Hove Into View: Touring A Malaysian-Inspired Sayang House

London-based architect Carlos Gris built an invisible house imbue with fleurs and greenery verdure in Fensland, England.

A simple rectangular pavilion erected beyond an isolated site burst upon the view in the Fenlands of East Midlands (an hour north of London) after leaving uncultivated over the years. 18-months ago, architect Carlos Gris constructed this minimalist home for his aunt (Gretta Funnell) who returned to the UK after 20 years of living abroad in Malaysia. 

Named Sayang House, it was deemed a fitting tribute to Gretta’s late husband, Ray. He is still fondly remembered by his beloved together with the land. Blending in some Malaysian aesthetics into the design: spacious and airy elements with a large overhanging roof very much played into here. This new pavilion property concentrated on linearity and minimalism acquired both classical and modernist interior elements from Kuala Lumpur. 


Build safely with 8 meter deep piles as the foundation and a concrete ring beam on top. Then there were strong geometric roof parapets reflecting the area district and flat to the horizon. For the exterior building, the facade adopts bespoke Shou Sugi Ban (known as the Japanese technique) clad in wood that has been lightly charred and brown brushed, which echoes the muddy background of the marshland while incorporating the Finnish vernacular. 


Something out of ordinary: a rail track was designed for the purpose to run through a nearby field or drop over next door. Additionally, its agriculture seemingly offers unobstructed views of broad gardens shared by both residences. “There’s nothing unnecessary; Everything is done with a purpose,” said Carlos.

Simple yet highly complex, the front door sits on an existing weeping willow in the rear garden; stepping into the space and it’s looking clean with the opposite walls is floor-to-ceiling glazing to provide a direct frame to the external garden. As a side note, walls and ceiling were made using Structural Insulation Panels which have strong thermal resistance look beyond strangeness with overall green features.

By way of interior furnishing, it first reaches two guest bedrooms located at the front of the house, along with the main bathroom, a lounge, and a boot room. The rear area boasts a stunning view connecting the bathroom to the garden; a spacious kitchen dining space and living room there close to the third and main bedroom.

Gazing from these seats through plenty of large windows captures a serenity, perhaps a return to a peaceful life. Despite the movement around, what can be felt inside is only calm and harmony. Put it this way, Sayang house builds up very important memories to hold on to for the rest of Gretta’s life.

Photos by Ed Reeve / Carlos Gris Studio

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