When I first walk into David Freer’s penthouse apartment, I see immediately why he was so drawn to the place. Through its gigantic floor -to-ceiling windows, he has a spectacular front row seat overlooking the ocean. And it isn’t for the faint hearted.
“With this view I didn’t think it was necessary to install my own water feature,” he jokes. “It’s even better at night. The tankers disappear into what looks like a thousand fairy lights. It’s really beautiful.”
Fighting my fear of heights, I edge closer to the window and peer down bravely from 30 floors up. “Some people are quite scared of getting too close,” David remarks. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.
David’s demanding role in a large software company requires him to travel around the region for three weeks out of every month. When he is in town, therefore, he loves retreating into his beautiful apartment, which he purchased last year.
“Buying this place was the smartest move I ever made, considering how much the property market has increased. I was extremely lucky with the timing and also with the apartment itself,” he says.
David’s three-bedroom Costa Del Sol condominium on the East Coast has more than 900 units, seven swimming pools – yes seven! – several tennis courts, and a convenience store. Being only 10 minutes from Changi Airport, the location is perfectly suited to his travelling lifestyle.
“I never wanted to live in such a big condo, but the views from this place won me over. And when I’m inside the apartment it’s extremely secluded. I can’t see my neighbours at all.”
Before Costa Del Sol was built, residents of The Bayshore across the way had a prime seafront location. Now all they have is a prime view of one of Singapore’s largest housing developments, and I ask David if he is worried that the same might happen to him.
“I’ve been told that they won’t build in front of the condo. It would mean they would have to cut into the East Coast Park and I doubt they’ll do that,” he says.
The space is strikingly uncluttered. The accoutrements that are commonly visible inside the home, such as shoes, books and DVDs, were nowhere to be seen. I wondered where everything was, and whether it was possible to live without shoes.
“It’s all stored away in hidden compartments and cupboards,” he says, while proceeding to open drawers and cupboards that I hadn’t noticed previously. The custom-built storage behind the entertainment centre is especially discreet and stylish – two words that describe the entire apartment. Mystery solved – the concealed items include an enviable shoe collection.
Design for Life
I ask David how he managed to achieve such a clean look. He gives credit to his interior designers, Image Creative Design. “The apartment looks very different now from when I first bought it. The design company did a fantastic job for me and understood my requirements straight off the bat.”
Even with the help of an interior designer, not everyone is able to articulate their vision, but David knew exactly what he wanted after finding inspiration in the pages of home décor magazines and books.
“I showed the designers the look I wanted, and they just got it. Ten weeks after they started renovating, I was able to move in. I’m really thrilled with the result, and it was significantly cheaper than hiring a designer in Australia.”
Having your home deconstructed, turned into a building site and then reconstructed can be a stressful business, but David says he enjoyed every minute of it. “I had so much fun with the whole project and would definitely do it again. I think the most important thing was hiring a firm that I could trust to take care of things while I was out of the country.”
Unlike many expats in Singapore, David has steered clear of the Asian look. There isn’t a smidgen of teak to be seen. Instead, he opted for something much more European. Using light, neutral colours, he has accented the living room with brightly coloured objets d’art, like the wonderful freestanding lacquer-ware sculpture that he picked up from Molecule.
“One of my friends nicknamed the apartment The Apple Mac House because of its clean lines and simple design.” Then he laughs and remarks, “Others say it looks like I’ve been robbed.”
Because so much of the furniture has been custom-built into the apartment itself, he didn’t have to spend a fortune decking out the space.
“This was one of my major design requests. The beds are built-in, as are the bedside tables and all of the cupboards,” he says. “The only major items I had to buy for the interior were the sofa, the dinner table and chairs, which are from The Furniture Club.”
The lack of artwork on the walls, David remarks, is only temporary. “I haven’t found the right pieces yet. When I’m away I carry photographs of the apartment with me so that I can see if something will look good in it or not.”
Beds and Baths
The second guest-room contains a custom-made daybed, upholstered in stunning white leather. Although it sleeps only one, there is another great space-saver hiding underneath it: a pull-out bed.
Entering the main bedroom, I am met with another preposterously good view of the ocean, plus something that women like me dream of – a walk-in wardrobe! Clearly, it’s also something that the high-flying, modern man hankers after.
The bathroom is complete with ultra-modern fixtures that David bought from Lookz, and a glass panel has replaced the original wall that separated the bathroom and the bedroom; he says it allows him glorious ocean-views while he luxuriates in his rain-shower.
Top of the World
The crowning glory of the apartment is its 700-square-foot rooftop garden where David entertains guests, or just sits quietly on his own, contemplating the sea and the horizon.
The space has been transformed into a self-contained entertainment area, complete with a granite bar and fully functional kitchenette. With its large barbecue and ample seating space, it’s the perfect spot to sip an icy beer and watch the sun go down. I am tempted to accept his invitation to join him for a cold one, but alas, I’m driving.
David’s designers recommended that he purchase his outdoor furniture from Ohmm. Their weather-resistant, faux-wicker designs are modular, which meant that David could add a cushion to the table to transform it into a double daybed. He says it’s comfortable enough to sleep on.
A long line of Indonesian islands peer out of the mist. There is one small problem with this vantage, however: it’s not uncommon to pick up Indonesian telecom services on the phone. “Sometimes I have to stand on one leg, or run up and down the apartment to get a signal from Singapore. Either that or I just switch off roaming,” he laughs. It seems like a small price to pay for such a wonderful vista.
Image Creative Design
St James Powerstation
+65 6292 5426
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