After working for architecture and landscape architecture firms in Singapore and Perth, Ms Chong established her own practice in 2015 to gain work-life balance. She now works on one or two projects at a time, giving these homes her complete focus.
“Designing or renovating someone’s home is a big responsibility and I think it’s really important I am able to give my clients and their homes my personal attention,” she said.
In terms of design process, Ms Chong said the first step was always to listen carefully to the client to determine their brief – what they want for their home and how they live or want to live. Her next step is then to consider the site and context, existing features, constraints and opportunities.
With a background in landscape architecture, one opportunity Ms Chong always considers is how to blur the boundaries between exterior and interior.
“I think most people want to connect with nature, greenery and garden spaces when they are indoors, so this is one of my major considerations,” she said.
For this reason she looks at outdoor spaces in parallel with the interior when designing homes.
Another opportunity Ms Chong considers is how to make her clients’ homes sustainable. In particular, how the fundamental principles of passive design can be used to minimise energy use.
“Building orientation and house planning to provide natural light and ventilation throughout the home is a must,” she said. “Openings, shading and thermal mass must all be considered for good passive design.”
In selecting materials, Ms Chong looks for those that are sustainable and low in embodied energy where possible, but also considers the emotional qualities of materials.
“For example, timber adds warmth, while concrete provides a sense of permanence,” she said.
In terms of design trends, Ms Chong is pleased to see a genuine interest in the local landscape evolving in Perth and would love to see this extend further into home design.
“A growing awareness of the unique and beautiful Western Australian landscape and cultural character is informing the art, food and music scene in Perth,” she said. “Architecture which celebrates the unique light, materials and robustness of WA would enable the evolution of a built landscape that is distinctly Western Australian.”
Ms Chong’s favourite part of designing homes is being able to create beautiful homes for people that not only answer their brief, but give them much more.
“Homes should give you joy, they should be reflections of ourselves and provide rich settings for our lives,” she said. “It’s really exciting to be part of that process and to be challenging people’s ideas of what their houses could be.”