Malaysian couple turns dark 2-storey house into bright cosy space


The first thing that strikes guests is how airy and spacious the living area is. Photos:The Star/Art Chen

A timeless interior exudes a sense of quiet confidence. It’s sophisticated yet feels inviting.

Combining a multi-layered approach, the cosy home of content creator Thara Sofian and her family balances the feeling of being lived-in and curated.

“We spend a lot of time together as a family so it was important that our home was a place for us to recharge and bond together. Home is really where our heart is,” shares Thara. “Before moving into this house, we lived nearby. Since we liked this area very much, we wanted a house that could accommodate my three growing kids, a place that wasn’t too big or too small.These benches create a cosy seating area.These benches create a cosy seating area.

“When we first saw this house it was love at first sight. It was a subsale home that had already been renovated but the previous owners didn’t live very long in the house before moving out. So when we bought it, it was like we were the first family to truly move in,” she says.

The double-storey terrace end-lot property in Shah Alam only needed a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings before the young family moved in eight years ago.

Thara shares, “The original interior had these dark, old-school colours so we repainted the whole house in a more neutral, grey tone.”

So their priority was to create a house that felt timeless and right for family life – this was achieved with the large main room for gathering everyone and smaller spaces tailored to quiet time.

Thara admits she loves that the home has little corners to create cosy areas for family and guests to spend time in.

“We decided not to place any TV in the living room as we wanted to entertain our guests without a distraction. Instead we turned the inner airwell area, just next to the dining area, into our TV area,” she says.

“Another reason why we didn’t have the TV in the living area was because we wanted to have some quiet time with the kids when we eat. Since there are no gadgets, it’s really a time for us to spend quality time together, plus it gets us talking to each other!”

The owners took great care in choosing their furniture, like this dining table that is made from reclaimed wood.The owners took great care in choosing their furniture, like this dining table that is made from reclaimed wood.

Timeless decor that lasts

Just like fashion, interior trends come and go. If you’re committed to achieving a timeless look in your home, you’ll want to look beyond trends and focus on styles that last and that you love. Both Thara and her husband agreed that they wanted to find pieces for their home that would last.

Their mantra was to not rush into purchasing furniture, especially big-ticket items, or cover walls in the ‘colour of the year’. Instead, the couple took their time until they found the right items.

For Thara the finished result “feels just right; I’m not the type of person who needs to change things every year. I wanted pieces that were timeless and that could be used for a very long time”.

“When we were choosing most of our furniture, it was with that in mind, so we made sure to choose things that looked classic and timeless,” she adds.

The sofa in the main living room, for example, took months to be discovered! Their effort in keeping with timeless interiors and focusing on an understated, yet sophisticated, style continues even with the children’s bedroom.

The spacious master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe, work area and a chill corner.The spacious master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe, work area and a chill corner.

“We wanted the kids’ rooms to be practical and spaces that can still be used in 10 years time so we designed the rooms to stand the test of time! Plus the kids didn’t want anything kiddy, especially my 11-year-old daughter!” says Thara.

The couple decided only during the pandemic to begin major renovation work to the bedrooms.

“Since we were spending so much time at home during the lockdown, we decided that it was only right that we do up the rooms,” shares Thara.

The rooms are designed in a neutral tone that gives it a young adult look but peppered with whimsical touches and pops of colour for a youthful feel. The boys’ room even has an upper deck that has been turned into a dedicated space for playing video games and a chill-out area.The boys’ room features a cool upper deck for their gaming activities.The boys’ room features a cool upper deck for their gaming activities.

One tip that has worked for Thara when doing renovation projects is to work closely with an ID person.

“If you have any ideas or concerns, sit down and talk it through with them. This helps to ensure that what you envision the room to be becomes a reality,” she shares.


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