What do you do when your dining chair breaks? Say, if one chair leg snaps. Chances are, most of us would just avoid the hassle of having to go through the extensive repair process and simply dispose of the chair altogether before replacing it with a new one. Such is modern convenience, where almost everything is easily replaceable.
But should you really dispose of that broken chair, or is there another solution? Well, yes actually. There is! Meet Syaza Saifuddin (@syazaofalltrades), an interior designer who banks on sustainability and upcycling in her work when creating brand new spaces that aren’t just interesting to look at, but comfortable to spend time in too.
As an interior designer, Syaza is best known over social media for her use of old, broken furniture in her interior design projects. Working extensively to restore and breathe a lease of new life upon them, her endeavours with upcycling has since caught the eye of many Malaysian netizens for their beauty, more so when featured in a complimentary space.
In speaking with WORLD OF BUZZ, Syaza told us that she was spurred with an artistic inclination at a very early age, and was often fascinated with home styling, especially in set designs seen on television shows and movies. Compounded with a childhood love for doll houses and Polly Pockets, she eventually found herself working towards becoming a fully-fledged interior designer.
“I find it so interesting that each house even if it’s the same outside, can look really different on the inside depending on who’s living in it. “
But you may wonder just why it is that Syaza incorporates the use of old furniture into her designs, as opposed to buying new pieces right off the shelf. The reason is pretty simple: wastage. Citing how the construction business often incurs a lot of wastage, she mentions how it is now habitual for people to buy new furniture, instead of looking into old, used furniture that are often times of great quality and condition.
“Not that it’s wrong in any way but it’s so unfortunate that the furniture that are still usable will be thrown out and into the landfills which is a huge existing problem as is.”
She adds that older pieces of furniture tend to imbue more characteristic charm to a space, and often add a much needed touch of individuality to a home. But finding the right pieces to use isn’t always an easy process. Balancing size and ergonomics (aka the science of comfort), Syaza often focuses on both the structure of the furniture itself, and its materials. She also consults with vintage furniture vendors to find out all she can about a single piece, so that more thought can be put into incorporating it into a new space.
As for the restoration process itself, that can take anywhere between two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the damage. Sourcing for the materials herself where she can, she then passes the more complex restoration work to local carpenters and leaves it to their expertise.
“It’s all dependent on whether the items are made of wood, steel, melamine, glass, what have you.”
But of course, it all comes down to striking a balance between cost and price. Syaza notes that it’s important to not go overboard with the cost of fixing.
So what kind of advice does she have for new homeowners who are hoping to add a touch of old world Malaya into their own homes? Starting small. Sustainability through a beautifully decorated space doesn’t always mean going right out the door now to buy used furniture that you repair on your own.
“It can start with whatever you have at home and have it repurposed.”
Whether it be a lamp or maybe an old dining chair you’ve been meaning to fix, small steps like these can help add up to a much more tangible change in the long-run. Plus, it gives your home a personal flair that sets it apart from the hoi polloi of mass-market furniture.
To find out more about what Syaza does, feel free to follow her on Instagram at @syazaofalltrades today!
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