The front elevation has a tactual, industrial character due to jet-black steel plates that wrap around the beams and white aluminium screens with a grid pattern that act as a shield from the western sun. Grey bush-hammered and flamed granite walls with small openings lend a sense of gravitas to the composition, while letting in controlled amounts of light and providing privacy from passers-by.
“The material choice was meant to reflect the homeowner’s [quiet] lifestyle and the industry he is in, as well as personify the values of strength, permanence and presence we wanted for the home,” says the interior firm’s founder, Tan Cher Ming. He shares that the design of the screens was extremely complex, and they had to be specially made by the owner’s factory as even skilled metal fabricators did not have the required competence.
“The owner had a team of engineers who were able to convert our design into reality through the use of computer software, and expertise in spot welding and powder coating,” he adds. The process was an eye-opening one, and Tan is keen to continue working with the homeowner’s factory on future projects to test new design ideas.
While the architecture features a harmonious meld of light and robust qualities, the interior is infused with a tropical atmosphere, with a balmy concoction of openness, greenery, natural daylight, breezes and shade. A Japanese-inspired landscaped garden conceived by Mandala Landscapes provides a tranquil prelude before one enters the house through a door of solid granite seamlessly integrated into the stone elevation.
“We wanted a consistent facade elevation when the house is viewed from the exterior. This was very difficult to construct due to the weight of the stone. It required custom-making a strong metal frame,” Tan highlights.
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In the living room, filtered light washes through the screen onto a cluster of metallic pendant lights, strung like jewels in the lofty space. A courtyard with a pond and a lithe tree whose foliage can be admired through two-storey glazing separate the living room from the dining room, blurring the indoor-outdoor boundaries of the abode.
“The courtyard was designed to bring cross-ventilation, light and nature into the house as it stands on a long plot. The double-volume spaces introduce a sense of roominess and drama both in the main living area as well as the second-storey family area that overlooks the courtyard,” Tan explains.
The same granite used on the exterior forms the staircase and living room walls for a sense of continuity. The experimentation with metals extends to the interior elements, such as a champagne-coloured metal for the bean-shaped kitchen island counter, and a black steel trellis that shields the staircase.
“Because it sits between the space connecting the living room to the rear of the house, we wanted the kitchen counter to have a fluid shape so as to let the space flow better. Additionally, its curves make it a statement piece,” says Tan of this attractive fixture, which is also visible from the entrance. On the floor, white Carrara marble offers a timeless feel, while granite in a natural split finish graces a special alcohol display wall in the dining room, which showcases the owner’s rare whiskies acquired on overseas trips over many years.
Other parts of the house also feature the use of unique stones. For example, rainbow onyx walls embellish the master bathroom’s shower and toilet zones. This Turkish stone features vivid gold, beige, pink, white and coffee-hued veins interspersed with semi-translucent parts. “It was chosen specially by the owner’s wife as she wanted to bring some colour into the bathroom,” Tan shares.
There are three bedrooms on the second storey to accommodate visiting extended family members. The master suite at the attic level feels especially open due to a sheltered terrace at the front that protects the sleeping area from the hot afternoon sun. The gridded screen filters light and views. Overhead, a trellis provides additional shade.
The beautiful outcome of this project is relished by owners and architect alike. Says Tan: “Since moving in, the couple have enjoyed the house as it fits their needs for living and entertaining, with integrated nature and views out to the hills and beyond. One of their favourite spaces is the covered rooftop terrace, which they use for exercises such as yoga or gym sessions against the breathtaking backdrop of the hills.”