This four-storey terrace house designed by MONOCOT pays homage to the distinct architectural flair of Tiong Bahru estate.
15 December 2021
Home Type: Terrace house
Floor Area: 3,550sqft
Text by Redzman Rahmat
Architectural and interior design inspiration can come from any number of sources – from hotels you’ve stayed in to images you see on social media. For the homeowner of this terrace house in Serangoon, the neighbourhood he grew up in became his muse.
Design studio MONOCOT took on the reins of this project, led by architectural designer Mikael Teh. He explains that the client, a professional lawyer in his 30s, had a distinct aesthetic in mind for his home. “Having grown up in the Tiong Bahru district, he’s extremely fond of the neighbourhood. He wanted us to incorporate bits of that element into his house, making it a mixture of local and modern architecture.”
The Tiong Bahru design aesthetic is defined by its unique vernacular: spiral staircases, curvilinear facades, built-in air wells and a streamlined, post-Art Deco architectural style. Taking these ideas into account, Mikael and his team designed this house into a home that’s both a celebration of modernity and a throwback to past decades.
Incorporated throughout the four-storey house are little nods to nostalgia, though they exist to complement the modern architecture and not overwhelm it. These include circular cut-outs, the recessed facade with deep overhang, and an emphasis on cross-ventilation.
The ground floor, which houses the living room, dining area and the kitchen, features a double volume space and matching ceiling-high glass walls. Thoughtful design additions like rattan-weaved furniture, oversized wall panels and an emphasis on light and shadows, truly invoke the tropical leanings of Tiong Bahru architecture.
A sunken floor leads to the dining area and adjoining kitchen, and overlooking it is the second floor, which is a mezzanine level. This cosy area has been designed to be a quiet space away from the distractions of the house, but at the same time, it enjoys the natural flow of light and ventilation on the first floor.
The master bedroom takes up the entirety of the third floor. Here, Mikael and his team continued the use of the material palette to evoke a feeling of tropical glamour. Designed as an open space, bedroom and bathroom can be cordoned off with a mixture of sliding doors, full-length curtains and roller blinds.
The bed takes precedence in this space, but there’s still plenty of room for a study area (built into the opposite side of the headboard) and wall-to-wall wardrobe space.
The attic takes a slight turn in its design language. It’s built to be a library that houses the research books and collectibles that the homeowner has amassed over the years. “The entire wall is curved and we merely lined the wall with open shelves. We wanted to respect the architecture with something that is simple yet powerful,” says Mikael. The walls themselves are clad in kit kat tiles, or finger mosaics.
As someone who enjoys the finer things in life, the homeowner appreciates how the MONOCOT team manages to celebrate his childhood by incorporating nostalgic elements into the design of the house.
Photography by Studio Periphery
We think you may also like Walk-up apartment for easy, laid-back living
Like what you just read? Similar articles below
Hong Kong lifestyle retailer Goods of Desire opened its first store outside of its home city, right here in Singapore.
The launch of the Lookbox Living online portal was an amazing success.
White Horse Ceramic proudly opens its new showroom at Balestier Point