DIY home refurbishment an ideal lockdown hobby


By Nurul Hanis Izmir

KUALA LUMPUR: From the viral dalgona coffee challenge, trying out a new recipe to decluttering Marie Kondo-style and gardening, Malaysians have been jumping on all possible lockdown hobbies since last year and are now, perhaps, running out of ideas to tackle boredom.

Do-it-yourself (D.I.Y) home refurbishment is an ideal, as well as cost-effective, way to keep one occupied, with some choosing to recreate the restaurant and hotel ambience in their homes as dining out and travelling remain restricted.

This writer and her husband, who just moved into a new house, have their hands full as there are plenty of things that can be done to turn their love nest into a cosy living space for them without burning a hole in their pockets.

Wan Nur Syarifah Diana Wan Shahida Azmi. Photo: Wan Nur Syarifah Diana

Creative moments

Administrative clerk Wan Nur Syarifah Diana Wan Shahida Azmi, 33, has always liked the English-styled wainscoted walls as she felt that they add a more exclusive and luxurious look to a house.  

(Wainscoting [pronounced Wayne’s coating] was introduced in England in the 16th century as a wall covering to protect the walls from problems caused by poor weatherproofing. Today’s homeowners, however, view wainscoting as a decorative feature for their otherwise plain walls.)  

Wan Nur Syarifah Diana had set her sights on wainscoting her bedroom feature wall when the full movement control order (MCO 3.0) was enforced on June 1 but instead of hiring an expensive interior decorator, she and her husband decided to do the job themselves. And, it cost them less than RM100.

Wan Nur Syarifah Diana’s bedroom wall whilst undergoing the wainscoting process. Photo: Wan Nur Syarifah Diana

“We spent RM70 to buy the PVC wire casings, a one-litre can of paint, saw, brush and gum. But the work certainly required a lot of energy, time and creativity.

“But I was determined to give our bedroom a new look, and my husband and I considered it as our ninth wedding anniversary gift,” she told Bernama.

To create the wainscoting effect on the wall, she used ready-made PVC wire casings instead of wood as the latter was more cumbersome as it needed to be cut according to the required size.

“I used my own creativity but the end result was the same,” she added.

The end-result of Wan Nur Syarifah Diana and her husband’s hard work. Photo: Wan Nur Syarifah Diana

Spending three hours a day working on their “project”, the couple took four days to complete their dream bedroom.

Wan Nur Syarifah Diana said she uploaded photographs of her wainscoted bedroom wall on her Instagram and Facebook accounts and her efforts were appreciated by her family and friends.

“My intention was not to show off but to share my experience and motivate those who want to do the same thing during this period,” she added.

Some of the wainscoting designs done by Duan Zara. Photo: DZ Molek Resources

Good demand

More Malaysians are being drawn to wainscoting these days and the rise in demand for this particular service has prompted some people to enter this segment to offer their expertise.

One such person is Duan Zara Rizal Teh, 40, who started her own business after she was laid off last year following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her company DZ Molek Resources offers wainscoting services, as well as sterilisation and sanitisation services for offices and homes.

“(Making) adjustments and (seizing) opportunities are the solutions to making changes. With a lot of struggle, hard work, initiative and renewed optimism, Alhamdulillah, in time I came to view my layoff as a do-over,” said Duan Zara.

Passionate about home makeovers and designing, she did in-depth research on wainscoting and built her business from scratch. She specialises in ready-to-install stylish wainscoting trim pieces that can make any house look classy.

Her company has so far installed full wall and half-wall wainscoting pieces featuring, among others, modern geometric and diamond patterns in several homes in the Klang Valley and Negeri Sembilan.

Duan Zara applying spray paint on a wainscoted wall. Photo: DZ Molek Resources

“All customers have to do is provide our company with detailed measurements of their preferred wall area and we will send them our price estimation,” said Duan Zara.

She said with more people working remotely from home these days, there is a demand for functional, beautiful and comfortable homes.

“People are paying more attention to their surroundings. Homeowners are also seeking to add a touch of luxury and elegance to their living space and are increasingly turning to wainscoting as an alternative to mere wallpaper or painted designs.

“Wainscoting isn’t just about making a wall look pretty…  it is also about evoking pleasant feelings with what you have in your living space,” she said.  

She is, however, concerned about the ongoing lockdown as her company has not been able to operate, resulting in a number of jobs pending.

“Fortunately, our customers are willing to wait for MCO 3.0 to be over so that we can install the wainscoting pieces they have ordered from us,” she added. – Bernama