Dynamic Duo: Home Design in Your Own Hands

You don’t have to be a professional to design your home from scratch. Take it from the owners of the ever-evolving @dillydally.home.

Renovation in this day and age goes something like this: You find an ID, choose one of the trending themes as if they were ice-cream flavours of the month, and keep your fingers crossed till handover day. But what happens when what you’re craving isn’t on the menu?

When Jason and Vanessa found themselves in this position over a year ago, they decided to take things into their own hands. A gutsy move, since the couple has no creative background and this is their first home.

“We found ourselves developing an interest in home design, so much so that we are extremely involved and hands-on during the entire renovation journey,” shares Jason, a professional in public service.

“However, as we went through rounds of discussion, we got to understand our needs and priorities better, and our ideas evolved to encompass that.”

So while professionals were roped in mainly to bring their design to life, they also helped Jason and Vanessa balance practicality and aesthetics – a delicate balance to strike in the look and feel they were gunning for.

Pieces with personality

“We wanted to create a cosy home that exudes character, not something that is defined by a single style. A home that grows and changes with us and which imbues happiness through the use of colours and dopamine decor.”

Dopamine decor, which took social media by storm in 2023, is a maximalist style emphasising bright colours, bold patterns, and unexpected textures. A departure from the “boring beige”, so to speak. And if picking from fifty shades of white stresses you out, imagine rinsing and repeating for all seven colours of the rainbow.

Needless to say, incorporating this many colours while ensuring a cohesive look was the biggest challenge. Jason and Vanessa went to the pains of obtaining all the material samples – paints, laminates, tiles, what have you – and assembling them to see if the colours, patterns, and textures play well together.

“We also went to the extent of viewing them under different lightings and at different times of the day on-site, and made multiple trips to see the samples in their true-to-size form,” he elaborates.

It’s been a year since the couple moved, but their apartment remains a work in progress. Eclectic finds from local vintage stores and homeware establishments abroad continue to sprout in the corners of their home, even as the space in their 4-room BTO flat dwindles.

“Each time we decide to buy a decorative piece, we would (consider) if we have a place for it. This helps  us to avoid unnecessary buys that create clutter and ensures that we only collect pieces that fit our home.”

A canvas for collectibles

The moment Jason and Vanessa laid eyes on the flat’s layout, they knew exactly where the heart of the home would be.

“Creating a dining space by the bay window seemed the most fitting. The idea of enjoying our meals while appreciating the beauty of the estate really appealed to us. Nowadays, it has become our go-to space for having coffee and zoning out,” Jason explains.

This part of the house teems with visual interest, from the mismatched dining chairs to the dark maroon settee, and a painted arch with wall shelves coated in pink. To create contrast, the living area is furnished with an off-white boucle sofa, cushions in characteristic variety, and art prints on an otherwise sterile wall.

“After browsing through countless posters, we finally settled on the Kinfolk x Alium collaboration from The Poster Club. Somehow or rather, it has become an iconic feature of the living room and we always joke that there is a second lady-in-charge in the house,” he muses.

“…the end-result embodies our belief that your home can be a place for all your favourite styles and items to come into one.”

The open kitchen is decked out in an earthy  colour palette and natural materials, and the adjoining service yard is transformed into a coffee nook, showcasing their coffee beans and a growing cup collection.

“For the common bathroom, we opted for a fluted door in the same laminate as the kitchen cabinets so that we can conceal it seamlessly. Many of our guests have no idea that the bathroom is there,” Jason quips.

In the study, a floating desk faces the windows instead of the wall, offering a refreshing change of scenery when the couple works from home. It accommodates two workstations that reflect the personalities of their users and connects to a bright yellow corner adorned with more collectibles.

Breaking the boundaries

The dopamine decor takes a break in the master bedroom, and our first clue is a black Victorian door with a fluted glass window.

The couple envisioned the entrance as a portal to a different zone altogether and created a relaxing atmosphere within with limewash paint and ambient lighting.

An L-shaped wardrobe was never in the cards; Jason and Vanessa weren’t fond of its angular design and the dead space it inevitably comes with. So, when their ID suggested replacing the wall between two rooms with a wardrobe, it was a “no-brainer”.

“In fact, this allowed us to re-demarcate and expand our master bedroom so there is more free space for walking, lounging, and even accommodating a baby cot in future,” he explains.

Across the room is a fabricated headboard, rocking a curved edge that complements the entrance of the master bathroom perfectly.

“We customised a bathroom door with double circle reeded glass and a half-moon door handle to let light diffuse into the room while ensuring continuity of the curved design,” Jason shares.

Like the common bathroom, it’s covered in four different tiles delineating the wet and dry areas, although Jason and Vanessa were a tad more experimental here.

“Our master bedroom is an enclave of its own. While the common bathroom is of a brighter theme that is cohesive with the other parts of the house, we wanted the master bathroom to be more playful and bold.”

So, even as the master bedroom gives off zen energy, a combination of coral flutes and dark blue terrazzo keeps things lively, serving as a reminder that this is a home that welcomes the unexpected.

“We tried to incorporate things we adore in all parts of the house, and the end-result embodies our belief that your home can be a place for all your favourite styles and items to come into one.”