Take A Tour Of This Dramatic Family Home That Dares To Embrace Its Dark Side


In the age where Scandinavian and minimalist design themes reign supreme, not many homeowners would want to take the plunge into having their homes clad in a dark colour scheme, believing that doing so would not only make a space feel smaller, but colder as well. However, the homeowners of this three-bedroom apartment in River Place did not carry the same sentiment. Working with designers Lawrence Puah, Jenny Phumthida and Ash Ashiqin of boutique interior design consultancy firm akiHAUS, the homeowners new digs embodies a cosy and comfy atmosphere filled with a variety of textures.

Wanting to create a seamless continuity in the home, the recessed portions of the communal zone’s walls were extended out to create a streamlined structure. The adventurous homeowners also requested for a predominantly black colour palette for the living and dining zones, which the designers catered for by cladding the walls in 1m by 3m textured black tiles. To cater to the homeowners’ extensive art collection, the designers also installed recessed track lights around the perimeter of the white drop ceiling to act as spotlights on each artwork, creating an ambience that mimics an art gallery.

With three kids ranging between infancy and 5 years, the homeowners are frequent users of the kitchen, and the renovation done in the space was made with functionality in mind. For one, the utility area, storeroom and toilet was demolished to create an expanded cooking zone. As there is a lack of natural lighting penetrating the space, the designers made the conscious decision to clad the space in predominantly white tones to brighten up the space. For a more practical purpose, the cabinetry also extends out into a kitchen island, providing more countertop space for food prep. Meanwhile, the black tiles used for the backsplash and the top of the kitchen cabinetry do not feature any grout lines, meaning that clean up after heavy cooking sessions is made that much easier.

Inspired by an earlier project in Sentosa Cove that the akiHAUS design team previously designed, the homeowners requested for the private living spaces to be accentuated in predominantly wood tones. But while it’s a stark contrast to the dark design palette of the communal spaces, Lawrence said that the particular decision helps to create a cosy atmosphere in the bedrooms.

First up, the master bedroom features a raised platform where the bed rests, made from teakwood strips that continue onto the bed’s rear wall and ends three-quarters way along the ceiling, resulting in a C-shaped cove that forms a cosy ambience for its occupants. Removing the original wardrobe that flanked the adjoining wall to the bed, the designers constructed an uninterrupted row of wardrobes – complete with recessed grooves serving as the only way to open the doors.

The master en suite also underwent major renovation works. Previously outfitted with a single vanity, bathtub, standing shower and WC, the original layout was not practical for the new homeowners. Redesigned to better serve its purpose, the standing shower was demolished to make way for a double vanity, and the space on which the bathtub stood was converted into an expanded shower area, resulting in a practical and user-friendly layout. For added visual interest, an embedded niche in the front wall of the shower stores the users’ bath and shower gels, removing the need for wire shower racks that may distract from the hotel-esque ambience of the bathroom.

Moving on, the junior bedroom also features the same “cocoon setting” as the master bedroom, but with the teak wood strips covering all four sides of the structure, concealing a series of wardrobes. Being a kids’ space, the designers also included a number of unique features that appeal to the young occupants. For one, the wardrobe’s doorknobs have cartoon characters in the design. Secondly, encompassing the entire wall parallel to the raised platform structure is a magnetic wall that the kids can draw on with markers, with the material allowing for easy removal whenever necessary. Originally, the homeowners had wanted a chalkboard wall, but Lawrence advised against it, citing that the chalk dust might pose a health risk to the kids.

Summing up his thoughts about the entire project, Lawrence said, “While there are not many people who would want to take a risk on such a bold theme for their home, we hope that this project will be a reassurance to them that a dark colour palette does not mean that a space will immediately be cold or claustrophobic. With the right lighting and right textures, the result can be a cosy home that’s suitable for all ages”.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the February 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photos: akiHAUS