From The Ground Up

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By June Ramli

Hello, folks. Here I am back again giving you more updates on my house building. I am still waiting for certain things to fall in place before we can start the building of my house and I expect all those nitty-gritty stuff to come in place by the end of this month. Fingers crossed.
But I’d like to move on to something else today – this whole week I was thinking about interior design and all things decoration for my soon to be dwelling in Perth.
At first, I was thinking about a navy blue and white theme. Something along the lines of Popeye the sailor man – my favourite cartoon series.
But now I have my eyes set on all things Malay or Balinese designs.
Like labu sayong, shadow puppets, those Kelantanese flying kites and all the wonderful designs that we as Malaysians have but usually take for granted.
I know Malaysia isn’t a country that is known to export its traditional furniture overseas and that is why I have decided to come up with a backup plan which is to dress the house up using Balinese designs if the original plan does not come to fruition. I have a friend living and working in Bali, Indonesia, so this can be easily arranged.

The writer’s former home in Balakong, Malaysia which she had decorated by herself.

Another reason why I have decided to make this a backup plan is because the Balinese are masters when it comes to exporting their craft overseas. If you have been to Perth like I have many times in the past you’d see that some of the homes there have touches of Balinese designs in them.
It’s because those living in WA are quite familiar with all things Bali, they travel to the island a lot and as such you can see some of the architectural designs there evident in their houses.
So, yeah, the Balinese design would be my second go-to choice if the Malay one fails.
Next, I am not sure if I want to include a little office space in the backyard, a swimming pool, a stage for performances or just leave the space as it is and turn that into a garden filled with a veggie patch.
This is still under consideration.

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But I recently caught myself thinking a lot about the time when I used to go and learn Odissi at Datuk Ramli Ibrahim’s house in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur.
As far as I am concerned – he has one of the most beautifully decorated homes in the city.
His house has a Balinese zing to it, and his garden is absolutely beautiful and a joy to be in.
He stages a lot of dancing performances in his garden from time to time and so the wooden stage that he has built inside his home just makes good sense.
The last time I visited his house was 22 years ago but every little detail about his home is still fresh in my mind up till this day.
That is how much of an impression that house has left on me and what I loved most about his house is his inbuilt stage area and his kitchen located at the upper part of his house. Most kitchens are located downstairs, but his kitchen is located upstairs and it is one of the most cosiest kitchens that I have ever been to – as it just takes your breath away.
I would like to copy Ramli’s idea of having a little stage at the back of my house, but what stopped me from pursuing that idea further is what sort of performance would I be running? Well, I am no longer a dancer and having an inbuilt stage area at the back of the house would be pointless for me but for him, it just made good economical sense, as he doesn’t need to rent any expensive areas to showcase his or his student’s dancing performances. So, back to the drawing board I go. Till my next update.

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