Bachelor's one-bedroom condo boasts modern interior with Muji-inspired style

PHOTO: Home & Decor

This apartment speaks of a homeowner who knows exactly what he wants and is not afraid to express it.

Who: A bachelor and his dog

Home: A one-bedroom condominium unit on Nathan Road

Magnus Li interviewed all 12 of the interior designers on his shortlist, before deciding on Bu Shukun, the design director of Architology Interiors.

True to self

  • Unlike feature walls that serve only an aesthetic purpose, this is a fully functioning wall that integrates shelving, storage and even lighting. Vases from Journey East.
  • Magnus strives to maintain a clutterfree lifestyle, and will soon embark on what he calls "Phase Two" of his home project, which is to turn the roof terrace into an entertainment area.
  • It is possible to create functional and spatial zonings even within a small space.
  • The all-black kitchen blends discreetly into the dark central band, with everything hidden when not in use. Vases from Journey East. Red Alfi vacuum carafe from Thermos Singapore.
  • The LC3 two-seater sofa by Le Corbusier is Magnus' favourite piece of furniturebecause it balances comfort and style.
  • Smart storage in the form of cabinets were built into the doorway.
  • The bathroom adopts an open-concept design, but can be closed off for privacy.
  • With sliding doors that retract completely into pockets within the wall, the bedroom does not feel cut off from the living area. This creates a seamless flow within the small apartment.
  • Magnus is surprised at the amount of storage space in his home, compared to his parents' home, which is much larger than this apartment.
  • The apartment remains clutterfree despite having been lived in for about 1½ years.

"I felt that Kun understood exactly what I wanted and could take it further," he explains.

On this, Magnus and Shukun were on the same page.

"Even though Magnus had an extremely detailed brief, I wanted to challenge it and push the boundaries. Being a design-savvy client, he kept an open mind towards the ideas that we proposed," says Shukun.

For the bachelor pad that he shares with his Shiba Inu, the Asian manager of a start-up knew right from the beginning that he wanted a modern interior with clean lines.

"I am a mentally orderly person and I envisioned my home to have a Bauhaus-meets-Muji style, where all the lines are flush and meet up precisely," he says.

Delineating spatial bands

Magnus' initial image of his home was one of slate grey, because he dislikes colourful things. When Shukun first suggested combining a black and dark grey palette with light wood, it was a much higher colour contrast than what the homeowner had in mind.

But he quickly warmed to the idea and the result is something that he is comfortable and pleased with.

The kitchen and floor are black and dark grey, respectively, and flanked by two bands of light wood, one being the shelf and the other as what Shukun refers to as the "functional belt" that comprises the wardrobe and the bulk of the storage.

"The intention was to focus on the essentials so we adopted a reduction approach in our design, merging various elements into singular parts to achieve clarity in terms of functional and spatial thresholds," he elaborates.

Concealing clutter

Magnus confesses to have become a reformed "tidy person" after reading Marie Kondo's book on decluttering and organising the home, which led to contemplations about how he used to live and how he wanted to live.

"My apartment reflects the way I want to live and I have grown into the organised lifestyle that it encourages," he says.

At first glance, the amount of storagethat Shukun has managed to integrate into the small footprint of the home is not immediately apparent, because they have been well concealed behind sleek compartments.

The functional belt houses most of the storage and the use of light wood helps to mitigate its bulky appearance. A wine display and cabinets face the living room, while the bedroom side has a row of wardrobes.

Shukun ingeniously incorporated storage at either end of this rectangular core, perpendicular to hidden pocket doors that slide out of sight. The kitchen looks deceivingly compact as everything is tucked into the floor-toceiling matrix of drawers and cabinets.

Dare to say "no"

The absence of ubiquitous elements that are found in almost every home reflects Magnus' belief in not having something just for the sake of having it. More importantly, it has to suit his lifestyle.

"Instead of a typical feature wall, I would much rather have shelves for my books," he rationalises.

This explains the full-height shelves that run the entire length of the apartment, with the television occupying one of the niches. As he eats alone most of the time, Magnus figured that he did not need a dining table.

He simply sits on the couch or floor, and eats off the low coffee table, or sometimes at his desk by the bedroom window.

Magnus admits that the decision not to have any downlights was a bit of an experiment. In response to his preference for more vertical elements, Shukun embedded LED lights along C-channels and incorporated these into the carpentry of the shelves and wardrobes.

These are complemented by a Philips wireless lighting system that is integrated into the shelves, which can be controlled via an app to create the desired mood lighting. Even at night or with the blackout blinds drawn,these lights provide sufficient ambient illumination within the apartment.

Where to go

Architology Interiors, TEL: 6284-1011