Jakarta isn't the most conducive city for young families with small children. Apart from soaring land prices, the city barely has any green spaces. And with the myriad of skyscrapers, mansions and tumbling colonial buildings choking up the streets, Jakarta often doesn't make a very peaceful and pretty picture.
Therefore, many young families prefer to reside in the suburbs, where the land is cheaper and the quality life better.
"Middle class families who reside in the suburbs can even afford professional architect services because the land prices are more reasonable. As such, houses in the suburbs of Jakarta are typically better designed than those in the city," says Riri Yakub, who made a name for himself building smart and compact houses for many young couples.
His family home in Bintaro, a suburb located 20 kilometres away from the city centre, embodies what he calls a "practical and functional family house".
Made to Measure
From the outside, the house looks like an unfinished building; its façade is a plain white wall with three windows and a door, and its unsheltered car porch is tiled with raw concrete blocks. Yet, the house looks striking and oddly beautiful.
Asked about the façade of the house, Yakub explains: "This house is facing west; it is drenched in sunlight every afternoon. If I had designed bigger windows on the façade, the house would have retained too much heat."
Sitting on 90sqm (about 970 sq ft) of land, the two-storey house has a simple layout. But like the façade, every inch of the house has been thoughtfully designed.
Guests are greeted with a pantry and a wheeled breakfast table that seats two, as well as a loosely furnished but charming living area. Yakub admits that many of the furniture and furnishings here are off-the-rack IKEA pieces.
"Most of the furniture pieces on the first floor are movable. I purposely chose furniture pieces that I can easily fold and hide in the store room if I have a big crowd in my tiny house," says the 32-year-old architect.