Making the home about you


So what if your back kitchen faces a slope? Use the feature to your advantage and change it into an open kitchen. Here Ng shows off what she has done in one of her projects.

DIFFERENT folk, different spaces – that’s the golden rule when it comes to the art of interior design, say three industry players who will be at the Perfect Livin ‘16 home and lifestyle exhibition this weekend.

“Don’t fill up space just for the sake of filling it up,” said Ideas Makeover managing director Joseph Chiu.

Take into consideration ceiling height, walls, floors and existing fixtures and furniture and don’t forget about colour either, he said.

But crucially, Be In Design interior designer Ng Puay Ching stressed that one must ask what the owner is going to do in that space.

It must be clear what the space is meant for — whether rest, work or play.

Only then will the dweller be able to reap the full psychological benefits that come with beautiful design.

(From left) Chiu, Liew and Ng will give talks on space beautification and showcase their work at Perfect Livin ‘16.
(From left) Chiu, Liew and Ng will give talks on space beautification and showcase their work at Perfect Livin ‘16.

“A well-designed interior can motivate a person to behave more positively through the human senses of sight, hearing, taste and touch.

“For example, someone living in an elegant house will behave more elegantly and overactive children are calmer amidst peaceful colours,” said Ng.

Don’t forget about the owner’s character too, reminded Bean’s Concept interior design Asley Liew.

“A simple but elegant living room set with earth tones, whites and greys may work well for a cheerful personality.

“The living room should have an open concept connecting it to the garden so that it gets lots of natural light. I’d add in a water feature as part of the landscape for its calming effect,” said Liew.

But what if a space is inhabited by different personalities. A serious no-nonsense character in Dad. A carefree, happy-go-lucky Mum. Rock star and sport-obsessed teenagers. How do you please everybody?

Liew uses a wall as a focal point in the living room for this project. — Photos: Azlina Aziz/The Star
Liew uses a wall as a focal point in the living room for this project. — Photos: Azlina Aziz/The Star

“It’s important to create your own space. In my Miri home, for example, I insisted that the kitchen has to be ‘me’,” laughed Chiu.

However, the most workable formula is to find out who will be the ones spending the most time at home, suggested Ng.

“If it’s the wife who is the one spending more time at home with the children, then it should be decorated to suit her needs.

“But to be fair, a portion of the space should be allocated for Dad to have a quiet study room, for example,” said Ng.

A property with a well-designed interior is also likely to appreciate in value.

“From my experience in property investment since 2006, houses with good interior design can bring in 8% higher rental.

Liew shows how a chest of drawers shaped like a guitar can lend an interesting focal point to a stairway.
Liew shows how a chest of drawers shaped like a guitar provides an interesting focal point to a stairway.

“In 2010, I bought a 30-year-old house in Jalan Enak 2 in Bukit OUG, Kuala Lumpur, for RM1.32mil.

“In less than a year, I sold it for RM2.75mil after refurbishment,” said Chiu, whose speciality is redesigning old properties.

Chiu advises investors not to spend more than 10% of the property value and that all jobs should take no more than two months.

This is different than homeowners who only want to realise their dreams and may not have a fixed budget.

In this case, mindful spending is a trait to look out for when shopping for a designer.

“You can have a designer home without having a big budget,” said Ng.

A plain white cabinet can be given a unique touch of DIY. Find an antique armchair or a fundamental sofa that will give your living room visual impact.

Chiu combining the old and new in this corner.
Chiu combines the old and new in this corner.

“We start with what the clients have in mind. Then we work on colours and forms,” said Ng.

This is where the ability to find a house’s character comes into play.

“A big window that allows the owners a beautiful view – a back kitchen that faces a slope of bamboo trees, a nice timber floor – these can be incorporated into the design,” said Liew.

Lastly, let’s not forget feng shui. Rather than fill a house with the usual good luck charms, one can choose to stick to the basics like ensuring beds don’t face toilets or the main entrance of the house, doors don’t face each other and the kitchen sink is not in line with the stove so as not to invite conflict.

The three interior designers will be at the Perfect Livin ‘16 home and lifestyle exhibition at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur today to April 10, from 10am to 9pm.

In addition to giving talks, the trio will also showcase their work at the ID4U Galleria, a concept house.

Ng throws in pouffes for a burst of colour and touch of character.
Ng throws in pouffes for a burst of colour and touch of character.
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