Buro. Homes #3: Inside advertising guru Yang Yeo's eclectic art collection and three-storey house in Singapore
A house above
Award-winning creative officer at Hakuhodo Inc, Yang Yeo and his wife Ching Ian, chief executive officer of Starcom China, could easily have a second career in home design and flipping. Their previous residence, a 1920s refurbished shophouse nicknamed "A Lucky Shophouse" in Joo Chiat received one of the Architectural Heritage Awards given out by the Urban Redevelopment Board in 2013. Their latest home has picked up another design accolade, awarded to ipli Architects, the local architecture firm who they worked with on their new abode in Seletar.
Their love for the outdoors, natural materials, and textured detailing was apparent from the moment I entered their home, as was their love for contemporary Asian art that fills their walls, many of whom are the couple's personal friends. Designed to be a modern-day kampong home, join us for a look around "A House Above" below.
How did you find this property?
It was luck, really. We put in an offer for a landed property in the East Coast area, but it fell through and our agent suggested we check out this plot, which wasn't part of our consideration initially given it wasn't in the vicinity that we originally wanted. One lazy Saturday afternoon, after running out of shops to shop along Orchard Road, my wife suggested that we drive up to check out the property. It took us a mere 15 minutes to get there from Paragon. It was refreshing to see huge trees lining the Yio Chu Kang Road. The air was cleaner and the sky seemed bluer. The area felt less cluttered than most residential districts. It took lesser time than the drive for us to make them an offer, and our wonderful agent did the rest.
Tell us more about your design inspiration.
The simple pleasures of kampong living: socialising, planting, and chilling. I looked at the history of the area and the Malay word "Seletar" refers to the aboriginal coastal dwellers of the Orang Seletar River, which has since been dammed up to form the Lower Seletar Reservoir. Their blissful way of kampong living was inspiring for us, having travelled and lived in many cosmopolitan cities from around the world.
What was the design brief for your architect?
I first met Yuen Hong of ipli architects at the PDA award ceremony in 2012 when the firm was receiving an award for a residential project that I adored. I love the boldness, single-mindedness, and details in their design.
A few years later, when we found the property, I reached out to Yuen Hong and got him to visit the site. He checked out the topography and we discussed the possibilities. My wife dislikes artificial air-conditioning and I love plants and anything natural, so the brief was pretty straightforward yet ambitious. Build us a lush and natural space that would become a landmark in Singapore and beyond.
Do you have a favourite item or artwork in the house?
I don't have a favourite item, but I love the curation of all of them together.
Do you have any organizing, building, or design hacks?
You can never have enough storage spaces for your travel suitcases, long coats, hats, festive decors, and shoes.
Shop the look
Dedon Mbrace rocking chair, Xtra Living Singapore
Custom-made cushions, Long March Furnishings at Textile Centre
Kartell Kabuki standing lamps, Million Lighting Singapore.
Dining and living area:
Custom-made black forest marble dining table, Elite Stones Singapore
Dining chairs and hanging lamps, Lorusso Italia
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