In 2013, YES! Magazine flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to do a story on actress Jackie Forster. Jackie welcomed the team into her home, a spacious unit with a fantastic view of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline that she shares with her husband Michel Franken and their two kids, Jared and Caleigh.
At that time, the family has been living in Malaysia for almost a year, after staying in Singapore for three-and-a-half years.
Moving from one country to another is not new to the brood given Michel’s job in a multinational company.
“Ang work ng expat [expatriate] usually would be a three-year contract each time. If within three years, they want to relocate you,” Jackie says.
The big windows in the unit let in plenty of natural light that adds to the airy feel of the space. Most of the pieces were shipped from their house in Singapore and only a few items were bought in Malaysia.
Since the unit is big, Caleigh and Jared have their own rooms, plus there’s also a well-maximized balcony that’s been transformed into play and lounge areas.
The openness of the unit is best appreciated from the entrance where one can see the living and dining areas. Sliding glass doors lead to the balcony where the play area and "adult area" or lounge nook are found.
The living area is furnished with a mocha-colored sofa, a rustic-inspired coffee table, and a storage ottoman. Instead of simply mounting the TV on the wall, Jackie designed a special wall mount that resembles a painting. It's a clever way of sprucing up a plain wall, too.
A few steps from the living area is an elegant table where photos, decor, and other accessories are on display.
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The dining area is simple yet inviting.
Similar to what's seen in the living area, a carpet defines the space.
It evokes an old world vibe with the pairing of the wooden table and the French-style chairs with cabriole legs. Set against the wall is a rustic console table that holds candles, plants, and other knickknacks. A gold rectangular mirror livens up the wall and adds a sophisticated touch to the space.
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Dining and Kitchen Areas
The common areas in the unit can be accessed with ease. Given the open layout, the family can host dinners and get-togethers without worrying about space.
"We used to have every weekend, Tuesday or every other Tuesday—like, a ladies' lunch, ganyan. Mga Filipinos din. Si Michel kasi, hindi mahilig bumarkada sa ibang expats," Jackie reveals.
The cooking area is sparsely decorated with an all-white palette. Aside from the small kitchen appliances, a few essentials are on display as well as an old watering can used as a vase. The kitchen island doubles as a breakfast nook with the addition of two stools.
Jackie and Michel's bedroom is furnished with a hotel-like bed, a vintage chest of drawers in black, and an oriental armoire where the TV is kept.
Adding elegance to the room is the king-size handwoven Persian carpet on the floor.
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On the other side of the room is a smoke glass sliding door wardrobe. Inside are perfectly folded clothes, more drawers, and an organized collection of bags.
This rockstar-inspired kiddie space is a little boy's dream. To make the most of the room, Jared has a bunk bed, with the space underneath turned into a study nook.
It can also function as an extra play area during his free time.
The room is completed with pieces that will further cultivate his love for music and books.
The striking red shelf holds books, toys, and other essentials. Since Jared is into music, he has a toy guitar and a mini drum set, too.
While he holds all these dear, the real telescope is a favorite. The lens faces the window at all times. Who wouldn't admire the view?
His room is the only spot in the house with a view of the famous Petronas Twin Towers.
Dainty and Shabby chic-inspired, Caleigh's bedroom highlights sweet colors, a charming bed, and enough storage for her belongings. She even has her own full-length mirror!
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The other side of the room features an organized closet with chic organizers meant for clothes, shoes, and bags. You can tell that this little angel will grow up to be a fashionista!
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Guest Room/Beauty Studio
During their time in Singapore, Jackie took up several hair-styling and hair-coloring courses at beauty schools like Toni & Guy Academy and Urban Beauty Academy. She also studied different makeup techniques in the School of Make-Up and the Make Up for Ever Academy.
In Malaysia, she turned the guest room into Jackie's Place, a beauty studio where she welcomes clients for hair color and makeup services.
"Sila ang pumupunta dito. Hair color ang karamihan. Ang makeup [job], mas busy ako sa Singapore. I have models there or makeovers," she says.
Instead of keeping the spacious balcony open, Jacking and Michael transformed it into a play area for the kids. To childproof the space, they had thick glass-panel windows installed and these are always locked. They also added rubber mats and carpet as flooring.
To keep an eye on the kids while they're playing, Jackie turned a small part of the balcony into an "adult area" that's accessible through the doors behind the dining table.
The see-through partition allows them to check on the kids even while they're enjoying snacks and refreshments.
Read the original article in the October 2013 issue of YES! Magazine. To download a digital copy of YES!, visit Summit Newsstand at http://summitnewsstand.com.ph/yes-magazine.
This story originally appeared on RealLiving.com.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.