Cover The TV panel combines stainless steel, dark wood and micro-cement, the main material palette for this home

DualSpace Studio created a minimalist home for a couple that's rich with inspiration from major design movements such as Mid-Century Modern and Bauhaus

Perceived wisdom would say don't work with family or friends but for the designers at young design outfit DualSpace Studio, a familiar relationship was an advantage. The 1,600 sq ft home in question is an ordinary terrace house in Shah Alam owned by a young couple who wanted their first home to be a sleek minimalist space.


"The client is my friend from secondary school who I knew was quite particular about design. Our usual design process is to get a rough idea from our clients about what they like before we start working on the moodboard. The images she sent me were quite minimalist so I came up with a moodboard that was minimalist but with a touch of mid-century elements. Surprisingly, they love it too and they put a lot of trust in me during the design process," recalls Wong Yee Liz, co-founder and co-lead designer of DualSpace studio with Lew Yong Wei.

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Simplicity doesn't mean basic and this is evident in the living cum dining area which has minimal adornment yet exudes an appealing crispness.

"We extended the wall in the foyer facing the main staircase into a full wall height to break through the spaces between public and private. Here, we designed a slim gap opening separated by glass shelves and glazed backing with the continuity of the step from the stairs. This slim gap allows the penetration of natural sunlight to the stairs and allows the client to see what's happening in the foyer from the first floor," says Wong.




Further enhancing the inviting nature of the space is the introduction of a statement staircase inspired by the Bauhaus era. "We proposed the staircase as the main feature of the house by softening the harshness of its form and finishes to create a welcoming sense to the space," explains Wong.

"I love the design from 1920 to 1930 when the Bauhaus movement was at its height. The design during this period is really modern so I chanced upon my staircase inspiration while doing research for this project. Actually, our first draft was different and had even curvier elements compared to the final design but due to maintenance purposes, we decided to minimise the design."

The designers further used dark wood as a step feature at the bottom of the staircase to emphasise the level change which also acts as a seating area with hidden storage underneath.

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In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the designers kept strictly to a specific material palette of dark wood, micro-cement, and some stainless steel accents. This can be seen in the TV console which combines all three materials to great effect. 

"The TV console joinery is elevated above the ground and uses the same material as the featured staircase step, dark wood, while the shelving unit is stainless steel with rounded edges that flow toward the TV," says Wong.

"It was my first time using stainless steel for a residential project and I think the combination between the dark wood and stainless steel gives it a pleasing contrast. I used stainless steel mostly for the shelf as a highlight, and micro-cement is used to blend in the dark wood laminate to the white wall."


Details maketh the design and the designers were meticulous in detailing the home to meet the client's precise requirements. For example, they included a recessed area at the corner of the staircase to sink in an indoor plant. "We like plants but kept them to a minimum in this home as we didn't want the plants to be the focus of the space. Moreover, the client is not keen on taking care of greens as well," says Wong.

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Other details are less design-driven but ensure the tidy finishing of the design like hiding the cable trucking underneath the wall behind the TV area (which had no wall panel) for a neater outcome.

A guest room was created on the ground floor which includes a basin for convenience. Here a feature wall at the basin ends with another slim gap and a rounded edge, this detail prevents the natural light to shine directly into the guest bedroom but allows it to blend in the basin wall seamlessly by wrapping around the curved wall that extends from the staircase.

Furniture and lighting, which were largely sourced from overseas, were kept in a consistent design vocabulary and neutral palette, with nods to Bauhaus classics such as Jean Prouvé's Standard dining chairs and Michel Ducaroy's Togo sofa. Some decorative objects are by DSS Lab, DualSpace Studio's space to explore new materials and create objects.

Needless to say, the clients were thrilled with the results; more importantly, no friendships were harmed in the making of this home.

"The clients love it even though they have very high standards, but we are proud to say we fulfilled all their needs and reached their expectations. We really appreciate their trust throughout the whole process." 


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