An Art Deco-style Sophia Road 1919 condo that mixes a shophouse feel with elements of a black and white bungalow is home to VIOLA and RAY, an artsy couple in their 30s. Both love the Art Deco era, jazz and nostalgia.
About 1919 Residences, a Sophia Road condo
Size: 635 square feet
Style: Condo apartment with shophouse and black-and-white bungalow features
Name: 1919 Residences
Location: 110 Sophia Road
Hailing from Hong Kong, Viola is used to small living spaces – she lived for years in a “shoebox” apartment that was just over 200 square feet. With the move to Singapore, she was keen to creatively use more space and let her pet British Shorthair cat find a happy and warm home. (A tuxedo Siberian was also later rescued and now patrols the halls with confidence.) Viola’s partner Ray used to run a marketing firm but left it to pursue life as a freelance artist.
Set in the stylish yet tranquil Mount Sophia neighbourhood, 1919 is a Sophia Road condo that combines the distinctiveness of Singapore’s historic architecture with the sophisticated interior design trends of today. The collection of 75 black-and-white apartments pay tribute to the island’s black and white bungalows from the colonial era.
Viola says she was drawn to the quietness of the area. But she also loved the inspirational black-and-white bungalow design. She was thrilled at the potential of transforming the property into a little Art Deco style paradise. She also loves to entertain, so the outdoor dining options by the condo pool for guests really appealed too.
Filling the space, Art Deco style
The starting inspiration for decorating the apartment was the first piece purchased by Viola on one of her travels to Seoul: the Off the Moon N°1 side table by Maison Dada. Designed by Thomas Dariel, the great grandson of a French furniture designer and grandson of a jazz musician, the table encapsulated everything that she dreamt of in a house – whimsical, dreamy and elegant.
As the table was black and gold, Viola decided to use the same colours for the rest of the home. “Over the years, we’ve accumulated various modern and vintage black and gold objects for our shelves, completing the neo-opulent Art Deco style,” she says.
The palette extends to a signature Great Gatsby-themed wallpaper that she adored on Pinterest and found in the Wallpaper Shop in Australia, along with some gold light features from Grafunkt.
A Samsung “The Frame” television and custom TV console table fill out the living room, offset by a custom two-seater Sermillion sofa from Blafink, with custom black and gold legs (and upholstered with easy-clean fabric because of the cats!).
Bedroom and robe
In the bedroom, instead of a traditional four-poster bed like you might expect, there is a monumental loft bed with a huge amount of storage underneath, as well as in every step and platform leading up to it. “This means that, despite the relatively small footprint, we always have room for clothes, holiday decorations, party ware and so on,” says Viola.
Another change made in the name of space was the conversion of the study into a walk-in closet. The high ceiling has been fully utilised to house an assortment of shelves and clothes racks to store the couple’s substantial wardrobe – including Viola’s vintage 1940s and 50s hat and dress collection. Many of the items here are also in gold or have little gold touches, like the tissue box cases and the magazine rack by AYTM.
The couple loves to entertain in their Art Deco-style Sophia Road condo. A black String storage system that occupies the common area has modular wooden shelves and a study desk that folds down to free up space when they have people over.
Having guests also allows the couple to bring out their favourite tableware and serving ware. “I love our Nordic Coal set by Broste Copenhagen and the Smoke wine and water glasses,” says Viola, “and we also have salad bowls and serving pieces accumulated through the years from Anthropologie, and other odds and ends – many in black and gold, of course!”
The couple don’t just do dinner and drinks in the apartment itself. There’s a beautiful common dining area in the condo, which shares the colonial theme of the 1919. It’s a charming spot by the pool. The pool, incidentally, is extremely well maintained. “Ray swims several times a week and the water is always crystal clear,” says Viola. “There’s only a small number of residents and a very responsible management, so the facilities are pristine.”
When it’s just the two of them, you’ll more likely find them on the sofa. “We spend so much quality time there because it doubles as our dining area, and we eat a lot of home-cooked meals.”
Viola has an impressive vinyl record collection, and is just biding her time to upgrade her setup. She also loves to read and has a collection of classic literature, Taschen picture books and cookbooks. Ray likes to bake; his signatures include yuzu cupcakes, cotton cheesecake and even Pusheen shortbread!
A final word
Like in any home makeover, not everything came easily. “The main challenge wasn’t aesthetic, but electrical,” says Viola. “Because the original lighting fixtures were removed in lieu of track lights and spotlights, this necessitated the construction of a false ceiling. However, this actually worked to our advantage, as it concealed much of the wiring.”
So, would they do anything differently? “Not really,” she says. “Since we picked every item and colour very carefully, the house is practically the best we can do given the layout. If you twist our arm, we would perhaps concede that installing a bathtub might make the home perfect!”
Viola and Ray’s Recommendations
- Selegie Beancurd
- The eateries at nearby Kampong Glam
- Purvis and Liang Seah Streets are great for upmarket bars and bistros as well as excellent coffee shops
- Bras Basah Complex is a regular haunt for Ray, with bookstores and art supply shops
- Twenty Eight Cafe
This article first appeared in the November 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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If Art Deco isn’t your thing, what about bringing the tropics indoors? Check our some tropical décor ideas in this article!