A shophouse on Spottiswoode Park Road is transformed from a drab brown-and-white canvas into a bold kaleidoscope of colours with the help of Design Intervention’s Wendy Smith.
The Back Story
The American couple who rent this three-storey shophouse has moved seven times in the past decade. Due to the transient nature of their careers, they decided it was no longer feasible to delay upgrades to their home interior until they decided to purchase property. The couple have no children and no pets. No structural changes were made to the property. Budget was a key concern. This was their first experience of working with an interior designer.
The Living and Dining Rooms
A living and dining room that is comfortable enough to relax in but formal enough to entertain guests.
A palette of rich gold accented with cream, brown and black was chosen to add warmth to the previously all-white room. The gold paint has a subdued sheen and the bold baroque motif of the wallpaper helps to draw the eye in towards the back wall. The same pattern was applied to the underside of the staircase to connect the two areas, giving the effect of one large room.
A backless shelving unit from Pagoda House, which serves as a modern china cabinet, allows the beautiful pattern of the wallpaper to show through. A large mirror framed by an old Indian temple doorframe covers the unsightly exterior doorway at the back of the dining room.
Nearly all of the major pieces of furniture in the living room were custom-made. The residents chose the style, colour and fabric for the chenille Chesterfield sofa, cushions and two chairs – both the zebra-printed hide chair and two-toned chair are in a style that matches the period of the wallpaper. They worked with Wendy to design the stainless steel black marble television console and leather crocodile coffee table, the latter in a long oval shape to soften the room’s hard lines. Bespoke gold brass-buttoned stools slide out from under the console when extra seating is needed.
To save costs, the couple’s set of three leather storage boxes were transformed into end tables in the living room. Their carpets, their shoe cabinet (which previously held china) and their dining room table were also incorporated into the look. The traditional dining table was updated by suspending a modern chandelier over it and putting a carved ebony-wood accent chair from Asiatique at each end. Contemporary stainless wall lights with rectangular acrylic shades were attached to the room’s embedded columns to create down-lighting, which helps to provide mood and intimacy for entertaining and relaxing.
The couple selected their own artwork and accessories for the finishing touches.
|“The mix of contemporary pieces with antique references keeps the look fresh and stops it from looking dated or old. A heritage home of this style can easily appear too classic, and getting the balance right was important to reflect the youth and taste of the residents.” – Wendy|
A contemporary room in a vibrant red where we can relax, watch movies and get ready for work in the mornings.
The two walls behind the customised cream L-shaped sofa were painted fire engine red to offset the plush sofa and drapes. The residents wanted a coffee table that they didn’t have to worry about (“the kind you can kick your feet up on”), so a soft bespoke table was designed, and large, comfy cushions in the same black-and-gold geometric fabric were added to the sofa. A stained wood scroll-style console from Just Anthony hides the various electrical equipment connected to the television. Design Intervention’s electricians moved the ceiling fan in order to hang a sheer black and crystal chandelier in the room’s centre.
Wendy and the residents shopped for accessories for this room together. The large, three-dimensional black clock doubles as wall art, and a single low shelf behind the couch highlights a white sculpture against the red wall. After the residents found the quirky painting with the pig, a pig sculpture was added to the television console to highlight the fun, whimsical nature of this room – a complete departure from the formal rooms downstairs.
To be able to fit folded clothing and shoes into this closet so that both of our wardrobes will fit entirely within this space.
Design Intervention’s carpenters added an extra rod to one rack, attached two open drawers to another and added shoe racks to the remaining two racks. Hooks were hung on the interior walls to hold jewellery, bags and hats.
The Master Bedroom
A plush, cosy room with a king-size bed in a completely different colour palette from the rest of the house; a room that conveys quiet and relaxation.
A colour scheme of teal blue, chocolate brown and stark white was chosen to match a Vietnamese painting that the residents wanted to hang in this room. Playing off the two large mirrors that were already present, mirrored furniture – side tables, a console and a bespoke chest of drawers trimmed in white wood – keeps the room light and ethereal.
The king-sized bed was customised with a soft-buttoned headboard and a white wooden trim. Fabric from Design Intervention was used to create the bedding –a soft, textured brown velour was combined with blue satin for a sophisticated yet luxurious feel. A blue satin pillow cover ties in the brown chaise longue – a piece the couple already owned – with the rest of the room. Silver accessories, such as bedside lamps, Chinese stools, vases and candlesticks, complete the look.
To separate the master bedroom from the third-storey attic and create a sense of privacy and intimacy, the brown banister railing was replaced with a temporary partition wall. This separation also reduced the noise and light from the attic and improved the air-conditioning.
The Guest Bedroom
A functional and comfortable space for guests that tastefully showcases the collectibles that we have purchased during our travels through Asia.
The Chinese side table from Taylor B – needed to hold a reading light – was the only item purchased for this room, as the furniture, bedding and carpet from the previous master bedroom were moved into this room. An unused plant pot from the nurseries on Thomson Road ties in with other colourful accent pieces. Consolidating their Asian purchases into one room gives this room its own story, one that the residents say their guests – many of whom are visiting Asia for the first time – readily enjoy.
|“Though flawed in some areas, the house has undeniable character. This room, which was the most difficult in shape and size, became an instant success with very little effort – we just let the character tell its own tale, and let the visitors enjoy the experience.” – Wendy|
A combination gym and study that holds our books, plaques, certificates and exercise equipment without looking cluttered.
This third-storey room initially lacked an obvious use as it overhung both the master bedroom and the den, creating problems with noise and a lack of privacy. The partition wall solved these problems with regards to the master bedroom, allowing one partner to sleep while the other worked.
The space is shaped like a U, so an office and reading nook was created on one side and a small gym was placed on the other. The only items purchased for this space were a leather chair and ottoman from John Erdos Home, which were placed on a small silk rug that the residents already owned (not pictured). Books were organised by colour on the bookshelf and a small television was mounted in front of the elliptical machine next to a large pushpin map of the couple’s travels. The walls were not painted, as the overhead beams and staircase railings matched the office furniture and theme.
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