House Tour: Two-storey Sentosa Cove house with a grid-like facade dotted with tropical plants
From a house that looks like a futuristic temple flanked by two statues of the Egyptian god Anubis, to another with a wavy rooftop garden featuring large overhanging eaves, eye-catching houses abound in Sentosa Cove.
And then there’s the grid-like facade created by Lim Shing Hui, who can now add her name to the list of architects who have created a distinctive landscape for the gated residential community.
The founder of L Architects decided to eschew conventional flat exteriors and created a 3D-like facade instead for her Sentosa Cove client’s home.
“A facade is often a 2D panel, such as metal or stone cladding. But for this home, I wanted to experiment with a simple lightweight aluminium hollow section to form a volumetric screen,” says Ms Lim.
Aluminium frames are used to build a grid – from afar, the frontage of the two-storey house looks like metal squares stacked on top of each other, some towering above the actual building. Ms Lim went a step further by installing 21 planter boxes on some of the squares. The boxes are filled with a variety of sun-loving tropical plants, such as the Monstera, phyllanthus and vernonia elliptica.
The draping foliage adds colour to the home, while offering shade from the sun to help cool the house for its owner and her two grown-up children.
Ms Lim explains that the hollow aluminium frames also hide the automated watering and drainage systems for the plants and electrical wiring for the planter boxes.
With the task of improving the facade completed, Ms Lim went on to redesign the interiors.The family had been living there for close to a decade, and felt it was time for a renovation for several reasons. For one, the home was starting to show its age, and the family felt that the layout of the spaces could be improved.
Top of the list was changing the layout of the kitchen. Previously, the wet and dry kitchens were in different areas of the home, but now they are next to each other for a better workflow. “This is especially important, since the family loves to entertain a lot,” says Ms Lim.
She also introduced a new family room on the ground floor and an outdoor deck beside the pool. The latter overlooks the Sentosa Cove waterway; unsurprisingly, this is where the family likes to have dinner.
“The space was designed as a chill-out area by the pool, but it is heartening to hear that it has indirectly drawn the family to enjoy the outdoor space more frequently,” adds Ms Lim.
For the lady of the house, Ms Lim future-proofed her bathroom, ensuring that the space would be wide enough to fit in a wheelchair if needed. The new addition of a skylight also brightens up the bathroom.
To create that uniform feel, Ms Lim used only a handful of materials, such as black forest marble, oak flooring and light grey wallpaper. Keen-eyed visitors will notice that the dining table, the feature panel in the living room, kitchen countertop and headboard in the bedroom are all of the same natural stone.
The family were initially unsure about a “live” facade, but came around to the idea when Ms Lim explained that it not only adds to the aesthetics but also has sun shading and cooling properties.
“The living grid injects more value into the property where all the rooms now have desirable views be it the waterfront or the hanging garden."
Photos by Finbarr Fallon.
This story was first published in The Business Times. Click here to read the original story.