Moving from a larger flat with four bedrooms into a smaller apartment with fewer bedrooms is no mean feat, especially when you have a family of four, plus a domestic helper. This was what interior designer Ng Kho Woon of W2 Design Associates had to pull off.
On top of that, he had a tight renovation timeline, due to the timing of the handover of his old apartment. Of course, being in the business helps. Woon churned out the design and drawings and enlisted the help of his regular team of contractors. Together, they managed to get the place done up in under eight weeks.
The interior is designed in a contemporary and minimalist style. "This is what I usually go with, whether it is my own home or my clients'," he says. "I keep the lines clean and try to have things concealed as far as possible, but where necessary, I will incorporate display elements," he adds.
HOW DID YOU INCORPORATE FENGSHUI PRINCIPLES IN THE DESIGN?
The concrete wall behind the sofa stands out as a design feature, but it is actually due to fengshui requirements. The fengshui master originally advised that I should erect a full-height wall, but I felt that it would segment the dining and living room spaces, which are not large to begin with. As a compromise, the wall just needed to be taller than my head when seated on the sofa, so I reduced the height, taking reference from the height of the window.
WHAT WAS THE EXTENT OF WORKS DONE TO THE INTERIOR?
The apartment is about 15 years old and was showing signs of wear. The flooring in the whole apartment is new, except for the master bathroom's. I replaced all the sanitary fittings and redid the vanity counters and shower areas. I also gutted the kitchen.
For the kitchen, Woon went for a dark metallook laminate to contrast with the timber flooring in the rest of the home.
HOW WAS SYMMETRY USED IN THE DESIGN AND PLANNING OF KEY SPACES?
The main entrance and the door to the master bedroom align to form an axis that also demarcates the main circulation within the apartment. This linear element also defines one side of the dining and living areas that extend all the way to the building envelope.
I introduced another circulation between the curtain wall and the dining and living spaces. Although it is narrower than the main thoroughfare, it runs parallel to it and both set a rectangular grid within which I planned the layouts for the dining and living areas. The dining set, sofa and coffee table are all positioned symmetrically within this spatial rectangle.
For the master bedroom, I used the curtain pelmet and new wardrobe as markers. The bed and headboard then fit symmetrically into that framework.
The dining table was customised according to Woon's requirements, from the length right down to the legs.
A new vanity counter with a basin large enough for the couple was added to the original bathroom.
A recess in the wall has been put to good use as a display for Woon's collection of shoes. The master bedroom door has been clad with a raw steel panel that Woon preferred over laminate because of its weight.
Despite the space constraint, Woon managed to incorporate a wardrobe designed like a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, with additional small display shelves on the other side to make the most of it.
Woon's seating position in his home studio was determined based on fengshui principles, so that clients will be more receptive to his proposals and "won't climb over my head", he says.
This article was first published in Home & Decor.