Sisters doing it for themselves

(2011-07-21 23:34:30) 下一個
Thu, Jul 21, 2011
The Star/Asia News Network

By Johnni Wong

Sisters and "single" mothers - Elaine and Joyce Chong - are highly successful entrepreneurs who have built up a business empire in fashion. Their professionally designed home in Sunway SPK Damansara in Kuala Lumpur reflects the fruits of their labour.

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Devoted to their flourishing business and their respective children, the two women have chosen a life of independence and unrestricted growth over conventional married life. In fact, they run about a dozen fashion retail outlets in major shopping centres and are looking forward to expanding their business.

The fruits of their labour
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Sporting a contemporary style, their triple-storey, linked-house is located on a corner lot and enjoys a spacious side garden. The modern interior was conceptualised by design consultant Benjamin Wong, whose company D&B Reka helps property owners realise their dream home at a reasonable cost.

Half a million

Bought a couple of years ago at the cost of RM1.2mil (S$485,500), the property spans 8m by 24m (27ft by 80ft). The orginal built-up space was 316sq m (3,400sq ft) and only 28sq m (300sq ft) of space was added.

Said Benjamin: "We built the extension according to local council regulations. We didn't build any illegal structure or exceed the setback boundary."

According to the designer, the most challenging part of the renovation project - which took six months - was to convince the client to refrain from the "me too" design concept.

"In the first few meetings, Elaine showed me lots of interior design books and wanted to copy the concepts. To us, some of those examples were not tastefully done."


But it didn't take long for Benjamin to get the client to accept new construction material and more innovative designs like the back-lit tempered glass panel in the dining area.

The total costs of the project came to more than RM500,000. The main expenditure was on carpentry works especially on the built-in cabinetry. Masonry works were another costly endeavour and included wet works, hacking and the construction of new walls. Then, there was the goldfish pool and the replacement of flooring material with porcelain tiles for the main areas.

"The living room, dining space and dry kitchen lie on the same plane of view and are uninterrupted by any partition. This arrangement creates a feeling of roominess," explained Benjamin.

"Seating for the living room has been kept low to maintain the feeling of spaciousness. An L-shaped contemporary sofa matched with a rectangular coffee-table faces the LCD television screen. Behind the TV, a feature wall of ebony veneer flanked by bronze mirrors, contributes to the tropical ambience."

The TV shelf of black granite lends a touch of luxury. Overhead, the plaster ceiling harbours a four-blade fan within a square-shaped recess.

The sliding glass doors of the living room open to a modern tropical garden on the detached side of the linked-house. Planted with lawn grass and fringed by a variety of plants, the garden is divided into two parts by a 18.9sq m (210sq ft) shallow pool and a timber deck.


In contrast to the squarish setting and straight lines of the lounge, the dining area features curveous shapes reflected in the round dining table, six curved back dining chairs and a round plaster ceiling with back lights. The dining area's centrepiece is the decorative feature wall with a curved design to complement the plaster ceiling. Back-lit tempered glass strips add visual interest. European wallpaper with a grey floral motif creates visual impact.

Just a few steps from the dining table is the dry kitchen, which has been designed with a sleek modern look. The island worktop is made of Italian Arabescator marble. Cabinets feature Australian Sassafras veneer from Tasmania. A floating design concept with hidden lights illuminating the floor, enhances the spacious feel.

Compact space such as the wall between the main door and staircase has not been left out. Three wall shelves of Marquina black marble offer space for decorative items.

Two master bedrooms

Bedrooms total "five plus one". There are in fact, two master bedrooms, one each for Elaine and Joyce. The third bedroom is for their parents and another for the children. The fifth bedroom is for any visiting relative or guest and the last room is for the maid.

For Elaine's bedroom, instead of a typical feature wall, Benjamin suggested an arrangement of family photographs artistically framed to reflect a more personal touch.

Furnishing accessories have been kept simple to maintain a tropical feel with the use of timber furniture. Hunter Douglas timber blinds add to the warm ambience.

In Joyce's equally spacious bedroom, the curved wall behind the bed has been covered with European wallpaper but set in a zigzag pattern. The room also has a cosy corner for reading and the attached bathroom comes with a Jacuzzi tub.

The parents' room is more conservative in design, yet it has its own appeal. Instead of the usual fabric-bound headboard, a sand-etched bronze mirror is used.

When all the rooms in the house were completed, the sisters were so delighted with the results that they commissioned Benjamin to design their fashion outlets at Sungei Wang Plaza, IPC (Ikano), 1 Utama, Times Square, Sunway Pyramid and even Gurney Plaza in Penang.

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