Not many people would want to take on the daunting task of coordinating their home’s renovation without the help of an interior designer, but for mummy blogger Liang May and her husband Meyer Yang, it was a natural – and simple – decision. Realising that they already had such a strong sense of how they wanted their home to look like, the couple decided to cut out the middleman and take matters into their own hands. They then scoured sites like Instagram, Pinterest and other design websites to put together a mood board that would help to clearly relay their intended design concept to their contractor. From then on, it was all about making a dream into reality.
Retaining the kitchen and the common and master bathrooms as how the developer designed it, the homeowners concentrated on imparting each inhabitant’s personalities into the communal spaces and bedrooms. For starters, the living and dining room’s placements were swapped, offering the family of four a bigger space to accommodate visitors whenever necessary. And to highlight the unit’s high ceilings, 1m-high wainscoting was added along the walls too. While the lack of a television set in the communal zone might seem odd to outsiders, the decision was an easy one for Liang May and Meyer. Believing that a living room – or in this case, a dining-cum-living-room – should cultivate meaningful conversations and genuine interactions instead of being a space where everyone just sits around with their eyes glued to the television, the omission of a television set thus serves a practical purpose for the homeowners and their hosting duties.
Largely inspired by art murals, the dining zone’s botanical-inspired wallpaper was just the start of the family home’s many eye-catching feature walls. Unable to find ready-made shelves tall enough to complement the high ceilings, Liang May had the shelves customised, which the carpenter made from plywood and finished with dark woodgrained laminates, complete with a white backing to create a seamless continuity with the rest of the wall. A giraffe canvas painting, which the couple bought from the Affordable Art Fair, ties the two wall features together.
When it came to her son Ewan’s room, Liang May’s heart was set on a monochromatic colour scheme. She decided on a Batman theme that the 5-year-old would not only love but one that would also fit into her design plans as well. Further accentuating the superhero theme was the use of multiple Batman wall decals and a three-dimensional wall hook. As the loft structure was from the developer, the original staircase finish was made from laminates and had many sharp edges. Foreseeing that the kids may stumble and fall if not careful, the couple made another thoughtful modification in the room by relining the staircase in black carpet to make the space kid-friendly while also providing colour consistency with the rest of the room.
Moving on to daughter Faye’s bedroom, the space features various shades of dusty pink that is befitting the young occupant. Steering clear from a typical children’s bed, Liang May worked with custom crafted interior decor shop Urban Li’l to create a customised house-framed bed. Similar to her brother’s room, Faye’s personal space also features a full timber loft structure, specially constructed and installed by the carpenter. On the loft hides the little girl’s playroom and library, highlighted by a watercolour feature wall of carousel and fairy lights.
As the original layout of the master bedroom was compact, the couple made a decision to hack a hole in the wall to combine the master bedroom and an adjoining bedroom to create an expanded private living space. To cater to a home theatre system, the original wardrobe in the master bedroom was removed and replaced with a television-cum-display cabinet made from a wooden frame and finished with grey laminates. The final modification made in this room was a solid wood bar counter. Installed on the plain wall next to the pull-out sofa bed, the bar counter offers a cosy area for either Liang May or Meyer to complete their work before heading to bed.
The self-helmed project wasn’t without its fair share of challenges though. For one, the couple wasn’t experienced or trained in the art of interior design and found themselves doubting if the colours and designs they chose for respective furnishings and fittings would complement each other in the same space. Secondly, Meyer’s job and EMBA studies saw him travelling quite frequently, leaving Liang May to oversee and make decisions for quite a fair bit of the project by herself. But if anything, this savvy couple is the perfect example of how anyone can create their dream home even without the help of an interior designer.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the February 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photos: Wong Weiliang.