Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in Argentina. She used to peek through windows of houses just to see what the homes looked like inside. Her curiosity for all these different interiors was also an innate curiosity for the different ways people live. That little girl was me.
People design according to how they want to live. So, by seeing different interior design in homes, we see subtle clues of what is important to that family. We can understand what they love doing, how the family dynamics work and whether they like solitude or socialising, playing together or apart. Great architects and interior designers have to be good listeners. They need to understand what’s important to that particular person, couple or family and create a home that will work for each individual and the family as a whole. There is no point in creating a “shallow” home. One that looks amazing on the outside but is completely unfunctional as a home. The ultimate goal is to have it all. A stunning house that not only looks gorgeous on the outside but also has the family dynamics incorporated, as well as functionality. After all, that’s what great design is all about.
It was so lovely to see the new home by Biombo Architects CALA SAONA in real life. That little girl inside of me couldn’t wait to get in there and not just take a little peek from outside, but actually go in and experience it.
CALA SAONA is otherworldly. The entrance is a jungle maze that amazes you, even as an adult. With huge palm trees planted inside the house, your eye goes up and see the enormity of this double height and light filled home. But as you keep walking and arrive at the living area, that’s when the second “wow” occurs! The living, kitchen, dining area can be completely opened up to let the breeze in. The whole living space directs you to the garden and the huge resort-like pool area that overlooks the rice-fields below and to the side. Wow, Wow, Wow!
The state-of-the-art kitchen can be opened up or closed off. It has sliding doors in 4 places making it completely open and breezy or closed up to keep the cooking smells away from the living spaces.
The kitchen leads on to an outdoor dining area which is perfect for al fresco dining. The living area has a sunken sofa, making the disparity of heights even clearer and leading your eyeline to the beautiful blue of the swimming pool. To the left of the living room is a multi-functional room that can be used as a playroom, study or guest bedroom, or even incorporated into the rest of the larger space.
To the left of the living room is a huge 9-metre high wall, which has been hand-worked by a stonemason, using a local batu bukit stone. The natural textured walls and the palm trees bring the outside world into the inside of the house. The palm trees that have been planted on the outside of the living area come through the first floor balcony, continuing the very jungle design we experience downstairs.
There are three bedrooms upstairs. All with their own on-suite. The far-left bedroom is absolutely beautiful with high ceilings all finished with teak wood, large windows and views of the jungle below. What I love about Biombo Architects is their thought process. It’s clear that they don’t simply think of the architecture first, and then at the last minute consider the interiors as an afterthought. Instead, they do it all symbiotically and with great ease. The final result is always exquisitely put together.
The other two bedrooms are interconnected. Starting with a children’s bedroom that is so beautifully decorated, it’s a Pinterest dream! This kid’s room leads to the master bedroom and what a master bedroom it is!
First of all, the views are spectacular. With the uninterrupted rice-field and mountain views, you can’t go wrong. The stone mason work we witness in the living room wall is repeated in the master bedroom. The bathroom vanities were integrated in each of the bedrooms, making complete sense for a bathtub to take centre stage in the master bedroom.
Downstairs, the garden and pool area are dream-like. It feels like a hotel rather than a home. The work around the pool and the stone they have used for the pool is absolutely outstanding.
In the basement, we find the last bedroom of the house – also with an en-suite. A simpler but generous and equally beautiful bedroom. A perfect retreat for visiting family or friends staying over.
Biombo have created the perfect marriage of design, function and the incorporation of natural surroundings into this building. They developed a space where interiors and exteriors blend together to create a perfect home. With their skills in architecture and knowledge of interiors, they know that creating a home is much more than putting in pretty furniture. A home is the material realisation of ourselves.