IT is a long ride up in the lift to Norman Ho's home, and apart from the promise of a bird's eye view, you wonder how the 33rd storey penthouse will look.
The lift door opens, and instantly you see that the interior designer has paid close attention to details, even in the private lift lobby.
The walls are clad in dark timber panels, and Mr Ho, a partner at a law firm says: "You can't even tell there is a shoe cabinet here."
His penthouse at River Valley was designed by Terence Chan of design studio Terre, who had designed Mr Ho's previous home.
Even the main door has a designer touch. Mr Chan removed the wooden door that came with the apartment and replaced it with one made of tinted sandblasted grey glass and crystal clear glass with stainless steel mesh in between. He also specially designed the door handles, and instead of keys, a wedge placed over the handles keeps the doors locked.
"I trust Terence fully, and left the design to him," says Mr Ho. Even the choice and layout of the furniture were left to Mr Chan. "Sometimes I would shift the chairs in a certain way, and Terence would shift them in another way, which looked better," says Mr Ho.
There are more of those timber panels on the walls of the living room. Together with the Minotti sofa and Digamma armchairs which are in different shades of grey, and an olive green leather Christian Liaigre loveseat, the apartment has a masculine look.
Mr Ho says he entertains twice a month, so having a large enough space to accommodate guests is important. The walls of a bedroom were knocked down so that he could have a larger dining area. He holds buffets for his church friends. "But for clients, it is usually sit down dinners," he says. Friends make themselves comfortable on dining chairs from Poltronau Frau around a bespoke table that Mr Chan designed.
A corridor between the living and dining areas leads to the more private areas of the apartment.
There is a family area here, and three more bedrooms. The apartment came with five bedrooms, but Mr Ho didn't see the need for so many rooms. His previous home was a three-storey bungalow, and having grown up in large spaces, he says: "I bought this apartment even though there is more than enough room for one person."