By Annie Ooi
They say that location is everything, and more so when the location suits your school-going children's daily travel arrangements.
Originally from Penang, this couple rented a home in Puchong for seven years and since they like the area, they decided to buy a three-storey house in Bukit Jalil, which borders Puchong. The townhouse cost RM450,000 (S$182,000) three years ago.
The two daughters study in Subang, and the man of the house works in Kuala Lumpur. The family finds the location quite central, within 20 to 30 minutes of their usual destinations, including malls.
They have done it up in classic Italian style, with Persian carpets to add to the elegance.
"We only spent around RM80,000 on renovations which included the plaster ceiling in quite a few rooms," says Adam Abdullah, the man of the house.
The end lot - 21.6m by 7.2m (72ft by 24ft) with no side garden - is slightly narrow, but the three floors, with a built-up of 270sq m (3,000sq ft), more than make up for it.
The formal sitting room is exactly it, formal, and you can't expect to lounge around when you are sitting in a high-backed chair.
Adam and his wife Dr Thema Abdul Majid, lawyer and doctor respectively, are fortunate that they are united in their love for classic furniture.
"We are inspired by what we see in various places, such as the E&O (Eastern & Oriental) Hotel in Penang and the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur," says Dr Thema, who stopped work two years ago to care for her children, Sabheena, 13, and Helena, 11.
"When we saw this living room set in Novel Home Design in Bandar Sri Damansara, we were both attracted to it and didn't want anything else," she adds.
With an eye for matching furniture and a passion for visiting furniture malls and home accessory shops, the couple has managed to pull the whole look together, sourcing from many places.
In the original layout, the sitting area and the dining area were part of an open plan. Having extended the built-up area up to the back lane, the piano now sits in the original dining area. This whole area is decorated as one, with the decorative style merging seamlessly. Chandeliers hang from the ornamental plaster ceiling and bright lights are set in the ceiling, ensuring a comfortable ambience at a classy level.
White dining room
The original kitchen space is now the dining room.
From the gold-and-cream colour scheme of the living area, the dining room is in plain contrast with its "white" and clean look.
The custom-made Virginia dining table and chairs are from H.O.M. Concepts located in the Hartamas Shopping Centre.
The American-style, white wooden chairs are definitely high maintenance in a dining room, and the house owners were advised against it. But they went ahead with their desire and found that the secret to maintaining the pristine look, is in wiping spills as soon as it happens.
The floor is made of synthetic wood painted white, and has both anti-dust and anti-termite properties.
The first floor has three bedrooms and one of the most talked about accessory - by friends and family - is the super king-sized bed in the master bedroom.
Although it is a problem changing and buying bedlinen (and it can be expensive too), the couple is more than happy with the bed.
"It is comfortable and can easily fit the four of us when we watch television," says Dr Thema. "Besides," adds Adam, "it is great for a Sunday sleep-in with the curtains drawn."
The over-sized bed is also in keeping with the classic theme - and to extend the design concept - a couple of upholstered armchairs from Fella Design are placed outside the master bedroom in a cosy sitting area.
The girls' bedrooms are furnished with light-weight and modern Ikea furniture, according to their wishes, although mum wanted to do it up in lace, to relive memories of her own childhood.
The two rooms are mirror images of each other, although in different colours, with one in pink and the other in blue.
Up another flight of stairs is the top floor where the children can let their hair down, with the extra long L-shaped sofa and karaoke sound system.
The space is also suitable for the children to socialise with their friends by playing board games like Monopoly. And when more room is needed, especially when family members stay overnight, the younger ones can "crash" on the sofa.
The guest room is also located here, and shares bath and toilet facilities with the adjoining room, which is the library-cum-study.
Says the mother: "We are quite firm in our commitment to our decor style, which I admit is high maintenance. Although we have young children in the house, they have been taught from birth to respect mummy's things, and they are accustomed to it by now."
Being in a home which they had fun furnishing and with property prices escalating (neighbouring units cost around RM800,000), they should have no real reasons to move elsewhere.
They moved here in Sept 2009 but after a couple of years, the children find their home environment restrictive, as there is not much space for them to run around, although there is a lake further up the development.
So the couple has decided to purchase a piece of land in the same area and commission a three-storey, detached house.
With the experience of doing up their present house behind them, this new project will enable them to fine tune their ideas and decorating concepts.
But for the moment, the family is enjoying their place, with each member having her own space.