'We wanted to create as much space as possible, so the ground floor is more of an open-concept arrangement.'
- Mr Ng
THE Ng family loves living at Tanah Merah so much that when the family outgrew the house, they decided to rebuild it rather than move away to a bigger place. "It is not easy to find another regular shaped plot of land on elevated ground, and more importantly, the location is within walking distance to the train station, which is very convenient for the kids to get around on their own," says Karyn Qua, an internal auditor.
Their two-storey semi-detached home was torn down to make way for a three-storey one, and the family moved in last December. "When we bought the house in 2002, we had two kids and now with a third, we all needed more space," says Ng Tian Beng, a vice-president at Dell.
Since they were rebuilding their home, the family drew up a wishlist. On the list included individual bedrooms for the three children, but they must all be on the same floor; a seamless ground floor so that the front and back of the house can be clearly seen and a lap pool. The design of the new home was done by Formwerkz.
The ground floor is split into three sections like what the couple requested. Upfront is the formal living room, followed by a TV area, then the dining, dry and wet kitchens at the back. "We wanted to create as much space as possible, so the ground floor is more of an open-concept arrangement," says Mr Ng.
Their architect created a double volume space in the living area, which made the living room feel even more spacious.
A set of Peranakan antique furniture, which Mr Ng inherited from his grandparents, takes centrestage in this space. There is a pair of Hup soo ee, which is the Hokkien term referring to a blackwood armchair inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a side table and a half-moon shaped console, all made of blackwood. "I grew up with these pieces in my childhood home, so they have a lot of sentimental value to me," says Mr Ng.
The pieces will be handed down to their children. "One kid will get the two chairs, another will get the side table, and the third will get the console," says Ms Qua. Apart from the furniture, the couple also inherited a few Peranakan jars, which are proudly displayed on a custom-built shelf.
The couple were initially worried that it would be difficult to find complementing furniture with the antique pieces around. But with help from the stylist at home furnishings store BoConcept, they found pieces that have clean lines, simple designs and in muted colours, so as not to take the attention away from the antiques.
The children, Brennan, 12, Kaelyn, 11 and Kristen, eight, are happy with their new home. For one thing, they no longer have to share a bathroom like before. They now each have their own bedrooms that come with ensuite bathrooms. The rooms are spacious, so that they can accommodate the children's needs while they are growing up. But they are all of the same size, "so there is no favouritism", says Ms Qua. "We decided on the room allocation, but we let the kids pick out their own wall colour and curtains."
A linear air well was created outside the three bedrooms, to allow ventilation and light onto the second floor.
Adding an extra floor to the home means that the couple now have to climb an extra flight of steps to their bedroom on the third floor. But they are not complaining. "We knew we were going to add another floor here, so we could put in features that we have always wanted," says Mr Ng.
This included having another TV area adjacent to the bedroom. "We wanted a separate TV area, so that we won't disturb each other, should one of us be sleeping," says Ms Qua. "But on weekend nights, we watch TV here together."
Built-in cabinets in the TV room hide a small pantry, and even a wine fridge. "The pantry is well-stocked, so sometimes, I have my breakfast here, before going downstairs," says Ms Qua.
Other luxurious features added to this floor include a spacious outdoor deck, and a sunken tub in the bathroom. They confess to not using the tub as often as they like. Instead, it is Brennan, who plays rugby for his school, who uses the tub most often as a foot bath.
The couple say it is unlikely they will rebuild the house again. "We really made sure that there would be enough space for everyone this time," says Mr Ng.