A haven away from work

A haven away from work

If homes are an extension of the owner's personality, then the bare walls and minimal furniture in Dr Victor Kwok's flat are a reflection of his calm, measured demeanour.

In the five-room HDB flat in Redhill, there are no pictures on walls and furniture and furnishings blend harmoniously to create a clean look.

Dr Kwok, 37, head of psychiatry at Sengkang Health, says: "I want to go home to something calming after a day's work."

Indeed, the bachelor considers his 1,250 sq ft home a sanctuary where he can practise mindfulness, an act where one focuses on breathing to be present in the moment. It is something he finds useful to clear his mind after a long day listening to patients talk.

There are no bright pops of colour and elements of surprise in the home. While a palette of grey, taupe and brown may sound plain, he counteracts this with carefully chosen furnishings, such as brushed gold flower vases and textured sofa cushions. "Quality finishings help the home look stylish," he says.

Furniture from designer brands Armani Casa and Philippe Starck add a luxurious touch. He was inspired by a stay at the Armani Hotel in Dubai, where he was "drawn to the aesthetically clean lines" and its "contemporary but timeless feel".

Hues such as brown, taupe and grey dominate the bedroom. Photo: The Straits Times

To achieve the look, Dr Kwok, who has an interest in architecture and interior design, had to gut the interior. The flat, which he bought three years ago, came with three bedrooms.

The kitchen wall, which faces the main door, was replaced with a glass one and the kitchen floor re-laid with ceramic tiles with a woodgrain.

The dining area. Photo: The Straits Times

The nondescript white tiles in the living and dining area also made way for sleek marble flooring.

The walls, which were previously covered with "over the top" gaudy yellow wallpaper, werepainted taupe. Light-grey wallpaper was plastered on a living room wall as a subtle feature.

The serene feel continues into his master bedroom which he expanded by removing the wall of another bedroom. This allowed for a generous seating area as well as a single bed and study nook. He spends most of his time at home here, reading newspapers and magazines or watching home renovation shows such as House Hunters.

The six-month renovation and furnishings cost him $120,000. He moved in in early 2014.

The living room. Photo: The Straits Times

As he was sure about the look he wanted, picking out the furniture was easy. But he admits that matching colours is not his forte, so he took colour chips along while shopping at furniture and fabric shops. He also enlisted the help of his architect and interior designer friends.

Though his home looks inviting, he will not be having friends over often.

"I don't like hosting. I find it tiring being on my feet the whole time and cleaning up after my guests."

alywoo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 22, 2016.
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