Cover The space was deliberately devoid of traditional artwork, relying instead on the pure forms of the staircase and the light and shadow play of the skylight

The house also marks Wunderwall Design's first private residence in the upscale enclave developed on a barren mine in Bandar Menjalara, Kuala Lumpur

Fans of Instagrammable spaces will be familiar with the work of Wunderwall Design who’ve built some of the Klang Valley’s most post-worthy settings. From the spectacularly lush Victorian greenhouse inspired Jibby on the Park to the meticulously crafted Lit Books, the young team comprising of Sharmaine Wong, Chia Wei Hoong and Wil Ken are masters at creating compelling narratives by layering design details.

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Fittingly the owner of this home in the upmarket Mansions gated community in Desa ParkCity came across their work on social media and after contacting them on the same platform, they met up and appointment came swiftly after. With a built up of approximately 6,850 square feet, the multi-level house was larger than anything the designers had done but the designers were raring to take on the challenge.

“We have always been attracted by the context of a multi-level residence and how we could connect such a vertically sparse space in terms of experience and cohesiveness,” states Ken.

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The dry kitchen has an extended volume that draws views from the gantry above
Above The dry kitchen has an extended volume that draws views from the gantry above

Home to a couple and their three children, the brief was very simple with plenty of freedom for the team to explore. “The client gave us a lot of trust in executing our vision, so the design developed rather quickly even for a project of this scale. The overall design wasn’t driven by any particular concept per se, but more driven by intention,” states Wong.

“Starting out, our intention was to craft a sanctuary for the occupants that is uncluttered, warm and comfortable. It is a home to unwind and relax, a very important factor for our clients’ as they have a very busy work life.”

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Serene is the most appropriate word to describe the completed home with its carefully ordered spaces and restrained palette. While this could potentially spell austere for many designers, Wunderwall avoided this with considered material choices, the same choices which give the spaces throughout the five floors a sense of continuity. “ “There was an emphasis on selecting materials that could provide a sense of warmth throughout the house. To maintain continuity and a unified tone, the material palette is kept minimal with dominantly natural textures from oak wood, specialist cement flooring, marble, textured plaster with cleaner finishes accented by coated steel,” states Chia.

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Beautifully detailed built-ins elevate the most mundane storage solutions
Above Beautifully detailed built-ins elevate the most mundane storage solutions

While the design language is consistent, there is a subtle contrast in how the public areas and private areas were treated. On the first three levels—the living and dining rooms on the ground floor, the bar and AV room in the basement, and tea room on the mezzanine—broader gestures were deployed. As befitting the high ceilings found here, large walnut veneer screens, expanses of timber clad walls and monolithic built-ins suit the scale.

The upper two floors, which hold the bedrooms, gym and study, are a shade moodier and more intimate in feel. Intricate details abound here like custom furniture, headboards and screens which need to be appreciated up close.

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While the obvious gestures are undeniably impressive, Wunderwall thrives on paying attention to the minutiae. Being a home with a minimalist spirit, the designers worked tirelessly to find solutions to make things “disappear”. “We always give extra attention to the most minute of things; the location of services, manholes, switches, socket plates, air conditioning grilles. It is a challenge but also exciting when we crack our heads to find functional solutions for these otherwise neglected items that could make a big difference in the final look of a project,” states Ken.

In this home, the air conditioning units came with a blower and returnn grille which made grouping them bulky. This was especially true in the units to cool down the living and dining spaces in the double height ceiling. The designers’ solution was to group all units in the center of space, above a shared cabinetry housing the TV on one side and the dry kitchen on the other. “This back to back placement required a large space, so to conceal them we created a gantry. This gantry overlooks the ground floor and provides views into the space instead of just letting it go to waste,” concludes Ken.

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Furniture and lighting were sourced from designers which suited the uncluttered aesthetic and added a sculptural flair to the home namely Babakagu, Carl Hansen & Søn, Flos, Vibia and Nemo Lighting. The designers also custom designed some pieces and had them fabricated by local craftsmen when they couldn’t find designs which fit into their vision.

“We designed the huge solid oak dining table because there just wasn’t something that was suitable in the market. Same goes for the coffee table which are two contrasting volumes of marble. Even when we started designing the space, we envisioned the coffee table to be two blocks of marble side by side so we ended up handpicking these massive blocks from the warehouse,” enthuses Wong.

For the meditative tea area that overlooks a bonsai tree, the designers are particularly proud of the low table: “We had gotten the Shade suspended lamp by Flos, a light that shines from below, which dictated the design intent of the tea table. The table height also needed to be optimum to slot in Muji’s legless chairs. We ended up designing a table as separate pieces connected by a piece of flamed granite tea tray. It functions to accommodate the light and as a table that connects metaphorically when tea is being served.”

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It goes without saying that creating a private residence is a very different animal from designing commercial spaces but the designers at Wunderwall have created a home that not only encapsulates their clients predilections, they’ve done this by channelling their detail driven approach. If the successful results are anything to go by, this is just the start of more unique homes to come.