By Melissa Ng
Countless factors come into play where purchasing a property is concerned. The same applies to Kent Ong. For him, it's simple - location and good rental returns are the main impetus. His third and latest property located in Damansara Perdana is a good example.
Purchased in 2010 for RM390,000 (S$160,000), Ong chose the apartment because of its strategic location and straightforward layout. He reckons the market value should have appreciated to RM450,000.
"I scouted around and viewed about 10 apartments before deciding on Metropolitan Square, Damansara Perdana. The ones I saw before this were either too small, too big or had unpractical layout with lots of angles here and there. This location is good as it is close to many amenities such as banks, F&B outlets, shopping centers namely The Curve, 1 Utama, Ikano and hypermarkets like Tesco," the 35-year old businessman shares.
"Also, I like the unit number - 168. In Cantonese, the number 168 means continuous prosperity," he enthuses.
This 16th floor unit is transformed from an unassuming apartment into a comfortable, practical living space by his friend and interior designer, Yijo Phoon.
"My brief to Phoon was simple. I wanted something uncluttered and easy to manage - after all, I'm living alone and when I get back from my hectic work, I long for a place where I can sit back and unwind and not worry about cleaning chores," he explains.
The renovation took about a month and cost him about RM60,000 including the décor and furniture.
"The major items were the extension of the kitchen, the built-in kitchen cabinets, plaster ceiling and flooring," explains Phoon, who personally sourced for almost every accessories in the home such as lightings, paintings, and throw cushions.
He continues, "I suggested laminated wood flooring as tiling is very troublesome because you need to hack away the old tiles. Laminated wood flooring is not only easy to maintain you don't have to hack away the old tiles - you can just lay them on top. It's also more comfortable to step on compared to normal tiles and even if you don't mop the floor for a long time, it won't get sticky or grimy. You know lah, guys don't really do house chores often (laughs) - so it really is a good choice."
The satisfying result
Stepping in to this 900 sq ft condominium, one is welcomed with the visual presentation of all the main components - the kitchen, the dining and the living areas. The straightforward layout plays to the benefit of this décor as it allows seamless integration and creates a sense of spaciousness.
Flanking the main entrance is the all-white custom made kitchen. "Ong doesn't really cook much so he opted for something simple yet sleek; therefore I chose white cabinets with white marble top," chips in Phoon. "I extended the kitchen by about 2.5 ft longer - this makes it look more spacious and more open. In future, if Ong wants to add a door, it's still possible," he continues. Phoon also included coloured glass on the walls of the kitchen instead of the normal tiles as it is elegant looking and not so conventional.
The dining area is also pretty simple. Boasting a Minotti-inspired glass dining table and Italy designer chairs, Phoon uses a replica of a designer pendant light as the focal point of the whole area.
As for the living space, sheers instead of heavy drapery are used to promote natural sunlight and this will eventually contribute to the illusion of spaciousness to the home.
Phoon shares, "You can still enjoy the view of the outdoors."
An L-shaped contemporary sofa matched with a unique pentagon-shaped coffee table faces the LCD television screen. Behind the TV, a feature wall panel with some concealed lights contributes to the cosy ambience.
Bright coloured fabric throw cushions from Janine offers a contrasting effect to the monotone colour of the sofa.
Moving on to the master bedroom, bed linens are kept to a simple palette to create a serene atmosphere suited for slumber. Here, Phoon uses blackout curtains to filter out the sunlight that streams in during the day.
Like many apartments, this unit is built with a considerably smaller bedroom that's ideally suited as a guest room. Here, Phoon decides to conceal the air-conditioner in the built-in cabinet. "The air-conditioner was quite unsightly, therefore I thought it would be a good idea for it to be installed inside the cabinet," says Phoon.
One of the unique features of this condominium is the little balcony, which is not exactly a tight space. "It has a good view overlooking some greeneries and buildings," says Phoon.
The importance of colour
When asked if there were any challenges faced when designing the residence, Phoon smiles, "It was quite an easy task as I knew what the owner had it mind - however there were times when we had difference in tastes. Ong prefers the 80's concept where everything is more colourful so he tends to pick furniture that doesn't match the overall interior of the home - so I had to convince him otherwise and gave him many suggestions till he agreed with my idea."
According to Phoon, modern contemporary concept is the current trend and it basically uses simple colours like grey, brown and white.
Phoon advises homeowners on the importance of colour matching.
"Colours are very important and you don't need to spend much money on it," he shares.
For example, he uses orange throw cushions and orange stand lights to highlight the master bedroom. All in all, Phoon cleverly plays with the tones and colours and the usage of simple furniture to allude to a spacious living space much to the satisfaction of Ong.