A retired uncle’s 3-Gen detached house at Sunset Heights

The owner, a retiree in his 70s, has had the property for many years. He leased it out to a preschool when he and his wife relocated to Australia where their daughter was studying at the time.

The couple moved into an apartment when they returned to Singapore, while their daughter had her own matrimonial home. When they became grandparents, the owner and his wife felt that it was time to move back to their detached home so that three generations of the family can live under one roof.

With a growing family, more space was needed, which led to the decision to demolish the old house and rebuild so that the extended family can enjoy communal living while still having their own individual spaces.

Who Lives Here A multi-generation family
Home A detached home at Sunset Heights
Size 8,751 sq ft (land area); 9,192 sq ft (Gross Floor Area)
Interior Designer The Design Abode / Wkl Architects

Engagement with authorities needed

He commissioned The Design Abode for the project, a practice that his daughter, a freelance interior designer, had collaborated with previously when she was working for another firm.

One of the requirements in the homeowner’s brief that had implications on regulatory compliance was the relocation of the entrance driveway and car porch to the rear of the plot so that the main frontage of the corner plot can be maximised for the living room and front garden.

This entailed a fair amount of engagement with the relevant authorities, which was undertaken by The Design Abode’s in-house architectural arm, WKL Architects, before approval was eventually granted.

Two-in-one house

A view from bottom up of the blue sky peeking through in between 2 roofs
A central courtyard in between the two wings of the home provides natural cross-ventilation and also allows visual connection between the two.

The design concept revolves around a two-in-one house. The

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Modern inner city concrete home references local history and character


This classic inner-city terrace house has been reinterpreted in a stunning marriage of materials, textures and colours in Sydney’s Potts Point.

Brougham Place reflects the owners’ passion for the work of renowned Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier – famous for his use of concrete – as well as their love of the rough grain of their inner-city locale.

The Challenge

The task of bringing these two inspirations together was handed over to award-winning Smart Design Studio.

Their design consists of two distinct dwellings – conceived as off-form concrete boxes supported by sandstone plinths – separated by a private central courtyard. The concrete forms feature large openings dressed with an array of multi-coloured aluminium louvre blades.

“There were cost efficiencies in not having to go back and dress over the concrete finishes, but we also wanted to keep it authentic,” says architect William Smart.

“I like concrete for its honesty, its texture and richness. Our approach (to concrete) has always been to use it in a very precise way. We don’t think of it as industrial or rough, but as a special material.”


Although in every way a modern dwelling, Brougham Place subtly references the history and character of its neighbourhood. From the street it presents like a terrace house, with blade elements on each side and open in the middle; the sandstone used for the plinths has been excavated from the site and the original dwelling; and the coloured louvres draw off a palette of local heritage colours.

The larger front dwelling contains the owners’ home and office, with the workspace on the ground floor and living in the upper two floors. The rear building houses a garage with a studio apartment above.

The central courtyard extends the composition of the internal planning to the outside, with

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