FOR years, the Tans lived in a terrace home which, by virtue of having no windows on either side, meant that it was dark most of the time. So when Dicky Tan decided that it was time to upgrade to a bigger home, he picked one that would have light - plenty of it.
His three-storey plus basement cluster bungalow in Bukit Timah has floor to ceiling glass sliding doors all around and there is little to stop curious neighbours from peeping in. But neither Mr Tan nor his family mind. "We like the natural light that comes into the home. Some of my neighbours have their blinds down, but not us. We chose the home because of the clear views all around," says Mr Tan, chairman of a manufacturing company. He lives with his wife, younger son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
To play up the home's airy feel, interior design firm Whiteboard kept the look fairly clean. In place of curtains, blinds were installed to create a fuss-free look. An organic shaped sofa, carpet and round coffee table are the only loose pieces in the living room.
Mr Tan chose the colour scheme for this room - shades of grey, which complement the marble flooring. "I picked the colours because they gave me a good feeling," he says. A wise move, considering that often it is better to go with what feels right for a home, rather than merely following trends.
He is especially proud of a glass cabinet by the living room - particularly what's inside. The cabinet is packed with countless awards.
The avid golfer has been playing the sport for 30 years and has a handicap of 10. Mr Tan's many crystal bowls and trophies from golf tournaments fill the shelves.
Then there are also crystal awards which belong to Mr Tan's son, the CEO of a search engine firm who has won business awards.
The elder Mr Tan's other pride is his wide collection of golf balls which are neatly displayed on another custom-made shelf. There are some that have foreign currencies, and Chinese opera masks, printed on them. "I make it a point to visit golf shops whenever I'm travelling to buy unusual golf balls to add to my collection," he says.
His wife Peggy, a homemaker, says that they bought the house without even looking at the show unit. "The units were selling rather quickly and we could not wait too long," says Mrs Tan. But they have picked a great unit. At 6,500 sq ft, it is the biggest unit in the development and is just beside the children's playground and the somewhat under-utilised BBQ pits.
"We had a BBQ once for family and friends and it felt like we had our own private garden," says Mr Tan.
When they were given the keys to the house, Mrs Tan was initially disappointed with the kitchen's small size. But Whiteboard added a wet kitchen for her at the back. The family eat at home on the weekdays. "I like to cook local food such as curry chicken and nasi lemak," she says.
As the family live in a cluster bungalow, they have access to the common lap pool, which runs along the back of all the houses. Apart from playing golf, Mr Tan also swims here once a week to keep fit. His wife jokes that "it is like swimming in the Chao Phraya river".
The couple's bedroom on the second floor also overlooks the pool. "The developer has also planted a lot of green around the estate. It is very soothing to wake up and be able to see the various shades of greens and blue together," he says.
A second bedroom on this level belongs to the younger Mr Tan and his wife. Unlike his father's bedroom which has a more contemporary look, this bedroom exudes more warmth from the wide use of wooden panelling all around. The bedroom is also sound proof because the young couple enjoy listening to jazz music.
Up on the topmost floor is another bedroom, for the two children, aged seven and three. The space may not be big but by putting in two beds in an L-shaped position, the two boys still have plenty of room to play in. Glow in the dark wallpaper adds some fun here.
The younger Mr Tan also has his study here. The room's angled windows give this room a real greenhouse look. An eye-catching feature of this room is the study table with bespoke legs which form the letters "L" and "V", the first letters of the couple's names.
His wife is also the family photographer, as seen from the many framed photos of her two boys.
"We are very happy with this home. It is the right size for us, not as noisy as at our old home and much nearer to my office too," says Mr Dicky Tan.