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At Home with Amber



Top model and hot cover girl Amber Chia knows a terrific deal when she sees one and is currently on a roll in more ways than one.

 
We are talking about buying properties. And this young lady knows a thing or two about shoddy workmanship and cheap material.
 
“I’m always on the look-out for good property developments by reputable developers, especially those who are known for their high-quality finishing,” says Amber as we chatted in her new house in KL.

"If you come into my room, you will know that I’m a model, " says Amber who loves the double-volume ceiling of her living room.

Her latest home is a three-storey linked house in corner lot. It is one of only six units developed by the UOA Group at Jalan Halimathon in Old Klang Road.
 
“This location is convenient for me as it is near the Federal Highway and my line of work means running all over town. Jalan Halimathon is the perfect base. I can be in the city centre or PJ without wasting too much time on travelling,” explains Amber, when asked why she chose the rather unglamorous address, compared to a luxury condominium unit in KLCC. “The design is really nice, as the house was a ready-built unit. I checked every feature and was satisfied with what I found,” says the model effusively, as her phone keeps ringing and beeping with text messages.
 
“I have looked at many different properties in the Old Klang Road area. By now, I’m an expert on property developments in this neighbourhood. I have probably surveyed 50 properties and I know of all the developers who have housing developments here.”
 
Amber’s house was completed in August last year. The original price was RM1.9mil but she managed to get a discount amounting to some 20%!
 
“I moved in about seven months ago. I hear now that my property has gone up by about 20% in value. I didn’t really have to do much renovation as everything, from the porcelain floor tiles to the walls and doors, was already perfect.
 
“The only thing I did was to knock through a wall separating my master bedroom from another bedroom, so that I can have a large walk-in Maxima wardrobe.

Amber's corner-lot house is one of six linked units built by UOA. Note the enclosed balcony on the top floor (right) which is being coverted into a study.

“The interior design was done by my good friend, Edwin Thassian of Fix Interior. The style is what you would call, modern classic.
 
“Actually, the cost of furnishing this house is worth about RM600,000 but I only spent RM100,000. The half-a-million worth of items were all sponsored. The items range from my DSM sofa to my Pensonic flat-screen TV sets and air-conditioners as well as kitchen appliances. Even the huge poster of me was sponsored by Boldea Creative. I have 18 sponsors and here is a list of them.”
 
Her list itemises things like “two chairs in living hall (sic)” from G.D.O. and even the mattresses were sponsored by Goodnite and Decor Point.
 
Her own money was spent on furniture and the wallpaper in her dining room.
 
“What I like most about my house, first of all, is my bedroom, which has heavy Baagus curtains to shade the room. And I will soon air-condition my balcony to turn it into my study. I think this will be the first one in Malaysia. You think I should use a V-Kool laminate to cover the glass roof? When I visited a friend in London, his balcony was also enclosed in glass. It was so nice to sit there.
 
“I wanted a hotel-style or designer type of room. My room should be -- very me. I like black, white and brown colours. If you come into my room, you will know that I’m a model.
 
“When you walk into a house, you should feel comfortable in terms of design and the finishing. And I think this home has that feeling.”
 
She also particularly fancies the double-volume ceiling in her living room where the gigantic poster of her can’t be ignored even when guests closed their eyes.
 
With such a stylish home in Amber’s eyes, the busy model prefers to stay at home to relax. Rather than go out to entertain, she would invite friends over for a karaoke session every now and then.
 
“I am from Tawau in Sabah and I come from a family of six brothers and sisters. I have been in the modelling scene since I was 18 years old. It has been nine years and I have used the money that I have earned to invest in properties,” when asked how she can finance the purchase.
 
When asked if she was already 27, she shrieks, “Not so old yet lah, I’m 26. I will only turn 27 in December.
 
Amber explains that she has always been keen on owning property ever since she started to make money.
 
“My first property was an apartment at Pearl Point, also in Old Klang Road, which I purchased about six years ago. But I only really started to invest in properties about four years ago.
 
“Investing in property is my ‘extra thing’,” reveals Amber, who is known for her passion. But she is candid enough to say that not all her investments turned out well.
 
“I have bought an expensive property before but when it was completed, the finishing was horrible. It was not fit to stay in; that was why I looked for another property to buy.”
 
She didn’t want to reveal too much about her other property purchases, other than another high-end condo at UOA’s on-going Bangsar South project in Kampung Kerinchi, which costs over RM400 per square foot.
 
However, a phone call from a property agent who interrupted this interview, revealed that Amber was about to rent out the ground floor of a two-storey shophouse for RM5,000 and upstairs for RM3,000.
 
“Good return on my investment,” says Amber.
 
 
“I have stayed in a condo before, but my mother who visited, didn’t like it. I love landed properties because in the future, I intend to have my parents stay with me.
 
“With landed property, I can just park my car in the porch and walk straight into the house. No need to park so far away, like in a condo.”
 
But wouldn’t the lovely lass be lonely in such a big house? The built-up space spans 4,300sq ft, with a total of six bedrooms.
 
“I have an elder sister and a younger sister, as well as my niece, staying with me.”
But what convinced her to keep on buying from UOA is that the developer’s representative has been very attentive to her needs, every single time she calls. He was also there during the interview to fill in any information gap.
“When the lawn turned brown while I was away he replaced the grass for me. The important thing is the service,” stresses Amber.
You might say her burning passion now is to own as much property as she possibly can. And she has barely started.
 
E-mail the writer (johnni@thestar.com.my) if you know of interesting homes to feature.

 

 

 

 

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