Breathing new life into old homes

Breathing new life into old homes

MARRIED couple Patrick and Jacintha Tan have an unusual hobby. They like to buy old homes, give them a makeover, live in them for a few years, before moving to another place. Over the past decade, the couple have moved five times.

Perhaps their interest in homes and decor stems partly from their careers - conveyancing lawyer Mrs Tan often deals with properties in her work, while Mr Tan is vice-president of architecture at CPG Consultants.

"We enjoy looking at old houses or apartments and seeing how we can transform them," he says. Their home for the last two years is a two-and-a-half storey terrace house in Upper Thomson that Mr Tan had redesigned. Though the house is 50 years old, it looks almost brand new, as most of the home except its original structure was torn down and rebuilt.

Terrace houses tend to be dark and dingy since they don't have windows on either side. The Tans' home, however, has a cosy, tropical resort feel about it.

Mr Tan designed a skylight at the courtyard to allow natural light to fill the home. Large windows by the living room and in the dining room also let in light. The result is living spaces that can do without artificial light during the day, allowing electricity bills to be cut down.

Being nature lovers, the couple incorporated sustainable features into their home.

The large windows on the ground floor not only let in light, but are often left open to let natural breeze flow through.

Even in the four bedrooms upstairs, there is plenty of cross ventilation so the rooms do not feel warm and stuffy even on hot afternoons.

Specially placed windows, such as in the couple's bathroom, and at the kids' library and play area in the attic mean that these areas are naturally lit. The couple have three daughters, Shayna, 11, Alayna, eight and Leanna, five.

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