A middle school’s hostel room is never a posh setup. As long as there is a bed, a table, and toilet… it is… livable (if there is such a word). My hostel room is no exception. I have been living in a very small room for 4 years now, since 2008. When I mean small, I really mean small. Maybe some of your washrooms are bigger than my room! However, I’m still grateful that I have a room to sleep in after each tiring and exhausting but rewarding day, imparting my knowledge to the students.
Due to staff resigning, I had the chance to move to a bigger hostel room this year. Again, nothing posh, just basic bed, table and toilet. I decided to request transfer to the bigger room only I plan to bring my son, Mark, to study here in my school… otherwise I couldn’t be bothered to take all the hassle to move all my things since I am already so comfortably set in my old room. The new room is much bigger, but still not as big as a master bedroom.
I was determined to make this new room to be as cozy as possible, which in the end, also meant that I had to make sure I don’t clog up the room with unnecessary stuff and have as much space as possible. So I started to day dream about the new room (Mind you this was almost a year before I actually moved into the new room). I’m a person who like to go for things that doesn’t seem too far-fetched, so I decided that I want to make my dream happen! Took some pieces of recycled paper and sketched out my design.
My ideas were as follow:
the design must save as much space as possible so that it does not look too packed in the room, automatically making it more cozy to live in; first thing that comes to mind is to have the beds (two beds) placed above, so as not to occupy any space on the floor.
the design must make full use of the windows that faces the outside compound of the school; designing a raised platform for my work area so that my work table has full view of the scenery outside and at the same time, making huge cabinets below the platform to maximize use of space.
the surface of one of the sides of the room always flakes (caused by heat and moisture from the outside), and no matter how many times it is repainted, it will flake (so says the previous occupant). It was so bad that she actually covered the whole wall with cloth just to hide the unpleasant sight. hence the idea of the tall cabinets: to cover the wall and to have more storage space.
last of all, no design is complete without a theme; I decided on total whiteness. Having the room in bright white will allow the room to look more alive during the day, and with the help of carefully placed lights at night, will make the room look and feel cozy. The floor of the room would be layered with dark timber mahogany theme.
It took a few tries and a few erasing here and there on my sketches, but I was happy with my final design. Yay me!
So I started saving money from there onwards, setting a estimated budget to the whole ‘renovation’… and waited for the time to come.
Come December, as soon as the previous occupant has moved out, I met with the contractor, Ah Kiong, a very nice and easy to get along with guy. He happens to be the contractor for our school, that’s how I met his acquaintance. After showing him my sketches and explained to him about my design ideas, he promised to get back to me with a quote for the whole renovation work.
Renovation work started during the second week of December, which was really good timing as all the hostel occupants have gone home to their respective hometowns for the school holidays. The workers worked fast and hard, and in no time at all, the design started to take shape. I was impressed with their speed as they managed to complete the whole frame of the bed that hangs from the ceiling within a day’s work. That’s a lot of metal to seal together but they managed to complete it anyway.
The following days were a lot of wood cutting to make up the raised platform work area, then the tall cabinets. Painting itself took a few days as it had to cover the whole room. By then, Christmas was already upon us.
When I came back from my Christmas holiday, the room was almost complete. The only item left was covering the then tiled floor with the wooden flooring. Most importantly, I could move all my things into the new room so that my old room could be ready for the next occupant. At last, the room was finally complete a few days prior to new year. I decided to wait until after the new year to move into the room.. after all… NEW YEAR NEW ROOM!