Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Bedroom Lighting

As I worked to get the place ready for the Sweet Home magazine photoshoot, I found I had to make a trip to Ikea to get some things. Going to Ikea from Seremban is a half day event or longer, but there was some things I really needed. I picked up this Melodi ceiling lamp for the Guest Bedroom. It's not that great, but it works.

We had already bought the two small grey Ikea table lamps (not sure of the name) for the tables.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stairway Light Fixture and Window Panels

Another thing we had put off for a long time was choosing the light fixture for the stairway. There was a long electric cord hanging there since we bought the house. We were looking for a large fixture because the stairway is pretty big. There is of course a wide variety of really gaudy fixtures available here in Malaysia. The long crystal ones like the chandeliers shown on the TSEN website here seem to be quite popular, but too 'fancy' for our taste especially since there are already a lot of elements going on in the stairway.

We were thinking about the Howell style Chandelier (inspired by the 2097 Chandelier by Gino Sarfatti) at Timeless here. But I have been seeing this chandelier used in houses around the world a bit too much lately and think we will get tired of it. So we opted for a simple round Asian Lantern style fixture. The electric cord and cover at the top are from an Ikea Melodi lamp (28myr) where I took the shade off and replaced it with a Lantern I bought in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

As for the two windows. One is made of glass blocks so you can't see through it, but the other window is overlooking the side of our neighbors house. The window itself is something like 250cm+ long, so it was hard to find something that would fit the window. Our neighbors have had a custom piece of fabric installed, which doesn't look that great. When I saw that the Ikea panels for the Kvartal panel track were 300cm long, and two panels side to side would cover the width of the window, I chose to use it. We had to have a person install the Kavartal and panels because it required a tall ladder. It took them a few hours and I could hear them complaining about the process (had read online that these are not easy to install). Well, glad it is done, we have light and privacy!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Library Complete

The largest area we had to work on before Sweet Home magazine came to our house was the 'family room'. R and I are calling it the Library or a lounging space. You might remember back awhile ago when I was thinking about what to do with this space in my post here. I had wanted something low to the ground for lounging. Ultimately, I decided not to go with the Ikea mattresses because the grey covers were not made to be used as upholstery so the cushions would get worn and need to be replaced too fast. I did look in Malaysia for other low to the ground type furniture, but found nothing except bean bags. I had seen a cool photo of a few bean bags here and thought that they might work for the space and create the lounging effect R and I were looking for for reading and relaxing.

I was able to find three dark brown nearly black perfect colored bean bags from Jusco in Seremban 2 and bought them up with some matching pillows. The center rug is from our Bali trip. We wanted something playful and colorful to go with the colors of the books and items on the bookshelves. The small rug in the corner is a Persian rug from R's mom on her recent visit.

I had wanted to place these two Expedit Ikea shelf units straight on the ground for a low effect so it would be at the level of the bean bags, but R and I decided on legs at the store because the shelves just looked toooo low. Even with the legs, they are fairly low and go nicely with the seating area across the room.

The other thing we desperately needed in the Library space was some kind of Curtains for the large windows. I wanted something that you couldn't see directly through, but still could make out the green and sky behind. The curtains we were hoping would cool the room down because it gets so much sun in the afternoon it is super hot there. We bought another one of those long cables to hang the curtains on with clips from Ikea and 8 panels of white curtains (forget the name of these). The photo above was right after the installation. I have since hemmed them so they flow to the floor and don't bunch at the bottom. And I also removed the clips and used those old fashion curtain pleat clips and attached the curtains higher so there is no gap showing light through where the clips used to be, also, the curtains look more 'pleated' which is the look I was going for.

A couple Persian metal mirror holders (left) and a covered metal container sit on the table base with our Kindle. By the way, Kindles still aren't easy to get in Malaysia. When we bought ours a few months back, Amazon in the US wasn't shipping US manufactured Kindles to Malaysia. We had to have someone send it to us. The few Kindles that were available in KL stores were of questionable origin (meaning possibly knock offs or the models made and distributed in countries where the product is not the same as the better US models ... I don't know R knows more about this ... ) Hopefully, they will start to sell them in Malaysia before the next model comes out. We love this one so much we can't wait to get the next version.

A few old Persian photo albums.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lighting Around the House

Recently we were contacted by Sweet Home magazine, a magazine that features homes in Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asia locations. They wanted to interview R and I as foreigners living in Malaysia and also do a photoshoot of the house for the magazine. We said yes, but the house wasn't ready for a photoshoot!!!! We had under a week to get as much done as possible before they came. One of the things most noticeable (well besides the totally empty 'family room' on the second floor) was the light fixture wiring all over the house. For the past year we have been looking for the perfect fixtures, and when we would find one, we would buy it. But, now we needed to finish so I went searching all over Seremban for lighting.

I found this simple spotlight that looked nice. Bought two for 'family room' one for the ceiling and one for the wall.

Installed on the ceiling it has a rainbow effect on the wall, which I guess works ok with our color scheme for the 'family room' or what we are calling the library.

Also decided to add one of these white spots to the dining room so it is complete. Once I get the art, I may change the lighting, but it won't be for awhile.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Bali

Friends have asked for more photos from our trip to Bali so here they are!

Look at this great Ginger plant at a spa we went to. I can only hope the ginger plants I added by the side of the house will someday be as beautiful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blue Room Lanterns and Ikat Curtain

The Blue Room is finished! Well, almost. The five Ikea lanterns I bought were installed. I think they look pretty close to what I wanted to do. I'm using energy saving bulbs from Ikea, the light seems a bit bright so I searched around for some basic low wattage light blubs. No light store in Seremban carries them!!!! but finally found 25 watt blubs at a small old hardware store near the house, they looked liked they had been sitting there for ages, but I didn't care. I came home and put them in hoping it would create a dimmer effect, but no they are exactly the same brightness as the energy savers, so I guess I'll have a dimmer installed sometime. The single platform bed is KONSMO Ikea in dark blue. Very simple and without a headboard which makes it more like a daybed in the small room. Rug on the floor is an Persian carpet R's sister sent from the middle east that is black and red with some navy blue, it fits perfectly in the space. I added a few pillows I had brought from the middle east to the bed as well, although I should search for something better. Instead of a dresser we did end up putting a small TV table, forgot to take a photo of it.

The Ikat Curtain we picked up in Bali on our recent trip. It's one large panel. I think the woman told us it is a 'king blanket'. Works great for the large windows in the room.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pucuk Paku: Wild Fern Shoots

Once in a while I see large clumps of this frilly green at Family Store near my house in Seremban. I've been curious what to do with them and figured that they are eaten like the many other kinds of 'greens' that I find in the stores and Wet Market here in Seremban. Recently while at the store I saw a fresh carton of these great greens just begging to be bought. So I brought a bunch home and started searching online. It turns out they are Fern which makes sense because they look a bit like ferns. It seems there are various kinds of fern and they are mainly referred to as Fiddlehead Fern. Only most of the photos online and the recipes seem to call for Fiddlehead Ferns that look chunkier than the Fern I bought at Family Store. It seems that these are popular in the US, but I never saw them in New York when I lived there, ever. Nor do I remember eating them in a restaurant. Actually, the thicker swirls look pretty damn cool!

Nevertheless, I had these thin ones, and so I needed to find out how to cook them. The best way to search is to use the Malay name obtainable from the Family Store label. Here it said Pucuk Paku. I was searching recipes and actually found a blog from a guy named Sham in Kuala Lumpur who is from Negeri Sembilan (the state in which Seremban is located); his blog is a joint deal with his mother together they post traditional Malay cooking with emphasis on Negeri Sembilan style! They post a recipe for Goreng Pucuk Paku (Fried Wild Fern Shoots) here.

I thought since I was in Negeri Sembilan and had some Pucuk Paku I better use his recipe which he describes as, "This one is really an easy one. I'm not that much of a vegetable eater but this is definitely one of my favourite vegetable dish. Very Negeri Sembilan... I think lah. I think you can get the wild fern shoots from any good wet market here. Bibik did the shopping for this and also the cooking for this dish. So enjoy!"

But, I didn't have either of the anchovy ingredients so I just sauteed the fern with minced garlic, hot chili, salt and pepper in olive oil. They tasted great! R ate them right out of the pan on the stove! He called them addictive. I didn't do that good of a job at separating the thicker stems from the lightweight fern parts and so the stems were a bit too crunchy and the fern a bit over cooked. Next time I'll do better...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Christmas Palms Growing

I always drive by a house near my house here in Seremban that has the cutest small palms in the front of the yard (image above is one of the palms). They had beautiful red seeds for quite awhile. So I stopped one day and picked up some of the red seeds. After searching online I found they are are Christmas Palms (Adonidia). I planted a number of the seeds to see if they would grow. I tried a couple methods. I soaked some, soaked some and removed the red part from the seed before planting, and also planted a couple without doing anything. Oh and I also put a couple in wet paper towel and placed them in a plastic bag. All methods worked and they eventually sprouted. Strangely, the largest plant right now was one from the plastic bag method. But I guess removing the red part after soaking worked well too. I've already transplanted the small shoots once into bigger pots. I found they had already established thick roots. In the new planters, now I wait for them to get bigger before I plant them in my yard.