Tatler Homes Malaysia
Team BJ Design has created a gracious home in Horizon Hills, Johor, that’s effortless and elegant
Set in the idyllic Horizon Hills development in Johor, Team BJ Design has created a home that’s as effortless as it is elegant
While it is always within an interior designer’s remit to listen to a client’s needs, a skilled designer often can intuit a client’s wants even when they are not expressed explicitly. An undertaking interior design firm, Team BJ Design managed to pull off with aplomb for their clients, Dato James Ng and Datin Mary Ngooi. The client, an established businessman, met So-en Lim, Design Director at Team BJ Design, and her team while working together for a developer on several projects. The client and his family had out-grown their existing home and were moving to a larger house in Nusajaya, Johor. The house in question is a double story bungalow overlooking the award winning Horizon Hills golf course and positioned with uninterrupted views overlooking the lush greens and a serene lake. The clients have four children ranging in age and tastes who enjoy spending time together at home, they also entertain often for business and pleasure. While the clients had exquisite tastes, they were also not ostentatious, as such Lim felt an overall concept of understated luxury would suit. However as the client also entertained business associates at home, a wow factor was necessary.
This balancing act begins from the main entrance where the ground floor was designed to appear discreet from the street view but impresses upon walking through the doors with views angled towards the swimming pool in the central courtyard. Pains were also taken to ensure that the materials and finishes set the right tone for the interiors. Case in point, the super slim Italian Cotto Italia tiles which were chosen for the flooring as they had just the right matt texture and off white hue.
“It was the first time these tiles were used in Malaysia and the contractor had to attend a course to learn how to lay them properly AND were supervised by a team of specialists,” Lim recalls. Selected walls were given a warm treatment with KD Panels Natural veneer panelling sourced from Singapore, the rich Cypress colour complementing the floor superbly.
A sense of arrival was created via an artfully composed tableau. Comprising a feature wall bookended by a bronze screen, the screen was fabricated by a company renowned for their creations for high end boutiques in Singapore. The screen was
“While the clients had exquisite tastes, they were also not ostentatious, as such Lim felt an overall concept of understated luxury would suit”
designed to look like the veins of leaves embracing the space and is a nod to the designer’s nature theme while creating a privacy screen for the spaces beyond. Adjacent to the foyer is the powder room which boasts walls clad in gold tinted stainless steel sheets beaten into a curved shaped. This sensual shape imbues the space with a sense of the organic and is echoed by the slim freestanding pedestal sink and Phillipe Strack’s Starck V mixer from AXOR. Another example of how the designer transcended the mundane with style is the walk-in shoe closet. Also located in the foyer, the room was fitted with full height mirrors to house the client’s sizable designer shoe collection. “We created this room even though the client didn’t request for it because I had a strong feeling they might need it after seeing Datin Ngooi and her daughter’s formidable shoe collection,” says Lim. Handmade brass handles and mirrored walls abet the room’s lux feel while a special Daikin air-conditioning unit that controls humidity ensures the valuable footwear remains in pristine nick.
From the main entrance, the formal living room is accessed through a bridge lined with plants. The double volume ceiling makes
an immediate impression and lends itself to the towering feature wall of matched snowy Alaskan marble flanked by a veneer feature wall. “We planned the composition of this space with a hierarchy in mind which meant that the feature wall needed to be striking enough to be noticeable yet not overwhelm the interior,” explains Lim. Complementing rather than competing with the overall effect, the wall serves as a worthy backdrop for the carefully chosen furniture and lighting - a precise edit of Rodolfo Dordoni pieces from Minotti comprising of low slung Freeman sofas with generous depths to encourage lounging, a pair of Leslie armchairs upholstered in vivid turquoise with leather backs and marble and timber Calder side tables and Jacob coffee tables.
For more casual entertaining, Lim created a second seating area also overlooking the pool and populated the space with Minotti and Turri pieces as casual does not equate to less sophisticated in this household. A handsome bar area abutting the seating area stores the client’s collection of fine spirits and is outfitted with a Gaggenau cooktop used by private chefs when they come by to cook for dinner parties. Adornment comes in the form of neat Clara barstools from Bontempi Casa finished in blue velvet with slender gold legs and a large scale fibreglass sculpture by local artist, Nizam featuring an abstracted number 8. Graceful but not grandiose, the airy dining room continues the theme of low-key lux with curvy Turri pieces, their automobile design inspiration a nod to the clients’ love for cars. These pieces were further customised to Asian proportions to ensure the composition fit perfectly within the space outlined by a geometric border of glossy tiles. Twin chandeliers finesse the space and are a modern take of an extravagant typology.
Tucked in the corner of the ground floor is Dato James’ home office. Often used for meetings, it features a balance of personal touches and formality. “We deliberately placed the study at this end of the house to give the client, a nature lover, a soothing view of the garden and pool. Sleek Turri pieces were chosen for their exquisite craftsmanship and fine finishes but in earth tones so they wouldn’t overwhelm the natural surroundings,” enthuses Lim. The client requested for an AV room so they could have movie nights and karaoke singalongs at home. Here modular furniture was chosen so that the furniture could be moved around as required. A special feature
of the AV room is the ceiling lighting which features a galaxy of stars. Sourced from Singapore, Starry Night Ceiling is a modular ceiling fixture only found in the island state. The panels are beguiling to watch especially with the inclusion of additional shooting stars for maximum magic.
In a clear demarcation of private and public areas, the family’s leisure spaces and bedrooms are all located on the first floor and accessed by a main staircase and spiral staircase. “The family is very close knit and enjoy spending time together so I made sure the shared communal spaces were close to the master suite rather than on the other side of the house,” says Lim. The family area is a favourite spot and with its relaxed but refined furniture from Minotti and fully equipped bar/ kitchenette, it’s not hard to see why. One stretch of wall is outfitted with shelves as the family has a vast collection of books and spend evenings reading together. An active family, the gym is also well-used and located on the bridge overlooking the golf course. Equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym gear, anyone who works out is rewarded with fantastic views. A pool table was also on the clients’ children wish list and a dedicated space was provided in the landing between their rooms for easy access. No expense or effort was spared in the master suite where Turri furniture is almost exclusively used. The quality of material and finishing is also evident. For starters, getting the glossy panels of exotic Burlwood veneer used as feature walls just right proved a challenge. “We had trouble finding enough of this exotic wood and getting it to the right scale. But after they were lacquered to high piano gloss, the burlwood is particularly lovely in close proximity and ideally suited for this smaller space,” states Lim. The construction of the walk in wardrobe proved difficult to achieve as the client had requested for full height sliding doors rather than swing doors. To get them perfect in such a large format and with such a slim profile required expert
“All of the rooms were designed in consultation with the clients’ children to cater to their individual personalities”
technical advice and specialist mechanisms. The large wardrobe doors are now clad in premium faux leather, giving it a refined texture especially when viewed up close.
All of the rooms were designed in consultation with the clients’ children to cater to their individual personalities.
For the eldest daughter who’s a rock chick at heart, Lim wanted to reflect her edgier style and chose pieces which are bolder in expression but still conform to the muted colour palette. To this end, objects such as a wall sculpture of gold pailettes, a rug that looks like a piece of modern art and an ottoman with geometric legs were selected. A junior suite was prepared for the second daughter, Karina, who lives permanently at home with her husband and a new baby. A style maven with a taste for fine fashion, the designer incorporated couture details and lush fabrics into the space. The designer also took into consideration Karina’s request for the suite to not look like a nursery - as such the bassinet was concealed in the walk-in wardrobe and the space sports a sophisticated cream and dove grey palette.
The bedroom for the third daughter who’s studying abroad has a quirkier feel with an unusually placed bed, pops of pastels and plenty of shelves to hold her vast book collection. For the youngest and only son’s room, the stronger colours may seem like a departure from the rest of the house but conforms to the home’s detail-centric style and emphasis on fine finishings. Still a teenager, his only request was that there would be enough space in his room for friends to stay over but the design exceeded his expectations by drawing on his love for gaming and cars. The striking bright blue colour scheme with bold red accents call to mind sports cars while the Racer gaming chair is clearly inspired by bucket seats. From thoughtfully designed bedrooms to carefully curated spaces, Lim has created a worthy setting for the family to enjoy. To her credit, the designer’s subtle but significant design gestures enhance the clients’ lifestyle so that function and practicality are not at odds with the gracious home she set out to create. The results? A home that is a glorious celebrationof the family’s lifestyle and tastes.