By Kee Hua Chee | Nov 1, 2012
Feel like living in a new home? Rather than raze one’s home to the ground, one normally builds extensions or renovates the interiors for a dramatically different look.
However, the Chan family decided to tear down their house to make way for a new one.
“Demolishing a house that was in good running orderr may seem like a mad idea!”grins Mrs Chan. “Like most owners, we originally planned to move to another bungalow and rent or sell the old one. Or buy a piece of land and build from scratch. To demolish a house we had lived in for 15 years seemed wasteful and was quite painful due to sentimental reasons.”
Despite head-scratching queries from friends, the Chans decided to tear down their Roman/Greek-style villa to build a brand new house on the premises.
“The main reason is we love living in this area. None of us wanted to move. So the whole family agreed we would remain here as the neighbourhood is great and all amenities are a stone’s throw away.
But tastes changed. And mistakes were made.
“Over time, we were not content with the design and size. We began adding extensions here and there. In the end, we over-renovated and the house didn’t look nice anymore. The design did not gel and we got fed-up with all the extensions protruding everywhere.” recalls Mrs Chan. “Basically we became sien (bored) with it!”
Adds her husband, “We thought of moving into a nice gated community but the prices were skyhigh so we opted to stay put. Our two grown-up daughters also loved staying here. Real estate agents were convinced we were mad as one homebuyer offered us RM4 million and we turned him down.”
“The new house took 12 months to finish which is quite a record. The old house was 6,000 sq ft (557 sq m) and the new one is 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m),” says Mr Chan.
“Our feng shui master said we must move into the new house before Chinese New Year this year or wait another year till 2013. We didn’t want to wait another year so we paid overtime for the workers to toil day and night. Fortunately, we also found interior designer Lee Hui Ching in August who delivered on time in January 2012 so we could move in before the Year of Water Dragon arrived.”
Which explains the swimming pool sitting directly atop the master bedroom!
“Friends ask if I feel weird sleeping right below the pool and do I stare at the ceiling scrutinising for cracks and leaks?” laughs Mrs Chan.
“If I’m sleeping and someone sprinkles drops of water on my face I suppose I might scream. But this layout was recommended by my feng shui master who concluded that sleeping below a large pool of water symbolises money would pour down on us.”
The Chans agree they were doubtful at first as the architect originally positioned their rooftop pool to one side but the feng shui master relocated it to face the road and hills.
They moved in before the Dragon roared in and so far things have gone swimmingly. But not for the birds.
Mr Chan says with a grin, “The fence surrounding the pool is made of transparent glass which increases the sense of space. However, some birds have flown straight into the glass and passed out from the head-on crash!”
The Chans have collected dazed birds lying semi-comatose or staggering drunkenly onto their garden below.
“We care for them and once recovered, they fly off. But there have been a few fatalities!”
Roof with a view
Their rooftop is perfectly positioned for watching fireworks. Invitations to their Christmas and New Year Eve parties must be among the most coveted in town as guests have an excellent view of fireworks firing off at the Curve, One Utama, Desa Park City, MidValley and KLCC.
“We could see the spectacular fireworks going off simultaneously from five locations!’’ There are two entrances. One for their four cars and a smaller one for guests.
The walk-in entrance is steep and the door is slanted at 15° for feng shui reasons. Ditto for the 180° wraparound fish pool filled with carp and a small waterfall. The garden is what you would expect of a terrace house. Like most Malaysians, the Chans prefer a vast indoor space rather than rolling lawn.
“We had a large garden in our Roman villa but now we have occupied the land to the maximum as we decided we wanted a huge indoor living area. Our living room is one big, long space that stretches to the dining area. We breakfast at the island bar before going to the rooftop pool area to read the dailies.
“We had a large, grand chandelier in our previous home. Now the ceiling is lower and we make do with lamps.”
There is also an added luxury – a lift!
“Well, this house is four storeys high and we are thinking of our old age. No more demolishing and rebuilding. We use the stairs as exercise.”
The interiors are modern, classy and stylish. “We wanted a new and different look from our previous homes. The old villa was traditional European with ornate furnishings. Now we want a clean, sleek and contemporary look. Minimalistic and fuss-free with no statues and no flashy floral displays!”
The colour scheme is monochromatic. White dominates, with silver and cream giving a stylish and cool ambiance. A pair of rose-shaped cushions in ruby red contrast sharply with the pristine décor.
The master bedroom is the size of a flat unit in Tokyo. An elevated area houses Mr Chan’s workdesk and computer. A vast anteroom leading to his and hers bathrooms acts as wardrobe worthy of a Hollywood star.
Floor to ceiling cupboards line both walls while the centre has two waist-high cabinets separated by – of all things – a raised catwalk which is 20 metres long and complete with recessed lighting at the base!
“At my age, modelling is out but I can still model on my own catwalk!” smiles the ebullient Mrs Chan.
Interiors by Josie See at firstname.lastname@example.org