Rebuilding designs for houses

Rebuilding designs for houses

Three houses are breaking the mould with unusual, creative designs in Singapore. One is a flamboyant colonial-style bachelor's pad, two can be expanded to cater for new family members and one maximises space on a crowded street. Natasha Ann Zachariah reports.

House of colours

Fashion show director Daniel Boey breaks layout conventions with his new semi-detached house off East Coast Road .

Unlike a traditional home that has its communal spaces on the first level and smaller, individual rooms on higher floors, Boey designed one that mixes things up.

"I often feel claustrophobic so I didn't want small cubby hole-like rooms," says the 50-year-old director of his eponymous fashion and lifestyle creative company and the founder of fashion website The 15th District.

"I liken the house to three New York lofts stacked on top of one another. Each floor has its own character and it's been built to fit only what I need."

The entrance to the house is on the second level.

Boey asked for a long, open riser staircase running up the house's facade from the first to the second level, to create a "dramatic entrance".

The living room is bright and airy, thanks to a double volume ceiling. It is also spacious - save for a minimal amount of furniture and a DJ console and music shelf with hundreds of CDs - nothing else occupies the expansive space.

An open kitchen occupies one end of the space.

His bedroom takes up the entire first level. There is also a door there which opens into the driveway so that he can leave the house from his bedroom.

The top level of the house is his attic, which has its own balcony and also serves as an extension of the living room when he throws parties. He recently hosted his 50th birthday party for 60 people at his home.

The house is eye-catching both inside and out.

Boey and his brother bought two houses next door to each other, which they tore down. They worked with TLCA Architects to rebuild their houses inspired by colonial black-and-white bungalows - the white facade of the houses is outlined by a black border. Both houses cost about $2 million to build in total.

Boey's younger brother, who is married with no children, lives with his wife and his parents in a more conventionally laid-out home. Boey, who lives alone, moved into his house last month.

Visitors there are greeted by a life-sized baby pink knight made of fibreglass standing outside his front door.

Formerly a window display prop from a retail store, it gives a hint of the unconventionality that lies beyond - and it is not just in the unusual layout.

Boey loves loud colours.

His white living room is accented by an eye-catching teal-coloured alcove that houses a large painting by Indonesian visual artist Dani King Heriyanto.

His attic is painted a sunny yellow. His bedroom walls are awash in a riot of shades such as aquamarine blue, blood red and tangerine orange.

Even the bomb shelter is decked out in orange-and-red stripes - a suggestion given to him by a Bangladeshi construction worker who was working on the house.

Boey took a leap of faith with the multiple colour pairings: "I had the look of the colours in my head, but you never really know till it's on the walls.

"You just have to go with your gut feel."

He was especially keen on having red and orange walls.

"I didn't know the exact name of the paint tones, so I told the contractors I wanted the brand colours of Hermes and Cartier. I gave them a lesson in fashion."

The house is neat and clutter- free.

He made it a point to keep things to a minimum - whatever he did not want from his previous terrace house in East Coast Road was donated or moved to his office.

Even storage space was limited on purpose - he has just three cupboards for his clothes and accessories and a single cabinet that can hold 40 pairs of shoes.

He says: "This is all I'm allowing myself to have. As I was moving here, I realised that I had so many things I had forgotten about.

"Many things had not seen the light of day in years.

"It was time to cull and keep only what I really needed."

Next page: Architect Warren Liu's $800,000 house is bigger than it looks >>

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