Mohammad Zain, as the general manager of timbre specialist company World of Wood (Wow) Floors, wanted the house for his family of five to be layered in a variety of rich materials, especially wood.
Having supplied materials to akiHAUS design director Lawrence Puah over the years, the two became friends. When the time came to redesign his home, Zain sought Lawrence's help in renovating the 1,480 sq ft flat, while also remaining heavily involved in the construction process.
One key thing to address for the flat, however, was the lack of proper light and ventilation. As with all maisonettes in Singapore, they are built in older buildings which tend to be less open.
"In the original house, the kitchen was closed up. From the living room to the dining room to the guest bedroom, you have to enter every room through dark corridors," Lawrence explains. "These areas are basically in the deepest part of the house, so when you first enter, it feels very dark."
"So it's not so much about a look, but more about the quality of a space, ensuring that the circulation of movement is a fluid flow from one space to the next."
To start, the kitchen walls are hacked down. Now the open-concept kitchen is the heart of the home, with several spaces around it where the family and guests can gather, such as the bar counter, living room and family room. The interior showcases lots of rich wood textures, such as the distressed handcrafted walnut flooring throughout the lower floor, with the uneven surface creates a unique sensorial experience underfoot.
Illuminated by sunlight, the cosy family room almost seems to glow, as all its walls - as well as the floor and ceiling - are decked out in golden bamboo strips. Next to the family room is the dining area. The walls, including the ceiling, are given a coat of textured metallic gold paint, supplied by Zain.
"Most people miss that, but that's like a visual connection tying two separate spaces that are just clipped by a floor."
A little window is partially concealed among the green walls, which not only brings in light to the kitchen but also allow food to be passed from the kitchen to the balcony without having to walk back inside.
The only space in the home that does not sport that much wood is the luxurious master bathroom upstairs, which has surfaces clad in marble-like tiles from Rice Fields, a more durable material for wet spaces.
"There seem to be so many different types of spaces in the house right, that's why the light and air matter so much, because when spaces flow very well, you will not feel like you are compartmentalising and going from one different place to the next," concludes Lawrence. "You just feel that they all belong together at the end of the day, tied together by light."