For this family of four, home is a Bali-style oasis in the middle of Singapore
In this 7,793 sq ft detached house, Ong&Ong architects Diego Molina and Maria Arango created a foliage-filled sanctuary with seamless spaces for the homeowners to entertain family and friends.
In a fast-paced, constantly connected society like Singapore, taking time off is essential for mental health and nurturing relationships. This is exactly what the owners of this 7,793 sq ft house had in mind.
They commissioned architects Diego Molina and Maria Arango, both directors at architectural consultancy Ong&Ong, to build a contemporary house that is enveloped in an oasis of greenery for their young family of four.
Arango shared, “The owners are both in industries that require them to be really connected all day, the whole week. So they want their weekends to be in a resort environment. We created a very large garden around the house. The idea was to feel like you’re in the middle of Bali.”
The house comprises two rectilinear volumes stacked atop each other and stands out with its different textures complementing a neutral colour palette.
To provide privacy from the road as one enters the house, the architects created a “peek-away” effect with perforations in a concrete wall shielding the courtyard from the road.
“You can get a glimpse of what is happening in the courtyard. In the morning when the sun hits the water, you get its reflection on the [wall’s] ceiling and the space changes within the day,” said Molina.
As avid cooks and hospitable hosts, the homeowners consider the kitchen the heart of their home for entertaining family and friends. A generous space was thus designed to connect the kitchen seamlessly to the living and dining areas.
“When they are socialising and they have friends over, this is the stage,” Arango said. “The magic is happening in the kitchen; they are cooking and entertaining, getting the drinks ready and the friends are part of that fantastic event.”
There is no boundary between the interior and exterior, and the social area extends from the living and dining space to the basement, leaving the second floor exclusively for the family. This allows the homeowners the option of entertaining their guests late into the night.
The basement entertainment room is flanked by a series of panels on both sides. An art collection occupies one side, while the other is a series of concealed spaces that yield a wine cellar for the homeowners to store their collection to be shared with guests or enjoyed among themselves on stay-in nights.
Encasing the upper floor is a striking perforated metal mesh screen that facilitates cross-ventilation and allows light to filter through. It also acts as a privacy shield, providing the family a cosy and intimate space to relax in.
Molina explained: “The houses next door are very close to each other and there is a house that sits on a higher ground. Eventually it will look directly into the private areas of the house so we had to adapt to those conditions. The skin is the facade but at the same time, it gives you that climatic control that is really important when living in Singapore and tropical areas.”
While the owners like a dark colour scheme, Molina and Arango didn’t want a dark house. So they installed skylights in the master ensuite and walk-in wardrobe to invite natural light into these spaces, injecting them with a bright and airy feel. A private garden with a small yucca palm adds greenery to the shower and toilet cubicles, and an air well provides ample ventilation.
Arango explained, “Managing [their preferences] was really important, and creating those spaces comfortably for them with privacy and light. We ended up opening a lot of skylights to bring light and to make a bright space.”
In this cosy resort-like haven, the family has found a tranquil sanctuary where they can bask in the company of friends and each other. Arango said, “It’s always fulfilling when you see how they live in the house, and really special to see them fulfilling the dream of their house.”
Adapted from the series Remarkable Living (Season 3). Watch full episodes on CNA, every Sunday at 8.30pm.