This condominium unit blends easy opulence with a light industrial edge with the help of warm woods, black accents, and cement screed.
Who: A family of four
Home: Split-level condominium apartment in Pandan Valley
When the Laus sought out Terrence Wun of Architology last year for their home, the studio had settled into two distinct looks in its repertoire - an industrial style that was heavy on concrete and exposed brick walls, and a hotel-inspired take on luxury, with richly textured accents of exotic woods such as ebony. The designer was looking to fuse the two styles to create a more coherent signature style for Architology, and realised that the perfect project had fallen into his lap.
This old condominium unit from 1979 was dated and "falling apart", as its new owners put it. A complete renovation was needed and they were willing to put up a budget of $240,000, for a "home for my kids to grow up in", explains Mrs Lau.
The couple's only request was wood flooring, which they love and had lived with in the United States before returning to settle with their son and daughter, aged five and three, respectively.
"Wood feels better beneath the feet and stands the test of time," she says.
The rest was an open brief, which meant the designer could experiment with different styles, materials and finishes. The result is impressive, yet relaxed - just the kind of comfortable space they want to raise their kids in. Here's how they did it.
1. They opened up the space
The Laus had bought the apartment for its generous size, but the space felt small, says Terrence. "The living room was cramped due to the way the space was sectioned," he explains. To make better use of the space, he tore down the dividing walls of the living room, wrapping the structural beams in walnut, which lends an elegance to the room.
In the master bedroom, the walk-in wardrobe didn't get much light, so Terrence merged the bathroom and walk-in wardrobe into one, creating zones for different activities - drying off, hand-washing and dressing. By spreading out the different functions, the open-concept space feels less cramped.
2. They broke down the space into cosy little pockets
The designer was careful not to waste the generous space. One strategy was to break down each space and define it well. In the living room, there's a space for watching television, for reading, and another for gatherings. "It's perfect for activities such as putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle, so you don't have to stow it each time you need to use the space for something else," says Terrence.
In the bedroom, what used to be part of the balcony that connected with the room next door is now absorbed into the interior floor plan. Its petite size lends itself perfectly to a reading nook where a deep chaise longue contributes to a private and cosy corner.
3. They created interesting interior "views"
Entering the home, a series of striking diamond-shaped facets on the ceiling draw your eye down the corridor to the entrance of the master bedroom.
Underneath, the solid white oak flooring is laid in strips of different widths, creating a subtle pattern that attracts attention. "I wanted people to be able to see all the way in; it makes the space feel big," explains Terrence.
In the media room, where Mr Lau enjoys using his sound system or engages in a spot of computer gaming, a strip of tinted glass on the wall allows him to remain connected with the dining room.
Similarly, a glass plane located between the balcony and a seating area by the living room opens up and frames the view from each side. These features allow members of the family to keep an eye on each other, and enjoy their personal space at the same time.
4. They used a mix of materials
Gritty concrete walls mingle with sleek built-in cabinetry, with surfaces covered in a variety of materials, ranging from wood, brick, stainless steel, to granite and glass. Done in measured doses, the resulting interiors exude sophistication.
Instead of entire walls done in one material, feature walls showcase contrasting edge details for smart appeal - in the living room, there's granite edged with stainless steel on the wall, and timber framed with black aluminium strips on the ceiling. By the master bedroom washbasin, tiles are accentuated with timber strips.
Of the material mixes in the dining area, Terrence explains: "There's a tension between raw concrete and the refined texture of walnut, which creates a contemporary style that's very European."
Where to go
Architology Interiors, TEL: 6284-1011
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Also, check out the Nov 2014 issue for these stories: