Nature-Surrounded Bungalow in Penang Brings 3 Generations Together
A spacious home surrounded by nature provides a peaceful living environment for a multi-generational family.
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With three generations of the same family living under one roof, the homeowners of this bungalow wanted a home that wouldn’t compromise on personal space or design quality. They commissioned a Penang-based interior design firm, Interior Choreographer Design (INC Design) to help turn their 20,000 sqft property into a space that meets each individual's lifestyle and needs.
Josephine Ong who led the design process of this project created a Biophilic home as envisioned by the homeowners. This entailed the use of earthy tones, clean lines, as well as natural materials such as wood and natural stones, to create a spacious, functional and aesthetically pleasing family living space.
We spoke with Josephine to learn more about the design process that went into transforming the bungalow into her client's dream home.
Qanvast: Hi Josephine, tell us about this property and the owner
Josephine (J): This spacious bungalow is owned by a family-oriented man who works in a well-known construction company. It is situated in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, surrounded by lush hills and sandy beaches. The house is built in accordance with Chinese feng shui principles, with the hills at the back and the front facing the sea.
The client and his family had previously resided in a 2-storey landed property and wanted to upgrade to a 3-storey house to accommodate his large family. This includes the client's 90-year-old mother, his beloved wife, son, daughter-in-law, and daughter in their 20s. The property was built from the ground up and has approximately 20,000 sqft of built-up area. This provides enough space for each family member to live under one roof without sacrificing privacy or personal space.
Qanvast: How did your client come across INC Design?
J: We previously worked with the client on the construction of international factories in Penang. We were initially tasked with designing his office, and he loved the way we designed the space, especially the materials and colours we chose. Then he requested us to renovate his new home.
Qanvast: What was your client’s request for this home renovation?
J: The client prefers interiors that are spacious, bright, and functional. He also seeks to cater to his family's lifestyles with this new home. To achieve this, we visited their previous house to observe and interview every single family member to learn about their needs and lifestyles.
Because the homeowner enjoys hosting family gatherings, we designed the ground floor primarily for hosting guests. It consists of a living room, a dining room, a dry and wet kitchen, an entertainment room, and a guest room.
The first floor is intended for the family's older generations (the client, his wife and his mother). We built a family hall, a gym corner, the client's mother's bedroom, and the master bedroom on this floor.
Meanwhile, the second floor is reserved for the family's younger members. The previous house they lived in lacked entertainment space for his children, so we designed an entertainment area complete with a pantry as well as two bedrooms on this floor.
As the previous home lacked storage space, we added plenty of built-ins throughout the house to keep things organised. The house also has a lot of dead corners, particularly in the master bedroom, so we added a lot of hidden storage units for our clients to maximise every square inch.
All levels are accessed via a spiral staircase that serves as the home's focal point.
Qanvast: Can you tell us about the design style chosen for this home and what inspired you to go with this design?
J: We choose the Biophilic design approach for this home design, which is our company’s signature design. Biophilic design is all about connecting with nature and appreciating the positive health and environmental benefits that come with it. It is derived from the term biophilia, which means a love of nature and all things alive. The design was inspired by the property's surroundings - the beach breeze, the wind, and the hills behind the bungalow.
Using the Biophilic design approach, we kept the design details simple and clean. We used simple vertical lining (as seen below) to ensure that the home design flowed from one space to another.
We also used earth tones such as brown, moss green, black and beige as the main colour palette to welcome the homeowners into the calming space when they step into their home after a long and stressful day at work.
Meanwhile, the extensive use of white throughout the home symbolises purity, tranquility and silence. The white interior, which creates a calm environment inspires the homeowners to re-connect and rejuvenate with the natural scenery outside.
When designing the home, we ensured that the pathways/walkways are uncluttered, there’s enough space between furniture, and that there is a clear sense of entrances and exits so that getting around the house is essentially easy and comfortable. This is also a key Feng Shui principle: unblocked entrances create energy flow in the house, and clear passageways keep that good energy flowing throughout the house.
We also incorporated natural textures and materials such as solid timber for the flooring, and natural stone for the furniture. Our favourite design element is the ash timber wall panel sprayed with a thin layer of white paint finishes which can be found throughout the house including the master bedroom (as seen below). These attractive emboss wood veins will entice you to take a closer look and touch them as you pass by. When natural daylight shines during the day and artificial light shines at night, the different depth, level, and edge of the ash wood panel create a dramatic shadow, bringing the white ash panel design to life.
Large windows also provide plenty of natural light and ventilation throughout the home, while allowing the homeowners to enjoy the beautiful scenery outside.
Qanvast: Did you and your team encounter challenges during the renovation process? How were they resolved?
J: The biggest challenge in this renovation was when the project was halted for two months (early 2020) due to the pandemic. During this time, we ensured that the site condition was well-maintained and protected before resuming the on-site renovation.
Qanvast: What are your thoughts on the final result of this project?
J: I believe we did an excellent job with the renovation! We are grateful and proud every very time we visit our clients and see how much they enjoy using the space.
Each member of the family enjoys the balcony view from their bedrooms. They also enjoy the open feel of the entire interior, particularly the grandmother, who finds it easy to move around the house. Furthermore, each person has their own private space in their bedrooms.
The client's daughter enjoys working at her desk, which overlooks the greenery from the top floor. His wife and daughter-in-law love their walk-in wardrobe, which includes a well-organized compartment for displaying their clothes, bags, and accessories.
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