Blog : Malaysia

W39 House: A Hillside Home Renovation That Brings the Outdoors in

W39 House: A Hillside Home Renovation That Brings the Outdoors in

/ Ampang Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

Built on a slope, this three-story home renovation project sits beautifully ensconced by a vast expanse of lush vegetation. The front façade opens to the east to take in panoramic views of the rolling hills as the sun rises over the horizon. The back of the house facing the hillside holds a quiet, secluded area for living rooms and bedrooms.

Originally purchased as part of a development project back in 1980, it has gone through several improvements to maintain a good state of repair. After the children had grown up and moved out to start a family of their own, the home was last renovated from 2015 to 2018.

Among other things, the upper floors were tailored to meet the needs of aging Mom and Dad while rooms downstairs are reserved for accommodations for visiting children.

Drawings of floor plans for all three levels. / Courtesy of Zlg Design
A cross-section drawing shows the side elevation of the home renovation project built on the hillside. / Courtesy of Zlg Design

Back in the day when the kids were young, the interior of the house was divided into smaller rooms. Things have changed and hence all the room dividers were torn down to create a larger, more light and airy interior that’s compatible with the Tropical climate.

The result is a complete home renovation that brings elements of the outdoors into the home. They include rays of sunshine that stream in through openings in brick walls and skylights, plus fresh air and the smell of flowers in the room.

Home Renovation
The first-floor bedroom overlooks the front yard that’s set apart from the entrance to the main living spaces on the second floor.
Home Renovation
The bedroom is tucked away at the farthest end while skylights illuminate a nearby utility area.
W39 House Home Renovation
The bedroom wall is fitted with plantation shutters designed for good ventilation. It opens to connect with the entrance hall and center court.

The first floor contains a studio apartment complete with bedroom, bathroom, laundry space and a font yard landscape. The second floor holds sitting room with a kitchen island and dining space that opens to the terrace overlooking the backyard.

W39 House Home Renovation

W39 House Home Renovation
All second-floor room dividers have since been removed to create an open-concept living space that connects with a green hillside landscape in the backyard.

W39 House Home Renovation

To ensure safety, the backyard is made secure by retaining wall systems that protect against flooding and erosion as well as create usable land for plants to thrive, a setting that conjures up images of being in the great outdoors.

W39 House Home Renovation

W39 House Home Renovation
A semi-outdoor kitchen is hemmed in by retaining walls built into the mountainside.
W39 House Home Renovation
The room in the front of the house affords beautiful views of the mountain landscape. The façade is glazed in metal framing with window hinges recycled from the old house.
W39 House Home Renovation
Skylights in the rooftop illuminate the center court. They serve as engine that drives natural air circulation vertically and horizontally.

The third floor is accessible via a spiral staircase. It’s a quiet, secluded living space with sitting room, home office and bedroom set apart by divider curtains for easy updates. Open to the outdoors, it conveys a great deal about the inextricable connection between humans and nature.

A spiral staircase connects to third floor. It’s enclosed in perforated walls built of light mass brick that’s inexpensive, plus there’s no need for cement plastering. During the daytime, rays of sunshine streaming inside add interesting dimension to the room.
W39 House Home Renovation
The third-floor corridor runs the entire length of the weather-beaten cement wall. Framed art pieces line the interior wall reminiscent of a small gallery.

In terms of value it’s a good home renovation that stands the test of time thanks in part to quality materials that perform well despite the weather. Meantime, bare concrete surfaces and brick masonry walls blend perfectly into their surroundings.

The front façade has since been adapted to go well with metal window and door casings. For good looks, they are fitted with vintage hinges recycled from old homes.

There’s a part of the wall that’s made using light mass bricks without cement plastering. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find locally. Where appropriate, openings are made in the brick walls to let fresh air and natural light stream into the home creating abstract reflections on the wall. It’s a way to keep the interior cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

W39 House Home Renovation
Drapery hanging in loose folds divides the third floor into different rooms. At every level, the bathroom is set against the exterior wall to create ample living spaces inside.

W39 House Home Renovation

The bathroom is enclosed in perforated brickwork for good ventilation. Nearby solid sliding doors and walls add privacy protection while the gap at the top lets air pass through.

The natural surroundings play a crucial role in making a home renovation full of life and energy. This place is no exception. It’s a happy home built on a good understanding of the environment and the humble nature of human and non-human elements in nature.

So it’s good to let nature take its course for a change. Let lichens grow. Leave those little mud stains on the wall alone. Let climbers thrive on the trellis and the wall. They are there for good reason.

The same applies to those unkempt ground covering weeds here and there. There is beauty in imperfections too, especially those semi-outdoor decks made of wood planks. They may be worn by exposure to the air.

Unpleasant, perhaps? But they serve the purpose as place to enjoy a good cup of tea, have a conversation, even prepare food and wash dishes, or just sit back and relax in the early morning quiet. That’s the secret to living a memorable life.

W39 House Home Renovation
A relaxing nook on Floor 3 sits directly above the semi-outdoor kitchen on Floor 2. It opens to a vertical garden that fills up the retaining wall built into the hillside.

Owner: Susanne Zeidler, Huat Lim

Architect: Zlg Design ( by Susanne Zeidler, Huat Lim

This house appears in the Special Bilingual Edition (English and Thai) of Baan Lae Suan and Living Asean, titled “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes”. It focuses on designs for cozy living in harmony with nature.

We have handpicked ten houses for this special edition that serve as the perfect example of design innovations in sync with the natural world. Front and center, it’s about the pursuit of ways to live more sustainably and create a better future for all. Looking for inspiration? Perhaps a glimpse into nature-inspired “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes” is a good place to start.

Delve into the new book today. It’s hitting Thailand shelves now. For more details, visit

For bulk ordering, contact

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A Renovation in Sync with the Times: Beautiful Mixed-Use Home Office in Petaling Jaya

A Renovation in Sync with the Times: Beautiful Mixed-Use Home Office in Petaling Jaya

/ Petaling Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

Working from home has become one of the various alternative methods of doing business in the aftermath of a Coronavirus pandemic that took the world by surprise in 2019. Adapting to change, the architecture firm Essential Design Integrated (EDI) interestingly transformed its office in Petaling Jaya into a multi-use space that blended with its downtown business communities. The updated package put a home office and living quarters on the upper floors, while the floor at ground level was rented out to a business selling soy milk pudding.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

A Renovation Improves Light and Ventilation

Facing the New Normal, the property owner thought it was time to renovate to serve a new purpose. To begin with, there were two main problems in the original design that had to be resolved – light and ventilation.

The single-unit home plan was an elongated rectangle set along the east-west axis. It was 21 meters long with the usual narrow frontage to the street. As to be expected, the interior living spaces were dimly lit during daylight hours and ventilation was poor.

So, to create a bright and airy open-concept house plan, most of the room dividers had to be torn down. In no time, a restoration of the shop house that was part of a 40-year-old traditional building block was completed in a way that fitted beautifully into the bustling commercial neighborhood.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

An Open Glass Façade Decorated with Plants

Chan Mun Inn and Wong Pei San, the two architects who designed it, said that initially the renovation project was completed a few months prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. At the time the interior was decorated with the lush greenery of a vertical garden on every floor.

Suddenly the Coronavirus disease came and social distancing became the norm. Everyone was keeping to himself. Soon the gorgeous gardens withered away and died due to lack of care.

The job of remodeling the home had to be done again differently. In so doing, the green spaces were revived to create positive energy and relaxation. This is evident in beautiful balcony garden ideas both in front and at the rear, plus the redesigned open glass façade that takes in natural daylight, fresh outdoor air and views of the city landscape.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Urban balcony gardens serve multiple purposes. Besides taking in the view, they double as privacy screens, filter out the sun’s harsh glare, admit natural daylight into the home and control ventilation, to name but a few.

To capitalize on vertical space, climbers and hanging plants are grown alongside an array of foliage plants that thrive in containers. Not long ago herbs, including mint and basil, were added to the mix.

The path along the front staircase is marked with container gardens at intervals. There are openings in the wall to let natural daylight shine through. To create a positive atmosphere, the entrance hall is illuminated by a moon-shaped chandelier, which can be seen from the outside.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Serving a Dual Purpose as a Home and an Office

Mimicking an open-concept home plan, the third floor comprises a sitting room, eating room and kitchen arranged in a way that improves traffic flows. Its space within a space design allows each area to easily change to respond to altered circumstances.

Take for example, the sitting room can transform into a workspace with coffee readily available. The meeting room can change into an eating room when not in use.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya
Like home, the office on the third floor is simple but cozy and comfortable.
A living room-style kitchen island can easily change into a workspace if need be.

Across from the extra-long conference table there are storage shelves that double as stadium seating for fun team meeting ideas. There’s a floor-to-ceiling foldable partition that separates and protect the conference room from noises when a meeting is in progress.

The fully functional kitchen that lies at the farthest end can change into a venue for social gathering or a workspace if need be. The kitchen island is also good for work or spend time solo.

The third-floor meeting room becomes a dining room when not in use.

On the layout of the third floor, Chan Mun Inn said:

“The chief architect likes it here better than other places because it’s a flexible workspace. Come by and settle into a quiet corner, bring out a notebook and enjoy the peace and quiet.

“If there’s a meeting going on, simply escape to the nearby coffee shop. People can work at any place and from anywhere.”

Home Office in Petaling Jaya
The top floor is home to the perfect office space.

For the sake of convenience, there is another set of stairs at the rear that connects to lavatories on every floor. The second, third and fourth floors contain workspaces dedicated to teams of architects and interior designers, while the ground floor is rented out to a business selling soy milk pudding.

All things considered, it’s a renovation carefully planned to blend seamlessly into the surrounding downtown business landscape. The architecture firm that starts from the second floor is easily accessible via the front staircase.

Architect Wong Pei San wrapped it up nicely. He said that essentially the renovation package was about “bringing home to the office”.

It represented a complete rethink of the firm’s strategies to do what was right and appropriate under the present circumstances. The results were gratifying, which earned the architecture firm a Gold Medal award from the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers in 2021. Congratulations on a job well done!

Architect: EDI (Essential Design Integrated) (

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Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

In Malaysia and Singapore, the popular noodle soup is known as “Yong Tau Fu”. In Thailand, it goes by the name “Yen Ta Fo”. Different names for the same good food!

A mix of crispy fries is readied for a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu.

Originally a part of traditional Hakka cuisine, the scrumptious noodle soup is enjoyed by many people across peninsular Southeast Asia. Particularly in Malaysia, it has pride of place among top 100 dishes with a national heritage status.

Yong Tau Fu has been among many big hits on the menu for hundreds of years. Its various recipes were brought in by the Hakka people, one of major groups who migrated into the Region from southeastern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu with a side dish of crispy fried condiments. They can be added to soups or eaten with dipping sauces.

As its name implies, the recipe is made of tofu stuffed with ground pork and then deep-fried to give it a distinctive crispy flavor. It is the perfect match for a bowl of soup, good with dipping sauces, and makes a delicious accompaniment for noodle. Nowadays near-original versions of Yong Tau Fu can still be found everywhere in Malaysia.

Meantime, the Thais like their Yen Ta Fo slightly different from the original. They treat it as a noodle dish that comes either with or without deep-fried tofu. Instead, the Thai recipe features fish balls, pleasantly crisp calamari, pig’s blood cakes, and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach. Some Yen Ta Fo joints offer pork-stuffed tofu, while others may do without it entirely.

Known as Yen Ta Fo, the Thai noodle meal with its signature pink soup is served with pig’s blood cakes and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach.
Hakka noodle, as the Thais call it, is a variation of the Yen Ta Fo recipe.

The Thai version is distinguished by the signature pink soup that gets its color from fermented red bean curd. The Thais also like their Yen Ta Fo with a variety of condiments, including taro fries, shrimp balls, jellyfish, and wood ear, aka black fungus. Some like their Yen Ta Fo the Thai way in spicy chili soups. A lot of people confuse Yen Ta Fo with a similar recipe without the pink soup. Although made with the same ingredients, the latter is known as “Kuaytaew Khae”, literally Hakka noodle.

Ingredient of Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu
Be spoilt for choice! There’s nothing like a full-course Yong Tau Fu served Malaysian-style.

Traditionally, a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu begins with first-course meals consisting of a mix of crispy fries, such as tofu, purple eggplant, stuffed meals, and sweet pepper, aka bell pepper. It’s hard to beat a good dipping sauce to start with. Then it’s time to eat them with a soup and add noodle to complement a great meal. Yong Tau Fu is ranked among Malaysia’s top 100 dishes with a national heritage status, along with other big hits such as Nasi Lemak (a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with anchovies and hot sauces), Nasi Ayam (chicken rice), and Ketupat (rice dumpling in palm leaf pouch).

Queueing for a Yong Tau Fu in Singapore. If you’re patient, it will get to your turn.
(Left) A Singapore-style Yong Tau Fu comes in a noodle soup. (Right) Crispy fried anchovies, locally known as “Ikan Bilis”, add flavor to a Yong Tau Fu meal.

In Singapore, where Yong Tau Fu is a culinary success story, rice vermicelli is served on a plate along with a bowl of spicy soup called Laksa. It is recommended to try this with Chee Cheong Fun, a rice noodle roll that comes in either dry or wet versions. There are plenty of Yong Tau Fu joints to be found. The price is reasonable, but keep in mind the line is rather long. If you are patient, it will get to your turn. Enjoy your meal!


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10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

Living ASEAN has selected our favorite houses in the ASEAN for 2017. Of course, all of them present practical solutions for living in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, including a bamboo house in Thailand, a concrete block house in Thailand and a modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check them out!


A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.

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Concrete Block House

Intanon Chantip, INchan atelier architect and owner of this HUAMARK 09 building, designed it to test theories he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. He wanted the architecture to tell its own story through the charm of materials that change over time. Intanon and his wife Tharisra Chantip bought this a 30-year-old, 80 square wa (.8 acres) property in the Hua Mark district, demolishing the old house to erect a new four-storey mixed-use building with usable space of 490 square meters and combine office, residence, and art studio.

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The architecture of this modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

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Waterside Home

This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

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Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

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This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past. The house is located in the Petalang Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house. Still, architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey home in its place.

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Living with Cats in a Beautiful House

Ever wonder why this is a dream house for kind pet owners and their feline companions?.

“I live with my wife and our seven cats in this house,” said Chan Mun Inn of Design Collective Architects (DCA). “There used to be only four, but I adopted more cats. So I ended up with seven of them. They were the reason that we left our old apartment and built a new home in the suburb.”

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Brick house For a Tropical Climate

This rectangular brick home in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is designed for “hot and humid,” open to natural light and cool from air currents constantly streaming in and out through the bricks. Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh, the owners here, are newlyweds who wanted a small house with a straightforward design for pleasant living. They had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

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Box-Shaped House with a Tropical Style Garden

Box-shaped design highlights a perfect blend of form and function, plus an exotic Tropical style garden. The result: A lovable livable home with a panoramic view from the bedroom.

“This house was not built to be photogenic,” said Patchara Wongboonsin, architect at POAR, when asked about his outstanding design. The 350-square-meter, modern cube-shaped house took two years in the making.

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Modern House in a Forest Setting

The architect uses clever techniques to make this modern house look like it’s crafted entirely of wood. When her family wanted to build a new house in Thailand’s Northeast, Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned the task of project architect. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers. Things didn’t go as smooth as planned, but the mission was accomplished – eventually. The key to success lay in being a bit more flexible to ensure things got done right and on schedule.

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Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok was at the highest place on the chart of Top Ten Global Destination Cities attracting 19.41 million visitors in 2016, outranking London, Paris, Dubai, and Singapore. A Mastercard index released recently showed the Thai capital benefited the most from international travel, while further growth in visitor arrivals were in the forecast for 2017.

/// ASEAN ///

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok / Photo: Tanakitt Khum-on


Visitor Volume

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index predicted that Bangkok’s visitor arrivals would increase by 4.0 percent in the 2017 calendar year, while Singapore was forecast to move up one notch growing by 2.6 percent and outranking New York (at minus 2.4 percent). Meantime, Kuala Lumpur was likely to post a strong 7.2 percent gain in visitor arrivals for 2017, enabling it to keep its eighth place on the chart.

Kuala Lumpur / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

From 2009 to 2016, two ASEAN cities also saw strong growth in visitor arrivals, namely: Jakarta up 18.2 percent, and Hanoi up 16.4 percent. Of all 132 destinations across the globe, Osaka was at the top with a whopping 24.0 percent growth in overnight visitor arrivals during the 8-year period.

Overall, international visitors to leading global destination cities increased in the 2016 calendar year. As for 2017, Tokyo’s visitor numbers were forecast to increase by as much as 12.2 percent, making it the strongest growth in visitors among the top ten.


National Gallery Singapore / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham


Cross-border Spending

The Mastercard index was more than just a ranking of top destination cities across the globe. Apart from international visitor volume, it also looked into tourist spending that contributed to furthering economic growth of countries. For the 2016 calendar year, Dubai was at the top with overnight visitors spending $28.50 billion, followed by New York ($17.02 billion), London ($16.09 billion), Singapore ($15.69 billion), and Bangkok ($14.08 billion), all in USD. Destination cities benefited greatly from tourism. Shopping accounted for 22.9 percent of tourist spending, local service 21.5 percent, and food and beverages 20.6 percent).

Royal Palace, Bangkok / Photo: Aphirux Suksa



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Malaysia National Day 2017

Malaysia National Day 2017

“Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” Sixty years ago these chants ushered in a new era for thousands who descended into a large field to watch Malaysia’s new flag raised. Happy Independence Day Malaysia !!! These are the Malaysian houses we fell in love with…

/// Malaysia ///

This beautiful brick house belongs to a family of 4 in Malaysia. The design work and use of materials such as bamboo and old brick taken from a pre-WWII colonial house make it special.

Link :

This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past.

Link :

For 40 years this modest, two-story home has stood in a residential neighborhood near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Selangor. Noise pollution has turned many people away, but architect David Chan has grown so acquainted with living in the area that he decided to stay. A frequent flyer, he thinks it wise to live a stone’s throw away from it all.

Link :


Small House Renovation : a Family Solution

Small House Renovation : a Family Solution

Living ASEAN takes you to a house that looks small, but was remodeled to answer the needs of all family members. From the front it has a straightforward, contemporary look. Inside it has great ventilation.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Ajchara Jeenkram, Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Owner & Designer: Mr.David Chan

Here we are in Selangor State, Malaysia, where a sign in front proclaiming “Dday Haus” informs us we’ve arrived at Mr. David Chan’s residence. The unusual name comes from the first initials of his and his sons Daniel  and Delan’s first names, even though the architect responsible for the house design, though, is actually more his wife, June Lim Sue May. You could say this is a continuation of David’s old house, which he uses as a home office and is tucked away right across a tiny village street.

This town house from the 90s retains its original façade but has been redone with better materials, giving it a contemporary flavor so that it stands out from its neighbors. Though the outward appearance hasn’t changed much, the interior is another story, featuring a full complement of conveniences, everything needed for comfortable modern living.

Perforated metal ceiling looks down from the balcony above – this is also a popular material for fences in Malaysia.
Next to the parlor is the kids’ homework room, and their work adorns the brick wall.

Downstairs, the children’s homework room adjoins the parlor, with the . kitchen and dining nook behind. Second floor splits left into a family room and children’s bedrooms, and to the right is the master bedroom with a mezzanine. David tells that the other house is used for an office and receiving guests, while this one is just for family life.

“We started out thinking this would be an office, but after more research we leaned more towards what we needed in this stage of our lives.” As a result, there are now more rooms, and more opportunity for family togetherness and comfortable living.

David spent many of his earlier years living in apartments, and enjoyed it, and the house is designed to reflect that. For instance there’s a section reaching up the entire four storeys which he calls “the tower.” A staircase winds upstairs from the kitchen on the first floor to a laundry/drying room on the second, and at the very top, a private living room with a mini swimming pool for the kids.

The family room has perforated metal floor panels, allowing a view of the children in the homework room below.

Twist and turn up the stairs to a compact bedroom.

The house is designed to meet the challenge of balancing close family connections with the need for privacy. A unique solution here is in the see-through metal gratings found here and there in walls and floor, which build a feeling of lightness into the house and give it personality.

David places high value on interior ventilation as needed for comfort: wind direction and flow were important design considerations. The air flow comes straight in through the long front balcony out to the back, then up through a service opening placed above to allow the release of hot air as the cooler breeze blowing in below keeps the house cool all day.

Link :

A Fascinating One-Day Trip to Tanjung Sepat

A Fascinating One-Day Trip to Tanjung Sepat

/ Tanjung Sepat, Malaysia /

/ Story & Photograph: Samutcha Viraporn /

A sleepy little town has emerged as one of the most visited destinations in Malaysia. Tanjung Sepat is located a good 100 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. The drive along the two-lane road passing lots of quaint small towns is pleasant and enjoyable. Let’s go!


A self-guided sightseeing tour is a great way to spend a day in Tanjung Sepat. The small fishing town in Kuala Langat in Selangor is named after a type of fish called Sepat.

The cape town is perfect for a day trip getaway from the city. There is so much to see and do there. Most visitors do not stay since it is only an hour plus drive from the city center. If one does wish to stay a night, there are a handful of small motels available.

It is recommended that one starts the day there early to catch a popular eatery named YiKee Seafood Bak Kut Teh. In fact, the eatery starts their food service as early as 7.30 a.m. and usually runs out of food by 10 a.m. It’s not just a tourist haunt, but many locals also flock there for a piping hot clay pot of herbal soup filled to the brim with meat and seafood.

After breakfast, take a leisure stroll through the main morning market just to check what they offer.

Then it’s off to catch some fishing docks in action, or simply head over to the farms to walk off the heavy meal. If you’ve missed the fishing boats coming in, you can still head over to some of the shops where they process the fish into fish products.

Thong Hsing Trading is located nearby the seafood bak kut teh eatery in one of the small lanes.

The fish ball factory is run in the vicinity of the owner’s home. If you’re early enough, you can catch them making fish balls and other fish products from scratch. Processing machines separate the flesh of the fish from the bones. One can buy all sorts of fish products here from fish balls to fish cakes, stuff fish paste and more.

There is also another popular place to buy or catch more fish products. And that is at the Yek Loong Enterprise fish ball factory located in a small shop lot near the main market.

Though the machines have taken over some of the more tedious work, there are still lots of work to be done by hands only and that includes this lady stuffing fish paste onto thin bean curd sheets to make Fu Chuk.

Though there are lots of farms to visit such as dragon fruit farm, longan farm and more, we opted for some cool places such as the Ganofarm.

Ganofarm is a mushroom research company that cultivates varieties of mushrooms for sale. One can catch quite a few common mushrooms they farmed there, such as Ling Zhi, Oyster, Abalone, Monkey Head and more.

Behind Ganofarm, there is a lovely area with a bridge to visit! One can actually walk out to the sea and take some great photos there, too. It is a lovely day; hence the sky is gorgeous as it meets the horizon of the sea.

There used to be another more popular bridge named the “Lover’s Bridge,” but that was taken down since it had collapsed earlier last year.

Near the bridge site, there are quite a few seafood restaurants that many flock to till today for seafood. A popular gift shop named Qing Ren Qiao Souvenir Shop sells lots local snacks and knick knacks.

There’re quite a few smaller pop up stalls selling food and drinks as well as sweets. This bicycle sells fried fish balls and other fish and dried seafood products that are yummy too.

For lunch, there are a few restaurants in the Lover’s Bridge vicinity, such as Ocean Seafood, Lover Bridge Tanjung Sepat, and Ban Joo Hin Seafood. Savor home cooked seafood dishes with a beautiful sea view.


After lunch, head over to Arowana Malayan Food Industries to catch some chips action. The factory produces a great variety of fried tapioca chips, vegetables chips, and more. You can catch the whole end-to-end process and buy bags of freshly fried chips.

The fascinating small town boasts many favorite local joints, where one can catch the makings of paus (fresh steamed stuffed buns) and even local coffee processing. Business has really taken off for Hai Yew Heng Pau as many locals and tourists flock there for fluffy steamed buns filled with pork, vegetables, peanut, red bean, and more.

Go early to order for takeaways as they do run out by afternoon, especially on the weekends. There is another place a few minutes away, too, for steamed paus named Mr. Black Hand-Made Pau that’s just as popular. Be ready to queue on weekends.

Near Hai Yew Heng Pau, there is also a coffee shop, Kwo Zha B Coffee. One can catch coffee beans being roasted fresh and grounded for sale. These are local strong coffee with a kick. There is another coffee place also a few lanes away named Joo Fa Trading.

After that, head over to Kuan Wellness Ecopark, an eco-friendly center where every one of all ages can benefit from a visit. The center has a collection of old classic cars all lined up for viewing.

The main center building focuses on the cultivation of bird nest. One can catch the tedious process, where many workers remove feather and dirt from the precious bird nest before it’s dried and packed for sale. Bird nest is said to have some health as well as beauty benefits.

Kuan Wellness Ecopark has a small animal sanctuary for fishes, rabbits, birds and even peacocks. For a small fee, one can enter the sanctuary that is also set with a nice landscape view of a windmill.

End your day with a beautiful stroll along the beaches to catch the sunset, or dine at one of the restaurants set along the sea with some of the freshest catch of the day.

Tanjung Sepat is truly a fascinating small town that warrants a lovely getaway from the city.


Top 10 Houses to Beat the Heat / Tropical House

Top 10 Houses to Beat the Heat / Tropical House

Hot and humid climate being one of the inevitabilities of life, architects across the Region aptly responded with a range of ingenious designs from the cool traditional to the energy-efficient modern. Living ASEAN presents top 10 houses well suited to the circumstances. Check them out.

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A Gorgeous White Brick House in Ampang Jaya, Malaysia

A Gorgeous White Brick House in Ampang Jaya, Malaysia

/ Ampang Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Skiixy / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

This beautiful brick house belongs to a family of four in Ampang Jaya, a town to the east of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. The design work and use of materials such as bamboo and old brick taken from a pre-WWII colonial-style house make it special.

Ampang Jaya

Childhood memories are fragments of the past that many of us can bring back to life. In her childhood, Mrs. Liew Jun Keong was entranced by house design. And in conversation with Studio Bikin’s architect Ms. Farah Azizan, her memories bubbled out, creating a happy chemistry of inspiration between the homeowner and the architect, with the end result of this gorgeous white brick house.

The kitchen counter with large pressed bamboo cylinder mortared in place and smoothed with a trowel.

Mrs. Liew said, “At first, I just had the thought I liked houses with a resort atmosphere and the sort of peace and quiet we used to find on holiday to Bali, Bangkok, or Singapore, experiencing nature in a more original state.

“Then I thought of the house we lived in then, in an area with a lot of unfinished concrete surfaces, and so told the designer I’d like a modern-style concrete house, but with plants and trees all around.

“By modern, I didn’t mean perfect, but featuring the natural surfaces of construction materials that have their own types of beauty.”

Ampang Jaya
The reception parlor with dark wood furniture and vintage cloth coverings in muted tones of blue and gray.
Ampang Jaya
[Left] In the back of the house is a place to take a nap. [Right] The kitchen connects back to that nap space. Wood latticework helps with ventilation.
A Chinese devotional altar room
The master bathroom

After a good talk, the architect and the homeowner found their ideas really resonated with each other. Ms. Azizan also had pleasant surprises for Mrs. Liew. She came up with the materials handpicked specifically for this house.

“I was really impressed with Farah’s detailed choice of materials. I tend to think of the normal uses for bamboo, for instance, as for pipes, but she used it as a decorative façade for the house,” said Mrs Liew.

“Next, it was this batch of white brick, which has an extraordinary history, coming from the demolition of a colonial-style residence built before World War II.

“The brick had no coloring when she bought it. We were lucky to get this brick, as it was the first batch. Others looking at this may first notice it has blemishes or that the sizes are irregular, but it’s iconic material for that period, with a great value, and absolutely perfect for our family.”

The entire house is painted white, except for sections of bare cement. There isn’t a lot of interior furnishing and decoration, and furniture is limited to what is necessary.

Mrs. Liew values simplicity and doesn’t care for fancy interior décor. She said that she hadn’t yet found decorative work with the kind of natural beauty she cared for.

The homeowner added enthusiastically: “I’d never dreamed of living in a place where sunlight reached into the center of the house, which is something I now really appreciate.

“And the bricks used in the construction have blemishes, but each imperfection somehow adds to the perfection of the whole.”

Ampang Jaya


Owner: Mrs. Liew Jun Keong

Designer: Studio Bikin by Ms. Farah Azizan

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