WORK 021

Attachment House

The existing house was divided into two parts – the main living quarters and a service quarter that contained a driver’s rest area, helpers’ bedrooms and kitchen. On the first storey, we have reworked the plan to create a seamless connection between the different parts of the house. The study is now a playroom for the children, its windows enlarged so that natural light flushes in through floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that also allow for easy access the landscaped backyard for outdoor play.  The renovation took on a careful, less-is-more strategy, we christened the abode ‘Attachment House’ to reflect the approach of attaching components to the [existing] house proportionately and not superfluously to adequately fulfil the owners’ needs. 

A thoughtful weaving of old and new spaces now presents spaces neatly laid out in a row in the rear on the first storey – the playroom, a new powder room, a new dry kitchen, and then the wet kitchen and helpers’ bedrooms that is easily accessible from the carpark via the side of the house. One ‘attachment’ is an extension to the dry kitchen in the form of a sheltered ‘glass house’ that beckons informal dining or snack time. The glass walls borrow the greenery from outside to become a kind of natural wallpaper – verdant, mutable and tropical. The stairwell contains much atmosphere in terms of texture and spatial quality. Glass blocks that brighten this space and reiterate the mid-century modern character of the house, are also found in the first storey powder room, letting in light that highlights the ivory, chocolate and forest green swirls of the marble walls.

Upstairs, the plan is simple with only three bedrooms – each well sized and well lit. “The original bedrooms were relatively untouched besides changing the orientation of the master bedroom to create a walk-through wardrobe that connects more seamlessly to the extended master bathroom. Half of the second storey was originally a terrace “big enough to play badminton. Another ‘attachment’ – this time a roof and walls – were plonked on the terrace to create a family room, leaving a small balcony for the family to come out to the open to enjoy the view of the landscaping and the pool.

Inside this new room, the pitched roof could not be cantilevered due to the span. As such, a slim column painted in the most cheerful colour was introduced as a playful punctuation mark to the house’s dominantly tranquil earth-toned colours, framed by a shell of monochrome. Pattern is applied sparingly and in cohesion with the architecture, such as a wall of concrete breezeblocks inserted between the solid parapet and metal railing that captures the zeitgeist of the house.