Tatler Homes Malaysia
Matthew Lim Associates’ family home in The Mansions combines sophistication and safety
Designed for a young family by Matthew Lim Associates, this home in The Mansions, Kuala Lumpur, is ample proof that stylish and child friendly need not be diametrically opposed concepts
f the idea of a family home that’s stylish yet still child friendly may seem like a pipe dream, Matthew Lim Associates (MLA) seem to have cracked it. Their home for a couple with four children ranging in ages from 1 to 6 years old in the exclusive The Mansions development in Desa Park City is an elegant space incorporating pragmatic choices catering to its most junior residents. The client had met Matthew Lim, founder of MLA during a business course a couple of years back and found kindred spirits in their business philosophy. Lim was then asked to work on the client’s co-working space in the city and towards the end of that project, he was engaged to undertake the client’s new home. By now, trust and respect had been established and Lim was given total freedom in designing it.
The 3 storey townhouse is located in a development where open plan living extends within the house boasting double volume ceiling heights and generous balconies overlooking peaceful green hills. When thinking about space planning and design, Lim and his team prioritised the needs of the client’s wife and kids who spend the most time at home but still kept in mind that the home needed to be a luxurious space that would grow with the family. “We came up with a design concept that would create distinct experiences in different zones. From a formal living that enhances conversations to a dining area that stimulates appetite, a kids playroom that would keep them entertained, not to mention a space for hosting family gatherings which the client loves to do,” Lim explains. “Particular care was also paid to the material choices and detailing so that the finished effect is impressive without being over the top – and would not date.”
Right from the entrance, Lim’s design approach balancing practicality with aesthetic value is evident as the linear geometric feature wall comprising of wood strips and concrete laminate finishes conceal the shoe cabinets and storeroom. Visitors then enter the main living area where the original flooring has been replaced with luxurious Italian Grey marble. This expanse is complemented with a grand feature wall of hone-finished
Brazilian marble book-matched for a seamless double volume effect. A relaxed but elegant configuration of Poliform sofa and armchairs which pick up the colours of the marble complete the tableau.
The dining area is visible from the living and features a round Poliform table and Billiani leather chairs with rounded edges echoing the circle, the Chinese symbol of harmony. “We also applied a continuous design element from one end of the feature wall backdrop to the ceiling, then back to another display feature wall that blends with the floor. Apart from creating a wow factor when guests enter from the main entrance, it makes for a pleasing view in the living and dining area,” enthuses Lim. One floor up and the family’s private areas unfold, including the kids rooms - each designed thematically with tasteful finishes in splashes of pastel and geometric elements. “We wanted to keep a sense of playfulness with interesting design elements in their respective bedrooms. As such, hidden doors lead to bathrooms, accessible through a push — making it fun and explorative for the kids as well,” says Lim. The family room which also sits on the first floor is deliberately simple but no less luxurious with Antonio Citterio’s classic Zeno Light sofa from Flexform taking pride of place. Feature walls conceal additional storage to keep the clutter that accumulates, especially in a home with four young children, out of sight.
“We came up with a design concept that would create distinctive experiences in different zones”
The top most floor is dedicated to the master suite and where the designers pulled out all the stops, a fact alluded to by Pamela Tan of Poh Sin Studio’s magnificent installation strategically placed on the wall approaching the master suite. Named Aura Aurora, the metal artwork evokes the qualities of dripping water complete with obsidian “droplets” and is not just fascinating to look at, it creates the the flow of positive chi so valuable in feng shui. The top floor has a presidential suite concept where the whole floor is reserved for the client and his wife. All the existing rooms were torn down to create one expansive space comprising of a bedroom area, a generous bathroom and walk in closet connected by camouflage doors and a work area for the client,” says Lim.
This floor is undeniably impressive from the double-volume study lounge overlooking views of the neighbourhood to the bar counter the designers managed to carve out which lies between two hidden doors - one leading to the master bedroom and the other to the walk-in closet. The bedroom area has lux finishes such as a handcrafted leather panel with floral patterns, not to
mention the dreamy wardrobe complete with glass-clad doors and lit cantilevered shelves dedicated to bags and shoes.
Despite all these glamourous flourishes, the MLA team were careful to implement sensible measures with the family in mind. This is especially evident in the staircase that rises up through the houses’ axis where metal railings were replaced with glass for a floating effect. However with safety being the top priority, light sensors were added to ensure safety while walking down them, especially during the night. As an added bonus the lights add a sensorial experience to the journey as well. Also despite the prevalence of hard surfaces in the home, all of the edges have been rounded for the children’s safety and parents’ peace of mind. Indeed Lim stresses that while he wanted to design a concept that expressed the client’s upscale lifestyle, creating a family home with functional and safe spaces they enjoyed using was always important. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and Lim reveals although the project could not be completed before Malaysia’s first lockdown, when the family moved in before Christmas, they enjoyed the space tremendously: “I believe they are relishing every moment of their family time in the house, especially the kids and this makes what we call designing from the heart absolutely satisfying.”