The architects worked with the local conservation authorities to restore the roof to its correct design, reinstating the original unglazed tiles that were found on site. One structural change was possible, however a lantern roof with a skylight was introduced to bring more light into the centre of the house.
"This needed to be a light-filled family home," says Molina. "So we split the house into two volumes, creating a connecting courtyard that allows sunlight to stream in, and lets breezes ventilate the interior naturally. With a green wall to one side, a young tree in the opposite corner, and the floor covered entirely in carpet grass, the setting forms a charming indoor garden where the children can play.
"The green space is the visual focus of the ground floor, 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."
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."
The different spaces are clearly defined, however. A dramatic, curving staircase separates the living and dining areas, and is another point of illumination. 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.
"The client was insistent on bringing back the home's old-world charm wherever possible," says Arango. "New timber beams were installed in the ceiling of the ground floor, and also beneath the roof, to evoke the traditional character."