Open for entertaining

Open for entertaining

The original walls in the home of Darren Sabom and Sharon Siah were removed to create an airy space perfect for them to mingle with friends

When Mr Darren Sabom and Ms Sharon Siah first moved into a two-storey, three-bedroom condominium apartment in Yan Kit Road, its condition left a lot to be desired.

Cabinets were peeling in the tired 13-year-old property in Tanjong Pagar.

Furnishings were an odd mix - red leather sofas and chandeliers were set against a fake tile-look wallpaper and the master bathtub was grotty. The timber flooring had black scratch marks.

After a five-month, $150,000 renovation job, the 1,464 sq ft apartment is altogether different.

Walls have been removed to create an airy space where living, play and work areas flow seamlessly into one another.

On the first floor, the kitchen takes over half the floor area. Its cabinets are an unusual dark blue and breaking up the monotony are busy, Peranakan patterned floor tiles.

The kitchen segues into the living room, where the original hardwood floor has been retained to create a clean, modern look matched by minimalist furniture - a blocky two-seater sofa (also blue) and simple steel frames supporting black shelves and a cabinet with the same caesarstone used in the kitchen counter.

The sociable couple wanted the open space to host their friends when they came over for poker nights.

Mr Sabom, 39 and an American, is an associate director at Invesco, an American investment management company. Ms Siah, 37, is Malaysian and does finance for Swiss baked goods company Aryzta.

Both are permanent residents here and have been in Singapore for almost five years. They do not have children.

The wall-less concept continues into the study against the staircase that comprises a long table and shelves filled with whisky bottles.

Up on the second floor, a monochrome palette dominates the master bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and bathrooms.

There are two guestrooms, which the couple have left undecorated at the moment.

The monochrome style was proposed by the lead designer William Ng to "contrast" against the blue kitchen. Mr Ng is the founder and lead architect of Singapore interior design and architecture firm Studio Wills + Architects.

In the master bedroom, there is little furniture, save for the bed and walk-in wardrobe behind it. The bathroom walls were removed to create more space.

The final design is the result of a series of negotiations between designer and home owners.

For example, the placement of the refrigerator sparked some disagreement.

Originally, the plan was to build a recess in the kitchen cabinet for the fridge. But during renovations, the team discovered a column there, which threw off their plans.

Mr Sabom proposed allowing the fridge to protrude beyond the surface, but Mr Ng strongly disapproved on aesthetic and practical grounds. They eventually reangled the corner cabinet to accommodate the fridge as well as free up walking space.

The few artworks in the apartment were carefully considered and comprise mostly prints and paintings given by family and friends. Mr Sabom's artist sister gifted them a painting of an angel, which takes pride of place in the kitchen by the main door.

The framed artwork of cranes in water, which is near the kitchen counter, is a piece of fabric that was given to Mr Sabom 15 years ago, when he taught English in Japan for a year.

Ms Siah says of their new home: "Darren and I have lived all over the world, from the United States to Japan to Shanghai.

"We reached a certain stage in our lives where we wanted something that could be ours. The renovation was a long process, but the wait was worth it."

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This article was first published on Jan 30, 2016.
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