Updated: Nov 27, 2019
No matter how old we get, there is always a sense of comfort in visiting our grandparent’s house. It’s difficult not to be reminded of some good childhood times, when everything was simpler and easier to deal with.
In this month’s story, we feature Ryim, a photographer, a bridal shop founder and an Airbnb owner who saw the potential in his grandfather’s old house and vintage designs.
Ryim has a series of premises that we personally like to refer to as the 攀藤 (Pān téng) series. Whether it’s his bridal shop, photo studio or Airbnb unit, they all have the Chinese words 攀藤 included in their names. The only difference is in the last Chinese characters, for which we will reveal more in the interview section.
When we looked into Ryim’s Airbnb, we were greeted with a wave of nostalgia that brought us back into the past. The furnishing within the 3-bedroom unit were all filled with the atmosphere of a home free of responsibilities and stress. If there is one thing that we can say about this premise, it’s that the renovation works that Ryim did would have made his grandfather proud.
For any Airbnb customers looking for something extra for their stay, well, let’s just say that you will not be disappointed. The Instagram-worthy mini bistro and arcade machine (with free tokens!) will entertain you throughout your stay.
If you have a polaroid camera, you might want to bring some of your vintage style outfits and take a few good snaps in their bistro section. The color coordination in the mini bistro space will bring you back to the 80’s before the arcade machine brings you attention to it instead.
Right by the mini bistro is a small room that you can also utilize for awesome pictures. This place is decorated with hanging plants, a neon sign of the phrase “It Was All A Dream” against a section with an exposed brick wall and a single pink chair. Think of all the Instagram aesthetics here!
Connected to the house’s entrance is a glass room in Ryim’s Airbnb unit, yet another photo-worthy spot. There is plenty of free space here with a clean and minimalistic decoration style. As the name suggests, the room is surrounded by glass panes and it is filled with plants and other simple decorations too. The plain white color of the room looks gorgeous when paired with the brown and green accents here.
Ryim’s Pattern 攀藤室 is definitely not lacking in facilities and amenities either. It’s located only a 5-minute drive from the bus terminal at D’Garden, and a 10-minute drive to SquareOne Mall, Old Street Commercial Center and Batu Pahat Mall.
Well, that was all from what we know about the premise from Ryim. The interview that we conducted with Ryim himself is going to reveal much more!
1) Please tell us about yourself and what is the background that has contributed you to become an Airbnb host?
I’m Ryim - a photographer, an Airbnb owner and a bridal shop founder. Prior to opening Pattern's 攀藤室, I also founded a bridal shop named Pattern's 攀藤纱 and my own photography studio, Ryim Studio 攀藤摄. The Airbnb dream started about 2 years ago, when I had a sudden spark of inspiration to transform an inconspicuous old house into a place that people will be happy to take a selfie or we-fie at.
For me, a homestay is not just a place that people choose to stay in. Rather, I created Pattern's 攀藤室 with the mindset that an Airbnb should feel like a home for anyone staying in it. I want my customers to enjoy the unique and relaxing atmosphere in the Airbnb unit, whether they are there for their vacation, social gathering, weekend getaways or private parties. I want my guests to truly enjoy their stay with us.
2) What is the story behind the name of “pattern's 攀藤室”?
Pattern's 攀藤室 is actually named after both our bridal shop Pattern's 攀藤纱 and photo studio Ryim studio 攀藤摄.
攀藤 holds a great significance for me as a reminder for my teammates and myself to always strive for improvement. The Chinese character “藤” refers to rattan, which is a strong and flexible tree. They still compete with the bigger trees even when they themselves are not towering like the others, and they are also always trying to access well-lit layers by climbing atop other trees or through other vertical means. I want the name to remind my team that there is always a way to success as long as we don’t give up.
3) As we know the house is your grandfather's old house. What is the special meaning of it and what is the reason inspired you to make the old house into an Airbnb?
I passed by my grandfather’s old house about six months before I started my renovation work. At the time, it was rented out as a warehouse. Somehow, it felt like a waste to just leave it like that, and I felt a sense of pity towards it.
I had a discussion with my mother, and I told her that I intend to renovate the old house and do something with it. My mom helped me to retrieve the old house from the tenant back then, as the lease has almost ended for the other party. Below is the Before and After the house:
When I looked over the house’s structure – the staircase, the loft area, the different color floor tiles – I was inspired by the traditional design and I decided that I want to achieve my dreams while retaining the house’s old structures and styles.
4) Can you please tell us about the design concept of your Airbnb?
The design concept that I have for Pattern's 攀藤室 is more hipster-focused. I mainly used the minimalism style without removing the older elements and structures.
I like the rawness of the wooden structures in the house. I know that wood is still termite-prone, but I still stick with it because it gives me a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of comfort amidst the modern times.
5) What made you fall in love with the vintage elements? Are the retro furniture in the house a part of your personal collection? Can you share with us about where you collected them from?
I fell in love with vintage elements mainly due to my occupation. I like the aged items that have been around for many years – they usually have very delicate designs. Whoever their creators are, they were very attentive to the product design and materials used in making them. The items’ make are not sloppy, and that’s why they can still be used even today.
When I started my photography studio, I also started to collect some vintage items. At first, those items were used for decoration and photo shooting purposes. Slowly, my collection expanded to vintage furniture as well, and the collection grew until my studio was full of them. Everywhere that I go – overseas, unique cafes, or some other clients’ houses that I visited during the wedding day photo shoot – I started to take note of the vintage furniture that they have along with their designs.
6) What is the hardest part in the progress of renovation? What is the greatest sense of accomplishment when you see the renovation work is done?
The hardest part of the renovation project was to retain the old structures and elements that remained in the old house. In the earlier days, this area was a flood zone. Any items or structures made of wood in this house was ruined by termites. The first step that we took before we started renovating was to hire pest control to get rid of the termites.
Our greatest sense of accomplishment was, without question, the moment when guests step into the house and react with just a single word - Wow!
7) Does the Pattern's 攀藤室 has any other unexpected function besides being a homestay?
There is actually a function house right beside the home. A wooden door connects these two premises, so it is still a part of Pattern's 攀藤室.The function hall can be rented separately for events, markets or even for workshops!
Just a short while ago, on the 30th and 31st of March, a flea market event “攀藤市集” was held here, making it the first time for us to open the function hall to the public. We welcome more arts and literature-related events to be held here too!
8) What have you learned as a professional photographer to help you become a better host and contribute back to your guest?
I learnt the importance of natural lighting and how to make good use of it. I also learnt how to use the sense of space to create a design that makes people more comfortable and more willing to stay here, even for a longer term.
9) Have you ever met any special guests that make a great story to Pattern's 攀藤室?
Every guest’s stay in Pattern's 攀藤室 give us a great story to tell!
The creative photos that they took and uploaded on Instagram when they check-in to our Airbnb or use our hashtag helps to bring our stories to a whole new level.
10) What is the most memorable experience that you have gotten as an Airbnb host?
Most of the guests really enjoy their stay here and treat Patterns 攀藤室 as their own home. They take care of everything in the home, even to the extent of helping to clean up the home before they check out!
11) What opportunity and obstacles had come in your way while you were passionate about your hosting career? And how you overcome the obstacles?
It was difficult to clean up the unit in time for the next guest. There is a shortage of manpower - I have to take care of my studio while cleaning up the unit and making sure that things are in good conditions. Thankfully, I have my teammates who are always willing to help out and make the cleaning process more efficient.
12) Can you tell us more about the neighbourhood surrounding your place? Any hidden gems to share?
Pattern's 攀藤室 is very close to the cultural old street, terminal bus station, and there is the place where you can try out most of the local traditional food.
13) What food do you recommend in your area?
Nasi Briyani Pokok Sena (beside Pattern's 攀藤室)
Ah See Wan Tan Mee
Yong's SteamBoat Garden
Kedai Makan Soon Lai 顺来饭店 (粿汁)
Ah Soon Mixed Pork Soup
Riverside Food Court (hai kee)
14) Any upcoming plans in the near future?
We intend to open a homestay for long-term tenants looking for weekly or monthly stay in Batu Pahat.
15) Anything else you'd like to share with the audience that I didn't ask?
Batu Pahat is a place full of passionate people. There are lots of young literature and arts practitioners in this small town. They use their effort and hard work to prove that literary and art is not a trend but a lifestyle. They try to use their work to record the era of Batu Pahat.
It’s not just these artists and writers either, there are also many hawkers and street vendor who also trying to preserve the culture here. Many traditional dishes can be found in Batu Pahat, and it is these vendors and hawkers who pass the tradition from one generation to the next.
There’s probably a lot more to come from Ryim’s Pattern 攀藤室 in the future!
last but not least, for individuals looking for entertainment during their stay can also enjoy streaming Netflix movies and streaming for free on the 55” LED Android TV with some free beverages in their mini-fridge.
Staying at Pattern 攀藤室 for a business trip? There’s a 100Mbps high speed Unifi internet for that. You can also use the garment steamer to freshen up your suit before your business meeting the next day.
With over 1.5K likes on their Facebook page and a Superhost rating on their Airbnb page, you don’t have to worry about how well the facility can suit your needs. The 5-star ratings on their Airbnb page can probably increase your confidence in their services even more too!
If you’re looking to rent Ryim’s Airbnb, know that you can book the rooms for your little staycation, private parties or production shoots as well - so long as your events do not disturb other people in the neighbourhood : )
Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly owner. Here’s where you can stay connected with Ryim to know more about the booking rates and room availabilities for any functions that you need:
Address: 41, Jalan Chengal, Taman Batu Pahat, 83000 Batu Pahat, Johor
Pictures credit: Pattern's 攀藤室
P.S. Do you have any unique Airbnb/lodging to share with us? Comment below and we'll reach out to them!
PP.S This is not a paid advertising, all of the interviews are done by invitation only.