With elegance and grace, a modern makeover can bring back the focus on living rather than preserving. And not just any kind of living. Owners of this remarkably renovated Peranakan shophouse in Singapore can pride themselves on enjoying an updated version of a home that served both as a residence and for commercial purposes. Known as the 17BR-House, it was completely changed in terms of functionality. Its designers, studio ONG&ONG, implemented the use of skylights in this redesign, promoting healthier living and privacy while turning the old Peranakan shophouse into a bright and inviting contemporary family home.

Originally built between 1900 and 1940, the original structure was saved by the owner’s desire to preserve the shophouse’s historical character while adding a modern flare to it. Details like the large Haiku ceiling fan in the living room provide a sustainable efficiency in a modern shell, linking the house to modern day. Recently transformed from an office space into this fine modern residence, the 17BR-House showcases the results of an elegant make-over that might inspire you this autumn.

The now warm and elegant family home was imagined as an oasis of modern comfort within a historical shell: “”In reinstating 17BR-House as a residence, an inner courtyard was created on the first floor, allowing sunlight and air to flow freely into and throughout the house. The installation of a green wall as well as the covering of the floor entirely in carpet grass transforms the courtyard into a quaint indoor garden. This space forms the visual focus for the first floor; with the absence of partition walls, there is a seamless visual transition from the kitchen at the back of the building to the living area at the front, allowing the family-oriented homeowner to interact with his children while indulging in culinary exploits in the kitchen. (…)

The shophouse’s rear comprises a kitchen, the service quarters as well as a 7-metre long swimming pool, with traditional glazed floor tiles and a replica spiral staircase at the back reminiscent of the shophouse’s early days.The façade’s restoration, with the reversion to a single pintu pagar door, the reinstatement of the traditional, taller windows on the second floor, and the use of shiny enamel-finished dado tiles, completes the project that goes beyond the creation of a perfect, modern family home to a preservation of an invaluable cultural heritage.”

Timber ceilings on the first floor provide a charming trip down memory lane to a more elegant time. We let ourselves be guided through the house by its designers: “The second floor holds two bedrooms; both share a bathroom, a long corridor lined with bookshelves and storage space, as well as equally enjoyable views, one of the traditional façade and the other of the green wall in the courtyard.” On the top floor, the master bedroom and a separate bathroom are connected by a long limestone slab shaping different functions.

Skylights in the roof guide natural light down on the dramatic spiral staircase connecting all levels and shining light on this fabulous remodeled home. Can the photos help you imagine living here?