Tucked away within the misty jungle hills of Bentong, Malaysia, lies a modern abode designed by Architect Choo Gim Wah that balances traditional aesthetics with a harmonious co-existence with nature. Casually named the Smolhaven House, this inviting one-and-a-half-story hillside villa takes inspirational notes from the classic Malay kampung house featuring a pitched roof and a 3.5-meter cantilever, to give the house a beautiful and dynamic silhouette.
Smolhaven’s large wide roof overhangs stand in contrast to its cozy and idyllic personality. The property comprises a single bedroom, a loft, a kitchen, and an open concept living room that connects to an expansive deck that leads to the house’s scenic surroundings. It offers sun-shading and rain-deflecting properties and features multiple glass doors that serve to extend its openness appeal.
Smolhaven leans towards lightness and a nature-inspired design language, retaining a sense of groundedness and connection to the site. Stone grey fiber cement envelops the property, providing a visual anchor, whereas a high rubble wall reinforces the rear. A massive boulder rests beside the open-air bathroom delivering a sense of gravitas. Lesser rock formations also line the exterior and enhance the property’s aesthetic as a hillside retreat.
The architects and designers of Smolhaven emphasise its open concept yet showcase restraint and sensibility. Dark grey steel structures and exposed brick merge with timbers to create a de rigueur and modern tropical Malaysian home. The interior also features seasoned Merbau that make up the loft, decks, and spiral staircase, whereas Nyatoh wood forms the elegant soffit.
The space benefits from copious amounts of natural light thanks to several full-height doors and windows that line the interior. The property also does not need air conditioning as it provides natural ventilation amidst the cool temperatures of Bentong, therefore making the main deck an ideal spot for both sunbathing and overnight camping.
Smolhaven House embodies balance – between traditional Malaysian village living with modern sensibilities and lightness with a sense of grounding. This home radiates charm by effortlessly integrating itself with its surroundings – a haven for any small family or vacationing couple.