The definition of a million-dollar view for a typical house hunter would be a city skyline or ocean view. But for the owner of this bungalow off Eng Neo Avenue, his winning view is the jungle right next to his home.
The retired art gallerist had actually been eyeing this plot of land for many years. He had been living several houses away, and when the land came on the market, he immediately snapped it up.
“The jungle has special significance to me. I grew up in a kampong in Punggol, right next to greenery,” he says, “and now, I’ve bought a piece of land with the jungle as a bonus.”
He hasn’t ventured into the jungle, but the wildlife, such as birds, monkeys, squirrels and chameleons have come visiting.
The two-storey bungalow with a basement and attic was designed to maximize the jungle view. It was one of the many requirements that architect Brenda Ang of Lab Architects was tasked with. You can see the results particularly in the column-less dining room, where the glass sliding doors open for an unfettered view of greenery.
“On rainy mornings, I can see the mist in the jungle, and it is a simple pleasure to be able to sit here and listen to the rain,” says the owner.
If he ever gets bored being in the dining room, he can always ride up the glass lift or hang out on the terrace of his master bedroom in the attic to enjoy more of his jungle view.
Another challenge he had for his architect was to make his home “look timeless, like a piece of art,” he says. “I see architects as artists.”
The over 18,000 sq ft house is massive but the use of teak wood adds warmth, while water features such as a koi pond and a lap pool add softness to the structure. The house, with its strategic wooden panels, manicured stone garden and pine trees specially shipped in from Guangzhou, looks as pretty as a picture, especially from afar.
The owner is also a collector of French wines, with a floor-to-ceiling wine fridge on display in the living room.
The bedrooms on the second floor belong to his two adult children and his mother-in-law.
His own bedroom is in the sprawling attic, with little nooks for tea appreciation, prayers and meditation and for watching TV. Of course, there’s more artwork here, including his favourite Chinese ink paintings.
Apart from designing sufficient large white walls for the artworks, Ms Ang also added spaces for the family to enjoy the outdoors. The bedrooms have large balconies, while deep overhanging roofs provide some shade and keep out the rain while letting fresh air into the rooms even during a downpour.
The basement also houses a large reception area with a vertical green wall for a pop of colour, which doubles as a mini art gallery. On the walls are pieces by Singapore’s pioneer artists, including Chen Wen Hsi, Lee Man Fong and Liu Kang.
Ms Ang says she wanted to create an element of surprise when driving into the expansive car park and entering the house on the basement level. “You don’t expect to see a mini art gallery and a green wall,” she says.
(Thinking of installing a green wall at home? Experts share some top tips here.)
The owner boasts a large variety of art, and for the living room, he wanted a look that was a mix of East and West, traditional and modern as evident in his choice of artworks on display and the furniture. The living room features both antique rosewood Chinese chairs that the owner inherited from his grandparents, as well as modern pieces from Hermes.
“There had to be a balance between creating an art gallery, a home for the family, and one with unique architecture to boot,” says Ms Ang.
For the owner, he says simply, “after working for 40 years, I finally have the chance to fully enjoy nature.”