A bal­anc­ing act

Be­tween out­side and in­side, be­tween pub­lic and hid­den.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Spaces -

hid­ing the home be­hind a pri­vacy hedge or fence – the ar­chi­tect de­signed a home that em­braces the neigh­bour­hood. With floor-to­ceil­ing glass win­dows on the trans­par­ent first floor, it does not so much ex­pose the fam­ily as en­gage them with their neigh­bours.

Hi­bler says the home’s de­sign sen­si­bil­ity was clear: “We didn’t want to put up a wall. I wanted some­thing crazy – com­mu­nal and not highly fin­ished.”

Yantrasast, who is of Thai des­cent, says he is not a fan of cladding things with ex­pen­sive ma­te­ri­als. “There must be a bet­ter way to cre­ate re­fine­ment,” he says. “I like con­crete be­cause it has a sense of grav­i­tas. It is a great bal­ance of rough­ness and re­fine­ment. It is re­fined be­cause of the crafts­man­ship you put into it.”

Af­ter one year in the de­sign stage and two years of con­struc­tion, the cou­ple moved into the house re­cently. In the end, they are happy with the way the liv­ing ar­eas bal­ance pri­vacy and com­mu­nity, both with their neigh­bours and with one an­other.

“I knew from the be­gin­ning that he would not want a nor­mal house,” Yantrasast says of Hi­bler, who grew up in a dis­tinc­tive Eich­ler house (de­vel­oper Joseph Eich­ler was renowned for work­ing with mod­ernist ar­chi­tects in the mid-1940s).

“Be­cause they have a young daugh­ter, we wanted to cre­ate a world where they can be free to roam and con­nect to the neigh­bour­hood.”

Start­ing from scratch, Yantrasast de­signed an al­most 300sq m house “from the in­side out” rather than the out­side in.

He ex­plains: “If you de­sign from the out­side in, all the win­dows will look alike. This house is the op­po­site of that. When you de­sign from the in­side out, each room can be dif­fer­ent. I wanted each room to have its own per­son­al­ity.”

The vi­sion was to bal­ance fam­ily and com­mu­nity life while giv­ing ev­ery­one their own spa­ces to ex­ist and func­tion.

The house is a se­ries of con­trasts – the first floor is com­posed of con­crete and glass while the sec­ond floor fea­tures a warm wood floor and colour­ful Granada tile – but then so is the cou­ple.

“I’m an in­tro­vert and he’s an


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The back­yard view of the house. Huge slid­ing glass doors pro­vide plenty of air through­out their home. — Pho­tos: TNS

The mas­ter bed­room. Un­like the con­crete and glass down­stairs, the up­stairs where the bed­rooms are is more bohemian, with wood floors and beams.

Rochelle and Grace in the liv­ing room area book­case can be left as open as it is or pac

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