We love a creative home owner who uses innovative ways to furnish and utilise space. I was warmly welcomed to one such home – an HDB maisonette located in Jurong West, which is not only home to Syahril Salleh and his family of three, but also doubles up as a haven for his extensive shoe collection.

Syahril has been actively collecting shoes since he was a teenager. Today, his collection stands at a whopping 150 pairs (and still he claims is not much)! From casual sneakers to smart leather oxfords, some of them are displayed on shelves while the others are kept in boxes. To care and maintain for the shoes, it is a monthly ritual for Syahril to diligently bring each pair out to shampoo or polish. But there are no complaints, as he finds cleaning a therapeutic exercise.

A small portion of Syahril’s shoe collection

Syahril’s 5-year-old son, Afeeq, follows in his footsteps, showing similar passion for footwear. He has his own collection of adorable sneakers, amounting to about 50 pairs, most of which he has since outgrown. Syahril’s wife, Diana, playfully laments that she has the least pair of shoes in the household!

Little Afeeq has also started his own collection of caps, toy figurines and movie memorabilia, all displayed neatly in his bedroom, taking after his parent’s amazing trait of being organised and tidy.

The adorable Afeeq in front of his treasure trove of collectibles

Afeeq’s collection of toy figurines

Space-saving tips

As a collector, Syahril tries as much as possible to weed out clutter to maximise the space in their HDB flat. Despite having so many items displayed, they managed to keep the place clean and tidy – a pretty amazing feat I must say! Together with Diana, the couple shares with me several great tips:

1. Choose space-saving furniture

There are special built-in display cabinets for Afeeq’s shoe collection, and custom-made shelving for Syahril’s. By having the correct dimensions of shelves according to their needs, they have managed to save space and organise things more easily. The couple also invested in several foldable or stowaway furniture (like tables and chairs) to accommodate guests for festivities or gatherings.

Glass cabinets built into the wall help to save space

An innovative way to display Afeeq’s cap collection

2. Invest in good quality furniture

Having lived in the same HDB flat since 2004, Syahril and Diana revealed something shocking – they have not changed their furniture in the last 10 years! One of their tips is to invest in good quality products, as it will be more cost-effective in the long run. For example, their leather couch, although it cost quite a bit, has lasted them through the decade, and was more lasting compared to alternative materials such as PVC. They also believe that simplicity is more. Instead of following trends and fads, a timeless and classic design will last longer.

3. Make every purchase a conscious one

Syahril and Diana decided against putting up a chandelier in their balcony as it wasn’t practical – they would have difficulty cleaning it. They also replaced their curtains with blinds, as the latter is easier to maintain. Their kitchen cabinet doors didn’t have handles, precisely for ease of cleaning, and moreover, these were childproof as well! The couple advises home owners to always do sufficient research before investing in a furniture piece, and avoid making impulsive purchases.

4. Rethink wall partitions

While a walk-in wardrobe is much coveted for many home owners, the couple sees it as a regrettable feature. When they created a wall partition in their bedroom, it took up almost a third of their precious room space, and also reduced air ventilation. Syahril is considering hacking down the wall and using an alternative, such as a shower curtain or glass panel instead.

Instead of building a wall partition, separate your walk-in wardrobe with other thinner materials

Syahril and Diana sure provided lots of helpful lessons in home furnishing and décor – we sure hope you will find these tips useful! Do you too have an interesting collection at home, and how do you house them? Share your tips by emailing us at mynicehome@mailbox.hdb.gov.sg! Till next time

  • Jane Chang

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