House of love

(2011-07-21 23:28:50) 下一個
Friday, Jul 22, 2011
The Star/Asia News Network

By Willy Wilson

Images of modern architecture, tree-lined roads and children-friendly playgrounds come to mind at the first mention of Desa Park City. Located 13 kilometres northwestern of Kuala Lumpur, Desa Park City is one of most exclusive addresses in the capital.

Reputed for its well-planned community layout and cutting-edge design, the multi-award winning estate is home to the well-heeled segment of the society. And for a young couple like Fong How Cheong and Vivian Chang, owning a house in such a prime estate means a lot more than mere success.

DIY renovation works
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The couple's first investment here is a bungalow, which they bought in 2005. Four years later, having enjoyed the sweet taste of investment success in Desa Park City, Fong and Vivian bought a terrace house in the estate's new phase for RM1.1mil (S$445,400). The 3,400 sq ft house is currently priced at RM2.2mil.

"The properties in Desa Park City are a very good investment option. We have benefitted from investing in our previous house, which is located in the older part of the estate," says Fong.

"But when we bought this house, we didn't think about investment. This house is for our family, which is why we were willing to spend a little bit more on renovation," he adds.

But he is quick to add that as a young couple, he and his wife had a budget constraint when it comes to renovation. When they found out the price for a professional interior design service, they reckoned that working with an independent contractor and a carpenter was a more viable option.

"The interior designer quoted RM180k to doll up the living room and the master bedroom. It was clear to us that it'd have been beyond our budget to hire the service for the entire house," Vivian says, matter-of-factly.

The couple shares with the challenges manning a renovation project that lasted 6 months and the satisfaction of living in Desa Park City.

Safety and practicality

For the couple, who lives with two sons aged six and two, living in a neighbourhood that promises safety for their children is crucial.

"We wanted a neighbourhood that is safe for our children. Where interior is concerned, we prioritised safety and practicality," says Fong.

Vivian gives an example: "There's an absence of coffee table in our house, if you haven't noticed. Although we knew a beautiful coffee table would complement the overall interior, we reckoned it isn't safe for the children."

She adds that many coffee tables are designed with sharp edges and glass material. Meanwhile, the garden at the back of the house has been converted into a soothing terrace with a fishpond and timber decking for all practical purposes. Fong shares that a garden, which requires intense maintenance, isn't fitting since both he and his wife work during office hours.

Driven by the same logic, the couple employed an effective storage system in order to avoid cleaning routine. The storage system, which is present in the living room, kitchen and bedrooms, is meant to make it easier for the homeowners to keep things in place.

"A good storage system is important, especially if you have children and toddlers in the house," says Fong, adding that the mounted cabinet and concealed rooms are suitable for the living room.

Work in progress

"When we found out the cost for us to hire a professional interior designer service, we knew that it was beyond our budget," says Fong.

The couple resorted to interior books for inspirations, and a trusty carpenter for some technical advice. With two babies in tow, Fong and Vivian were working closely with the carpenter and contractor while juggling with their respective jobs.

"As I mentioned before, the interior designer service would have cost us RM180k for the living room and master bedroom," says Fong, before adding, "But when we decided to take the matters into our own hands, we only forked out RM250k to renovate the entire house."

And they did a great job! Take the children's room, for example. Located on the first floor, the children's room occupies what were previously a guest room and a study area.

Coated in blue and decorated with playful car-themed items, the layout of the children's room is both well planned and thoughtfully designed.

"I'm very into wallpapers. And when I saw a wallpaper with a blue background and red vintage car motif, I knew that I wanted it for the boys' room!" Vivian enthuses.

"We also managed to find bed frames that simulate the vintage car. We were having so much fun designing the boys' room," she adds.

Meanwhile, the master bedroom dons a simple and elegant interior. Again, storage system is of utmost importance in the master bedroom. Stylishly designed to complement the room's aesthetic, the storage system appears in the form of zigzag cabinet, a one-line vanity table and a wall feature. The master bedroom also has an attached walk-in wardrobe. According to Fong, a walk-in wardrobe is necessary because "My wife has too many clothes".

"The walk-in wardrobe was previously the living area. But I reckoned since we are just a small family of four, we don't really need two living areas. The one on the ground floor is more than enough for all of us," says Fong.

When asked to share tips for other young couples considering self- reliant renovation, the couple replies: "Be patient with the contractors and carpenters, for coordination is perhaps the most challenging bit. As a client, you must have a basic idea of what you want for the house, especially the colour scheme."

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