Inner courtyard kitchen and living area in remodelled shophouse

Traditional Singapore shophouse remodel by Ong&Ong separates kitchen and dining area with internal grassed courtyard

Traditional meets modern  contemporary cabinets and materials architecture, floor, flooring, house, interior design, wall, wood flooring, gray
Traditional meets modern contemporary cabinets and materials in this kitchen are paired with specially sourced cement tiles that are replicas of original shophouse tiles.

Kitchens and family living areas are increasingly designed to connect to the outdoors, but this project puts a new spin on the concept.

The traditional Singapore shophouse, which was extensively renovated by architects Maria Arango and Diego Molina, comprises two separate volumes. The larger of the two accommodates the main living areas on the ground floor, with bedrooms on the upper two levels. The second volume houses the kitchen, maid's quarters and a swimming pool on the upper level.

"This family home needed to be light filled," says Molina. "Splitting the house into two volumes with a small connecting courtyard allows sunlight to stream into the middle. It also lets breezes ventilate the interior naturally."

With a living green wall to one side, a shade tree in the opposite corner, and the floor covered entirely in carpet grass, the setting forms an attractive indoor garden and play area.

"The green space is the visual focus of the ground floor," the architect says. "And because there are no partitions, the garden can be enjoyed from the kitchen at the back and from the living area at the front."

Green carpet grass and a living wall create dining room, furniture, home, house, interior design, living room, real estate, room, table, window, gray
Green carpet grass and a living wall create a small garden area in the centre of this remodelled Singapore shophouse. The courtyard brings sunlight and breezes into the home. The design is by Ong&Ong.

Molina says because the client is both a family man and an avid cook, it was important for him to be able to interact with his children at play in the garden, while he is working in the kitchen.

"The seamless transition between the living areas makes this possible."

In keeping with the old meets new design approach that defines other areas of the house, the kitchen features modern cabinets in sleek timber veneer. These are teamed with an island wrapped in Calacatta Gold marble.

The galley-style workspace puts everything within close reach, and with the island open at both ends, circulation is also streamlined.

As with most Singapore homes, there is a separate wet kitchen. This is positioned behind the front kitchen, next to the spiral staircase.

This internal courtyard in a remodelled Singapore shophouse architecture, door, estate, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, window, gray
This internal courtyard in a remodelled Singapore shophouse brings sunlight and breezes into the home. The design is by Ong&Ong.

Decorative cement floor tiles help to anchor the room visually, and provide a link to the home's past they are replicas of traditional shophouse tiles. The tile pattern is repeated in the master suite on the top level of the house.

Across the courtyard in the living space, the dining table is separated from the seating area by a large staircase.

"This is another point of illumination," says Molina. "Sunlight streams in from the skylights in the lantern roof directly above."

While the stair has a bold, sculptural contemporary form, its simplicity ensures it does not detract from the original shophouse features.

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

Photography by: Aaron Pocock

12 Jan, 2015

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