When Michael Ang, managing director of property developer Hansa Land and builder, Hong Kiat Construction, came across the semi-detached located at the corner of Lengkok Merak, just off One Tree Hill, he felt he had to buy it. This was because the property sits on a 4,672 sq ft, freehold site, enjoys a double frontage, a quiet corner and elevation one floor above street level. “It is extremely rare to find a plot like this in One Tree Hill estate,” he says.
The swimming pool of the house Photo: Hansa Land(
Convinced that the land had all the right attributes he was seeking, Ang paid $9.02 million ($1,931 psf) for the property at 16 Lengkok Merak on April 28, 2018, in a deal brokered by SRI.
Ang appointed AR43 as the design architect for the property. “I interviewed six architects before I decided on AR43 because what I was trying to achieve was something unconventional, so I needed someone who was willing to give it a try,” says Ang. “I was always looking for the opportunity to showcase a belief of mine that large semi-detached houses, given the right attributes, can either be on a par with, or even better than, a similar-sized bungalow.”
AR43 is renowned for its design of landed property. Recent projects include CapitaLand’s Victoria Park Villas; Bukit Sembawang’s Paterson 3, a collection of two corner terraced houses; and the Tembusu House, a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Dalvey Estate.
The house has a double frontage at the corner of Lengkok Merak (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Double frontage, two separate entrances
At Lengkok Merak, Lim Cheng Kooi, principal director of AR43, took advantage of the double frontage to create two entrances: The side that is 27m in length, with a natural sloping terrain, made it an ideal entry point for the private basement garage. “Viewed from the side, it doesn’t look like a semi-detached house,” says Lim.
“I thought it was a waste not to take advantage of the 27m frontage, especially when it sits on an elevated site,” adds Ang. “I felt that by reorientating the house the way it is right now, we could design something that looks like a bungalow in every sense.”
Another entrance from the front of the house has a built-in parcel drop box for deliveries next to the gate, which is also a rarity, says Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI.
The house took more than two years to design and build. And Ang estimated the total construction cost to be close to $5 million. Its completion was derailed by five or six months due to Covid-19 last year. However, the completed product is a 10,000 sq ft, five-bedroom house across two levels, an attic and a basement. Even though it is a “linked detached house”, it has all the fittings and finishing of a Good Class Bungalow, notes Lye.
The façade is of timber textured concrete. “I saw this in Japan and loved it,” says Ang. However, creating the timber texture was “tedious, onerous work”, he adds. It helped that Ang owns a construction company and has the workers to build the house together with subcontractors.
Courtyard garden between the living and dining rooms (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Good Class Bungalow finish
Hong Kiat Construction’s origin in 1983 was as an engineering firm founded by Ang’s father. Over time, the firm specialised in the construction of GCBs. Meanwhile, Hansa Land participated in several landed property projects in joint ventures with other developers.
For the Lengkok Merak house developed by Hansa Land, which Ang says is the project he is “happiest” with, he spent close to $5 million on the construction and finishing. It is the little details too that make a difference.
For instance, AR43’s Lim pointed out the light switches which are located at waist level — a comfortable height for children as well as for those on a wheelchair. It also makes it easier for homeowners to hang their paintings, he adds.
The architect had also kept a neutral palette of white walls, black trim and timber finish. Even the taps, faucets and bathroom fittings are of the black range, notes Lim.
While the first-level living, dining and kitchen have marble flooring, the timber flooring, feature walls and wardrobe are of American walnut. One of the key features of the house is the view from the landing on the second floor. “When the lift door opens and you step out of the lift, the view will be of the tree at the courtyard,” says Ang.
According to AR43’s Lim, who designed the house and the landscaping, the leopard tree was selected for the courtyard as “it grows vertically and the branches don’t spread out”. In the evenings, when the lights are on, the shadows on the ground create a “nice effect”, he adds.
Kitchen countertop and feature wall of Italian Calacatta gold marble (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Another feature is what Ang calls the “instagrammable kitchen”. The centrepiece is a countertop made of Calacatta Oro marble, says Ang. He chose the white marble for its gold veins. The wall of the kitchen also features bookmatched Calacatta marble. Kitchen appliances are from top-end Swiss brand, V-zug, and include a food warmer and vacuum drawer, which is ideal for sous vide cooking.
There is a full-height glass partition door to close off the wet kitchen from the dry kitchen if heavy cooking is required.
The house is designed with two wings on the first level: the dining and the living rooms, says SRI’s Lye. The living room of the house has glass sliding doors that open out to a covered deck next to a pool. The pool is designed with a shallow end that is ideal for pool lounge chairs or as a children’s play pool, he adds.
There is also a powder room on the first level with direct access to the pool. Every bathroom in the house has a different marble design and feature wall, notes Lye.
The basement level is big enough to be used as a den, “man cave” or a home entertainment area. To bring natural light to the basement level, an air well was created with a water feature and a vertical green wall. The sliding glass panels can also be opened to allow natural ventilation, adds Ang.
The developer has also built in concealed storage rooms, including shoe wardrobe space at the basement level. The basement level is accessible from the private garage.
The second level has a family room and four en suite bedrooms, including a junior master bedroom. The junior master bedroom comes with a wardrobe space and expansive master bathroom with a bathtub. All the bedrooms are sizeable and come with a bank of windows fitted with privacy screen louvres that can be opened or closed remotely.
The onsen-inspired wooden tub un the master bathroom (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The third level or attic level is where the master suite is situated. The architect had designed the space as “a private sanctuary” for the homeowner. The 1,800 sq ft space has intentionally been left open to allow customisation according to the future homeowners’ lifestyle needs, says Ang.
Given the size, it can be carved into a sitting room, a work area and pantry (with waterpoint already built-in under the flooring). The sleeping area is positioned such that the view from the bed is of the greenery from the window across the room. The master bedroom has its own private balcony.
Ang’s favourite feature in the master suite is the master bathroom, designed with an onsen-inspired wooden bathtub. He had searched four different countries before he found an American company that could customise the panels for the wooden tub. “It wasn’t easy,” says Ang. “The tub is made of solid teak planks that have been soldered together.”
There is even a window next to the onsen-style bathtub, with a view of a bonsai tree. The master bathroom has Italian travertino cladding, and the tiles were treated to create a textured finish, adds Ang. The water closet is in a concealed, enclosed compartment at the corner of the master bathroom.
The master bathroom leads to the walk-in wardrobe, which has been designed with LED panel lights, with a dressing area and vanity mirror where the light can be adjusted to suit functionality or mood.
Most of the bathrooms and kitchen faucets and fittings are from the luxury Italian brand, Axor Citterio. The powder room, junior master and master bathrooms feature top-end Italian brand, Gessi and German brand, Dornbracht fittings. “We wanted to offer the market something very different,” says Ang. And he chose the black range, in keeping with the neutral palette of the house.
Side view of the linked detached (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Spillover demand from GCB market
Ang reckons the buyer of his house at Lengkok Merah would be someone “affluent, sophisticated and well-travelled”. The property carries a price tag of $16.95 million, or $3,628 psf based on land area.
Earlier this month, a semi-detached house on Lengkok Merak, located directly across from 16 Lengkok Merak, changed hands for $6.9 million ($1,905 psf). However, it sits on a smaller land area of 3,622 sq ft and is an older property. Another older semi-detached house at Jalan Kelawar, also in the One Tree Hill neighbourhood, fetched $7.288 million ($2,351 psf), based on caveats lodged.
Nearby, Lum Chang Holdings is developing 14 houses at One Tree Hill Collection. These are a mix of semi-detached and detached houses. Based on caveats lodged, the latest transaction was for a detached house sitting on a land area of 5,145 sq ft that fetched $15.5 million ($3,013 psf) in February last year. A semi-detached house sitting on a land area of 2,939 sq ft was sold for $9.168 million ($3,120 psf) in January 2019.
There are only a handful of freehold, private landed housing estates in the Orchard Road neighbourhood of Districts 9 and 10: One Tree Hill, Kim Lin Park, Kimsia Park and Emerald Hill Road, notes SRI’s Lye, the appointed marketing agency for the property at Lengkok Merak. “The property at No. 16 is the only linked detached house in the vicinity,” he adds.
Lye has already received two offers: One is from an Indonesian who is now a Singapore citizen, and another from a Singaporean doctor. “These are very keen buyers,” he says.
There is a lot of spillover demand from the GCB market, notes Lye. “Those who have sold their GCBs are looking to downsize to a smaller bungalow, and they prefer something new,” he says. “Of late, I have also seen interest coming from Singaporeans who have returned from overseas — from Europe, the UK, Hong Kong and the US.”
In the bungalow segment, buyers generally want generous-sized master bedroom and bathroom as well as living area, as these are the spaces where they spend the most time in the house, notes Lye. “Recently, due to work from home, there have been more home buyers requesting for a separate study, which can be closed off as an office for video-conference calls without interruption.”