Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Experiencing the empty nest syndrome

Experiencing the empty nest syndrome

Businessman Bob ziegler, 56, and his wife Saminah Subari are about to experience the "empty-nest" syndrome as their tour grown-up children are in various stages of spreading their wings.

Already the couple's three-storey detached house iu Ukay Heights feels quite "empty". One of their children had already moved out while two are working outstation leaving only one child staying in the big house with them.

The property spans 810sq m (9,000 sq ft) with a garden that occupies 315sq m (3,500 sq ft). Built-up space is 675sq m (7,500 sq ft).

Bob and Saminah represent an increasing number of owners of large bungalows and detached houses in choice residential areas, who want to sell their properties to move to smaller and more manageable homes.

The couple bought their Ukay Heights house in 1992. Back then the children were young and the couple loved the spacious
property for the kids to run around.

The Mediterranean style house was perfect for the family of six plus a maid in tow but now the house is just too big.

Bob, who is originally from Kentucky in the United States, came to Malaysia in the 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer. He decided to settle in Malaysia and started a home accessories business. He exported curtain rods and other wood products to the U.S, and Europe.

As his family grew, Bob and his wife scouted for a new home in Ampang. They decided that Ukay Heights was the perfect place.

Explains Bob: "The house is nestled among the hills of Ukay Heights. The convenient location offers a good balance in having a serene atmosphere with easy access to the city and amenities.

"The property is a corner lot as well. With access roads in the neighbourhood not heavy with traffic, there is quiet relief in the cul-desac community."

The three-storey house faces north. The ground floor (middle level) comprises a large reception hall, an atrium, main dining-room, balcony dining niche and main kitchen.

The covered porch can accommodate two cars and there's ample space for three more cars on the driveway.

The open-style design of the ground floor allows for good air-flow and views of the gardens. Even in the hot afternoon, the living areas remain cool.

A staircase in the kitchen leads to the lower level, which comprises the pool, a bedroom and separate quarters for the maid or house-keeper. The laundry room, wet kitchen and work area are also located here.

Access to the gardens is possible from both the lower level and the ground level.

The gardens (front lawn. side terrace and backyard) are well kept with many bonsai and tropical plants. There is also a Jackfruit tree that fruits throughout the year. One section of the backyard can be closed off for pets.

There are five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a multi-purpose room that can be used either as a guest room, store or gymnasium. There is also a housekeeper's room for two maids. The maid's quarters come complete with its own passageway, bathroom, laundr~ area and wet kitchen.

The master bedroom on the top floor has budt-in cabinets, en-suite bathroom and a Juliette balcony that overlooks the main gate.

The lounge on the top floor is where the family gathers in the evenings. When opened, the two double-doors allow in plenty of light and airflow as well as views of the picturesque neighbourhood.

Connected to the upstairs family lounge are two other bedrooms, perfect for parents who want to have their young children sleeping close by their own room, There is also a decent-sized study for the man or lady of the house to do paperwork or turn it into a private space, And the entire top floor can be secured by locking up the passage door.

According to Bob, when it comes to festivals and parties, the formal dining area on the ground floor, balcony as well as the patio next to the pool, allow for big get-togethers.

"Even the balcony dining area can be utilised to allow for 20 or more people to enjoy a meal together.

"By opening up the entire ground floor, one can accommodate up to 40 guests. For large functions, the two main levels can comfort-ably accommodate double that number ofguests."

For Bob and his wife, the Mediterranean features of the house such as arches, marble flooring and intricate ironwork (which is actually a security device) are not only deedrative in design but are functional as well.

"This style is common in the hot climes of Mediterranean areas, such as Spain, for example. This house design has been proven over the centuries to be functional. The heavy stone or marble construction creates a large heat-sink which provides the home with a natural coolness that one cannot easily obtain by artificial means.

"The high ceilings further enhance the openness of the design which is apparent with the arches, The house has a great deal of character and was designed for a warm family living environment, It is spacious, quiet, and cool which provides for a calm and relaxing atmosphere," adds Bob.

The asking price for the house is RM3 million.

"The house has been our family's dream home to raise our four children. Now that they are all grown, nothing would please us more than to see our home pass to another family and maybe help make their dreams come true too."

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