This stylish apartment attests to the homeowners' meticulous attention to every design detail. -BT
Tay Suan Chiang
Sun, Sep 16, 2012
The Business Times
The devil is in the details, so goes the saying and this could not be more true for homeowners Jason Tan and Betty Wong.
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Their home, a three-bedroom apartment in Bukit Timah, looks like a chic boutique hotel. And upon closer look, it is clear that a lot of careful considerations went into the design of the home, even down to the choice of finishing.
The couple were particular about their designer, and shortlisted Irene Ho from Edgeline Planners after meeting over 10 interior designers. They spent about $100,000 on the renovation.
The apartment's stylish appearance belies the fact that this is the home of a family with two young children, and that the family has been living here for two years - everything is so neat.
"Storage, lots and lots of it was one of our requirements," says Mr Tan, who handles regional procurement for a petroleum company.
With the two children, one in nursery and the other in primary school, the couple foresee that plenty of storage space will be needed to keep toys and school books and projects as the kids grow up.
"We told Irene that the storage must not look like storage space," says Ms Wong, a full-time mother.
Ms Ho designed cabinets to be flushed against the walls, so that no one will suspect that behind some "walls" are actually storage space. For example, by the dining room is a row of beige wooden panels with decorative wooden trimmings on it. They look like a feature wall, but are actually full height cupboards. They come in different depths depending on what the space will be used for. Wine glasses and espresso cups are stored in the cupboards with shallow shelves, while dry food items are kept in the deeper cupboards.
By the entrance are full-height cupboards for storing shoes and another meant for keeping umbrellas and other items such as sun block, raincoats and hats. "These items are kept nearest the door, so we can reach for them easily on our way out," says Ms Wong.
A storeroom has been converted into a study area, and fitted out with more cabinets, meant for keeping documents and the children's school projects. New cabinets and full-height cupboards were installed in the kitchen. The cupboard doors come without handles for a cleaner look, and they open 170 degrees rather than the conventional 90 degrees, for easier access.
The kitchen cupboards are lined with stainless steel to ensure they last longer. Drawers are fitted out with a system which allows them to be opened with a slight touch. Closing them requires just a gentle push. An avid cook, Mr Tan fitted a small BBQ grill onto the stove top, which he uses to grill steaks during the weekends.
There is a sliding glass window on the island bar counter, which helps keep cooking fumes out of the dining area. The children often have their breakfast at this counter. Ms Ho says installing the glass window was quite a feat for the contractors, as it is a large panel, and it had to slide in smoothly behind the fridge.
The couple wanted a partition to separate the dining room and the bedrooms. "We entertain a lot and without the partition, the more private areas of the home can be easily seen," says Mr Tan. So Ms Ho built a wall by the dining area, with a sliding door attached at the end, which serves as the entrance to the bedrooms. She also installed a mirror on the partition so that the dining area still looks spacious.
The design of the couple's bedroom is kept simple. A customised cupboard was built, which is used for storing foldable clothes. A section of the cupboard also hides the cables for the wall-mounted television.
In the bathroom, soft lighting was installed above the bathtub, to create a more soothing ambience while enjoying a bubble bath. Over at the shower area, Ms Ho created niches in the wall, where toiletries can be placed.
"This helps save space as there is no need to install shelving in the space-tight bathroom," says Ms Ho.
Three different sets of lighting were installed in this bathroom, so the couple can choose how bright or warm they want the bathroom to feel.
There was little work done to the children's bedrooms, and they are filled with kids' furniture from the previous home. "We will change the look of the rooms when the kids are older," says Ms Wong.
To give the apartment its chic look, all the cupboard doors in the dining area and bedrooms, down to the frame of the mirror in the dining room were spray painted in beige and black respectively. "Spray painting gives a smoother finish," says Ms Ho.
Bedroom doors were also stained in black to give them a more stylish look. Even the dining table was not spared.
The couple bought this table shortly after they got married 13 years ago, and it has sentimental value to them. The solid wood table was spray painted black, and the dining chairs were reupholstered too.
To make the apartment feel more like home, the couple have added their personal touches. These include displaying a row of posters from different musicals such as Les Miserables and Mamma Mia!. Mr Tan collected these posters when he studied in England.
The couple also buy paintings and prints when they travel, which they display around the home. Photographs of the family also adorn much of the display space on the TV consoles in the living room and bedroom.
The family plan to live here for long so "we paid close attention to all the details", says Mr Tan.