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How an old landed home was given a charming colonial makeover with a 'Harry Potter' library

How an old landed home was given a charming colonial makeover with a 'Harry Potter' library
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Colonial homes hold a special allure in Singapore, evoking a sense of history and timeless elegance. These architectural gems, often characterised by black-and-white bungalows, were originally built for British expatriates in the early 20th century.

Their distinct style combines elements of Victorian and tropical architecture, featuring high ceilings, large verandas, and shuttered windows that allow for natural ventilation and light.

Inspired by this, one homeowner embarked on a renovation journey to create a space that's not only stylish but deeply personal. Drawing from her diverse background, she transformed her semi-detached house into a unique reflection of her identity.

With an impressive 98 per cent of its interior remodelled, this home strikes a balance that's both visually stunning and inviting. To uncover the secrets behind this transformation, we chatted with the creative minds at Rubiks Studio, who led this ambitious project.

Inspired by a grand ballroom

Before embarking on this project, the homeowner shared with the designer a photo of a ballroom, as she was captivated by its bold black and white tiled floor.

With that inspiration in mind, the designers at Rubiks Studio complemented the monochrome tiles with full-length black-rimmed windows, for an elegant and modern aesthetic. 

While the carpentry and the fittings of the home are minimalistic, the wooden furniture used is reminiscent of mid-century design, adding warmth and character to the space. 

Wishbone chairs are a prominent feature in the dining area, and they are characterised by their sleek lines, and distinctive Y-shaped backrest. They evoke a sense of elegance and simplicity, which aligns with the overall theme of the house. 

While a television might be considered essential by some homeowners, it is not a fixture in this home. Here, its absence symbolises the family's dedication to quality, uninterrupted time together.

Rather than watching television, the homeowner finds solace in playing music. Nestled next to the stairs is a cosy nook where she often plays the guzheng, filling the home with the delicate melodies of this traditional Chinese instrument.

A haven for bookworms

Affectionately dubbed the "Harry Potter" library, the homeowner's study features towering shelves filled with books, creating an immersive environment. This space is meticulously designed with specific shelving dimensions, showcasing the designer's attention to detail.

Neutral palettes for the bedroom

To maintain a cohesive look throughout the house, arched windows have been incorporated into the bedrooms, contributing to the colonial style while allowing natural light to brighten the room. 

A neutral colour palette is applied consistently across the rooms, fostering a clean aesthetic that enhances the home's architectural features.

Luxurious powder room

While the bedrooms only use subdued tones, the powder room is an exception. A personal favourite of the designer, the powder room is adorned with gold accents against emerald green tiles, to add a sense of sophistication to the space.

Eliminating walls for an outdoor area

For their outdoor living space, they chose darker-coloured furniture to enhance durability and ensure a lasting appearance, especially important for areas exposed to the elements.

60 per cent of the walls in the outdoor area were also eliminated to create an open and breezy ambience. This decision not only floods the space with natural light but also allows the homeowners to fully relish in the greenery enveloping the house. 

This family's commitment to eco-friendliness also prompted their decision to forgo air-conditioning in favour of using fans to maintain airflow. 

Taking this into account, the designer incorporated ample windows and openings to allow for the entry of fresh air to ensure proper circulation throughout the entire house. 

Expansive kitchen

Even in the kitchen, contemporary elements are seamlessly integrated. The rounded bar table and stools add a modern flair to the space, while creating a perfect spot for casual meals or a morning coffee.

To create a rustic yet airy farmhouse ambience, the homeowner selected vibrant floor tiles and shaker-style cabinetry. However, the kitchen isn't just about aesthetics-it's designed with functionality in mind. This expansive space caters to the daily cooking needs of a family of four and accommodates occasional hosting duties.

Advice from interior designers

It's essential to carefully consider your designer's qualifications, portfolio, and approach to design so that your ideas can be materialised effectively. 

"Once you've chosen a designer whose expertise aligns with your vision, it's important to trust in their capabilities and experience", said the designers from Rubiks Studio.

ALSO READ: How this apartment in the east was transformed into a quiet luxurious home

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.

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