Rich in materiality and textures, the design of this home shows that you don't have to just stick to one theme

Timbre Floors and Brick Walls Form This Tactile Family Home in Singapore
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Textures abound in this executive maisonette in the east of Singapore

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. 

"We were just so psyched up about it because you get to collaborate with someone who appreciates good design," says Lawrence. "When we design something, he understands it without us having to explain anything in full detail. Sometimes he even counter-proposes because he's a material supplier."

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.

In the main living room, a red brick wall lends a visual break from the wood. "The red brick wall wasn't just superficial," comments Lawrence. "If you'll notice, the brick wall was actually on the first-floor living room. It goes out to the balcony right and then goes up the double-volume balcony, and then returns into the master bedroom." 

"Most people miss that, but that's like a visual connection tying two separate spaces that are just clipped by a floor."

As a testament to the homeowners' love for nature, a lush green wall from Prince's Landscape lines the full height of the double-volume balcony. A wall-mounted bar table, made of wood, looks out into the verdant greenery beyond. 

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.

"When visitors go there, they won't notice the window until someone calls them from there," chuckles Lawrence. "Whenever there are elements of surprise in the home, it creates an interesting and fun home."

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."

Tags: homedesigninteriordecorwoodtimbrebrickgoldmodernmaisonetteSingapore
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