A Charming Oasis

Warm up to the cosy home of this design industry veteran, a well-put together space that puts guests utterly at ease.

Fact File
Who: Furniture designer and co-owner of Grafunkt
Home: A double-storey, two-bedroom terrace house
Size: 1,300sqf

Hailed as the poster boy for Singapore's furniture design industry, 43-year-old Nathan Yong has had his designs produced by international brands such as Ligne Roset and Design Within Reach, as well as local and regional label Folks Furniture and Royal Selangor.

Nathan, who's also the co-owner of furniture retailer Grafunkt, is known for his understated and practical designs. It's no surprise then, that the interiors of his rented colonial black and white terrace house in the East are anything but pompous. It's filled with quiet yet characteristic furniture and topped off with eccentric accessories, all put together in his effortlessly charming style.

What enticed you to live in this estate?
It's like a quiet little oasis. There's a big empty field just beside the house, and the estate is surrounded by greenery. But I take a short walk out and I'm in the heart of Katong; I have everything I need there.

What do you love about this house in particular?
The squarish layout, large windows, few pillars and high ceilings - it's really the ideal home. I've always liked plants as part of the decor, and this home is great for that as it lets in so much natural light.

But I'm sure there were parts of it that you didn't like?
I replaced the frosted windows with clear ones, and painted the concrete pillar and beam to resemble rusted steel. The original floor tiles also looked really cheap, so I had solid oak flooring laid over it. The gaps between the timber planks are intentional as I think it makes it look more natural - not all fitted and lacquered over. Another downside is that there's only one toilet and bathroom, and it's on the second storey.

How should a home look and feel?
I want a home that's not a gallery to showcase trendy designs. I also like a home that's not perfect and has some history. Previously, I lived in a condominium unit that was spick and span, and I felt like I was living in a hotel. A home should always be welcoming, just like my Sits sofa - it may look a little sloppy, but it's so comfortable.

Where are most of the furniture and accessories from?
The majority of this home is filled with my designs and pieces from Grafunkt. But I also shop when I'm overseas, so I have lights and home fragrances from Zara Home, art from Copenhagen, and folk art sculptures from Athens.

How did you go about dressing up the place?
I didn't realise it at first, but I have a tendency to buy a lot of animal decor. I have animals in wood, stone and ceramic all around the home. I've outgrown my toy collecting phase, so now I just collect and accessorise with shapes, such as with interesting vases.

Where are some of your favourite spots in the house?
I like having brunch on the front porch on the weekends, specifically on the Rex chair designed by Niko Kralj, who's sort of like the Eames of Slovenia. To many, it may look like just an ordinary chair, but when you sit on it, you'll realise athat it's very comfortable and cooling - perfect for our weather.

Any interior design tips for homeowners with no design background?
Some things, such as cabinets, are meant to be in the background. So its design has to be quiet - don't have it in an outrageous colour like red!

Where to go
Grafunkt, TEL: 6336-6046

To read the rest of this article, get a copy of the December 2014 issue of Home & Decor.

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Also, check out the December 2014 issue for these stories:

a) Home for the Holidays
Fill the homes of your loved ones with our selection of gift ideas that are as tasteful as they are useful.

b) Something in the Air
Learn all about home fragrances, which not only imbue a space with pleasant scents, but can also lift moods and evoke memories of places.