This home was conceived as a backdrop to the homeowner's eclectic style. She tells LYNN TAN how the home has allowed her to realise her teenage dream of becoming an architect or interior designer.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel


A couple and their three children HOME A semi-detached place off Holland Road SIZE 3,700 sq ft (land area); 3,300 sq ft (built-up area) 
My Reading Room

"A neutral palette of whites, greys and teak dominates the living area.


The homeowner does not restrict herself to any particular style but makes sure that the colours of the furnishings match."

Stepping into this light-filled home with open spaces and a lofty feel, it is hard to imagine that it used to be dark and oppressive. The original interior was very compartmentalised, the ceiling was low and the natural light coming in from the small windows was limited.

When the homeowner and her husband, both medical doctors, purchased this home in 2017, they envisioned a hygge home with a comfortable conviviality for them and their three children. “We wanted an inviting place where we could make memories as a family and entertain our friends.”

The challenging task of transforming the home fell on the shoulders of Hsu Hsia Pin, Eunice Khoo and Amoz Boon, the design trio from EHKA Studio that undertook the architectural and interior works.

“Our approach embraces the existing structure and exposes it instead of trying to conceal it,” says EHKA Studio partner, Hsia Pin. The project was classified as a reconstruction because it involved major addition and alteration (A&A) work. The design, submissions and tender took seven months while the construction was completed in 12.

An extension upfront creates a larger living area that opens out to a new garden patio. A void was introduced in the slab above the living area to establish a connection with the family area on the second storey. The double-volume space adds a vertical dimension to the spatial flow and allows light to filter down into the heart of the home from the skylight above the stairwell.

To optimise the relationship between the dining area and the kitchen, the positions of the original kitchen and guest room were flipped so that the new kitchen is now adjacent to the dining area. Functionally, this achieves a much better flow.

Full height sliding glass doors that extend the length of the dining area replaced the old windows. “These allow more light and air into the deeper recesses of the interior, as well as form a link with the side garden,” Hsia Pin points out.

On the second level are three bedrooms belonging to the children, a 14-year-old boy and two girls aged seven and five. The rooms are arranged around a family area where they can watch TV or use the computer and the missus does her crafting during her free time.

The attic is a new addition to the existing two-storey property. It houses the master suite, comprising the bedroom, bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. The expression of the pitched roof and the ample headroom give the space a bright, airy feel. One of the key design features of the master bathroom is the way the bathtub opens out to an external planter. “We wanted a well-ventilated, spacious bathroom to be comfortable and relaxing,” Hsia Pin explains. The team addressed the issue of privacy with Venetian blinds and the row of plants outside.

The whitewashed interior provides a blank canvas for the lady of the house to express her creativity. Many of the decor and art pieces were collected during their trips abroad. The new home provides the perfect backdrop to display them. “My style is eclectic. I do not constrain myself to any particular style, but I do ensure that the colours of the furnishings complement each other. My input towards the concept and execution has allowed me to realise a teenage dream of becoming an architect or interior designer,” she says.

It has been just over a year since the family moved in in April 2019, following the reconstruction costing about $1 million (excluding furnishings) and she is still dreaming up new interior ideas: “I will rework the look of some of the spaces over time. The neutral wall and flooring make this possible.”

My Reading Room

The introduction of a void does wonders for the interior, allowing more light and spatial connectivity.


The kitchen and dining areas are now adjacent to one another, definitely an improvement on the old layout.

The client and her husband did not like the original layout, so the Ekha Studio team reconfigured the spaces to suit their lifestyle and needs.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room


The functional spaces allow the homeowner to redecorate as and when she likes.
My Reading Room

Teak is a favourite of the homeowner. It makes her feel at home, complements the white and goes well with plants.


The homeowner wanted a blank canvas that would allow her to express her eclectic style over time.

The bathroom reflects their preference for white and teak.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Going all-white makes creating a modern theme much easier.


The home has minimal built-in furniture as the homeowner prefers to source pieces herself.


The master bathroom is spacious, open and feels close to nature.

photography VEE CHIN art direction KRISTY QUAH