PROJECT SHOWCASE: FRANCO-TAMIL COLONIAL INSPIRED (May 2023/Issue 156)
British colonial homes which are better recognised by its distinct black and white facades is not uncommon though a limited sight in Singapore. There has been an increasing demand for the theme throughout the years. However, colonial architecture is still notable in many parts of the world, each with their own distinct features. The homeowners of this intermediate terrace nestled along a neighbourhood in the central region of Singapore wanted a colonial inspired home. However, from a different part of the world – Pondicherry, a once French-colonial settlement in India.
As with many of our colonial inspired themed home requests, it’s always essential to merge nostalgic features with present day comforts. This home was no different. The distinct Pondicherry colonial villas or Franco-Tamil architectural style draws inspiration from French architecture. One of those features distinct with the style comes from a splash of exterior colour such as sun-burnt yellow which we toned down to a more pastel shade of yellow in contrast with white walls.
Balconies and verandas are also a prominent feature in such villas which were implemented into the design as seen in the upper floors. The additions of balconies break the boxiness of a façade while creating relaxing nooks to unwind and recharge.
The merging of nostalgia with contemporary style living becomes more apparent upon venturing into the home. A compact pool equipped with a resistance current equipment situated just in front of the main entrance is a calming visual both from the inside and outside.
Within the interiors of the first storey, clean lines and minimalism takes centre-stage. The feature focus comes from an unobtrusive light-well that spans the entire two storey plus attic height and designed with a pitch roof. Coupled with its open riser staircase, light and air flow is maximised throughout each level.
The spacious kitchen is tucked to the back of the home with ample countertops and cabinetry making it a conducive room for the family to both dine and cook simultaneously. A simple yet effective use of space, a sliding glass door cordons off the cooking portion when heavy cooking needs to be contained.
Bathrooms merge the minimalism feel with nostalgia as it is translated through the juxtaposition of white walls and a vintage-inspired tile design feature wall.
Journeying to the top floor, situates a tea room where the family can come together to bond over their Lego projects or where the adults can unwind over a cup of their favourite tea brews from their travels.
This project was just one of the many homes that we worked on despite the pandemic. With twenty years in the industry, it has been a milestone to maintain our 100% completion rate of rebuild projects. A tailor-made home for a family with unique taste, it is such themed homes that we revel in working with the family to bring to life. Now, this space is not just a house but a home that a family gets to build new memories on, and with that a beautifully written testimonial from the family is a touching node to conclude this issue:
We want to say a big “THANK YOU!” to you and your team at Nic & Wes. Building a house is one of the most complicated things we have done; it would not have been possible without your team’s professionalism and dogged determination to get it completed.
From the initial architectural designs, to the submissions, to the demolitions and subsequent reconstructions, it was good that we were working with the same team. Having each design amendment submitted to BCA, working to get the NEA and PUB approvals, and then working around the COVID workplace requirements needed a professional team to accomplish, and I must say that you have made it painless and almost transparent to me. Indeed, I would never have imagined that even NParks and the LTA had a say in building a house (stupid lemon tree ;-p)
In terms of design, you took our desire for a Pondicherry French-Tamilian inspired theme and worked it into a modern look that blends into the neighbourhood. Inside we had a large light and air well and a ventilated jack roof that allows air circulation and keeps the house cool. The frosted glass of the light well was a very good idea; there are no dark corners in my interterrace house.
You and your team managed the neighbours’ expectations and grouses all through the project and including the unseen delays; I am astounded by the lengths you went to keep them happy. For this, we will be forever grateful. We know we have the right builder when our neighbour compliments you (to us) for being responsive and quickly correcting any minor damage or issues that happens when we are reconstructing an inter-terrace house.
My specific thanks to Mr Somu for working around all the construction issues and to Sudha for making things work on the ground. A special shout out to Udaykumar, electrician extraordinaire, he has certainly made the electrical works robust and future proof (think solar panels or EV).
We have no hesitation in recommending Nic & Wes. As a full design-and-build concept company, you walked us through the whole process as partners, sticking with us through thick and thin, till the very end and beyond. We now have a bright, cool and airy new home that we cannot wait to fill with family and memories.”
– Chin Tiong & Siam Lee