Modern Design Meets Peranakan Accents in this Cosy Family Home


Delightful Peranakan accents add a joyful touch to this modern family home.

As frequent travellers to Malacca and Penang, the homeowners living in this 1,195sq ft resale condo love Peranakan culture and wanted to incorporate its rich colours and ornate patterns into the design of their new home. However, they wanted these signature traits to be interpreted in the decor in a more modern way. Having browsed D’Marvel Scale’s Instagram account and appreciating their aptitude for function and aesthetics, the homeowners knew that the design firm would be up for such a challenge and engaged Derrick Lim, design principal of D’Marvel Scale, for their renovation.

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Also tagged onto the brief was a request for the couple’s existing teak furniture and sofa to be incorporated into the new space, as well as a more functional kitchen as the lady of the house loves to cook for her family. The end result, the clients specified, was a dwelling that would feel homely and welcoming for gatherings.

Achieving the desired look would require treading a fine line between clean simplicity and eye-catching features. A minimalistic palette of grey and blue with hints of gold would work with both styles so this was adopted throughout the home.

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Since many of the wood furnishings would go into the living and dining areas, Derrick designed this shared zone with a more modern look to keep things feeling light and breezy. To refresh the space, chic and slim suspended track lights were installed along most of the perimeter, and the old laminate floorboards left by the previous owner were removed to reveal the flat’s original granite tiles. These were then buffed and polished to bring back their shine.

A custom display and storage unit flanks a wall in the dining section, letting the homeowners exhibit treasured possessions which can double as conversation starters when guests come over. Slivers of gold worked into the shelving lend a luxe touch, tying in the statement cabinetry with the brass chandelier overhead and the warm tones of the wood furnishings.

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Off to the side, the kitchen leans more heavily into the Peranakan vibe. Intricate floor tiles from Hafary deliver a hefty dose of traditional character, their jewel-toned blue accents travelling up the base cabinets to bump up the dramatic effect. Hexagonal knobs picked up on the homeowners’ travels adorn the sleek built-ins, imparting a whimsical feel to the kitchen.

In direct contrast, the home’s sleeping quarters and bathrooms are a vision of serenity. For the bathrooms, the homeowners asked for something simple but luxurious. Calming grey marble-look tiles and glass shower doors nail down the contemporary feel while
stunning blue tiles from Hafary, along with wood and brass details, echo these same elements elsewhere in the home.

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The son’s bedroom is a wonderful rest and play area for the two-year-old. There’s plenty of closed storage for convenience and easy clean-up, yet the room is not devoid of personality. A ledge by the window keeps a selection of favourite toys within reach, while the recessed niche built above the bed is another design detail meant to evoke a window looking out to mountains in the distance.

Just like the rest of the house, it’s the little things in the master bedroom that make a statement. Whether it’s the streamlined wardrobe that creates a focal point with minimal gold details, or the simple but unique set up by the bed comprising a circular Kartell Componibili storage unit and white bankers lamp from Chan Huat Lighting, there are many moments for the eyes to linger, proving that with the right touch, you can create a modern space that packs a lot of charisma.

This post was adapted from an article originally published in the March 2021 issue of SquareRooms.