At Ease

At Ease

This home's minimalist appearance belies the amount of thought and planning that went into designing it.

Who: A family of four
Home: A three-level, four-bedroom terrace house in Upper Serangoon
Size: 3,500sqf

Quiet and graceful, yet undeniably striking, interior designer Jay Ang's style is easy to recognise. He lent his creative vision to the home of Mr Lee and his family a decade ago under his design firm, J + A Design, and they fell so in love with its design that they decided to reach out to him again when it was time for a revamp.

"One thing that we learnt from the first project is to trust Jay!" Mr Lee jovially remarks. And the designer couldn't be happier to work with the family again, who understood his ideas and gave him free rein for this latest update.

When it comes to transforming a large space into a serene yet cosy dwelling, Jay reveals that it all boils down to space planning that's well thought out, which allows the home's design to breathe, and imbuing the interiors with lots of natural light and soothing hues.

Planning the space

"The house must start with a good skeleton. This way, the place can still shine with just a few pieces of furniture. It's like a person… if you're beautiful, you can wear anything and still look good!" Jay explains.

This approach meant that he had to spend a lot of time mulling over the layout of each floor, thinking about how to solve practical problems such as storage and accessibility, and create clean-looking spaces at the same time.

The result is a home that incorporates many hide-and-seek elements, including a domestic helper's room that's camouflaged by a sliding panel in the dining area, and a study area that's tucked in a nook in the master bedroom.

With everything either "smoothed out or boxed up", Jay created a flawless foundation to continue working his magic into the space. 

Designed Elements

While a home has to be practical, its design doesn't just have to be about maximising usable space. As this tranquil abode proves, it is necessary to design elements that help the space "breathe" better.

For example, instead of having the living room on the ground floor stretch all the way into the kitchen, Jay broke up the open-plan space with a minimalist garden positioned at the bottom of the air well to enhance the overall sense of spaciousness.

Seemingly minor yet crucial features, such as the creation of a small reading alcove and the square glass panel opposite it (both near the skylight on the third storey), also add to the large home's sense of lightness and cosiness.

Light and Colour

With the structural design in order, natural light pours into every corner of this property. This was made possible by incorporating glass panels into the facade and back entrance, as well as the staircase and air well.

For a restful ambience, Jay implemented a mostly white colour scheme, complemented with earthy hues. "I prefer basic yet timeless interiors," he explains. And to those who assume that it doesn't take much to achieve a minimalist look, he says: "The less you have, and the more streamlined your design, the more important it is for everything to be perfect, as workmanship flaws become extremely obvious."

Where to go
J + A Design,
To read the rest of this article, get a copy of the April 2015 issue of Home & Decor.

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Also, check out the April 2015 issue for these stories:

20 Ways To Cook Healthier Meals
Want to begin eating healthier? Start at home with these kitchen tools and healthy cooking tips for whipping up healthier, tastier meals in no time.

Work in Style
How to put together a Scandinavian, contemporary, rustic, or Mid-century Modern home office space to inspire you to get things done!

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