Nestled within the Caldecott Hill estate is a Good Class Bungalow that is home to three generations of the Ong family. Siblings Marcus and Louetta are joint owners, and Marcus lives here with their parents, his wife Melody, and two children aged six and two. They purchased the property more than five years ago and practically rebuilt the home, retaining only a small part of the existing structure. The construction took four years due to some issues with the contractor, but the family finally moved in in January 2018.
The family members were all in favour of a home that had a relaxed atmosphere. “It was important to us that the home wasn’t just aesthetically pleasing, but it had to be very livable too,” says Marcus, who is in the heavy equipment manufacturing business. There is a hint of the Balinese style that they had in their previous home, but with a more modern, resort feel.
The task of putting the interior together was taken on by Marcus’ mother, Mdm Lim. Drawing on her past experience back when her husband was developing houses, she worked with Mdm Chow from Loft Concept on the interior design of the home. Mdm Lim was very hands-on, looking into every aspect along the way, from the selection of materials and customising lights, to shopping for furniture and artwork.
The house sits on a sloping terrain and the original car porch in the basement could only accommodate two cars. By excavating deeper into the slope, there is now ample parking space. The basement is where the family hosts larger gatherings, setting up tables overlooking an outdoor terrace and a koi pond. There is also a wine cellar.
Laid across the floor of the first storey are pieces cut from a single slab of marble. Mdm Lim personally sourced for the stone, visiting various suppliers before finally deciding on this particular slab.
“I like the colour and the softer look of the veins,” she says. She had the pieces laid out on site to study the composition before finalising the actual arrangement. Making a grand statement at the entrance foyer is a bespoke crystal pendant light. Mdm Lim had it custom-made to the size that she wanted, which was larger that what was available in stores.
The expansive living area exudes an understated elegance. The Marquis sofa, Taylor B armchairs and rustic coffee table strike just the right balance between formal and casual, set against a book-matched marble feature wall backdrop. It is a space where you can get comfortable, but still elicits a certain degree of decorum.
The dining room enjoys views of the reflective pool, which the family opted over a swimming pool. “The swimming pool at our previous home was very underutilised and required quite a bit of maintenance, so we decided to have a reflective pool instead,” Marcus points out. Elevated a few steps up from the dining room is the dry kitchen. It gives off a laid-back café vibe that makes it the perfect place for breakfast in the mornings or a casual lunch for the kids.
The bedrooms are located on the second storey. The master suite belonging to Mdm Lim and her husband has separate sitting, sleeping, his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes and bathroom areas. Marcus and Melody occupy the junior master suite, which also includes a study, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom.
Interestingly, the home has not one, but two attics. One of them was part of the existing property that serves as a playroom for the children. The other is a new addition that houses a fully- equipped guest suite. Comprising a bedroom, a bathroom and a living area, it opens out onto an outdoor roof terrace. The two attics reveal how part of the old and new have been merged together.
Each bathroom is uniquely decked out; featuring anything from chandeliers and book-matched marble to glittery gold mosaics.
While the expressions may be wide-ranging, the colour palette is what ties the sprawling interior together. It reflects Mdm Lim’s preference for earth tones, with variations of brown, beige, off-white, gold and bronze, complemented by accents of black, white and grey.
The construction cost and interior works came up to about $5.5 million. Mdm Lim modestly attributes the beautiful results to her “gut feel” she would just buy what she liked and what she felt would fit into the home. But looking at how the whole interior has come together so harmoniously, it is evident that she has an innate flair for decorating, which she has used to create the perfect sanctuary for her extended family.