What started out as a childhood dream can turn into reality if you work hard to achieve it. That’s what happened to Yanuar and his love for toys. From the outside, the house looks just like the other houses around the neighborhood, but when we peek inside, we know right away that this place is surrounded by lots of beautiful details and character.
Dubbed as the Stoy House, this wonderful 220m² house is built on a 140m² land. As an architect himself, he designed this house based on his childhood memories and life philosophy. Today, we invite you to come and play together inside the house.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I was born and raised in Bandung. I love drawing since I was young, but I never really knew what I wanted to do back then. My passion could change every year but my love for drawing stayed the same. So when my friends all applied to FSRD ITB (Faculty of Art and Design in Bandung Institute of Technology), I tried my luck as well. Funnily out of 10 of us, only 2 were rejected including myself. So I applied for architecture study in Parahyangan University because I thought it was also one of the study major that required students to draw.
Now I am working and doing business while studying as well. Thank God, I got a scholarship to study Entrepreneurship in ITB’s MBA program which I have just enrolled this January. Other than studying, I also worked in design and architecture field in a company called House the House. I also had a property and construction business which is called ASEP Development. Other than that, I am also venturing on a snack retail business.
My hobbies are travelling and toys hunting especially die-cast toys, which is my favorite. I am also a big fan of Star Wars, even though they can be very pricey (so I usually bought the toys on discount).
Why do you name your space “Stoy House”?
I got married when I was 26 years old which was in 2013. This house could be built because I cut the cost for my wedding. I thought it was ridiculous to invite like a thousand of people, whom I barely knew, on my wedding day. But my mother convinced me and also because I am the first child, I feel like I did hold a responsibility. So I looked for the most affordable building and catering so I can save the money for this house. I’d rather have a nice honeymoon or a good house rather than a grand wedding. So I worked really hard before my wedding to renovate the house.
We now have a little boy named Sosio. This house is finished when he was born. So I named this house upon his name, Sosio’s Toy House or simply Stoy House. Apparently, he also loved toys, so I ended up sharing my toys with him. I kept some that he can not played yet and showed him the ones that will help him develop his motoric skills.
Tell us about the design concept of your home
The main theme is, of course, toys. Before this house is built, I store my toys inside a storage. I actually still have a lot of toys, but I do not know where to showcase it. Because I actually want to display them thematically like Hot Wheels, Star Wars and Lego. Back then when I was younger, I used to also collect toys from Happy Meal and such. I can’t really buy expensive toys, so I can only buy some if I got extra pocket money or during Ied celebration.
The reason why I made this house with a toy theme is because of my childhood sentiment. When I was a kid, I had this box of toys around 60 x 60 cm wide where I collect my toys. I knew back then that those toys have a value in the future. There is a survey that said that the investment in Lego is just as good as investment in gold. So when I am short in money, I can sell it or when I am bored I can exchange it. These toys make me have a principal. Actually, I believe that passion keeps on changing every year, but for now, it is still toys. My mission is actually very simple, I want to make my toys placed in order, but when I packed them, I just realized that there is actually a lot of them.
This lego brick wall that you see out there is actually made with a little planning in it. There is sort of ‘level’ in it. For example the lowest one is of TMNT Lego, and it’s gone already because my kid likes to pick it. And you can see the Star Wars Lego is more on the higher level because I hope that my son will come to like it when he reach junior high school year.
What is a home to you?
Home for me is like a place to find the meaning of life lol. Actually according to architecture, place is a volume to be filled with rooms, then that rooms are the space that you can enjoy in details. For example how I loved toys and my wife loves cooking, they are actually the tools for us to enjoy the details. Like people have cars or gadget because it help us to simplify our life. It’s the same about having a house so you don’t have to be caught under rain or you don’t have to take a shower in the middle of field.
I am not saying that house is a part of your life. It is merely a tool. House is actually just a tool for you to simplify your life, the positive thing is that you can add personal touch to it.
What makes you fall in love with toys?
Since I was young I have always been collecting stuffs naturally. I usually bought two pieces of the exact same item so I could open one and save the other one for the sake of its packaging. It is to the point that it made my mom confused. Actually, I really liked the details not only of the toys but also the packaging.
The one who counters me is actually my wife. Sometimes she wondered why I liked to buy this much toys. I collect them not just as a collection. This is partly business, I sold some of my collection, exchange them or give them to some of my friends. There are people whose hobbies are Harley Davidson motorbike or cycling or else. What could be the reason? In my opinion, it is also useful for networking. When you have a profession like being a doctor, lawyer or architect or else and you just meet with people from the same background, how can you develop your business? One of the reasons I have this hobby is to expand my network. Like if I meet lots of people then I can potentially grow my business, so I can look for demands because I have supplies.
From these collection of toys, there are actually two things that I learned. First, I can relate to the entrepreneurship subject that I am currently studying in the university and design. I get a story and business experience like how they run the business and how to keep it sustainable. That’s why design has to be balanced with design so it can last long.
Where do you get your home decor inspiration?
I like reading Selby’s blog and watching The Pickers in History channel which both help influence my design style. I really like Pharrel Williams and Charles as well. I loved Eames house because they created it from the details. One of the thing I copy is how they placed the green plants. I think plant is something that could magically change the way your home looks visually aesthetic. Eames is actually a very detailed designer but in his house, he made it very general. I am also very inspired by Pharell Williams because he is actually living a glamorous life but his house is full of personal touch.
What is your philosophy in designing?
My style in designing is a bit different from other designers because my philosophy is Less is Less. I think when there are more things in your house, they made it become more soulful.
There is this book called ‘wabisabi’ that also inspires my design style. Wabi sabi is the way Japanese drinks their tea. This book says that the art of living is living naturally. I can relate with this term a lot. I think this is actually a weird book because it says that “people who tell don’t know, people who know don’t tell”. It’s in the beauty of imperfection. So when architect said that I will make your house perfect, I didn’t say it. I told them that I will make your house grow naturally like the owners. Berkarat seperti besi, berlumut seperti tanah. With that said, I ended up thinking that it is true that wood or metal or brick should be just as it is.
Can you tell us a bit about your work?
Architect and designers usually have their own distinctive style. But for me, I don’t have one. I dub myself as a generalist. Or maybe I don’t find my design style yet but I guess that’s just the way I think.
There are people who tend to be afraid of going to architects because the cost can be very pricey. But I am the opposite. I have that ASEP development where I asked my clients what they want and how much their budget is. I like to help my friends around my age who are newlyweds and are starting building a new house.
Also, even though I am an architect, one of my base in designing a house is a statement item that belongs to my client. With that said, I asked them what they really liked. For example, the wife likes modern American style and the husband like industrial, I tried to find the silver lining and make it happen. I think Interior design is not far from fashion design, the trend keeps on changing.
Maybe for some modernist people, they wonder why I made house with bricks. They said that there are some other materials. But I like the beauty of bricks, the expression and the soul in it. And I want to put my personality in it.
Actually you can not really compare my works with other architect because it is different. It is true that the house that I designed have character but in terms of aesthetic, I can not say the same.
An open space can be tricky sometimes, how do you divide one room with another?
The central is the family room, that’s where I set the circulation. So I divide the house into some section. For example the terrace is for public. The family room is semi private and the upstair is private.
Can you tell us the stories behind the murals at your home?
Yes, there are three murals in this house. The first one is the black ampersand in the living room. It is black ampersand on yellow solid color. I actually had a tamiya trek, but, one of the segment is gone. Duh, I was so annoyed. I used to have the first and most popular Tamiya called Dash Yonkuro. But it is gone when I packed for moving. I was very sad. So this mural actually represents my sentiment over the Tamiya car and tracks. It is also to motivate me to save money and buy a new one. This mural is designed by my friend who is a typography designer. The process is a bit long, because I can not use a projector to project the image. So I have to print a banner and trace it before I can finally draw it.
The other one is Darth Vader in pop-up style. Unlike the Ampersand, for this mural I can easily project the image through projector. The last one is in the prayer room.
Where do you usually get your furniture as well as your decor stuff?
Furniture is actually the most expensive part from this house. And if I want to make it custom made, it can be more expensive. But the furniture I had here are mostly custom made where the material is taken from a couple of my project where I had some leftovers. So I used those leftover materials to make a furniture. But for small decors, I like IKEA stuffs especially because they are now very accessible. I also had some that I thrifted in antique store or given from my friends and colleagues. There is also some decor that I made by myself like that red frame. I actually made that one for a TV show.
What is important to you in a living space?
The most important thing at home for me is I need to have the space to communicate with my family. The main focus in designing this home is the center of the house which is the family room. That’s why I keep my home generic so it can accomodate the needs of my family as well. Especially in my family room, I want to make it timeless.
If you can pick one item from your home, what is your favorite and why?
The toys, absolutely, haha. There is this item that is actually very expensive even for a person who has been working for years like me. I do not even tell my wife that I want to buy this because she will be against it. Haha. One of my stress reliever is going to toys fair. I like to come there because it is not only about hobby, I can also build network and meet other people who likes toy even more than me.
I have liked Lego since a long time ago. But I was not able to afford it until I finished college and started working. Back then the Lego that I had is given from my parents or family. My favorite toy is this Lego Architecture. Because it also helped me in visualizing my work. Thankfully because of this ‘toy’, there are lots of project that ended up working and I also get lots of new ideas here.
The second one that I like is Hot Wheels, especially the Wonder Woman Invisible Jet. Why? Because there is no product there. It is literally invisible!
Can you share us some tips on decorating?
You should explore your characteristic. So that your house would have a connection between one room to another. Also, you don’t have to buy something that is unnecessary. Like, don’t buy something just because it is affordable. Don’t go back home and realize that it does not fit your home.
When I work with my client, I always suggest them to make the house with value. For example, I once made a house for a KBRI employee in London and he wanted to make his house as Indonesia as people. When I asked him what he meant by ‘Indonesia banget’ he said he liked Indonesian bricks from the texture to the color. At that time, I was inspired by Andien’s song titled “Pulang”. So I told my client about this song that I was inspired by it and I wanted to make it based on this song with brick element.
How do you usually spend your time at home?
I love to play toys with my kid, cook something with my wife, decor the house, watch movies, and the most recent is to browse on pinterest for our future home.
Do you have any future plans for yourself and for the home?
Well, there are a couple of things in this house that I have not touched yet. For example the facade and the front gate. One of the reason is because I want my house to blend in with the neighborhood. I don’t want my house to be the one that is outstanding. I want to be in the same level with the neighborhood where I socialize. I also had a plan to build a new house, but the theme is no longer about toy, so I am still searching over the theme.
Actually this house is too big for three of us. I want to make it more playful. There are things that I had in mind which I have not got a chance to make it happen. I want this house to grow just like me, my wife, my family.
A home should be…
Your house does not have to be beautiful. And you do not have to be rich to make a beautiful home just like you do not have to be constantly happy to enjoy your life. But when you looked back, it is actually what made you comfortable. For this house, I honestly did not feel completely comfortable because I am not involved in the process from the beginning. That’s why one of my goals is to build a home from scratch.
We sure had lots of fun talking to Yanuar about his philosophy in designing and sharing about our view in art, aesthetic and life in general. Hopefully the process of building your future home will go smoothly. Thank you so much for having us play in this “Stoy House” and we wish you success for the study and business.
*text by Filicia
*video by Samber Rejeki