Travel can change people. For the couple who owns this home, nine months of travelling through Central and South America altered their priorities. “Before that, we were urban people. We fell in love with nature during our travels. So, we prioritised that over anything else,” says Deng Yingzhi, who is in the creative field.
When she and her husband felt it was time to move out of their BTO HDB flat, their search for a new property ended in this cluster house next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. “We were not looking for a home of this size,” she tells us, “but we were so impressed by the views. They’re something we didn’t expect to find here and we couldn’t stop thinking about that.” Every floor of the resale property looks out onto the lush nature reserve.
At a glance
Type of home: Cluster house in Bukit Timah
Size of home: 4,800 sq ft
Who lives here: A couple in their 30s, their daughter and a helper
ID: Monocot Studio
Photography: Studio Periphery
This article was originally published in Home & Decor.
Choosing the interior designer was simple. Going by friends’ recommendations, they discovered the work of The Monocot Studio, which transformed the place into a light and cheerful abode awash with mostly light, neutral hues over a four-month renovation period.
“Our plan was to highlight that the house is right next to the nature reserve. We wanted to respect the original architecture and maximise the view as much as possible, so we gave the living room a very symmetrical layout, ensuring that the field of vision wouldn’t be obstructed.
“Similarly, we wanted the space to be child-friendly with curved surfaces throughout,” says Mikael Teh, Monocot Studio’s principal interior designer.
The emphasis on curved lines fulfils the couple’s love of curved surfaces and arches. Aside from the custom counter and arched doorways, even some of the furniture is curvy.
On the first floor, full-height sliding doors ensure the family can enjoy the greenery outside from the kitchen as well as dining and living areas.
The soothing palette of light wood surfaces, from the cabinetry and furniture to the flooring, complements the natural surrounds.
Other neutral colours like grey, black, and white highlight the spaces while a moss green sofa takes pride of place in the living area.
Mikael and his team reconfigured the second level to accommodate a bedroom for the helper. They also introduced this porthole for additional light as well as the windows for better ventilation.
“The biggest challenge was in getting the solid surface supplier to fabricate the basin in the powder room. The supplier wasn’t confident about being able to achieve the custom basin and rejected our design a couple of times,” Mikael recalls, adding that they eventually achieved the size and shape they wanted.
While the couple did not intend to have a home this size, it proved to fit their young family. Working from home during and since the Covid-19 circuit breaker was also easier here as Deng and her husband each had a floor to themselves to concentrate on work. She says, “Whenever it’s time to hang out, we just get together with our baby girl on the first floor, surrounded by that view.”