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A Family Home in Penang Gets a Beautiful Bohemian Makeover!

October 15, 2021

In addition to modern rattan furniture, it’s got DIY elements all-around as well!

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When Lina Izzati and Khairul Anam moved into their new double-storey Semi-D home in Penang in 2017, it was nothing more than an empty shell. After infusing the interior with a variety of earthy elements - including modern rattan furniture and decor - for a bohemian style, their home is now a welcoming and warm abode.

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We spoke with Lina to find how she has successfully transformed an empty 1,848 square foot home into a cosy retreat for her family of four.

Qanvast: Hi, tell us about yourself and your family.

Lina Izzati (LI): Hi, my name is Lina Izzati, I work as an Operations Analyst, and my husband, Khairul Anam, is an Engineer. We are blessed with two kids aged 6 and 8 years old.

We live in a 1,848 square feet double-storey semi-D house, built on a 3,200 square foot plot of land in Penang. My husband and I purchased this home together and we've been living here since 2017.

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Our double-storey house consists of a living area, kitchen and a lounge area (underneath the staircase) on the first floor. Meanwhile, the master bedroom and the children's bedrooms are on the second floor. We also built a prayer room in the hall area on the second floor. Personally, I believe that the prayer room is strategically located not only for us but for our guests as well.

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Q: How would you sum up your home’s design style?

LI: Our home features a mix of Scandinavian and Boho design elements. I enjoy incorporating rattan into my home design as it gives a lovely organic element to our space while also keeping things light.

Most people associate rattan with the nostalgic retro-inspired pieces found in our grandparents' homes (imagine a wicker living room set complete with curly shapes and floral cushions!). However, we wanted to create a modern setting with rattan that is a far departure from traditional rattan furniture.

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For example, our living room is outfitted with circular rattan coffee tables, rattan baskets and plant pots, all of which have been shown to be quite trendy in modern homes. Plus, modern rattan furniture and home decor are now widely available from a variety of online retailers, including IKEA.

Q: What sparked your interest in home decoration?

LI: My interest in home decor began when we bought our house in 2016. We didn't have a big budget to hire an interior designer to renovate our home, so we decided to renovate and decorate it ourselves. My source of inspiration at the time (2016-2017) was from interior design magazines. Today, social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, make it easier for me to find inspiration for our DIY projects.

The most recent project we completed was the main entrance, which is now a location for me to take OOTD photos (outfits of the day). We installed a shiplap wall and painted it grey to match our black mesh grill entrance door. We got the shiplap boards and exterior paint from online stores, and they are very affordable! It only took us half a day to DIY the wall.

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Beyond being an OOTD backdrop, I believe that if you want your house to make a great first impression, you should start by decorating and painting your front door, which will give your guests a welcoming feeling.

Another DIY home decoration project we recently completed was to use patterned wallpaper on the staircase to match its surroundings. Since the wallpaper is self-adhesive and easy to install, I usually change it at least once a year. It took me less than an hour to set it up!

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With the leftover paint used on our previous DIY projects, I painted an arch behind our master bedroom bed frame to add visual interest to the space. This has significantly improved the overall appearance of our bedroom at no cost!

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Q: What major improvements have you made to this home since you moved in?

LI: Our home was a newly developed property so the first thing we did when we received the keys for our home was to install a plaster ceiling to hide the wires from the living room lighting fixture. The plaster ceiling is then repainted.

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I really wanted a white kitchen to match our chosen interior design theme so we installed all-white built-in cabinets with a black countertop. The all-white kitchen cabinets contribute to the roomy appearance of the kitchen.

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Finally, we renovated the house porch by replacing the existing gate and installed mosaic tiles on the porch floor.

Q: Tell us about the unique details available in your home.

LI: The lounge area beneath the stairs is, in my opinion, our home's most distinctive feature. Normally, this dead space would be converted into a storeroom, but I prefer to create an open space by creating a lounge area with a grey loveseat, a white drawer, and an area rug. I also added some potted and hanging plants to lend some Bohemian vibe to the space. Finally, I added a spotlight to illuminate the area.

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Q: Which area do you and your family spend the most time in?

LI: We spend the majority of our time in the TV room, watching Netflix together, and it is our favourite space, especially since outdoor activities are restricted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because we spend so much time in this room, I've changed the rugs/carpet more than ten times because I wanted something more comfortable underfoot!

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Q: Are you happy with the outcome of your home renovation? Is there anything else you want to change or improve in the future?

LI: Yes, we are currently pleased with the overall outcome of our home. In the future, I plan to construct a glass room on our balcony to serve as a storage room, as well as a dedicated laundry room in our home.

Q: What renovation mistakes have you made over the years which others could learn from?

LI: In the past, I purchased furniture made of fiberboard, which does not last long due to poor material quality. In the end, I had to settle for solid wood furniture. So my advice to other homeowners is to invest in high-quality furniture that can withstand the test of time when furnishing your home as you’ll be using it for years to come.

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You should also be careful when hiring a contractor for your home renovation. We had a bad experience when a contractor broke the mosaic tiles intended for our front porch, resulting in an RM10,000 loss! Fortunately, we were able to find a different contractor who did an excellent job installing the tiles after that.

Qanvast’s Note: Alternatively, you can hire an interior designer to help you oversee your home renovation from start to finish while minimising stress!

Are you thinking of renovating your home?

Simply fill out the form to request a free quote, and we'll recommend up to four local interior design firms near you based on your budget, style, and preferences.

All recommendations made by Qanvast will be protected under the Qanvast Guarantee scheme that covers 50% of your contract value, up to RM50,000, in the case that the recommended Contracting Service Provider becomes insolvent.

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