SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Ten years ago, it was just a family of four living in the Class Bungalow (GCB) perched on the highest point at Jervois Hill: Chan and his wife, plus their daughter and son. Today, the family members have more than doubled to nine, including their son-in-law, three grandchildren and their pet dog.
Living room with bookmatched Italian marble flooring (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The five-bedroom GCB with about 12,000 sq ft in built-up area was designed with the flexibility to accommodate such lifestyle changes. The living and dining area has a high ceiling of more than 4m, and has glass sliding doors opening out to a 21m swimming pool and landscaped garden.
The house has three levels. On the first level is the spacious living and dining area, as well as a wet and dry kitchen. The dry kitchen is fully equipped with top-end Gaggenau appliances, Sub-Zero refrigerator, wine chiller, and finished with a quartz countertop and mirrored television. There are also two en suite bedrooms on the same level as the dining area. One of them is used as a guest room, while the other has been converted into a mahjong room for the wife.
In the basement is a sizeable entertainment room with a home theatre and a temperature-controlled wine cellar for up to 1,000 bottles. “My wife loves to sing and dance,” says Chan, a businessman who enjoys golf and loves tennis. “Before Covid, we used to have friends come over on weekends, and we would enjoy good wine together.”
The bar counter of honeyed onyx, backlit by LED lighting (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Some of Chan’s friends enjoy watching soccer with him on the big-screen television in the living room. Adding to the enjoyment is a bar counter on the staircase landing between the living and dining rooms. The standout feature of the bar counter is that it’s made of honeyed onyx, backlit by LED lighting. “We wanted an accent point for the house, which is largely black and white,” says Chan. “In the evenings, when the LED light is on, it is very eye-catching.”
However, Chan’s favourite part of the house is the dining room, where “I have my coffee and read the papers”, he says.
‘Super-sized’ bedrooms and more
On the second level are three “super-sized” en suite bedrooms for the family — the master suite for Chan and his wife, and one en suite bedroom each for their daughter and son. Each en suite bedroom is about the size of a private condominium unit today, and comes with a balcony to enjoy the view from its vantage point.
The master bedroom with en suite bathroom, balcony and his and hers wardrobe (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The master bedroom has a huge balcony overlooking the Chatsworth and Bishopsgate GCB area, as well as Orchard Road in the distance. Within the master bedroom is a generous en suite bathroom with bathtub, long vanity top with his and hers sinks, as well as separate shower and water closet compartments. Leading from the master bathroom is a walk-in wardrobe for Chan, and a separate one for his wife.
All the bathrooms are fully marbled. In fact, another highlight of the house is that the marble flooring in the living and dining areas is book-matched. Chan is said to have spent over $1 million on marble from Italy. Even the onyx bar counter and the travertine cladding on the exterior walls are from Italy.
On the rooftop is a gym that opens out to a roof terrace with a view of Orchard Road. “We play a lot of sports, and we all play tennis,” says Chan. “So we have a gym to make sure we stay fit, and won’t get injured easily.” There is also a built-in sauna adjacent to the bathroom on the same level. “My wife loves sauna, so this is specially built for her,” he adds.
The gym on the third floor of the house, which opens out to the roof terrace (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
There is also a spacious loft with pitched roof on the attic level. This is another of Chan’s favourite rooms in the house, and he uses it as his study. There is also a concealed storage space within the study for his prized art collection. Adjacent to the study is the music room, where Chan’s wife practises singing.
‘Highest point on Jervois Hill’
Prior to moving to Jervois Hill, the Chans had lived in the East Coast of Singapore, having moved here from Hong Kong in 1990. The Chans were looking for a suitable land plot to build their own home back in late 2004. Their first choice then was naturally the Mountbatten area in prime District 15 — the most prestigious landed housing address in the East. However, six months later, they still could not find a plot that they liked.
That was when a real estate agent suggested that they could consider Jervois Hill, located off Jervois Road and Tanglin Road. Hong Leong Holdings was offering GCB plots of over 15,070 sq ft each for sale at that time. “The address sounded good as it is in the Tanglin area and prime District 10,” relates Chan.
View from the roof terrace of the house (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The Chans paid a visit to Jervois Hill, and checked out the different plots. “I discovered that this plot is on the highest point of Jervois Hill,” relates Chan. “And I told my wife, we don’t have to look any more. This plot is the one.” And they proceeded to purchase the site in 2005.
As Chan wanted to build “the best home” for his family, he went through multiple rounds of design changes with his architect and contractor until he was satisfied with the layout. And he took time to select the materials and fittings.
He also ensured that the house was bright and airy, that all the rooms were of regular shape, with high ceiling and more importantly, with a view. “If you look at the pool from the living room, it’s very open and there’s a lot of greenery,” says Chan.
View of the 21m lap pool and landscaped garden from the master bedroom (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The view from the master bedroom is “fantastic”, exclaims Chan. “It’s hard to find a landed property in Singapore with such a view: in front of you is the swimming pool and the garden, but you also have a view of Orchard Road and ION Orchard in the distance.” From the roof terrace on the attic level, “you can see one-quarter of Singapore”, he adds.
However, Chan and his wife could soon be empty-nesters. Their daughter and son-in-law have purchased their own home, and intend to move out soon, along with their three children. Chan reckons it is a matter of time before his son will move out too. “So it will just be my wife and me,” he says. “And I think the house is a bit too big for the two of us. That’s why we want to sell it.”
The asking price for the GCB at Jervois Hill, which sits on a freehold site of 15,192 sq ft, is $37.8 million ($2,488 psf). Chan has appointed OrangeTee Advisory executive director Edmund Lee, together with Tay Liam Hiap, director of investments & advisory, and Garrett Oh, senior manager of investments & advisory at OrangeTee Advisory, as the exclusive marketing agents for his property.
The loft-style study at the attic of the house (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The latest transaction on Jervois Hill is the GCB located directly across the road, which changed hands for $30.88 million in January 2019. As the property has a land area of 15,194 sq ft, the land rate works out to $2,032 psf, according to Lee. The other transaction is for a newly-built GCB at 3 Jervois Hill which changed hands for $41.2 million ($2,729 psf) in June 2018. It set a new record for GCB transactions then.
Nearby on Chatsword Road, a GCB sitting on a 14,999 sq ft, freehold site was sold for $28 million ($1,867 psf) in August. In the same month, a bungalow on Cable Road, opposite the High Commission of Malaysia, fetched $18.9 million. Sitting on a land area of 12,980 sq ft, the price translates to $1,456 psf.
In October, a bungalow sitting on a freehold site of 10,571 sq ft on Chatsworth Road was sold for $17 million ($1,608 psf). An Inlis search showed that the seller is private investor Cheong Sim Lam (who owns Ascott Raffles Place and a substantial stake in International Plaza, developed by his family), while the buyer is Chin Voon Fat, UOB head of group wholesale and markets.
View of the second floor terrace and the swminng pool and the deck on the first level of the property at Jervois Hill (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“There’s a lot of money sloshing around,” says OrangeTee’s Lee. “With continued low interest rates, possible stabilisation of Covid-19 situation in Singapore and the new Tech.Pass announced in November, we should see a healthy stream of technopreneurs coming to Singapore. And they should be looking to buy property.”
A lot of people had stayed on the sidelines, expecting prices to correct as a result of Covid-19. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case,” adds Lee. “I think Singapore is politically stable and the government is transparent. That helps.”
He expects the GCB at Jervois Hill to appeal to new Singapore citizens who want a home that they can settle into quickly, rather than having to tear down and rebuild. “They would only need to do a simple A&A [addition and alteration] or reconfigure some of the rooms if they want,” he reckons. “The house was designed with flexibility in mind. There’s also space for a lift shaft, if the new owner wants to build a home lift.”
Homeowner Chan reckons he spent about $5.5 million in the construction and fitting out of his house. “Construction cost was lower then,” he says. “If someone were to build a bungalow of a similar quality today, it would cost about $8 million. Hopefully the buyer will keep the house, and just do some A&A.”
OrangeTee’s Lee adds that the home is ideal for a multi-generational family. The GCB at Jervois Hill is available for sale by private treaty.