Nestled within what some may consider the labyrinthine confines of the Ban area in Kampung Mulaut is a private residence that garnered the attention of the BHC team due to some truly striking elements and features that have been incorporated by the homeowners – who designed the house themselves. Taking into consideration that these proud homeowners are looking to rent-out this beautiful property; pay special attention everyone – after all – first come, first served.
Large, blocky and very modern in appearance, the combination of modular design as well as its spacious and clean driveway already hints at a family that is anti-clutter with a strong preference for open spaces and segregated specialty areas. Surrounding the residence is a perimeter wall and front gate that could easily be the product of an artist obsessed with cubism, as this boundary-marker stands out and catches the eye due to its uniqueness. The house number, 3, stands out even more so because of the term ‘Al-Haudh’ written below it. Written using the Latin alphabet but incorporating Islamic-styled calligraphic brush strokes, this fusion of cultures was unexpected, and therefore interesting by default.
It is important to note that the driveway has been raised and cemented over from its original height, with additional drainage work added, as a precautionary measure against potential floodwaters after a heavy downpour, ensuring the property within the confines of the walls are an Island refuge from increasingly more frequent storms. Conversely, Al-Haudh is a reference to a pond within the Islamic faith and when used in this context suggests an Island oasis and refuge of sorts.
The beginnings of a landscaped garden provides the outdoors with enough colour to counterbalance the white driveway and the dark grey hues of the exterior walls, with the far-right section of the home featuring a narrow channel of sorts from which pebbles and trimmed plants emerge. Several bonsai of a similar species but differing levels of maturity, along with low-lying Japanese lamps available at BR Elite, spread out at intervals on the grass on the opposite side of the home, results in scenery that is Zen, and looks peaceful and relaxing at night when the lamps are switched on.
Upon entering the home you are immediately greeted by a gorgeous work of art in the form of an Islamic extract from the Quran. Inscribed onto a panel of wood, a groove rings the entire rectangular plank concealing lights that when switched on – especially at night – illuminates the text with a warm amber glow. It gets better. The panel has been placed in such a manner that it blocks what lies behind. Stepping around the extract, either to the left or right, reveals openings into the central section of the home and more noticeably importantly, another extract from the Quran. This second extract extends all the way from upper reaches of the first floor down to waist height on the ground floor and is breathtaking.
Two corridors divided by a wall, run parallel to each other heading in the direction of both the left and right wings of the home. The first corridor leading left (closest to the exterior) ends in a small living room that is used to entertain small groups of visitors. This cute space has utilised the Belka brand of wall-coating material to make it stand out even more (Refer to ‘Where to Buy’ section on pages 62-63 for more details). The innermost left corridor leads past the tall winding staircase towards a bathroom and a gym in which a stationary bicycle, treadmill, barbells and other weight-training equipment can be found on padded mats. Nearby is a raised wooden platform with a spherical table and accompanying seats – a space (my personal favourite) that can serve several functions including hosting a visitors.
The right exterior corridor leads to a spacious living room populated with leather couches from the Neo Metro furniture shop, lights of a spider-like configuration, also available from BR Elite, and a small table accompanied by exquisite barstools. The end of the living room branches into the family surau and ablution area, which can accommodate 15 people comfortably, and two dozen at maximum. Islamic text graces the surau’s window next to a door that serves as another entry point to the residence.
The innermost corridor leads to a dining area with a massive stone slab of a table that has been polished to a fine sheen giving it the appearance of marble. A wide mirror by the table is surrounded by smaller square-shaped mirror panels spread out across the same wall space turning it into a reflective art installation.
The corridor then branches off into another mini living room with a bar counter for keeping beverages and snacks. This space is quite popular with the children of the household and not only features another Belka-inspired wall design but an entranceway leading to a patio with a wooden table and benches. As a person who appreciates a good rainstorm, this was quickly identified as a prime spot to enjoy a hot cup of coffee outdoors while a tropical storm lashes the surroundings. Continuing further down the corridor is the wet and dry kitchen, laundry area and bedrooms used by the owners’ in-laws when they decide to spend the night on weekends.
The staircase is a tall construct that winds around to the upper level where the Master Bedroom and children’s bedrooms are based. A study area that serves as an impromptu library of resources is a nice platform for bringing the family together, where the homeowners and parents, who coincidently happen to be teachers, can sit down to help with homework.
With its strong white and greys, executive furniture, usage of wood and throughout the residence and abundance of framed Islamic artwork dotting the interior, this residence resembles a fusion of Scandinavian and Islamic designs, which mesh well. As far as combination of styles go, this was an unexpected find – something that the BHC team should be well used to by now given our nation’s title as a Kingdom of Hidden Treasures.