While most people prefer to give a fresh, modern makeover to old buildings, this 29-year-old Malaysian decided to go back in time instead. Despite the fact that a lot of the heritage shophouses in KL were either turned into workers’ dorms, cafes or bars, Caleb Goh Hern-Ee knew that it is the perfect spot for his vintage bachelor pad. The best part is, Goh didn’t even have to break the bank to accomplish this!
Restoring Heritage Shophouse In Brickfields Back To Its Former Timeline & Glory
Caleb Goh Hern-Ee, 29, has set his mind to move out of his former home in Chow Kit and live in a shophouse in Brickfields since May 2021. With the freedom to revamp the house as he pleases, Goh decided to keep things true to the nature of the home and complement the space with period-correct furniture.
The house is now called Nam Hoe (which translates to Southern Harmony). Named after his family’s shophouse in Muar, Johor. Apparently, Goh’s family used to be tinsmiths! Said in an interview with Says “My grandfather named his business Chop Nam Hoe because he started it in 1945, right after the war ended, when there was a desire for peace and harmony (和) in Nanyang, the southern seas (南). Sadly, we gave up the shophouse in 2006 after my uncle retired,”
The House Was Already In Pretty Good Condition With Not Many Repairs Required
Turns out, the shophouse used to be a kindergarten! “So for the children’s safety, the plumbing and wiring are all new,” With a fresh coat of paint, some imagination, and the help of good contractor friends, Goh managed to flip the house for less than RM2,500! (Except for the piano as Goh had to pay for it on a monthly payment plan with the previous owner.)
Considering that items sold at antique shops are rather pricey, Goh explored other places such as junkyards and recycling centers to complete his set. “It’s basically advanced dumpster-diving. Because antiques aren’t their main focus, prices at these places can be quite low.”
Getting Help And Donations From Vintage Fans
According to Goh, many of the items didn’t cost him a cent! For example, the PWD-style bedroom dresser (that was found dumped by the curb on Jalan Tun HS Lee) and the 1950s leatherback settee (that came from a kind friend in the antiquarian trade). “Once people find out about this place, they tend to donate pieces that they think fit the look.” Ultimately, he envisioned the house to be a gathering place for local historical, arts, and cultural scenes.
Photo Credit: Caleb Goh (Facebook)