A modern Balinese design using wood and glass lets this three-storey house exhibit flair and grace. It's nestled among rolling hills and lush greenery. -The Star/ANN
"Let's face it: In Singapore, the most common view from a window is another window," said Ronald Tan, a proud owner of a 2,540 sq ft house located at Upper Thompson Road, Singapore.
Nestled among the rolling hills of a quaint, mature neighbourhood, his three-storey house boasts a fabulous view of the island state on one side, and lush greenery on the other.
Tan, who lives in this house with his wife and daughter, bought the property in January 2007. A nature enthusiast, Tan admits that the reservoir park behind his house was one of the main reasons he fell in love with the property.
"The location's perfect. But as the original structure was a modest single-storey house, we had a lot of work to do to turn it into a three-storey house," he explained, adding that the original foundation didn't support a multilevel structure.
To help build his dream house, Tan engaged architect K.C. Lau and interior designer Michelle Wong. After a major renovation that took 14 months to complete, Tan and his family finally moved into the house on March 29, 2009.
StarProperty.my chatted with the affable owner about his gorgeous family house over an afternoon tea recently.
Ideally Tan would like to create a Balinese style house with a manicured garden, pond and rows of well-trimmed plants. However, given the size of his property - the house sits on a 2,356 sq ft piece of land - he knew that a Balinese concept wouldn't be feasible.
But that didn't make him give up his preferred aesthetic. In fact, the house can be viewed as a modern interpretation of a Balinese bungalow. To complement the Balinese theme, he built not one, but two fishponds - one on the ground floor, and another one on the second floor.
"When it comes to renovation, you must make do with what you have. Then only think about ways to maximise the environment," he advises.
Take an outdoor fishpond on the ground floor for example. Ideally, Tan says he would love to have a bigger fishpond. However, because of the sewage line that exists nearby, he couldn't build a bigger pond.
"My house is located on a slope, and there is an underground pipe that delivers water from the hill to the drain. I decided to divert the pipe to the pond, before it reaches the sewage line. As a result, the water in the pond is always fresh and healthy," Tan shares.
Architecturally speaking, the house falls under contemporary tropical design category. Employing materials such as wood and glass, the house exhibits a customary Southeast Asian design with modern sensibilities.
Bright and airy, the house sees an open concept layout. Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors on the ground floor connects the living room to the outdoor area, allowing a cosy affair at dawn and dusk. The ceiling, which has been raised to 4.5m, further emphasises the sense of spaciousness.
Where interior is concerned, Tan explains that the focus is to create a cosy layout with a hint of elegant tropical living. With this in mind, the designer threw a selection of woodworks with contemporary cut, which works perfectly with the overall concept.
A coral-shape pendant lamp in the dining sets the interior tone, while the owner's collection of Peranakan antiques adds charm to the entire living space.
The house is also surrounded by rows of potted plants and orchids that Tan bought from Sungai Buloh, Kuala Lumpur.
A panel of sliding doors defines a large part of the ground floor. The layout here is rather simple - a living-and-dining combo and a separate kitchen.
A flight of staircases, outlined by sleek glass panels, leads to the first floor where Tan's daughter's room and a guest room are on.
Meanwhile, the master bedroom, with an attached bathroom and a soothing balcony, occupies the entire second floor. Here, the floor is made from teak and the view of the lush greenery is simply soothing to the eyes.
The master bedroom noticeably employs less glass element than the rest of the house. Tan says the architect proposed a glass-bounded balcony, but he preferred a concrete wall and plants to "soften the look".
Tan confesses that the balcony is his favourite part of the house. This is where Tan spends most of his time, reading and enjoying the fresh air. Accentuating the resort-like feel here is a small fishpond and various ethnic furniture and finishing.