The Chic Home: Tropical paradise in a terrace house

PHOTO: KWAN YEONG KANG, REBECCA CHIA & TAN CHEE YONG

SINGAPORE - A resort-style paradise awaits when one steps into this bright, airy and spacious terrace house.

The 4,088 sq ft space was designed over four months and built over another 12 by owners and architects Tan Chee Yong and Rebecca Chia, who are in their 40s.

They live there with their two sons, who turn 17 and 15 this year. The family moved into the house in 2018.

There is also room for when the couple's parents stay over.

Mr Tan says: "We wanted the overall feel to be simple and functional while exuding a relaxed, tropical atmosphere."

Since he and his wife are avid swimmers, a 21m indoor lap pool was one of the top priorities.

It cost $1 million to build the home and another $200,000 to fit out.

The couple worked around the issue of space by placing the pool at ground level and elevating everything else, including the living room and kitchen.

The home is bright and well-ventilated, thanks to the four-storey air well that rises above the pool.

"We liked the enduring concept of the courtyard house," says Ms Chia.

The air well is the focal point of the home, with all the rooms facing it. Each room has slide-and-fold window walls, so as to receive adequate cross-ventilation and maintain a connection to the rest of the house.

The air well also blurs the boundaries between the outdoor and indoor spaces. Lush plants line its perimeter at each level, giving the appearance of a verdant green curtain.

"We wanted our home to be in conversation with nature," says Ms Chia.


PHOTOS: KWAN YEONG KANG, REBECCA CHIA & TAN CHEE YONG

The abundance of plants adds a tropical resort vibe. The bathrooms are open to the sky, with a veil of greenery for privacy.

The couple highlight their house's structural elements by leaving the walls as exposed brick or concrete and the floors as bare concrete screed. "It keeps the expression of the house true to its form and function," says Ms Chia.

The couple also chose natural materials, such as rattan and teak, for their furniture.


PHOTO: KWAN YEONG KANG, REBECCA CHIA & TAN CHEE YONG

Despite the openness of the home, there are many private spaces, including cosy nooks that overlook the air well and pool, as well as a library.

At the same time, there is plenty of room for gatherings and conversations, including the roof terrace, the family room and the dining room with a 3m-long suar wood table at the back of the house.

Adjustable aluminium pivot screens at the front and rear of the house ensure privacy and control the amount of sunlight entering.


PHOTO: KWAN YEONG KANG, REBECCA CHIA & TAN CHEE YONG

Pointing out that the couple's favourite space is the dining room, Mr Tan says: "It's always airy and bright, and the heart of the home where friends and family gather."

  • This article first appeared in the January 2021 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
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