Lest We Forget


Compiled by Faruq Bostaman

A collector’s house of wonder

Mohammad Abdullah

March 27, 2010 – Building a dream home is something everyone wishes for. However, not all can achieve it. Somewhere along the line we lose track of some of the things that we wanted in our life and in the end we just settle for whatever comes close to it, as long as we’re happy.

One house owner however managed to build his dream house. He and his wife were able to incorporate all things that made them happy into their home. Furthermore, this particular house owner is good with his hands and had a hand in constructing and painting his dream house.

Asri bin Haji Abdul Ladit and his wife Siti Norain binti Haji Yusof, are both collectors. They collect antiques, but not just any antiques. Some of their collections include old biscuit cans and old talcum powder tins.

Asri explained that collecting tins are his wife’s hobby. They display the tins in their house, much of which had been designed or painted by both Asri and Norain.

They both love to collect items. She loves tin boxes. He loves anything about motorcycles. Another hobby of his is building bird houses, which can be seen throughout his house.

The bikers den
The interior deco of the kitchen is a mixture of old country and western design

He said that it is very important to have a partner who you can relate with, who shares your passion as well as understands it. He said that he and his wife both love motorcycles, and they both love collecting antiques, unique antique tines and embroidery.

Unlike most Bruneian house owners who opt for the big open living rooms, Asri’s house is cosy, with small rooms that flow fluently with each other. The design of the house is divided into two to cater to the need and passion of both husband and wife.

Asri also said that there are several inspirations to the design of the house, all taken from the things that he has seen during his travels.

What is important is that there is a special place for himself and his hobbies, as well as a place to accommodate his wife’s hobbies.

Heavy wooden doors mimicking an old medieval castle greets visitors, indicating just how special the interior of the house is. Welcoming visitors at the entrance are Asri’s bird houses, made with his own hands.

Each room in the house has a different decoration, for instance the room adjacent to the lobby is decorated in the English country style. The style is carried forward to the main dining room, where it flows almost seamlessly into the next room, which is the ‘bikers den’ decorated in a western design.

Motorcycle memorabilia, bikes straight out of the 1960s, and an array of collectables litter the room, transforming the room into a bike accessories museum. This room is dedicated to Asri’s passion, bikes.

When his biker friends drop by Asri said they would just lounge in the ‘bikers den’, while his wife’s friends would stay in their own corner of the house where they would feel more comfortable.

The den opens up to the garage, where his custom motorcycles park. His passion for bikes also extends to his family, where his wife and son both ride with him on occasion.

He said that his home is his sanctuary where he painted, hammered, drilled and chiselled the interiors, making doorframes out of driftwood and timbre. His creativity extends to stencils on the walls of the house as well as clouds painted on his son’s ceiling.

A labour of love is what he calls it, amazing to those who have visited his house, where he passionately speaks about the design, the interiors, his collection as well as his family.