Family's 2-bedroom condo is a creative display space for their dearest items

Family's 2-bedroom condo is a creative display space for their dearest items
PHOTO: The Straits Times

When the Cheoks moved into their two-bedroom condominium apartment in Cantonment Road, their top priority was displaying items that are dear to them.

"The apartment is conceptualised to look almost like a gallery - a very bare backdrop for all of our art and objects, the things that represent us," says Mr Dennis Cheok, 36, creative director of design studio Upstairs_, who designed the home himself.

His wife of eight years is Mrs Maggie Cheok, 43, a graphic designer for broadcast television.

Over the years, the couple have collected a selection of books, art and trinkets.

Their most beloved pieces are showcased in a set of floor-to-ceiling cubbyholes in the living room.

The cubbyholes frame a large bay window fitted with a cushioned seat, creating an expansive display wall. This forms a comfortable reading nook filled with natural light and it is also where the family gathers to watch television.

The couple bought the 1,000 sq ft apartment in 2010 and spent about $90,000 renovating it.

They had not originally designed their home with children in mind, but after having their daughter Trevi in 2011, her presence became an integral part of the home.

Objects such as a baby mobile that used to hang above her crib and a toy figure of the animated robot Wall-E add splashes of colour to the home.

To create more communal space, Mr Cheok removed one of the bedroom walls to make a bigger living area. Six-year-old Trevi's bedroom is tucked into a corner of this space and cordoned off from the living room with thick curtains.

Her current bed was built by her father from plywood, with her baby crib's slats fitted into the sides. He says: "Although she's outgrown the cot, I wanted to retain parts of it because it has sentimental value."

Another creative and memory-laden display awaits in the master bedroom.

The wall above the bed is studded with about 60 toys and items, each holding a memory of Trevi.

"According to Dennis, I'm a hoarder," Mrs Cheok says. "I get attached to things and find it hard to throw them away, especially Trevi's toys. So I was more than happy when he decided to take some of these special pieces to fill the wall of our bedroom."

The items include a scale model of a volcano, a piece of kindergarten homework the family made together and a tiny red heart that is a cake mould from Trevi's old cooking playset.

Mrs Cheok says: "Every item that is on display is part of our memories or experiences."

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This article was first published on April 8, 2016.
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