As a trained architect, Chin Yew Chong has worked on large-scale architectural projects like the Cube Boutique Capsule Hotel and the reconstruction of office spaces. So when the founder of RSDS Architects took on the renovation works for his own abode in Waterwoods, it was really a labour of love and clever planning. Together with this wife, Ong Su Ee, who is also an architect, Yew Chong took a practical approach when planning for the renovation. He explains, “We did not follow a specific theme for our home but there were certain issues that we wanted to solve that led to the final design.”
The family kept to a budget of $35,000 and a timeline of eight weeks to realise their ideal space – a true feat for a well-put together space that exudes a timeless and cosy vibe.
One of the couple’s main concerns was that the living and dining areas felt small. To open up the space, they decided to introduce a wall of tinted mirrors at the dining area to visually double the space. The balcony floor was also levelled to the living area with raised timber decking to allow the living and dining spaces to spill out into the alfresco zone when the sliding doors are opened.
As Yew Chong works from home, he needed a home office that is bright and efficiently laid out to contain the equipment and documents required for his work. Full-height glass panels and door were installed here for a couple of reasons. One was to create a visual connection between the home office and the adjacent living room. The second was to allow natural light to flow into the previously dark and narrow corridor. This simple tweak ultimately allows the common areas to visually flow into the home office, giving the illusion of more space.
The corridor, in turn, has been transformed into a gallery of sorts. Track lighting installed along the ceiling bathes the space with a gallery-like atmosphere, where family photos could be highlighted.
Despite the practical spatial planning, the four-bedroom home exudes a laidback and relaxed vibe. This is thanks to a neutral colour palette and the natural textures seen on surfaces and furniture. Pieces like the sofa, TV console and side table feature richly textured surfaces that reflect their most natural forms, while the floor has been laid over with interlocking vinyl planks with timber grains.
As a contrast to these warm wood tones, a feature wall in the living room was finished in raw cement plastering, which was deliberately applied in large, bold strokes. “We asked the plasterer to apply the plastering in big strokes randomly so to achieve a pattern that is reminiscent of large abstract paintings,” Yew Chong explains, “We think that the raw finishing gives character to the space.”
Another thing that the couple wanted was to have the option to accommodate changes as their two daughters, aged seven and eight, grow up. As such, they chose to furnish their space with loose furniture, instead of built-ins, to allow for these changes. The daughters’ bedroom, for example, sport simple solid wood bed frames paired with matching nightstands. To add some colour and playfulness befitting of young children, brightly-hued decals were stuck onto the walls.
With its unfussy furnishings and neutral colour palette, the master bedroom is a true sanctuary in every sense of the word. Cement plastering was once again applied to an entire wall for an edgy look. This works as a juxtaposition to a series of low-slung storage units and a solid timber bed frame, which was chosen for its clean and simple design.
This family home proves that a cosy and well-loved home need not be lavish. With its choice of materials and clever modifications, the Chins’ dwelling encapsulates the idea of living comfortably all while anticipating the needs of every occupant.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the May 2017 issue of SquareRooms.