When actor Henry Golding and wellness entrepreneur Liv Lo moved into their new abode in Los Angeles, all that was missing was a tranquil outdoor backyard where they could relax and unwind amidst their busy lives.
“We wanted to have an outdoor space where we could spend a lot of time individually, as well as collectively as a family of three,” the couple explains over an email interview. “As a family, we wanted it to be a space where we could spend time together, host parties and gatherings, or simply enjoy the nice weather and fresh air.”
Shortly after closing on escrow, they decided to turn to LA-based firm OWIU Design to break ground on the outdoor oasis of their dreams. An abbreviation for “the only way is up”, OWIU is helmed by Singapore architects Amanda Gunawan and Joel Wong; the multidisciplinary firm’s oeuvre features projects that range between the residential, commercial, and hospitality sectors.
“Amanda and Joel are our friends from Singapore,” says the Crazy Rich Asians star and his wife. “We like them both—as people, as well as designers. Naturally, we thought of them to design our outdoor space.”
Describing the Goldings’ home as “the quintessential Californian home that’s just perfect for their family”, OWIU embarked on the project by factoring in the young family’s lifestyle and tastes.
“When they first showed me the listing, I thought it was perfect for them,” recalls Gunawan. “The only thing that wasn’t quite there yet was the outdoor space. While the outdoor space was there, it wasn’t being utilised to its maximum potential, especially compared to the rest of the house.”
There were some boxes for OWIU to tick, as the couple had their own set of wants and needs. Golding desired “a space to cook and host, as well as a hot tub to relax in”, while Lo was seeking “an outdoor space to do breathwork and meditation, or to work if needed”. For little Lyla, their one-year-old-daughter, they were looking at the backyard “as a space that she could grow up in”.
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