The Covid-10 pandemic has been a catalyst to many changes in the lives of many people, whether good, bad or even ugly. For a married couple, the pandemic spurred them into unravelling their hidden inner talent.
Wan Safina Wan Abdul Razak, 29, and her husband Mohd Naqiuddin Afiq Abd Aziz, 29, ventured into interior designing and superbly turned their simple three-bedroom condominium in Cyberjaya into a gorgeous Scandinavian-style space.
Their minimalistic design is visually appealing with soft pastel hues, simple furniture and white walls, which produces a spacious feel and clean lines. It’s a pleasant treat and it looks so cosy and comfortable, at the same time.
The amazing design makes one wonder if a famous designer from the HGTV Channel stepped in and gave a home makeover for the couple? The answer is a clear ‘no!’
In fact, it’s hard to believe that the two are not professional designers nor do they have any degrees in interior designing.
Surprisingly, they do not even have any experience in interior designing or any related field. Safina is a housewife, while Naquiddin works as an administrative and diplomatic officer.
“To be completely honest with you, we never really thought that one day, we would develop a passion for interior designing. Not many people knew this but we had to move out of our rental house, at the beginning of the pandemic Covid-19 outbreak,” said Safina.
“It was extremely overwhelming and exhausting, not to mention the stress of moving house is emotionally and physically, draining. The Covid-19 virus pandemic is the catalyst that spurs us into action. We were inspired to create a home, where, we can escape from the feeling of being cooped-up due to the MCO,” revealed Safina.
The self-taught couple wisely made a decision to pick the Nordic style as it was easy to clean and to care for in the ongoing pandemic situation.
“We wanted our home to evoke a tranquil atmosphere for us, to allow us to recharge from the pandemic anxiety,” she added.
Despite receiving tons of praise for successfully creating a beautiful home within months, Naqiuddin feels that they still have a long way to go, before declaring themselves as ‘legitimate’ interior designers.
“I wouldn’t say, we are both successful nterior designers as we still have a lot to learn,” Naqiuddin said, humbly.
“But, we love sharing tips that we learnt from the expertise or internet. I would say we are motivated to share the tips as we know how hard it is to find the right information needed for the new homeowners,” he added.
Let’s find out about their inspiration, ideas, and tips for home transformation:
What motivated you to transform your house, on your own?
Naqiuddin: “When we were renting, we always found certain things that we didn’t like and that we wished we could improve or change, but of course, many landlords don’t allow any permanent or huge changes to be made to their properties. Now that we own a house, we want to make sure that we utilise and maximise every corner and empty space wisely, within our budget.”
What is your theme or design concept and why did you choose it?
Safina: “Generally, we were trying to create a serene abode filled with soothing greenery. I believe that our home should be a reflection of who we really are. If you are familiar with our Instagram, it’s probably too obvious that I love plants. I know I am happiest when I get to decorate my home in a way that expresses my own personal interest and taste.”
What attracted you to the Scandinavian style of interior design?
Safina: “The cosiness and the warm feelings. Hygge is a Danish concept that encompasses a feeling of cosy contentment and well-being through the simple things in life.
“Right now, as the pandemic continues to evolve and rage, the hygge is the best way to practice self-care from the pandemic anxiety.
“I guess the Covid-19 virus is the catalyst that spurred us to embrace the Scandinavian style within our home.”
What were the challenges you faced when decorating your house?
Safina: “One of the challenges we faced was a limited budget to execute the ideal furnishing design that we wanted, especially, during the Movement Control Order (MCO). Not only did we have to comply with the MCO, we also needed to carefully invest in home furnishings without blowing our budget.
“The MCO forced us to think out of the box and find alternatives that cost us less, but offered the same design and function. If we didn’t find any, we simply focused on other projects first and revisited [the idea] again when we are financially ready to do so.”
How did you decide on colours, lightings, and suitable furniture or decorations for your design?
Safina: “In order to obtain a design style that appears cohesive and unified, we chose four major colours as our main colour palette. We gravitated towards a light, natural [look]. We assimilated the basic neutral colour, added a few hints of black to emphasise some accessories and furniture.
“We incorporated green plants to brighten up the space. Plus, studies have shown that plants eliminate toxins and are able to re-oxygenate the house. I think it’s the coolest way to freshen up our humble abode.”
Naqiuddin: “We installed as many lights as possible and incorporated scented candles in every nook and cranny to create a warm ambience, as well as using it to illuminate certain areas and details in our home.”
What was your initial budget, and did you meet the budget or go overboard?
Naqiuddin: “Our initial budget was around RM30,000 and we did meet the budget. We spent most of the budget for kitchen cabinet renovation, furniture and essential appliances such as refrigerator and washing machine.
“The excess of it was spent on decorations. We also bought secondhand furniture and refurbished it to keep the budget in check.”
hare with us some tips to design a house.
Safina: “For me, it is best to cultivate your personal home style with what you love the most, rather than following the crowd. Keep experimenting and take your time until you find a style that feels right for you. Take screenshots of spaces you love, study the colours, patterns, and items you like and try to visualise them before actualising them.
“Remember, just because you don’t have the luxury of living in a large space or spending a huge budget, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the design and function. Leave no space unconsidered (or unturned) and look for antique or secondhand furniture that you can refurbish with little budget and labour (themselves).”
Naqiuddin: “It is much easier to visualise your idea than to imagine it in your mind. I used Coohom App to visualise my idea in 3D. It helps us a lot to discuss how to place our furniture based on our floor layout.”
What advice would you share with those who are inspired by both of you to design their own home?
Safina: “For me, it’s important to take your own time. Do not feel guilty about taking things slow because renovating a home requires a lot of energy, time, and money. It’s a pressure-cooker moment. A mistake will cost you a lot, so, try to be extra vigilant when making decisions and do more study, especially, when you are unsure of what you are doing.
“There are many platforms nowadays that can help you find a new idea or inspiration such as Pinterest and Instagram. In a nutshell, it’s the journey that we need to savour so stop putting pressure on us. It’s okay if it takes a longer time to complete. It’s okay if it’s not as perfect as you imagine it would be.
“Everything is a learning process and a chance for us to improve ourselves. We just need to trust the process and enjoy the journey.”