Cover The ground floor is now a welcoming open space

Effendy Nadzri Design Office transforms an awkwardly laid out house into an elegant yet comfortable home for a family of seven to enjoy

Designers often welcome limitations in a site or design brief as it gives them very defined perimeters to work with. This was the case for Effendy Nadzri Design Office (ENDO) who were approached by a couple who wanted to transform their semi-detached house into a comfortable home for their brood of five children and one grandmother. 

“The existing house had an odd and narrow layout which was problematic for the family and the client requested that we create a cosy and comfortable home for their family of seven to enjoy,” explains Effendy Nadzri, founder and design director of ENDO.

The goal for this project was to welcome “lightness” into the residence's internal space while keeping in mind the homeowner’s budget. Taking this as a challenge, the team is set to improvise the spatial planning and maximise its natural light by connecting both the indoor and outdoor space by using simple clean lines and the materiality of the space.


Spatial planning in a home is all about making the space liveable and inviting. To this end, the entrance was shifted to the left side of the façade to create more privacy while creating a sense of journey into the house.

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“We introduced a ‘mudroom’ into the house’s new layout. It's a transition space between the outdoor and indoor areas where the owners remove their footwear before entering other parts of the home. It also functions as a catchall for keys, hats and other everyday carry items,” explains Effendy.

“As you enter the house passing through the mudroom, the courtyard and pocket garden gradually presents itself as the background of the ground floor area. The narrow pocket garden located between the house and the neighbour’s are designed to create privacy. It is a comfortable and fully functional area which serves as a living room extension, hidden from the porch with a low 5-ft wall and door.”

The designers also addressed the fact that the middle courtyard was currently under-utilised. To overcome this, the designers filled it in with lush greeneries and full height operable windows in the main living area. With these simple but thoughtful gestures, the courtyard now functions as the green lung of the house, connecting the indoors and outdoors.

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A humble and robust cement brick wall separating the pocket garden and laundry area was susceptible to shadows and lights. To mitigate this, it became a “feature wall” in the living area with a strong contrasting background for the tropical plants and trees, complete with a minimalist water feature.

A large family requires a home that needs low maintenance. To cater to this, the designers kept their material and design choices minimal. This is evident in the interior that features clean lines, simple white walls, oak timber, light grey stone and black metal details combined with cosy lighting and contemporary furniture. 

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Furniture and lighting selection followed the same overarching theme. Featuring a combination of bought and custom-made items, the simple lines of pieces from Ruma Home and NicChris pair beautifully with the client’s collection of Oriental antiques.


When asked about what the biggest challenge, Effendy cited delivering the project during the pandemic: "The project started after the first lockdown and there were subsequent lockdowns during the construction period which affected the progress. Not to mention the shortage of materials and workers. With thoughtful design and space planning, the narrow plot house now feels light, spacious and welcoming. Just like how a home should be."


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