Nat­u­ral Dia­logue


Singapore Tatler Homes - - JUN/JUL ISSUE -

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

THIS PAGEWood and leather lend warmth to the monochro­matic set­tingOP­PO­SITE PAGEMir­rored 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

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