With a keen eye for both style and practicality, The Interior Lab has seamlessly transformed a penthouse into a modern-day farmhouse, tailored to accommodate a family of five.
5 February 2024
Home Type: Penthouse
Floor Area: 2,465sqft
Text by Yen Kien Hang
Interior designer Colette Tsai from The Interior Lab was faced with a challenge, albeit an interesting one: A 2,465-square-foot penthouse that had a different layout from the conventional two-storey design. Instead of having a split-level layout, the house was structured in a way where two units were joined in the living room. But despite being expansive, the space felt disjointed and constrained. She noticed “the communal area’s need for a substantial expansion to accommodate the homeowners’ hybrid work arrangement, while the master bedroom had a size issue due to an overly spacious balcony attached.”
To resolve these matters, the original interior had to be stripped down and dividing walls removed to create a more balanced and spacious layout with individual zones that served their specific purpose. “Since the original communal area is long rather than wide, we have to ensure that there is ample walking space and enough room to accommodate a playpen for the homeowners’ newborn,” explains Colette.
Hence, the dining table had to be moved to the balcony. While this might not be a standard layout, it succeeded in enhancing the sense of openness and also introduced the liberating indoor-outdoor living experience. Now, the living room has a ‘new and improved’ open-plan concept that is brightly lit and serene.
The location of the penthouse also played a great role in achieving this. With its south-facing orientation – meaning there’s abundant natural light and ventilation – the living space seldom requires air conditioning. Even though integrated glass sliding doors have been included to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor, the homeowners were surprised to find that these doors remained open 90 per cent of the time.
To compensate for the lack of a formal dining area, a super-size kitchen island had been included early on in the design process. This design was necessary to cater for the homeowners’ preference of congregating around the island, prepping quick meals, and maintaining visibility of the living room and play area. While the 10-seater dining table at the balcony ensures ample space for hosting friends and family during the holidays, the kitchen island is the essential element that works well with their daily routine and living habits.
Aesthetic-wise, since the homeowners had envisioned a modern farmhouse look, design elements like board-and-batten cabinets, shiplap ceilings and herringbone flooring have been included to create a chic country style, while a marbled backsplash and kitchen countertop bring in a touch of modern elegance. The latter, combined with dark blue kitchen cabinets further provides a visual contrast to the light and earthy tones of the interior.
Another design element worth mentioning is the herringbone flooring. With a look that emulates traditional engineered wood or laminate, these woodgrain porcelain tiles also provide a slip-free surface for the homeowners’ two furry family members. “In our previous house, the wood vinyl flooring was too smooth for our dogs, which caused them to slip easily in the house,” say the homeowners. So these Hafary tiles with a high-slip rating are a perfect fit, being not only dog-friendly, but also low-maintenance and spill-resistant.
Overall, this ‘Farmhouse in the Sky’ has proven that aesthetics and functionality might not be at odds, but rather can be a starter for great interior design.
Photography by Marcus Lim
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