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Remarkable Living

A dream home in Singapore, thanks to the work of two Colombian architects

Ong & Ong architects Diego Molina and Maria Arango reconstructed a home that fulfils its owners’ dream.

A dream home in Singapore, thanks to the work of two Colombian architects

The house designed by Ong & Ong Architects Diego Molina and Maria Arango incorporate Southern Californian and Southern French influences. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Nestled within lush foliage in a quiet residential enclave in Singapore lies a home inspired by a family’s travels. The property, build in a style that’s a fusion of Southern Californian and Southern French sensibilities, is conceptualised by architects Diego Molina and Maria Arango. The couple, who work for Ong & Ong Architects, hail from Colombia, and specialise in private residential projects.

As the house lies at the end of a cul-de-sac, it has a long driveway, so the architects built an access courtyard, and planted a tree in the middle to create a roundabout. The tree, explained Arango, is a welcome greeting to guests. The exterior of the property, which has a hacienda-esque facade, is one of the first buildings in Singapore to use bioclimatic plaster, a material that works to keep interiors cool in hot, humid climes. On the ground floor, the architects carved out large French windows to provide a seamless view of the lush greenery.

Maria Arango and Diego Molina hail from Colombia. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Molina and Arango explained that when they first saw the place, they realised that the back of the house opened up to a state land dotted with beautiful trees. Not one to let a thing of beauty pass, the duo turned the back portion into the living and dining areas. Existing walls were torn down to create a seamless space that leads the eye to the visual spectacle outside.

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The architects also considered how to create a smooth sense of flow and movement within the house, starting at the entrance. From there, one enters the foyer and receiver zone, before arriving in the living room with its formal seating space, and then onwards to the dining area.

The architects transformed what was once the back of the house into the living and dining areas. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Special pockets of display areas were incorporated for the homeowners to showcase their extensive collection of art. Their collection includes works by prominent Asian artists such as Chua Ek Kay and Yusof Ghani, as well as their daughter’s paintings. The family also took an active role in the design process, sourcing internationally for fittings such as bronze door handles and the Italian marble counter top to complement the overall scheme.

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On top of that, Molina explained: “We took advantage of the high ceilings that the house had, removed the false ceilings and doubled the volume of space”. Added Arango: “[We’re showcasing] the beauty of the original timber rafters, and that goes quite well with the overall aesthetics of the house.”

The kitchen's marble counter top was specially flown in from Italy. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

In the end, the homeowners were pleased with how well the house turned out. As daughter Kaylene remarked, “It’s the combination of everything. It’s about how the rooms are designed, with the high ceilings and wooden beams. And the bookshelves, how they’re built into the stairs.”

Aside from the mindful use of space, the house is also a place that’s welcoming. As socialising is important to the family, the architects made sure that specific spaces were designed to welcome guests, be they clients, friends or family. Said Kaylene, “Because of the way the house is built, you won’t feel like you’re separated, that you’re always with someone. It just gives a lot of warmth and comfort.”

The house is surrounded by lush greenery. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Arango said the project is something they enjoyed, but more than that, she added that to be able to “fulfil someone’s dream, it’s really special”.

Adapted from the series Remarkable Living. Watch full episodes on Channel NewsAsia, every Sunday at 7pm.

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Source: CNA/ds