This Singapore residence from ONG&ONG has their signature blend of art and nature, the civilized and the raw.
The sculptural presence inside and out calls to each other across the gleaming smooth stone surfaces.
A sublimely perfect spiral contains a stair that is soft and smoothly civilized.
By contrast, a stone wall is the ultimate in roughness.
Like all ONG & ONG projects, the residence is stately, urbane and civilized, with a quiet palette of browns and creamy whites.
Thick cuts of dark wood edge bedding in luxurious silky whites.
A smooth and creamy stone is paired with a soft and warm timber in the kitchen.
A toilet is glassed off to the side, allowing a central bathtub to center itself serenely amidst a travertine-lined bath room.
The bathroom is lined in honed travertine, so the rough-hewn blocks of stone form a textural contrast.
This same very rough cut stone forms one end of the residence and walls the garden off from the neighbors.
Another quiet masterpiece off the assembly line.
Sometimes, it can be a struggle to find the cash to decorate your home like the ones you see in all the design catalogs. It’s especially frustrating when you’ve got your eye on a George Nelson pretzel chair that costs hundreds of dollars, or a B & B Italia couch that costs thousands and you know you can only afford a Craig’s List bargain. Even so, you can create a warm, aesthetically pleasing and unique home without having to spend a lot of money on expensive furnishings. Keeping a few principles in mind you can transform any run of the mill space into a beautiful, polished, peaceful home that is a pleasure to live in. And you don’t need to spend a cent!
1) Keep it clean and clutterfree. This may sound like an odd decorating tip but it is the foundation of every successful space. Clean and sparkling can make even the most modest places feel good to hang out in. And eliminating the clutter that tends to build up over time can make a space feel organized.
The Shaker style kitchen below is not super fancy. It features white subway tiles, tile flooring and simple white cabinetry. And yet, it feels chic and high-end, simply because it is clean and clutterfree.
2) Organize, organize, organize. A place for everything and everything in its place helps even the most modest place feel planned out. Work to optimize your room’s flow and feeling by concentrating on creating layouts that allow for a flow of traffic, while also providing areas for conversation, study, entertainment, etc. Below, a well-thought out “study” in a hallway provides the perfect space to work on the computer, handle phone calls, etc.
3. Eliminate things. Sometimes, the key to a great space is not buying and adding things — it’s subtracting! Take a second look at your space for objects that are unnecessary or ugly. If they don’t have a purpose and you don’t like the way they look, give them away! Enjoy how the room feels with all that extra space. The Japanese home below is a great example of this. The living room is essentially composed of a couch and dining table. The simplicity of it all allows the beauty of the textured walls to shine through.
4. Create your own art. There are few things that can elevate a home in style and personality, as art. If you can’t afford to buy a piece, try creating your own abstract piece. The beauty of it all is you can switch out the art and try something new whenever you feel like it. Say you can’t draw? The art in the photo below was created with paint chip samples!
A surprisingly light-filled townhouse is squeezed out beyond a traditional colonial facade by noted Singapore architects ONG&ONG.
The sullen earthy moss-colored trim is redolent of the dampness prevalent in urban Singapore’s moist and warm climate.
Within the narrow space, the only option for light will be from above.
The architects use a central light well to flood the new interior with light.
This double-height atrium in the central space gives the illusion of larger spaces.
All the rooms look out towards this central source of light and air.
To maximize use of the space, the kitchen cum dining room is placed right at the front entrance.
Even with the front door open, however, the kitchen opens out on the front garden as if it’s its own private garden.
All white, with hanging black stairs, and with the business end of the kitchen recessed into the wall, the space is not at all too intimately ‘kitcheny’.
Conceived as a rental for two couples, the residence is harmonic and neutral.
At the very top floor a bedroom in the airy top floor space gets lit from skylights above.
Behind the bed is this elegant and enchanting attic bathroom.
A second floor living room moonlights as a second bedroom.
This second floor living space/bedroom faces to the front out over the street.
Its bathroom is designed with no less attention to detail, pairing tiny turquoise mosaic tile in a perfect symmetrical space with a niche to each side of the cabinet.
This is versatile and elegant rental suited to two couples who are friends, or – with two beds in the second floor bedroom – to a young family.
An utterly sleek and perfectionist place is crafted by Wendell Burnette Architects in the timeless Arizona desert.
The plinth was cast in place with one material throughout.
The architects intended that “a wall, a floor, a ramp, a step, or a bench could be experienced as part of one contiguous stone.”
By working the surfaces of the plinth “in order to reveal the composite qualities of the material, sand, conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone, in a cement matrix.”
Fire, set within an arid stone environment, is used as a feature.
The local hard aggregate cast stone forms the polished interior floor surface as well as the exterior.
Massive rammed earth walls are backed up against leather furnishings.
An artfully placed cactus becomes like a sculpture in the courtyard.
The interior detailing is as precise and scrupulous as the exterior architecture.
The fascinating textural palette bounces a rough rammed earth wall against a rusty leather headboard and polished copper cabinetry.
Deep within the dark opaque stone of the residence, a translucent blue shower appears suddenly like gift.
The surprise of a glimpse of translucence picking up light hidden behind a black toilet and bounced off a rammed earth wall.
Altogether, an impeccably put together project, crammed with well-conceived textural experiences.
The architects succeed in their mission to “provide a window into the geologic time” of the extraordinary site.
From the street, industrial concrete with wild grasses growing out of the ledges intriguingly suggests an overgrown ruin that has been taken over by wilderness.
Formwerkz Architects completely rebuilt an older semi-detached house creating light, spaciousness and privacy for a large extended family in Singapore despite towering neighbors next door.
Inside, wide open clean white space easily accommodates the large extended family, which has lived on this street for forty years.
The site had housed the multi-generational family but needed to be completely redesigned to meet their changing needs.
A large skylight pours light down four floors into this open central atrium on the ground floor, while a brief jungle to one side conceals the looming neighboring building.
Though there are tall buildings on each side of the narrow site, making windows impossible, even this ground floor of the four story house is abundantly lit.
Floor to ceiling glazing slides open out to the side garden, and the grand piano is an elegant touch in the resulting jungle pavilion-like space.
The extended family is now gracefully housed on the bottom two floors within the narrow and difficult site without feeling cramped.
At the top of the four story atrium, a walkway connects to the roof garden, while completely blocking the building to the side.
Living rooms are open to this central garden atrium as if overlooking the outdoors.
The walkway to the roof garden is natural concrete to contrast with the white concrete denoting ‘interior’space.
The use of natural concrete offset by the green of the jungle and polished with white is refreshing, cool and civilized.
White concrete also freshens a garden scene against natural concrete through a window.
Not only does the central atrium bring the outdoors in, but a stepped roof garden on top also re-utilizes the entire footprint of the house on the small lot.
The terraced rooftop provides a small ‘mountain’ to climb to a park-like place ‘to sit and have a conversation while looking out in the same direction, sharing the same moment,’ say the architects.
Even at street level, white fencing subtly civilizes the industrial heft of the natural concrete building.
A very confident redesign, with a very fresh and youthful touch.