adding that the separation of floorings is to set boundaries for guests.

With the wet kitchen being the most heavy-duty area of the home, they had to ensure the choice of flooring was low-maintenance and long-lasting. The couple decided to go with a matter format of porcelain tiles with a terrazzo pattern as it is non-slippery. Using the same tiles, they matched it with their backsplash and the pattern choice helped give the kitchen an illusion of a larger area.Shasha described her home decor as a mixture of modern organic and Korean chic, with an overall clean look interjected with fun elements.Shasha described her home decor as a mixture of modern organic and Korean chic, with an overall clean look interjected with fun elements.

“For the dry kitchen we went with SPC herringbone flooring. The good thing about herringbone is, it will make a small space look elongated and larger. Our dry kitchen is not as heavy duty as the wet kitchen so choosing a flooring that matches with the other spaces makes the integration of the dining area and dry kitchen look seamless and open,” said Shasha.

“Overall we like our house looking clean and minimal but with some modern touches, a bit of organic and fun feeling. It actually reflects our personality. We both grew up in the city so we love something up to date, so we put up some modern design lightings, futuristic-looking sink and the latest air-conditioner design.”

The appliances in the house are hidden to maintain a clean look.

The most important part is that every space is meant to not just cater to adults but also to their three-year-old daughter.

“Every design in this house was made accessible to her so that she can participate in every activity in this house. For instance, our display pantry door handle was designed so she could reach it.

“She can load the laundry so we ensure that the laundry area is accessible to her too,” added Shasha.

Balancing creativity and practicality

In terms of the inspiration behind the design, she said “I love art, and while designing the look of the home, I wanted every corner to be artistic. Meanwhile my husband is looking for something more practical. So we had to try and balance both our requirements.

“We treat our house as a large canvas in which we are free to experiment with new designs and explore new technical execution. That is what makes the process unique.

“It’s a small pleasure to be able to educate contractors on how to construct a certain item in our house. There are new ideas that can be much more cost saving than conventional ways. We will always try to find things that are cost effective without jeopardising the final outcome. Our house is a work in progress. We still have other areas that we’d love to throw in our ideas.”

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