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Creating the perfect outdoor space for the whole family

Interior designer Barbara Fritschy and her family spend more time outside the house than in it, and it’s not hard to see why.

Home Type: Three-bedroom landed house

Text by Jasmine Goh
Photography by Justin Loh

With a one-year lease, you would expect any family with young kids to move in and simply make do with the existing space. Instead, interior designer Barbara Fritschy and her husband, Joost, did just the opposite. They put in an elevated swimming pool with wood decking and an outdoor shower. Barbara also designed and constructed a sheltered terrace with concrete flooring that extends outwards from the main quarters.

“We couldn’t believe the amount of outdoor space it had,” exclaims Barbara. It was worth the work, they felt, as they didn’t know when they would come across such a property again.


Thankfully for them, the landlord extended the lease after the first year. To make full use of the massive outdoor space, the couple planted fruit trees and a number of vegetables and herbs. They brought in an outdoor trampoline for the younger ones, and Yoost built by hand a treehouse for the children to play in. When asked what her favourite part of the home was, Pippa, the youngest of the brood, immediately chimed, “The treehouse!” before carefully adding, “And also the pool!”

These outdoor spaces allow the whole family to hang out together outside, which Barbara counts as a luxury that they didn’t have in their previous place of residence. Over here, they are able to spend the entire day outside of the house. “The kids are in the pool every day,” says the mother of three, who is also the founder of design firm Make Room. “I think they love it here, there are so many things for them to do.”


Despite the amount of work they have put into the place, Barbara points out that only the exterior of house underwent a renovation. “This place is rented so we cannot do much,” she explains. This however, did not prevent the creative mother of three from personalising the different spaces and rooms inside the house.


Instead of built-in cupboards, chests of drawers and standalone shelving units serve as storage solutions. Art pieces, either bought or drawn by the couple’s kids, pepper the walls. Natural wood furniture, white walls and pastel colours make up a Scandinavian aesthetic that pairs well with the leafy environment outdoors.


Barbara reveals that the house itself occupies a smaller floor area compared to their previous home but expresses little concern. “The house is smaller, but what we went for is the outdoor space. We’re outdoor people.”

Having a large open space outside the house may not be everyone’s cup of tea. With the sheltered terrace however, it is not so difficult to see why Joost and Barbara fell in love with this place the first time. This semi-outdoor living space links the indoors to the outdoors and naturally draws people out of the house to be together. It is the centre of activities and celebrations, and is quite simply the heart of this home.

This home appears in our latest issue of Lookbox Living #53. Grab a copy at your favourite newsstand!


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