Through clever spatial interventions by SSplusD, this maisonette gets two additional rooms so a multi-generational household can live together comfortably.
29 May 2020
Home Type: HDB maisonette
Floor Area: 1,540sqft
Text by Janice Seow
Multi-generational households are common in Singapore. Such living situations can pose some challenges however, with the biggest ones perhaps being the lack of privacy and space.
When three siblings decided to move in together to care for their 80-year-old mum, their brief to SSplusD was a particularly tall order – even as multi-generational households go. “There were a total of six adults, one teenager and one kid that were to live in this maisonette,” shares designer Sam Loh from SSplusD, who was tasked by the family to create two additional rooms in the four-bedroom flat to comfortably house everyone and ensure greater privacy.
Through a series of smart design manoeuvres, Sam has maximised the space potential in this maisonette, with considerations to the family’s needs and lifestyle. Sam shares: “The family preferred a contemporary and minimalist design for easier maintenance, and they wanted it to be spacious enough for family gatherings. They also don’t cook often and did not require a big kitchen.”
With all this in mind, the designer has extended the living room right out to the balcony. This extension also means that part of the original living area can be comfortably converted into the helper’s room with no sacrifice to the communal space. This room is hidden behind a swing door that forms part of the feature wall.
“The curved and rounded edge profiles of the door handles to the helper’s room, and the TV cabinet were the most challenging details in this project,” shares Sam. “These took almost three weeks just to fabricate, but we felt it was necessary as it was the ‘soul’ of the living area.”
The kitchen has been reduced in size (since the family doesn’t cook often) and the dining area positioned adjacent to it to facilitate easier movements between the two zones. The bedroom on this floor (formerly situated next to the kitchen) has been moved to where the dining zone once stood, and serves as the mum’s room.
The laundry area has also been repositioned near the foyer to get the morning sun, with the access door kept well hidden behind the feature wall in the dining area.
Upstairs, the layout has been significantly reconfigured to accommodate the need for more rooms. Most notably, the master bedroom has been divided into two rooms, and the master bathroom converted into a common one that’s now accessible to more family members.
All rooms, including the helper’s room on the first level, have been configured to enjoy good natural light. The layout also ensures that the hallway on the second floor receives more daylight and natural ventilation, which in turn helps to reduce heat in the evenings.
Thoughtful design details have been incorporated to meet individual needs. For example, bay windows have been incorporated into two bedrooms on the upper floor; in one, this serves as a study table for the kid, while in another, it’s a work desk for a member of the household who works from home.
The teenager’s room also features a perforated panel where she can display her cosmetics and accessories, while storage beds in all rooms address the need for storage in the most space efficient way.
A light and neutral colour palette runs consistently throughout the maisonette. Bright, pristine and spacious, this multi-generational home shows that with the right spatial interventions, a large family can comfortably enjoy time together, and time alone.
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