A modern touch
After years of neglect, a townhouse in Malacca now stands proud with the deft touch of an interior designer.
Imet the client at an art exhibition a year or so before I was approached to take on the project. I was instinctively drawn to it as it was a project in Malacca, my hometown, and that the project site was on the same street where I was born.
As both the client and I are based in Kuala Lumpur, the help of Malacca-based architect Debbie Lee and contractor Kuah were enlisted.
I was drawn to the house not for its size (at less than 2,000sq ft on two floors, it has a relatively modest footprint in comparison to some of the grand homes on the same street), but for the possibilities that could materialise post-renovations.
The brief from the client was to create a modern contemporary interior with no superfluous details akin to the pseudoPeranakan style seen at many of the recently refurbished properties in the neighbourhood. Keeping it modern but warm and inviting was of top priority.
On the ground floor, the original fittings were gutted out, an old well terminated, sunken courtyard reclaimed and a new septic tank installed.
The archway separating the foyer and living room was left intact (the only original architectural feature of the house) and the timber trusses repaired and reused.
New polished marble slabs and granite tiles add gloss and texture to the floor.
Full height timber-framed glass sliding doors separate the dining and living room from the courtyard. The open skylight allows natural light to flood in and provides for better air circulation.
New and wider stairs with glass balustrades built on a less steep incline was added. A new fully equipped kitchen with Caesarstone counter tops allows you to whip up meals with great ease.
To reinforce the first floor and provide additional support for the new bathrooms on the first floor, cast iron I-beams had to be incorporated.
We were able to salvage at least 80% of the solid timber floor boards upstairs and all bathrooms feature wall-towall and floor-to-ceiling marble cladding for a luxurious finish.
Custom-made furnishings, hand-picked accessories from a variety of stores, Oriental rugs plus contemporary artwork from the client’s collection create the intricate layers of style, comfort and modernity for this townhouse in the Unesco-listed heritage zone of old Malacca.
When not used by the clients as their holiday home, the property is let out as a guest house.
Cover: The fully restored façade of Prive Malacca.
Grey-tinted walls provide the perfect backdrop for custom-ordered furniture from Janine. Artwork behind sofa is a limited edition print by Walasse Ting.
(Left) A colourful abstract painting by Tajuddin Ismail hangs over the mahogany glass-top console table by Abitex.
(Above) All the bathrooms are fully fitted and come cladded floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall with polished marble.
Off-white porcelain vases add texture and end elegance.
A sky bridge connects you to the bedroom located at the rear.
View of kitchen looking to the yard which features a sky light allowing natural light to come through.
Kitchen by Paragon Kitchen features Caesarstone counter tops, high-gloss finished cabinetry, STUA’s Onda bar stools and Teka appliances.
The large and spacious master suite has a walk-in wardrobe and connecting bathroom. Artworks by Loh Wai Leng and Ahmad Shukri adorn the walls.
Located at the rear of the house, the third bedroom features an en suite bath and a small Juliet balcony. The table lamps are by 90s Lamps BSC while the artworks are by Khoo Sui Hoe and Ch’ng Kiah Kiean.
Looking in from the foyer, Patricia Urquiola's Tatou pendant lamp by FLOS hangs over a colonial-style table.
Rustic handmade accessories are dotted all over the house.