Malaysian builds his cats a Swiss-inspired chalet using discarded wood


Rumah Meow, designed to resemble a Swiss alpine cabin, is one of Albark’s most creative DIY projects to date. Photos: Albark Yunus

The two-storey wooden chalet resembles a Swiss alpine cabin, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and door.

However, it only measures 10ft (3m) in height and 3ft (0.9m) in length. A peek inside reveals a litter box and a cat tower.

The abode, named Rumah Meow, was built by businessman Albark Yunus last month for his five adopted felines.

“Five years ago, I travelled to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland and fell in love with its architecture, specifically the traditional alpine chalets.

"The old-fashioned homes give out warmth and sense of calm. I designed the cat home with this inspiration, ” said Albark, 31, who also turned to Facebook, Instagram and Google for additional ideas.

Rumah Meow was built using unwanted wood pieces Albark salvaged from the roadside around his Dusun Tua neighbourhood in Hulu Langat.Rumah Meow was built using unwanted wood pieces Albark salvaged from the roadside around his Dusun Tua neighbourhood in Hulu Langat.

The shelter is installed with lights and features artificial grass for a homely feel. Also included is a tower for the cats to play and sleep on.

In total, he only spent RM400 to build the cat house, a fraction of the cost of buying custom-made shelters, which can range from RM3,000 to RM6,000.

The interior of Rumah Meow is complete with photos, artificial grass, a cat tower and a bench for the felines to lounge around.The interior of Rumah Meow is complete with photos, artificial grass, a cat tower and a bench for the felines to lounge around.The main reason is because Rumah Meow was built using unwanted wood pieces Albark salvaged from the roadside around his Dusun Tua neighbourhood in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

The father of two completed the shelter in 10 days last month during the movement control order.

“People discard so much wood and used pallets without realising their value and beauty.

"Instead of throwing away these items, it’s better to repurpose them into something new. This helps to reduce waste, ” said Albark, who owns an event management company in Hulu Langat.

Albark is among a growing number of Malaysians who understands the importance of conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

He firmly believes in upcycling as a way of reducing waste.

“Malaysians produce tonnes of rubbish each day. If everyone adopts green habits, we can reduce unnecessary wastage.”

Upcycling, he added, also eliminates the need to source for fresh raw materials to produce new items.

“DIY projects aren’t difficult to do; it all boils down to creativity. The most difficult part of creating the shelter was stripping the wood from the bark.

“DIY isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s all about the mindset. Start small and never give up, ” says Albark.“DIY isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s all about the mindset. Start small and never give up, ” says Albark.“There’s always a sense of satisfaction from creating something new. DIY projects that use recycled materials also help to save a lot of money.”

In the last five years, Albark has completed several projects, from making tables and chairs to wood casings for his aquariums. About 80% of these items are made using recycled wood.

“DIY isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s all about the mindset. Start small and never give up. It’s a great hobby because it keeps the mind active. And you can produce results that you will be proud of.”

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