There’s no escaping the fact that in a country with a limited land area like Singapore, the new developments that are available to homeowners tend to have a smaller land area as well. But ask any good interior designer and they’ll tell you this: it is not the number under the square footage that matters, it is what you do with the number presented to you that counts. And this three-bedroom apartment perfectly embodies that principle.
On paper, this 789-square foot space – relatively smaller compared to other three-bedroom condominium units built earlier – might not seem like much. In actuality, however, the newly renovated home has so much going for it, and has a look and feel that belies its small size. Home to working professional Raymond Wong, his wife and their son, the stunning transformation of the home was a combined effort between the family and their designers, Vincent Goi and Catherine Low from interior design firm Arkhilite.
Having been the family’s designers when they previously lived in an HDB flat, it was a no-brainer for them to engage Vincent and Catherine for their new renovation project. Additionally, their already established working relationship meant that the designers were able to clearly understand and execute the design dream that the homeowners had in their minds.
When asked for their design brief, the owners answered “Minimalist.” But they did not want the Japanese Muji-esque treatment that most of us have become so accustomed to when talking about minimalist interiors. In fact, they didn’t want their home to encompass any wood tones at all. What they wanted was a sleek and classy apartment that would feature plenty of clean lines and streamlined furnishings, which would also make use of a combination of granite and metal textures. Vincent elaborates, “While the homeowners provided us with interior photos from platforms like Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, we felt that there was no design value in copying the exact same look from these photos and pasting them into our client’s home. What we did instead was to keep the spirit of the theme from these pictures but then elevating the design to greater heights to create a home that is unique to our clients.”
With busy work lives and a young son in tow, the couple also wanted a space that would be easy to maintain on a day to day basis. To achieve this, they did away with unnecessary storage units. “We don’t like the bulky look and feel of excessive cabinets. Not only that, there’s also the temptation of buying more things if you have more storage. So by streamlining available storage, daily maintenance is kept easier, and we are also able to retain a spacious and airy vibe in the apartment,” homeowner Raymond explains. “Contrary to popular belief, storage is not always the end game when it comes to interior design,” Vincent adds.
Along the walls where most homes would feature built-in shelving units, this home has none. The only form of storage is a Grafunkt television console that houses the sleek entertainment system. The communal zones also feature another unique design element. Topped with a brass finishing, the wall behind the bar counter, sofa and television console is dressed with metal strips that have been joined together to form a frame, which adds some visual depth to the space.
Moving further into the home, one would come across the study. Traditionally, the design treatment of a space that’s used as a study would result in a number of built-in storage units installed. This isn’t the case here. Again using the same “lines as frames” approach in this space, textured laminates in a grey finish are joined together and extended from the walls up onto the ceiling, creating a cosy pavilion-like corner. In addition to the original full-height wardrobe provided by the developer, the only other form of storage in the room is a wall-mounted cabinet. Keeping things neat and streamlined, the cabinet features fully opaque grey-laminated doors that keep books and work documents hidden from sight.
When it came to the bedrooms, there was only one design philosophy both Raymond and Vincent wanted to follow. “The bedrooms are designed to be a celebration of ‘slow spaces’. They are a space to get away from all the outside noise, a space where we can leave our baggage at the door and just relax and unwind while we’re inside,” the designer explains.
For example, there is an absence of a television set in the master boudoir, allowing the couple to truly focus on getting a good night’s rest during the night. Not stopping there, the wall behind the bed was covered with wallpaper that has a sand-like finish, which adds some warmth to the space while still maintaining an overall calm. But what’s unique about this design feature is the matte-white circular structure that’s mounted in the middle of the wall. “We wanted something visually interesting in the space without being overly complex. Without any sharp points or edges, adding a circle that’s been sized in proportion to the back wall makes the overall space more calming and zen-like without appearing too busy.” Vincent explains.
When all’s said and done, it’s truly evident that the collective effort between homeowner and designer paid off. With both parties being so openly engaged and receptive to the proposed ideas and suggestions on the table, the end result is a personal haven that perfectly balances form and function in equal measure.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the September 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photos by Wong Weiliang