Caroline Chin-Geyler of Arete Culture talks us through four recent home styling projects that helped her clients achieve the dream look for their abodes. The diverse requests came from a couple with a young child, a family with active ‘tweenage’ kids, a single businessman, and a couple who have family visit regularly.
Project 1: THE SANTORINI
The clients were a young couple with a daughter about to turn six. They wanted a luxe hotel feel, a home that felt rich and moody with lots of shiny surfaces that would add opulence and glamour. This was a collaborative partnership, with the clients fully involved from start to finish. Arete Culture was the third interior firm they chose after the first two didn’t work out.
The project involved makeovers for the master bedroom and ensuite, daughter’s bedroom, lounge, dining, whiskey bar, kitchen, and outdoor balcony. As well as styling, the Arete team selected materials used for the kitchen and bathroom, and all lighting in the house. They also chose materials for the builtin media unit in the master bedroom, whiskey bar and daughter’s bedroom, and finished with wall and window treatments for the home.
Arete had to manage and work around feng shui requirements, plus their clients’ love for shiny, reflective surfaces and deep, dark interiors. “This project was about managing expectations,” says Caroline, “as well as guiding and holding our clients’ hands to reassure them that we didn’t need to be excessive or lavish in design to achieve that rich, inviting look they wanted.” The space was compact, so they also had to be clever with the space planning and furniture selection to ensure the pieces could accommodate friends and family, without dominating the space during everyday use.
Project 2: GILSTEAD ROAD
A single male, who travels extensively for work, has two puppies at home and live-in help.
The client wanted contemporary, clean lines and an inviting space to entertain in style. He tasked Arete Culture with incorporating calming teals in the colour palette, and also creating a designated spot to display his grand piano; otherwise, the design vision and space planning was left to Arete.
The project encompassed a complete home makeover for the entire six-storey home, including two guest rooms, master bedroom, study, rooftop entertainment deck, formal lounge, dining and kitchen, seven bathrooms, and some landscaping work. Arete also oversaw the refurbishment and cabinetry of the entire home, the polishing of marble floors and treatment of wooden floors, chose and supervised installation of feature walls, and chose the lighting solutions.
“While the client wanted us to purchase new furniture pieces for his home,” says Caroline, “we convinced him to repurpose some of his existing pieces by repainting or staining them. We also reupholstered existing seating to match the new home and colour palette. This was a dream project for us because the client was supportive of our work and trusted us 150 percent!”
Project 3: CHATSWORTH
A Scandinavian family, including three “tween-age” children who love soccer, rugby and drama, and one cat.
The only brief given was to set aside a space for the pool table. Everything else, including budget and design, was left to Arete Culture. This is the sixth project the company has worked on for the family, including their holiday villa in Phuket, so they already had a sense of their style. “We created a cosy, welcoming home honouring the hygge tradition, and celebrating the many years the family has spent overseas in England and Singapore,” says Caroline.
Given the size of the property (the grounds measure 1,600 square metres, with 560 square metres of built-up area), there was a need to pull together a look that would be cosy, yet still open enough for the family to entertain.
This was a complete home makeover, including multiple outdoor areas, formal lounge areas, dining, pool table area, master bedroom and entryway. “We managed to repurpose existing pieces from their previous makeovers,” says Caroline, “and we also added more modern and elegant décor, as this Chatsworth property differed from their previous rentals in being more contemporary in feel.”
Project 4: RIVERBANK
Couple with a dog and a mother-in-law who occasionally stays over.
The design theme was inspired by US-based company Studio McGee, and as a result it’s mostly elegant and modern, with industrial accents. This was a collaborative project between Arete Culture and the homeowners, who were very specific in their vision for a Studio McGee-inspired space.
This complete home makeover included changes to the entryway, dining and lounge rooms, outdoor area, guest bedroom (mother-in-law’s bedroom), master bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. The focus was on combining organic textures with sleek, urban lines and reflective surfaces for understated glamour. White, soft greys, taupes and beiges were predominantly used, with accents of blue and black.
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