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Luxury homes: A moody, monastic sanctuary surrounded by 40 trees

This garden oasis by ip:li Architects offers plenty of privacy and space for its owners.

As retirees, Alex Yeow and his wife Jacqueline Loke have the luxury of time. So when they were looking to build their new home, they were in no rush to find the right site and an architect to build it. “We wanted a corner plot of land under 5,000 sq ft, to build a detached house on an elevation,” says Alex. It took them a year and a half before they found a suitable plot in Serangoon Gardens.

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Then came the task of finding an architect, and for that, they turned to Yip Yuen Hong, principal at ip:li Architects. Even then, the couple took their time to suss out the award-winning architect. “Regardless of who we work with, we didn’t want to restrict the creativity of the architect. But we also wanted to be sure that both parties could get along,” says Alex. This led to many coffee sessions for the couple to understand Yuen Hong’s design philosophy and for him to understand their lifestyle.

With their 4,200 sq ft plot of land, they could easily build a fairly large home, but instead they wanted the opposite

The couple wanted a home that had plenty of privacy without being too enclosed, and since it was just the two of them, they needed only one bedroom. With their 4,200 sq ft plot of land, they could easily build a fairly large home, but instead they wanted the opposite.“Even after three months, we weren’t sure if Yuen Hong would accept the project, since we did not want a big house,” says Alex.

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On the contrary. The architect was right on the same page. “What struck me was how Alex and Jacqueline wanted a small house with a small footprint, which is wonderful because I feel it is better to free the grounds up for gardens,” says Yuen Hong. “It was also a refreshing change that they are also artistically inclined. To me, it was a unique opportunity to explore different ideas of how one can live nowadays, and how materials can be utilised.”

Photographed by Alex Yeow