The imposing mansion incorporates many unique features designed by the owner.
When it came to building his mansion at an ultra exclusive section of Mont’ Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, property investor Robert reckoned that he saved 30% off the cost of his RM5mil home by being hands-on.
Anyone who has engaged the services of building consultants and contractors in Malaysia will surely empathise with this property owner’s trying episodes in constructing his dream home for his family.
“When it comes to site supervision, the people engaged to do the job are never really there,” cited Robert, as one of the reasons for getting involved in the construction process and as a result, “lost a lot of weight”.
Savings Visiting his imposing mansion, it was clear that the man of the house and his wife – who declined to reveal personal details – personally selected many of the interior design features as well as finishing material. The couple moved into the triple-storey mansion in 2010 after nearly two years of construction work.
“If you rely on contractors to supply you the finishing material, you will have to pay top prices. By shopping around and looking for stone suppliers with leftover material from major projects, you can get great savings and perfectly good and large slabs at discounted prices,” advised the astute investor, who buys and upgrades property for re-sale.
“The cost of the finishing material for a luxury home can be as high as 70:30 ratio when compared to the construction cost,” said the man, referring to his choice of no less than 10 types of stones ranging from marble, travertine and granite – all imported.
Although the youngish couple engaged an architect friend from a major firm to do the needful, there was obviously room for improvement in the design process. For example, the mistress of the mansion wanted the showcase kitchen to have a view of the surrounding greenery and knew just the spot. While the architect eventually complied with the clients’ wishes, the process was time-consuming.
“We didn’t actually have an ID (interior design) consultant,” pointed out the wife, “The ID was by me while the structure was controlled by my husband.”
Seamless The couple added that they were mindful that the finishing material should be of precise specifications. For example, the acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate countertop in the kitchen, had to be of a certain thickness to be aesthetically pleasing and to reflect a solid look. Even the wood grain of the exotic timber veneer in the kitchen had to match seamlessly, when joined.
The wife stressed that her immaculate kitchen was not just for show, as she often made “tong sui” (soup-like Chinese dessert). She also likes to bake butter, chiffon and cheese cakes with her De Dietrich oven. The whole family likes to eat in the kitchen rather than have their meals on the custom-made, marble-and-steel table in the formal dining room.
Project tender When the building plan was completed and submitted to the relevant parties for approval, a quantity surveyor was engaged and tenders were called.
Although the project was completed within budget, the 18-month deadline was exceeded by a couple of months. Among the trying moments, was when the main contractor met with cash-flow problem and couldn’t proceed according to plan.
Fearing the worst, the owner took control of the project and dealt directly with all the sub-contractors. The main contractor agreed to be relegated to a subordinate role in order to continue.
One reason for being able to meet the budget was because the owner was an experienced investor who had done home construction projects in Damansara Heights and other upscale neighbourhoods, and were familiar with the nitty-gritty of it all.
Low-density The couple’s bungalow lot spans 836sq m (9,000sq ft), and was purchased 10 years ago from Sunrise Bhd. A total of 47 lots were available in this 5ha (12.4 acres) enclave. The development was launched in 2008. The lots range in size from 613sq m to 901sq m (6,600sq ft to 9,700sq ft).
A low-density gated community, there are only three units per acre on average. With six design plans offered by the developer, each proposed two-storey and 2½-storey bungalow was envisaged to have its own lap pool, outdoor bath, indoor Jacuzzi and private courtyard.
From left to right:
Each custom-made door weighs a hefty 200kg;
A cladding of hardwood panels ingeniously clad the 90-degree corner perfectly.
Naturally, security is extremely tight here and the development comes with facilities such as water features, walkways, street furniture, pergolas, children’s playground, a jogging path and pedestrian crossing.
Said the owner: “The developer’s price at that time was RM240 per square foot. Now, there are only a couple of lots left. The asking price is up to RM650 per square foot for the land.
“To build a home like ours, it would now cost RM400-RM450 per square foot with bungalow-quality finish.”
But in constructing his 10-bedroom, 1,115sq m (12,000sq ft) mansion, the owner not only scoured all the best deals in town for bathroom fittings and flooring material, like white oak for the upper floors, he also incorporated his own nifty designs.
For instance, the main doors each weigh a hefty 200kg of solid hardwood secured with an Ezon electronic lock from Samsung. The portal is built with 13 yellow granite boulders with the smallest block weighing 60kg. The stone steps leading to the entrance are also fancy granite imported from China.
Even a Petrof grand piano appears small, within the unconventional living room. Notwithstanding the huge space, this area has only one couch matched with a stainless steel bench for a coffee-table.
Child’s work From the ground floor looking up to the triple-volume ceiling, a large painting of vibrant tulips hang on a wall upstairs. This eye-catching painting and others in the mansion were painted by the couple’s talented son. Apparently, the son is also a gifted pianist who occasionally gives piano recitals at home.
Above the piano, steel steps cantilever out from the wall and lead to the upper levels. On the first floor, a heavy-duty, sliding glass panel secures the landing space. It can be locked to seal the upstairs area from the ground level.
In the master bedroom, a sliding panel opens up to an adjoining guest room. And the smaller room is connected by a short corridor linked to the son’s bedroom.
The casement windows in the master bedroom also have an unusual design with a top-hung pane that can be opened for ventilation even if it rains. On a façade wall outside a window, is a cladding of timber that ingenuiously hugs the 90-degree corner.
Obviously, the mansion not only has an audio-visual room and an exercise room but a pool as well as a garage that shields the parked cars from view. A control room equipped with closed-circuit TV screens monitor everything that goes on within and even outside the mansion.
In this home, everything that a well-to-do family could possibly want has been designed. Nothing is left to chance.
From left to right:
The unusual staircase is another design concept by the owner;
The son’s painting of tulips hang on the first floor but highly visible from the ground floor living room;
The mansion is also equipped with a DomusLift elevator.
Source by: The Star
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