Bold choices at home with Fizzah Rahman and Danial Ismail

“We are not really the pastel or neutral shades type,” Fizzah Rahman admits. Instead, she and her husband, Danial Ismail, sum up their design vision in one line: “Dark walls and bold colours make a home full of quirks.”

Beyond dark walls and bold colours, their home also incorporates a number of tile and graphic accents — there’s a mermaid-tile backsplash and cheery yellow mosaic in the kitchen, terrazzo in the bathroom, and even a Picasso-inspired mural in the hallway.

Thinking of going bold in your home too? Read on for Fizzah and Danial’s tips.

Fizzah and Danial in Cairo, Egypt. Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

The couple's study wall pays homage to their travels.  Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

Fizzah, how did you and Danial decide on your colour palette?

To be honest, we didn't set out to have a dark theme. I have a natural inclination for colours and prints. In fact, at the start of our renovation journey, my husband reminded me to tone it down because we wouldn't want to come back to a rainbow-coloured home.

There is a certain cosiness to darker colours. We went with black and ebony blue, and kept our base grey.

We love the tile work you’ve done! Tell us more about them.

Thank you! There’s so much nostalgia to mosaic. I have always wanted to incorporate it at home despite how high maintenance it can be. The funny thing is, we mosaic-tiled the areas that are most prone to getting dirty: the kitchen and the bathrooms! Seems counter-intuitive, right?

One advice to homeowners is to use coloured grout. We have pink mosaic tiles with dark pink grout for our guest bathroom. The mermaid scales were matched with mustard grout — not just to match the other yellow kitchen elements, but also to hide oil splatter. We did use white grout for the kitchen and master bathroom floors, but at least we’ve halved the cleaning problem!

A cheeky terrazzo tile was chosen for the guest toilet, alongside a quirky chimpanzee print to liven the space. Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

Fizzah and Danial used mustard grout to match the mustard yellow carpentry in the kitchen — not just as a visual statement but also to hide oil splatter! Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

They also chose yellow mosaic tiles to accompany the mermaid tiles in their kitchen. Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

Pink mosaic tiles with dark pink grout were also chosen for the guest toilet. Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

Let’s talk about your hallway. Most homeowners would think twice about painting graphic patterns on a single wall, but you had your entire walkway done.

The Picasso inspired mural that has been hand-painted all over Fizzah and Danial's walkway. Image c/o Fizzah and Danial.

You know, every time I walked through the walkway, I would think about how I could elevate it. There was the option of switching to a quirky pendant lamp, but the thought of having to source one tired us. My husband didn’t want to hang anything on the walls as we already have the study wall for that. We toyed with the idea of wallpapering, which didn’t really make financial sense because we would need to cut out three empty pockets of wallpaper for our doors.

In the end, we went with a hand-painted, Picasso-inspired mural of four things that represent us — coffee, travel, reading, and photography. It’s quirky yet personal.

Follow Fizzah and Danial's home journey on Instagram.

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