Creative transformations

While there was a silver winner each in the detached/semi-detached and condominium categories of the haven/The Edge My Dream Home  contest 2008, two home owners — in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya, Selangor and the other in Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam — were awarded the silver award in the terraced category.

In both cases, the panel of judges were impressed by the creative transformation of compact spaces.
Architect Chong Chee Ching from Pentago Studio, and wife, horticulturalist Yit Tyng, are proud owners of the Putra Heights home. Their home showcased the clever manner in which they managed to give the link property a detached feel. One of the most common challenges of intermediate link houses are insufficient natural lighting and ventilation. In this case, the solution lies in a brilliant reconfiguration of walls and wider openings.

The renovation had taken six weeks to complete, focusing mainly on the changing of finishes and opening up spaces. What used to be the main entrance is now a wall with raw cement treatment, a recurring motif throughout the house. Even the originally parquet timber staircase had made way for a raw cement finish complete with brass strip inlays and a metal hand-rail. The neutrality of the cement finish complements Chong’s colourful collection of animated movie posters that brighten up the staircase landing.

Meanwhile, in the modest-sized front garden stands an unusual feature — over-burnt bricks stacked in a spiraling pattern framed by a frangipani tree, eugenia trees and green bamboo plants.

The other silver winner, Stephen Ho and wife Sharon, enjoy the space of two homes — they have merged a corner and the adjoning intermediate house. It started out with Stephen owning the corner house when he was still a bachelor. He tied the knot and when the couple was expecting their first child, they acquired the neighbour’s house.

Collapsible grill, classic window frames and an eclectic mixture of furniture and knick-knacks make up the flavour of this home. A true advocate of preserving “junk”, Stephen restored many of the furniture pieces himself. The main wooden door, made from sturdy chengal, was rescued from an old shophouse in Penang — he spent two weeks cleaning off the grime.

Interestingly, each piece of furniture has a story to tell — the teak cupboard in the master bedroom, for example, was part of a wedding trousseau of an elderly friend in Penang, while the bookcase in the dining room belonged to one of his grandmother’s neighbours. “I used to admire it as the cupboard was left out on the porch. One day, I drove past and it was no longer there. I spotted the cupboard in the dumpsite nearby,” says Stephen.

Most of the walls are kept mostly white, except for the bright red wall in the living room, and a tangerine wall in the kitchen where an industrial hob and hood hold fort. No doubt the owners have found a perfect sanctuary for their treasures


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 753, May 4 – 10, 2009.

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