After dating long-distance, Andre Huber and Belinda Huber shared his bachelor pad in Balestier when she moved to Singapore from Australia. As the family grew, however, they needed more space—especially for their two young children, Hayley, aged three, and Ashley, two.
The couple confined their search for a new home to the neighbourhood where Andre grew up, which is less than a kilometre from the primary school they plan on enrolling the girls in. “We settled on a semi-detached property along Goldhill Avenue, and decided we would renovate it so that the interior would better suit our lifestyle and reflect our personalities,” says Belinda, director of online children’s fashion retailer Baby Style Icon.
Bu Shukun was an obvious candidate to execute the interior design of the new Huber residence. “We met Bu at a mutual friend’s party and, being friends, we felt that he understood what we wanted,” recalls Andre. Bu, who was named one of Singapore Tatler Homes’ 50 Most Influential in Singapore Design in 2016, holds a master’s degree in architecture, and is the design director of Architology Interiors and A-Collective Architects.
As executive director of Huber’s Butchery, cooking is Andre’s passion—and it comes as no surprise that meat is almost always on the menu. Naturally, Andre was particular about the kitchen layout and design. “The open-concept kitchen works for me because I can chat with Belinda, keep an eye on the children or interact with my dinner guests while I cook,” says Andre.
The result is a stylishly chic and laid-back ambience in the kitchen that permeates throughout the rest of the first storey, where the Hubers spend most of their time as a family. “There is very good cross-ventilation, and the natural breeze flowing through the house makes it very enjoyable and relaxing for the whole family,” says Belinda.
Bright And Open
The first storey of the property was reconceptualised as an open plan with different zones, mainly the living, dining and kitchen areas. “I liked this place because of its high ceilings and the abundance of natural light, so I wanted to keep it bright and airy,” explains Andre.
Bu’s solution was to open up the living and dining areas by installing bifold doors all around, to create a visual and psychological extension of space that connects the indoors and outdoors. The change in flooring material—from white marble to dark wood—also orchestrates the transition from the dining room to the living room without requiring a physical boundary.
The original brick wall between the two houses was revealed during construction—and Bu turned it into a design opportunity.“I stained it in a deeper shade, similar to burnt ochre, and used it as a backdrop to link up the house vertically, like a spine,” Bu explains. This is echoed by a white brick wall on the opposite side of the living room, suggesting a dialogue.
The raw, unfinished surfaces of the brick walls provide a contrast to the smooth marble flooring of the living room. The rustic wooden dining table takes its cue from the exposed brick walls, juxtaposed against mirror-finish steel supports below, a smooth glass top and the sleek pendant lamps above.
Andre’s favourite space within the home is the entertainment area in the basement, which he refers to endearingly as his “man cave”. It is equipped with a home theatre system, pantry, bar and wine fridge, and opens out onto an outdoor deck—all the necessary ingredients for a great evening of barbecue, football and drinks.
The colour palette, comprising various tones of brown, imbues the entertainment area with a slightly more masculine character while still being family-oriented. An external staircase provides direct access from the car porch on the first storey to the basement deck without having to walk through the interior—an extremely practical feature during parties.
The master bedroom exudes a contemporary modern feel, with French Victorian elements that reflect the couple’s aesthetic preferences. A tufted headboard and mirror-finish bedside tables are complemented by wood grain veneer wardrobe doors, while a set of free-standing cabinets in matching mirror-finish with a wall-hung mirror above conjures imagery of an armoire from a bygone era.
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Hayley and Ashley share a bedroom on the second storey, beside which is a baby-care room that was converted from an existing study. When the girls are older, Andre and Belinda have plans to turn the baby-care room into a walk-in wardrobe, so they’ve asked Bu to install a connecting door to the adjacent master bathroom, which will link up to the master bedroom in future.