Silk Route @ Tanah Merah

Taking inspiration from a cultural diverse theme, this inter-terrace home has a strong design concept that allows the owners’ personality and style to shine.

Design areas: Living and Dining Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom with En-Suite and Walk-in Wardrobe, Junior Master Bedroom with and En-Suite, Bedrooms, Powder Room, Common Bathroom, Family Room, Outside patios and Utility areas |  Project completed: 2019  |  Renovation budget: SGD250,000 upwards |  Designer: Arjan Nijen Twilhaar

Bringing together different styles and themes, inspiration was drawn from the Silk Road. The journey to bring valuable silk from China to the West. At the foundation of the design are the Lanna Colonial homes found in Northern Thailand – with its mix of dark woods and white plastered walls. The design was further infused with Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and Western influences – creating a unifying style that oozes personality, vibrancy and design layering.

The owners wished to have a large kitchen for entertaining and creating this as the heart of the home. In the space planning, the kitchen moved to the former living room – creating a large kitchen with ample room for storage and a large island. This allowed for a proper foyer to be created – which is separated with large double leaf wood framed glass sliding doors. This enfilade concept carries on to the dining room, which is just off the dining room.

By flipping the space planning of the home, different zones were created, each level of the home dedicated to different uses. This inter-terrace home has two entrances – which allowed for zoning focusing on entertaining guest and family life. On the ground floor, a formal foyer was created to welcome guest that come in from the main road. Custom cut marble in a Maison pattern are combined with a beamed ceiling for an upscale look. Off the foyer is another prayer room, with its custom designed and hand carved doors.

The double doors open into the kitchen, which was the former living room. The laminate shaker style kitchen is finished in a steel blue hue, one of the colour themes for this level of the home. The backsplash features a rattan backing, which is covered with crystal glass for easy cleaning. Custom cabinets with rattan are added and a larder was carved out from the space under the stairs. Automated blinds filter the light and add privacy from the opposite neighbours. While the design and material choices are colonial in style, the colours and eclectic decorations make this a contemporary space.

Leading up the steps, the dining area is the statement room of the house. The mural is featuring a scene from the Chao Phraya River. The colour tones are in dialogue with the kitchen and a strong green hue is added to the overall colour palette. A quiet star of the room is the coiffed ceiling with its fretwork design. This adds another layer of design and texture to the space. A large round bone inlay table centres the space and the shape reflects a Thai food bowl design. The green silk velvet chairs add more colour and create a vibrant vignette.

Off the dining room more storage is added, and a powder room was created where the kitchen use to be. The powder room tiles are in a fabric weave pattern, picking up on the overall theme. A large decorative panel with palm leaves add a pop of colour and visual interest. The vanity countertop is a live edged wood slab, which is combined with antiqued brass fittings and a mirror. The lighting in the powder room is unexpected with concealed lights at various places.

Entertaining can continue on the veranda off the dining room. To create the illusion of space, the back wall was mirrored and a wood trellis was added on top. The ultimate goal  is for the trellis to be covered with plants to add a green wall. The flooring was laid in a striped chevron pattern and comfortable outdoor furniture make this space an outdoor living room.    

One from the carpark basement and one on ground level. In the basement, a foyer was created as a warm welcome and a transitional space for the owners. Integrated is an altar with its custom printed backing featuring Thai angels. A large cased opening separates the family room and the entrance, this cased opening is repeated to divide a common bathroom, helpers room and utility area. The family are is mainly a TV room and for intimate family get togethers. The courtyard off the living room needs to function for light as well as a hard working laundry and utility space. A custom carved door was placed at the back wall of the courtyard to function as a focal point. The laundry sink and washing machine area are covered with black and white bamboo shutters, to add to the colonial vibe. In the house, a wood carved panel that the owners bought many years ago was integrated into the cased opening to the common bathroom. It adds a subtle focal point and texture to the room. The décor in the room reflects the couple, with a large comfortable sofa and accessories and decorations depicting their travels.

Leading up the stairs, the second level houses the private family space. A large master suite features a walk in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. In the master bedroom, the headboard wall is laid with a paisley wallpaper. The window treatments divide the windows for a more Western aesthetic of smaller windows. Custom bone inlay side tables are a nod to the British Raj part of the design story. In the wardrobe, laminate shaker doors are combined with rattan detail for a colonial vibe. The rose garden wallpaper is a nod to the Western influence of this overall theme. In the master bathroom, Taj Mahal marble inspired tiles line the wall, while these are combined with batik print decorative tiles, contemporary mirror and louvred door carpentry. Porcelain handles complete the overall look.

The junior master suite is reserved for the son. From the same wallpaper collection as the master bedroom, an elephant wallpaper was picked – a whimsical nod to the British Raj them. For a growing boy, the carpentry was kept clean lined and timeless, so it can easily grow with him. The bathroom tiles are slightly bolder, with its travertine design and cobalt blue deco tile. The vanity is in a nautical blue laminate shaker, combined with hand painted porcelain knobs. A luxury mirror adds a bit of glamour and visual interest.

On the top floor, two guest bedrooms are kept simple for future use and more storage and a small study were added to the lay-out. The common bathroom follows the same design aesthetic as the other bathrooms, and the design statement is made with an opulent, yet contemporary mirror.   

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