Beyond Walls And A Roof

What makes up a home?

/ October 7, 2021
What is a ‘home’ to you? Source: Crosswalk

Home. Just that word alone is enough to arouse a pool of emotions within me. What does it mean to me, and what would I say if I could describe it in words? Is it an emotion, a place, a person or structured walls that shield me from the rain? 

I have had time to ponder the question and have always marvelled at its various interpretations. My question was always, how can such a simple word have so many definitions and bring out complex feelings within people. Could it be that it is because we view it as our most fundamental need? Or perhaps the sole reason that every individual seeks to have a place they can call theirs where they are always welcome. 

Google defined it as a “place where one lives permanently”, but having come from a background where my family and I were constantly moving, does this make this statement untrue? Is that all there is to home? Through curiosity and our need to understand the term “home”, we decided to source out for answers. 

We were privileged to interview phenomenal homeowners who had different interpretations of what it symbolises. Through them, we gained insight by learning about the numerous variations and the steps they took to create spaces that they feel safest in. In fact, just the idea of creating a home from a house is what fueled them to plan, design and make the renovations themselves. Such was their great desire to build a space that spoke for and through them. A place they so proudly call ‘home’, and this is what they had to say;

 

Sarah (@_sarahmohdshah)

 

Designing my own home has always been my dream- Sarah.

 

What does home mean to you?

Home is everything to me. The place where I spend time the most. The place where I feel I belong. The place where I can be myself without being judged. The place where I find inner peace when I am emotionally exhausted.

Was it always your intention to design your own home?

Designing my own home has always been my dream, but my priority is to improve and maximise the available space. During this pandemic, I always find something to do, especially to improve whatever I find lacking in my home.

 

Adding a personal touch is critical in building your dream home- Sarah.

 

What would you say is the greatest insight you have learnt from this experience?

I learnt that we can always achieve what we aim for in this life, even if it takes longer. The satisfaction towards the achievement is priceless. Simple things can be so meaningful when we look at them from the bright side.

Were there any challenges you faced along the way, and if so, and how did you manage them?

Limited space is the only challenge I faced in making my home look amazingly beautiful. I have to turn a small space into something that can please my eyes in a good way by choosing suitable furniture.

How much time does it take to design, plan and complete a project?

Being a working mom, planning & design is always during my leisure time. I will complete the project as quickly as possible since I’m not the type of person to delay things.

How can you design a home and run it while also maintaining a healthy work/social life?

Time management is key to ensure everything is done within a given period. I always try my best to complete every task as soon as possible not to feel burdened by any unsolved things.

 

Simple and yet practical spaces by Sarah

 

Would you ever consider doing this again?

Definitely, I want to keep improving my home from time to time to make it comfortable and functional at the same time.

Are you pleased with your current changes, or do you wish to do more?

I always wish I could do more in the future. But for now, I am happy with all the things I have.

What advice would you give to a new homeowner who has the same intentions of renovating their home?

As for me, adding a personal touch is critical in building your dream home. Choose which concept you love the most and decorate it with your heart. Things will turn better when we do something we love.

 

Ainaa Yasmin (@azay_home)

 

It is filled with love and happiness that cannot be gained elsewhere- Ainaa Yasmin

 

What does home mean to you?

For me, home means more than just four walls and a roof. What matters is everything inside the house that makes me feel like I am home. Home is the most comfortable place to live in despite its size and condition. It makes me feel I belong and am accepted. It is filled with love and happiness which cannot be gained in other places. It might not look perfect to others, but it is the ideal place for the owner.

Was it always your intention to design your own home?

Designing my own home was always my intention. I want my home to be more personalised according to my preferences and suit my family lifestyle. I love to see people renovating and decorating their homes. I can see how ordinary spaces can be transformed into something unique and more functional. It somehow has made me inspired and motivated in sprucing out my own home.

What would you say is the greatest insight you have learnt from this experience?

I would say proper planning is the most significant insight I have learnt. Planning in terms of the space, practicality, cost and also time management. It is a crucial step to avoid any loss and have the outcome that you desire. 

There are many platforms nowadays that really help me in planning a project. I have learned a lot from the home decor community on Instagram as they share the pros and cons of doing a particular project through their own experience. I use the information I get from them as a reference. 

 

When you have an interest in something, you will always find a way to fulfil your desire – Ainaa

 

Were there any challenges you faced along the way, and if so, and how did you manage them?

Sometimes your expectations might be different from the outcome you envisioned, for example, the material or quality of the project. Other times, you might realise some mistakes after you have finished the whole look, which can be frustrating. To manage with it, I take it as a lesson to better plan the other project that I want to do.

How much time does it take to design, plan and complete a project?

It depends on how big the project is. A major project that involves renovations takes more time to complete as it needs proper design and planning. On the other hand, minor projects such as the DIY-ed project took a few days to complete. Most of the design and plan inspirations were taken from Pinterest, designers blogs, HGTV and Instagram homeowners. I need to make sure that the design suits my space, budget, and practicality to my family lifestyle in terms of planning.

How can you design a home and run it while also maintaining a healthy work/social life?

When you have an interest in something, you will always find a way to fulfil your desire. Because of the pandemic, I have had more time to fulfil my interests and design my home while maintaining my work. As I am working from home, I have plenty of time to research and plan my projects. I was also blessed with a supportive family, especially my husband, helping me fulfil my passion.

Would you ever consider doing this again?

Yes, of course, I always look up new projects to do. Every new project is a unique experience, and I love sharing and inspiring other people with my project. It is a very satisfying feeling when people come to me and say I helped them design their home. I also feel blessed when other people share their home inspirations. 

 

You must first look back to your lifestyle preferences, budgets and the practicality of the space you want to renovate – Ainaa

 

Are you pleased with your current changes, or do you wish to do more?

I am pleased with the changes I have made so far, but as time goes by with my growing children and new trends coming in, there are always new ideas and inspirations. I think the changes are good as it makes me feel refreshed in my own home.

What advice would you give to a new homeowner who has the same intentions of renovating their home?

For the new homeowners planning to renovate their home, you must first look back to your lifestyle preferences, budgets and the practicality of the space you want to renovate. If you have a tight budget, consider renovating a specific place that might benefit you the most. For instance, you are a person who loves to cook, and you might prefer to renovate and spruce up your kitchen first with the design that you love instead of extending your porch. Make sure to refer back to your own budget and lifestyle constantly.  At the end of the day, we want to enjoy our homes without going haywire over debts. 

 

ADWINI & SOLEHIN (@homey.farmhouse)

 

Even if you were in paradise, you will still miss home- Adwini and Solehin.

 

What does home mean to you?

To me, home means if you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home. Home is where we should feel secure and comfortable.

Was it always your intention to design your own home?

I intend to create a comfortable home environment with beautiful interior decoration.

What would you say is the greatest insight you have learnt from this experience?

We felt the best experience throughout this home renovation project was that we discovered our hidden talent in the carpentry field. We enjoy doing carpentry projects in addition to finding more knowledge in this field.

 

It was through this home renovation project was that we discovered our hidden talent in the carpentry field – Adwini and Solehin

 

Were there any challenges you faced along the way, and how did you manage them?

The critical challenge to transform our house was to detach or move the furniture and decorations. Since it is a government quarter, we can’t do extra renovation, so we must make minimal modifications to the existing structures and furnishings. At the same time, we also make sure all our furniture and decorations do not cause any damage to the quarters by not fixing them permanently to the building structure. We also ensure the wall can be mended smoothly after we move out of the house one day.

How much time does it take to design, plan and complete a project?

We first started the project during the first MCO last year to fill our time at home. And now this is still ongoing the renovation process.

How can you design a home and run it while also maintaining a healthy work/social life?

We worked as usual in the morning until noon. In the afternoon, we did the DIY project. Sometimes we do it on the weekends.

 

Choose the right colour, maximise the use of space, and choose the right furniture- Adwini and Solehin.

 

Would you ever consider doing this again?

Yes, we will continue to do various DIY projects, and we will share the process @homey.farmhouse Instagram.

Are you pleased with your current changes, or do you wish to do more?

I am satisfied, but there are some more DIY projects to be done in the future.

What advice would you give to a new homeowner who has the same intentions of renovating their home?

First, the new homeowner needs to do some research in interior decoration to avoid mistakes. Choose the right colour, maximise the use of space, and choose the right furniture. Do not mix too many styles and colours. Less is more.

 

Kenad (@naddy.ned)

 

“We love to do DIY projects together…it has strengthened our relationship.”- Kenad.

 

What does home mean to you?

A home is a place where I create many memories with my family and a place that binds us together. A home is a place that can be our shelter, a happy place where we share joyful moments. A home that can make us laugh, love and learn together.

Was it always your intention to design your own home?

To be frank, it is not our own house. It is a rented house. We rented it in a semi-furnished condition where it only had a kitchen cabinet and countertop installed. If there is any chance to design my place, of course, I would love to. But with this rented house, I can repaint and change the interior look by decorating it without any changes on the floor plan.

What would you say is the greatest insight you have learnt from this experience?

The best insight that I have learnt is that the colour scheme or tone, including the house concept, play an essential role in uplifting my mood.  It plays a vital role in controlling the emotions since I’ve been at home all day long, so I need a cosy and neat house look even with a tight budget.

 

My principle is that everything will work out slowly but surely – Kenad.

 

Were there any challenges you faced along the way, and how did you manage them?

First of all, as a tenant, I had to ask the house owner for permission to repaint and drill the walls for decor purposes. When I convinced the owner, he allowed me to do whatever I wanted as long as I took care of the house just like my own. 

The second obstacle is financing. Since I am a full-time housewife and don’t have any fixed income, I have to save some money from time to time, and when the money is enough, I will start to décorate one section at a time. My principle is that everything will work out slowly but surely.

 

Redecorating was an experiment for me and a lesson-Kenad

 

How much time does it take to design, plan and complete a project?

Whenever my finances are good to go, I won’t take long to design and get the project started right away. Usually, a section can be done for about one month max.

How can you design a home and run it while also maintaining a healthy work/social life?

My social life is circling with what I do daily. I love to do décor and any home projects. You can say that decorating and beautifying my home is a hobby, and I have managed to have a healthy social life through it. My circle consists mainly of home decor enthusiasts, which I grew through sharing common interests. We also love to do DIY projects together as a family, which has strengthened our relationship.

Would you ever consider doing this again?

Sure, I will consider it as a yes. I will do it again. Redecorating was an experiment for me and a lesson. It taught me to differentiate between one home concept from another.

Are you pleased with your current changes, or do you wish to do more?

I am pleased with what I have done so far. But still, if I get to buy my own house one fine day, I wish to do more.

What advice would you give to a new homeowner who has the same intentions of renovating their home?

In my personal view, just follow your intuition. Do whatever you love because you are going to live in that house of yours. But make sure everything is practical with your daily routine, such as all the organising part. Be sure of what colour scheme you want in your house and the details of furniture and fixtures that must match the concept you wish for your dream house.

 

Ain Jamlus (@ainjamlus)

 

“Home means family,” Ain

 

What does home mean to you? 

To me, home means family. Creating a home with elements and functionality that you and your family appreciates is what makes it unique. 

Was it always your intention to design your own home?

Yes, I have always wanted to work with an Interior Designer to help achieve my designs. I wanted someone I could trust who could seamlessly manage the project and have creative input towards the space. However, the ID I hired did not handle the project well and lacked customer service. Aside from that, I had fun curating my own furniture choices and soft furnishings. 

What would you say is the greatest insight you have learnt from this experience? 

My greatest insight is to do more extensive research on Interior Design companies. Pinterest can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when there are so many beautiful designs that you can apply to your home. So, to stay focused and find out which designs or concepts you like, try saving them monthly and revisit them from time to time to see if what you keep in your album has a pattern. 

 

Life is about relearning ways of managing a home and work – Ain

 

Were there any challenges you faced along the way, and how did you manage them?

I hired an ID because I needed a trusted person to oversee the project, manage the contractors and suppliers, etc. Having an Autistic child makes it challenging to manage on-site and the fact that my husband was away for work most of the time during the renovations. I rely on them with the projects, so I won’t have to go on-site every other day. 

 

Do what suits your lifestyle- Ain

 

How much time does it take to design, plan and complete a project? 

It took about 4 – 5 months to design, plan and complete the project. 

How can you design a home and run it while also maintaining a healthy work/social life?

To be honest, I struggle with it from time to time, but that is what life is about! To learn and relearn ways of managing a home and work. 

Would you ever consider doing this again?

Absolutely! I’m determined to do it on my own next time! 

Are you pleased with your current changes, or do you wish to do more? 

We plan to design the guest room and second living room upstairs once we have finalised the design and have some normalcy back into our lives after covid. 

What advice would you give to a new homeowner who has the same intentions of renovating their home?

Renovating a home is like planning a wedding. It involves a lot of people, different elements and is a long process. It consumes a lot of money and energy but at the end of the day, choose what makes you and your family happy. Do what suits your lifestyle, and don’t get pressured over trends. 

 

Home is what you make of it.

 

As far as all tales go and what we make of it, we can all drawback to the point that our existence is synonymous with a “home.” Its value in our lives determines the kind of pictures or stories we would like our homes to portray. That is to say that there is no one size fits all, big or small, colourful or monochromatic; none of it matters as long as you have a place to return to. 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Salam,i would like to say alhamdulillah for all of these articles and syukran for the hardwork that they had done.♥️

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