"Our house is a very, very fine house/With two cats in the yard/
Life used to be so hard/"'
~ 'Our House', by Crosby Stills Nash and Young
I moved into the Wee Green Flat in June, but put most of my home improvement and decorating projects on hold when poor Shadow fell ill and later crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge.
I am just grateful my cats and I have a safe, comfortable, healthy place to call our own now. This is as much their house as mine. I'm just sad Shadow didn't get to enjoy it for long.
I've always wanted to own and create a living place filled with plants, cats, natural light and ventilation. Buying and moving into the Wee Green Flat fulfilled this dream, and my goal of having my own living space that is energy and water efficient.
So far, my energy and water use have been so low that both bills are subsidised by the Federal and state governments respectively as part of governmental efforts to encourage environmental responsibility and conservation. I practice the 3Rs, I have a composting system, I use solar lighting and I am growing my own vegetables. My home is decorated with beloved items that tell my story.
My surroundings are filled with trees, plants, birds and fresh air. A stream runs behind my low-rise, walk-up flat. I swim in the pool every week but haven't had the inclination to use the gym in the clubhouse. I have time for leisure, exercise and entertaining. I love having friends over. My friend Karen lives a few doors away and we meet often to share a meal or carpool to activities. Friends drop by on the weekends. I've hosted one of our Malaysian Nature Society branch committee meetings in my home already. I am finding home ownership to be a life-changing and empowering experience.
My home is still a work in progress, but then again, my life is also a work in progress. Still, I am happy to conduct a mini house tour of where I live.
These photos show what the interior of the flat looked like before:
The previous owners left behind most of their larger pieces of furniture as they were moving abroad. I decided to keep and reuse a number of them, but gave away the rest to charity. I called up Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar, a registered charity, to pick up the bed, couch, dressing table, and a number of other items. The previous owners didn't paint the walls either, so although the walls are reasonably clean, they are just a thin coating of chalky white primer over hurriedly-done plaster skim. As you can see, the original interior wasn't terrible, in fact it's quite clean and pleasant and the kitchen cabinets and stove are practically new, but it didn't have personality. It was all brown and beige and looked mass-produced. It didn' tell a story. I needed a space that tells my story.
This is what my apartment pool area looks like.
View from the clubhouse cafeteria.
A little stream flows from the neighbouring forest reserve past our apartment blocks and the pool area.
My minimalist living room. Obviously there is no TV set, because if I had one, this would be known as the Dying or Wasting Room, not the living room.
Cat-friendly, cleanable armchairs.
Katniss cleans herself next to my T-Bolt.
Recognise the artwork on the wall? This is a selection of my Postcrossing postcards!
No screens allowed. Talk to each other! Read a book! Have a drink! Play board games! Try solving some of these indigenous rattan IQ puzzles!
Board games, puzzles and Jenga, for when friends come over.
Toy bins full of vintage toys from my childhood, to occupy young children who visit so they won't harass my cats.
Pix gets comfortable on the window seat.
I used the TV bench left behind by the previous owner for book storage. I spruced up and repainted some of the pre-loved furniture and gave away the rest.
My minimalist Reds bedroom.
Informal dining area, with preloved furniture spruced up and dressed up to play along with my veggie theme. I saw the veggie poster online and knew I had to have it although it cost a bomb. And the capsicum tablecloth was part of a shop display and I convinced the shop to sell it to me. I'm sorta kinda obsessed with vegetables in case you couldn't tell.
I saw this huge poster of vegetables on PopChartLab and knew I had to have it, it is SOOOO ME. So I had it shipped across an ocean and framed and now it tells my veggie-loving story in my entryway/dining area.
Minimalist guest room. With an empty storage tub that just won't fit anywhere.
The storeroom/cats' room. Previous owners left the sideboard cabinet behind, so I cleaned and fixed it up and used it for storage. I store most of the things I need for volunteering here, so there's an SPCA Bag, an MNS Bag, a Reach Out Bag, a Teaching/Reading Programme Bag etc. Window ledge was added for the cats.
The storeroom/cats' room. Although the cats actually rule the entire home. Two of the boxes hold Green Living's documents, equipment, educational and display materials and merchandise. I possess very few unnecessary things, and a quarter to a third of the things in my home are held for and on behalf of the organisations I volunteer for.
The back balcony with the laundry/storage area. The veggie garden is still a work in progress. On the advice of my bestie Nic, I acquired a rack to put my potted plants on in the laundry area in order that the plants get more sunlight. Hope this works!
My little citrus-themed kitchen. It looked really dull and beige before so I washi-taped the edges in fun citrus colours. That's Mini-Me on the cookerhood and it's okay, I wipe down the tops of the cabinets and cookerhood every night.
The lighting is all yellowy and weird and my camera angles are always a bit off centre but here's the apron corner in my citrus-themed kitchen. Dog apron, cat handtowel. So me.
My wee citrus-themed kitchen, with a sunny lemony motto.
I actually have a designated bento drawer.
Find the hidden cats in the Wee Green Flat! Both items are gifts from friends and the ginger cats unexpectedly match.
Thank you for coming on a house tour of the Wee Green Flat.