When one creative director embarked on his home renovation project, he sought to create a chic and contemporary space that feels welcoming and warm.
WHO: A bachelor in his 40s
HOME: A four-room HDB apartment in Hougang
Designing your bachelor pad usually means that you have the luxury of doing things the way you want, unlike for a family home where you have to consider others' preferences.
Homeowner Desmond Lim not only enjoyed the freedom of doing up his four-room flat according to his wishes, he also had the benefit of engaging an old friend as his interior designer.
Desmond and Jon Toh, principal designer of StudioK.id, met when they were studying in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and subsequently found themselves as bunkmates during national service. "I remember asking Jon at the time if he would be my interior designer when I bought a house in the future and he readily agreed," Desmond recalls. "Twenty odd years later, here we are."
As a freelance brand consultant, Desmond started with what came most innately to him. "Given the nature of my work, visuals are key so I shared with Jon some styles from Pinterest and a handful of interior magazines that resonated with me," he says. The two decided on a style with a strong character and a dark colour palette.
"He originally wanted an all- black interior," shares Jon. "But due to fengshui reasons, the colour scheme eventually evolved into a dark brown." This colour is applied to almost every surface, from the floor, walls and ceiling, to the furniture and soft furnishings. The walls and ceiling were deliberately left in their original condition and simply painted over. "We did not plaster the walls or build any false ceiling because the homeowner wanted to still be able to feel the history of the flat," Jon elaborates.
In the previous layout, the dining table was located in the kitchen, which is a common arrangement in four-room flats without a dining room. To enlarge the living space to accommodate a dining room, Jon reduced the size of an adjacent bedroom.
This smaller room was then converted into a walk-in wardrobe, which is linked to the master bedroom by opening a section of the wall between both rooms. The flat had only one common WC and a common shower previously accessible from the kitchen. Jon turned them into an en suite bathroom by combining, then connecting, them directly to the master bedroom via the walk-in wardrobe.
Among friends who contributed ideas, one, in particular, inspired the homeowner's approach to home furnishing. "Fiona is a close friend of mine. Every item in her home holds meaning, be it mementoes from travels or gifts from friends.
They come together to create a home that is rich in love and good vibes," he says. "I like this notion and wanted something similar in my home." The result: Something interesting in almost every corner, with every object telling a story.
Happy with the final look, Desmond considers his home very close to who he is as a person - "quirky, an old soul, but, at the same time, child-like".
Jon admits to being slightly apprehensive at the start. "Being old friends, I understood what he wanted but it also added to the pressure, especially since he is also in the creative profession with a sharp eye for details," he confides. For Desmond though, it was simply about placing complete trust in an old friend.
This article was first published in Home & Decor.