WITH NEUTRAL COLOURS AND A REFINED PALETTE, THIS FAMILY HOME BY METAPHOR STUDIO IS A STYLISH, WELCOMING ABODE THAT MAKES THE BEST OF ITS TROPICAL CONTEXT
This inviting family home embraces its tropical setting to create a serene sanctuary
For the owners of this expansive three-storey house with an attic in Jalan Suasa in the Bukit Timah area, it was important that their new home meet three criteria. First, the property should have enough rooms to comfortably accommodate all of its occupants—a Singaporean professional athlete and his wife, an Australian horse trainer, as well as their two teenage sons and toddler daughter. Second, the home should complement Singapore’s warm tropical climate with a resort-like feel. Third, it should be homely, rather than ostentatious. “The owners aren’t impressed by design gimmicks and aren’t fans of fanciful, overthe-top architecture,” says Angela Tantry, founder and principal designer of Singapore firm Metaphor Studio, who worked with her design partner Stephen Goh on the architecture and interiors for the project.
Elevated from the street level, the house seems to rise from a platform, which sets it apart from other abodes on the same street, giving it additional height. To take full advantage of Singapore’s year-round sunshine, the blueprint began with a westfacing facade that would greet the morning sun. This frontal structure of the house is clad with quartz stone from the ground to the roof, giving the exterior a distinctive textured appearance. “Since this house is long and tall, we used the natural textures of the stone wall on the exterior and the laminated wood-cladding staircase in the interior for a uniform language that marks the beauty of the form,” says Tantry, who kept to a natural material palette, with granite and marble floors for the living and dining areas, and timber strip floors for the bedrooms and staircase. A sloping roof was used on the west-facing side of the house to help protect the roof terrace from the heat of the powerful afternoon sun. Tantry opened the east-facing rear facade of the house as much as possible so the owners could enjoy the precious green views at the far eastern end of their property.
“We made the interiors as modest and natural as possible,” says Goh. “This minimalist approach helped us achieve the clarity needed to organise the spaces so they best serve their functions in the purest way. We maintained our chosen materials and colour tones throughout the various zones and rooms, so the overall look is harmonious, elegant and practical.”
The first level of the house features the open-plan living and dining zones. Large family gatherings and parties are frequently held here, so the design team decided on a series of pivoted doors along the entryway, which allowed the common areas of the home to be opened up when the family has numerous guests over for a garden party or barbecue. “The first level is completely open from the front all the way to the rear for plenty of transparency, light, and a connection with the outdoors,” says Tantry. “This also maximises the views of the greenery along the garden areas that flank the property.” Built-in solid and laminated wood cabinetry line the walls of the living and dining areas on the first floor, serving not only as storage space, but also as part of the natural dialogue between stone and wood that dominates the design language of the project. These built-in cabinets also
function as partitions that separate the dining room from the utility area. The bedroom and private areas are located on the second and third levels, and all bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms featuring walk-in closets with mirrored doors. Automated sun screens are used for the bathrooms, so they can be opened up when not in use, for increased connectivity with the outdoors and the sunshine.
“Consistency of form and function is applied throughout the house vertically,” says Goh. “Other than the quartz stone cladding on the facade, the main interior element that connects all levels of the house is the solid and laminated woods, which all have the same grain.” Furniture in earthy neutral colours— cream, beige, brown, grey and black— that has been sourced from XTRA, Space Furniture and P5 harmoniously combines with the homeowners’ collection of abstract calligraphy from Japan to create an atmosphere of Zen-like serenity. “In order to establish an optimum sense of consistency, we used natural materials for the entire house, from the exterior to the interior,” says Tantry. “This humanistic design approach is our studio’s key philosophy, as we are always more concerned with creating a home that’s comfortable and useful, rather than just nice to look at.”
THIS PAGE Wood furniture pieces and a monochromatic colour scheme help create an atmosphere of Zen-like serenity
OPPOSITE PAGE The dining zone’s pivoted doors allow for the space to be extended outwards for large gatherings and garden parties
THIS PAGE Consistent use of natural materials keeps the look cosy and warm throughout
Wood and leather lend warmth to the monochromatic setting
Mirrored cabinets give the bathroom a spacious feel; the pool area’s lightcatching mosaic tiles; a sloping roof helps to shield the roof terrace from the afternoon sun