Describe your dream home
Chai: Perhaps I watched too many romantic movies as a child, but I’ve always loved the idea of a long driveway surrounded by many trees that leads you to a house with large gardens. I’m not sure where exactly I will ‘settle down’ but I know it will definitely be somewhere in Asia. I still prefer very classic, warm interiors because they create a more homely vibe. Not too keen on all the ultra-modern décor as sometimes it can be too ‘cold’. It would be wonderful to have a swimming pool and a tennis court. Also, I remember a friend’s house in New Zealand had an awesome TV room. The entrance to the TV room was a large old bookcase and you’d pull a certain book, after which the bookcase would separate, revealing eight television sets. I don’t know how one watches eight screens at the same time, but I do like quirky things like that!

JP: Let’s see, my dream home is a modest stone bungalow with a big yard for a vegetable and herb garden for my cooking (he loves to cook), an epic-restaurant-sized kitchen with all the accoutrements of a Michelin star-rated restaurant. Of course, it would have a comparable dining hall to match the kitchen. The master bath with a built-in spa tub, steam shower, his and her vanities with attached walk-in closets. And lots of balconies and verandas and the master bedroom should have a moon terrace above it with a hot tub and gazebo. It should be here in Malaysia or at least somewhere similar in terms of weather as all the herbs and vegetables will need plenty of sun and rain to grow.

The lavish bathroom boasts an organically shaped stand-alone tub ideal for a good soak. It even includes a steam bath unit in the rain shower cubicle. Here, Stephanie Chai and Jonathan Putra make final preparations before painting the town red. (Chai in D&G dress, M Store; Jonathan in Raoul shirt and pants)What makes a home?
Chai: It’s true that home is where the heart is. KL has become a home for me, notably because of my work and the good friends that I have made here. However, I also consider New Zealand home as my parents are retired there. You could build the most beautiful house in the world but if you can’t fill it with the people you love, then I think it could also be the loneliest place in the world.

JP: People. A house without a family is just a house. Besides, I feel that a home should be a reflection of its occupants; all memories of the place preserved in photographs displayed on the wall, souvenirs from travels around the world and the scent of home-cooked meals lingering in the air. A home is like a giant interactive scrapbook filled with all memories of happy times and milestones.

Your favourite part of the home and why
Chai: If I had to spend time in any part of the house, I think my bedroom and bathroom would get the most attention! We spend a lot of time in the bathroom and I think sometimes developers forget that. I saw a showroom the other day with the smallest master bathroom! I’ve always been a fan of marble bathrooms and I do like carpet in the bedroom, although it is a bit hard to maintain it in our humid weather. I prefer soft tones for the bedroom. After all, it is a place where you get much-needed sleep. So, I can’t understand when some people paint their bedroom red! One can only assume you would get ‘beautiful nightmares’. Art is also a great complement to a beautiful home. There are many up-and-coming artists in Asia, so don’t feel that you need to break the bank. Art is debatable, personal and who knows, you may just discover the next Yue Min Jun!

JP: That’s tough, you see, because I feel at home everywhere in my house. I suppose if I had to choose I would have to say the kitchen. For me, it’s just such a meditative place. I like to destress by cooking, so I spend a good portion of my time there.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 787, Dec 28, 2009-Jan 10, 2010