Coming from the architecture field, both Tia and Budi had their own vision on designing their cozy house. The first time they came to see the land there were three big trees and now are glad that they decided to keep it. Unfortunately, the durian tree didn’t last because it died out of a firing, leaving the house with two big trees, which popped into mind when they were trying to find a name for the house. “Rumah Dua Pohon” was built in 2011 and were divided into three phases, considering the family needs and budget in constructing.
With two kids running around the house, Tia did her best in designing a house that has great circulation flow and maximize its natural lighting through glass walls, without forgetting to provide a lush backyard for the kids to play at. She has a strict rule on decorating which is to not overpower the interior of the house itself and enabling family members to move freely throughout the space. Comfort was one of the most important aspect in designing this house because Budi works at home most of the time so to be able to keep ideas flowing, he aimed to have a comfortable space.
The house of which is 163 m² located in South Tangerang uses different types of material which was a result of the couple’s exploration and curiosity through each of its uniqueness. Wood, steel, iron, GRC (glass-fiber reinforced cement), and exposed cement could be easily found throughout the elements of the house. Besides Tia’s hustle and bustle in raising her two kids while working in the architecture firm, she spends her free time selling accessories such as scarfs which she designed herself and its graphic relates to her favorite theme which is nature.
What do you and your husband do for a living?
I work as a project architect at a state-owned developer for projects focusing on hotels and private villas in Bali, meanwhile Budi has a studio that relates to 3d visualisation and animation. Besides that, in the future we plan on building a design studio which focuses on architecture and product design.
Tell us about the design concept of your home and why you chose this particular concept.
In 2011, we decided to build a house on a land which has three big trees including a mango, rambutan and durian tree. Without cutting down all those trees, we kept it as it is and the most interesting position is the rambutan tree which is at the center of the whole land. The other trees are located at the front and back of the house so it does not affect any design plans of the house. The rambutan tree led us to thoughts about which area of the house would suit perfectly with having a tree in it. From that point, a wide terrace which connects to the semi-open dining area and kitchen came to mind. Everything we needed and dreamed of went on from there; a house with a work studio, small area for workshop and a roof garden.
When the master plan of the house has been completed, we realized that we needed more funding to build the design so we decided to foresee this house construction as a living project and divide the time-frame into three parts. Currently we are at the 2nd phase.
Where do you get your inspiration in designing the house?
In the architecture world, inspirations usually come from examples or precedents of works that already exists and that information could be easily seen through media or even personal experiences. Our inspirations were very random and came from any place from a cabin in the outskirts of America, tea house in England, bakery in Spain, loft in New York, house in Vietnam, a nearby coffee shop or even the last villa we visited on our recent holiday trip. We would take bits and pieces of those inspirations and adapt the ideas based on our needs. Besides Pinterest, architectural forums and media that are our favorites to look for ideas are Archdaily, Living Asean and Freunde von Freunden.
As the house progresses, how did the sequence go and what were the considerations?
The main consideration would be the funding and what the family really needs. At the end of 2011 we built the first phase of the house which consists the living room, kitchen, service area and a working studio which was functioned earlier as a bedroom. We only had one kid by then so the need of having more bedrooms were unnecessary. Two years went by and with plans on adding a family member we slowly started the second phase which consist the build-up of the main bedroom and kids’ bedroom and both has its own industrial rustic bathroom.
This industrial rustic concept did not appear from the beginning, we only wanted to complete the second phase by using materials that we have never tried before which is WF steel. This concept was very relevant to our limited budget, resulting in the use of other materials which are exposed such as brick walls, GRC (glass-fiber reinforced cement) wall and ceiling, cement flooring, sills, door, window and stair railings which all uses hollow iron.
Some vintage elements which are added such as the reused ‘Madura’ door was found at Ciputat three years ago, granite ceramic tiles which is like ancient tiles and vintage sewing machine’s leg used as the bathroom sink table’s leg.
We learned a lot from the second phase because it took three years to finish. With much time, we had the freedom to discuss on choosing the most efficient materials financially but still fits to the design concept. We saved a lot by not hiring a handyman because Budi helped on most of the heavy works during his free time such as electrical fittings, wall fixtures, woodworking, door-making, air-conditioning, water torrent, and paint works.
Until this second phase, rooms in our house has been completed so we are unsure on when to start the third phase. It would also adjust to our needs which we would want to have a bigger work space area in the future.
Through the many natural materials used, how did you maintain the house and how often?
High humidity was one of the consequences we had to face because of the location of the house being it under a tree. Besides creating many window openings for good air flow, we also chose materials that would last long, age well, were easy to find and easy to maintain such as stone, iron and wood. With an open space layout plan and a tree at the center of the house, wind and rain drops are a part of what we experience daily. Maintenance is pretty much the same with other houses but with two kids the sofa requires washing every month.
With two children, how did you consider child safety in the design?
We enjoy introducing new types of materials to the kids and its interesting ways of being implicated. For an example, we implicate glass walls which others would think twice to do in their kids’ room. Our plan is to have this room used by them by the time they turn seven years old where they already understand what glass walls function as and are careful enough to take care of themselves. Apart from that, we always try to keep the house away from clutter and not having much belongings so kids could move around freely.
How often do you redecorate or change the settings of the interior?
Until this point we never felt that the house has been decorated fully because we have been focusing on the build-up of the house itself. With our two kids around, we haven’t really maximized the space for decorations. The living room would be the room which is frequently changed, especially decorations on the exposed white brick walls. This is also because the walls are easily damp which causes wood-framed décor to ruin fast. Our future solution would be changing the decorations to materials other than wood such as fabric or steel.
Which is your favorite part of the house and why.
I like the kitchen most because it is located at the center of the house which enables me to have a clear view to the living room, terrace and yard. Cooking has always been a therapy to me where I can experiment on new recipes without worrying about how it turns out because there would always be my husband who would finish all the food up. For him, his favorite place would be the rooftop because there he could imagine how the space would be like after it has been completed.
Can you share us some tips on decorating and creating a space that is comfortable for the whole family?
I believe that every person has their own taste in style such as shabby chic, american style, Scandinavian, bohemian, vintage, industrial and such but I personally think that decorations should have its limits because by having too much it could be storing dust and limit our movements around the room. I always make a big fuss to both my husband and kids to tidy up and put things right where they belong.
What has been the trickiest experiment made in renovating this house?
The most memorable was putting up sills for glass doors which was iron-framed. At first, we planned on using aluminium but the overall cost went far from our budget so the plan shifted to iron. We had no experience with sills in such big size so many steps were missed like applying the paint base and poor usage of sealant. The result was a bit less satisfying but budget-wise it was half the price of aluminium. With every experiment, there is a lesson learned to do things better the next time.
Why do you name your house “rumah dua pohon”?
This is because there are two big trees that has always been a part of the designing concept, which is the mango and rambutan tree. The third tree which was the durian tree did not age well because one of our handyman got it burnt and slowly the branches began to fall.
Where do you get most of the furniture and decorations in this house?
Most of the furniture are self-made by Budi which includes the wardrobe cabinet, bed-frame, shelves, TV cabinet, vanity table, and work desk. The furniture is made of a thrown-out mango wood from a friend, teak wood from remaining exported goods, tree branch for the door handle, iron pipes and hollow steel as well. My husband Is very passionate and strong-willed that he is determined to make all the furniture by himself so he learned woodworking and iron-welding techniques through self-taught.
The rest of the furniture such as sofa are bought from IKEA and vintage store-hunts. Some of the decorations are bought online but accessories such as cushions and wall-hangings are designed by me.
What are the best features in this house?
The rambutan tree which is at the center of the house and gives perfect shading throughout the house. Besides that, the fruits could be harvested during its peak season.
How do you usually spend your time at home?
We spend most of our time at the living room, kitchen and backyard. We really enjoy staying in the bed while reading as well, having pillow fights or even climbing wood niches. Through that activity, to create an area for wall-climbing came to mind.
What are your future plans for the house? Is there a time-frame or is this an on-going project that will keep going as trend changes?
Future plans would be to continue on starting the third phase of the design plan. Those include extending the studio and workshop, starting on the rooftop garden, move out the service room and fix the overall façade. We rarely follow the trend and like to follow our own preference or what we aim to try. We are still collecting design ideas and of course the funds as well.
How do you imagine an ideal home to be like? What is important to you in a living space?
Ideal for us is a place we would like to come home to because of its high comfort. Physically, a house should have a good layout where air circulation flows well and has much natural lighting. With both maximized, great comfort could be achieved. We think that besides having a clear concept of the design, it is even better if a house could reflect the owner’s personality and character.
What is the best creation that you have made and how long did it take for you to make?
Budi: The iron shelves in the work area because through the making of the shelf, I learned to weld and bend iron. During that time, it was my first time and I didn’t know the tricks on painting the material well so it needed more time to dry and finish until the wooden shelves were finally put up.
Tia: A painting of Biyyu and Banyu which is hung in their room. It took quite a while to finish because a lot of emotion were needed to complete the artwork.
Do you have any collection at home? Why do you collect those things?
We never collected any stuffs in particular but when the rooftop garden is completed, we would like to collect different types of plants.
Take a look of their comfy space through this video, a collaboration of us and Samber Rejeki.
Tia’s ability to cook had us lured into the kitchen which we waited patiently for her home-made dish to be served. With the whole outdoorsy ambiance, we experienced a calm and soothing feel throughout the visit. Better yet, the use of different kind of materials in the house gave us an eye-opening insight and inspirational tips to follow for budget-wise decorating. Thank you for such a knowledgeable trip, Tia + Budi!