If one must find the most appropriate word to describe haven/The Edge My Dream Home Contest 2008 gold winner for the condominium category, it would most probably be “bare” — just that. Owners Goh Han Shin and Ong Tien Ling prefer it that way, because it fits their lifestyle perfectly. They describe their parents’ home as having so much clutter, with souvenirs from all their travels overseas, that they decided not to waste money on things that would take up space and “live with just the bare necessities”.

HAVEN/THE EDGE MY DREAM HOME CONTEST 2008   GOLD AWARD - CONDOMINIUM CATEOGRY //  Location / Sophia Condominium, Mont' Kiara, Kuala Lumpur  // Architect / Goh Han Shin  The 1,200 sq ft unit in Mont’Kiara originally had a tropical resort-style furnishing but was successfully transformed into a “dream in white” after four months. The unit came fitted with built-ins in warm brown but most were torn down while the rest were repainted white. Goh is an Australia-registered architect, while her husband Ong is a civil engineer. They are proud that remodelling their condominium to transform it into their dream home only cost some RM60,000, although it helped that Goh designed it while Ong, who runs his family-owned construction business, handled the rest.

Walls are stark white throughout, oozing style and simplicity, and complemented with carefully selected knick-knacks. The whole idea, according to Goh, was to turn the unit into an open canvas, then dot it sparingly with ornaments and rugs in lime green, her favourite colour. The light and airy feel of the home is enhanced by transparent and translucent elements like glass and acrylic.

A low false ceiling in the living room, lights and low furniture pieces all arranged on a horizontal plane lengthens the area, making it appear spacious and stylish. The white minimalist approach is inspired by the warehouse gallery concept in Australia, where industrial buildings are converted into residential loft apartments, creating a cool and peaceful abode.

There are four little square concrete blocks on the floor in both the study and bedroom. The repetitive elements, Goh explains, give the home a sense of rhythm and tranquillity. The bathrooms look bare, but the mosaic tiles on the floor and walls shimmer beautifully, reflecting the colours of a rainbow. The couple believes the minimalist approach is going to be an upcoming trend among the younger generation of homeowners. Perhaps cool, clutter and fuss-free is indeed the way to go?

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 751, April 20-26, 2009