A NATURAL CHEMISTRY WITH THE DESIGNER MADE THIS RENOVATION EASY AND FUN FOR THE HOMEOWNERS.
A natural chemistry with the designer made this renovation easy and fun
for the homeowners.
The best creative collaboration is often one where there is a meeting of minds, fuelled by a healthy bouncing around of ideas. In the case of this homeowner couple and their designer, these elements seemed to click in place from the get-go.
For their matrimonial home, Alvin Chua and his fiancee Elaine Hee knew they wanted “something that represents our personalities”. They chose to include colours such as red, blue, and contrasting white and black for instance, to match their “dynamic and loud” personas. The outgoing couple, who both work in the oil industry, were not keen on a cookie-cutter look, and were also looking forward to hosting friends at home. They started their home decor mission by scouring the Internet for ideas. Through sorting out the images they downloaded, the pair realised they seem to gravitate towards “American country-style decorations” as well as a vintage feel.
The next step was getting the right designer. The couple met more than 10 prospects before finding a match in Vincent Neo of Versaform. The couple liked that the designer listened to their
ideas and offered constructive criticism while making sure they understood the pros and cons of their requirements, and built upon them. Their unassuming designer replies modestly, “I simply guided them along.”
GIVE AND TAKE
To make room for entertaining friends and relatives, the couple initially wanted to knock down the kitchen wall and that of one bedroom to expand the living space. Vincent’s advice was to open up the kitchen, but carve out a large window in the bedroom wall instead. This would bring natural light and a sense of spaciousness to the once-dark dining and living area, yet preserve some privacy when Alvin’s mum comes to stay.
The designer’s initial proposal of cladding the kitchen floor in black-and-white honeycomb mosaic tiles would only have made the compact apartment look smaller and too segregated, the couple thought. So, the creative trio brainstormed and adopted the material for the kitchen backsplash instead, which creates a striking feature.
As Alvin and Elaine weren’t keen on overhead kitchen cabinets, Vincent had to consider alternative storage solutions. A boxy island counter housing drawers with staggered heights (shallow ones for cutlery at the top to deep drawers at the bottom for pots) serves this purpose. Clad in basic white square ceramic tiles, the retro look of the island complements the vintage-inspired mosaic backsplash.
Alvin liked the idea of having a wine rack for bottles and glasses. Vincent took it a step further by creating a design with elements reminiscent of old-school window grilles. Suspended over the island, this customised piece is both functional and decorative at the same time.
EVERY BIT COUNTS
Details were important to the couple, as they felt they were essential in evoking the modernrustic vibe they wanted. The red brick feature wall in the living room was a must for them. Likewise a blackboard wall – which Vincent added a magnetic element to, for putting up pictures. The couple also made it a point to get matching red crockery and kitchen appliances.
Another thing the couple liked about the renovation process with Vincent – he shopped regularly with them, to ensure they bought the right furniture for the look they wanted. “He also bargained with the shop owners to get us the best deal!” quips Alvin. They went to places such as Like That One for the industrialchic dining and coffee tables, and Comfort Design for the eclectic, mismatched dining chairs.
The renovation took about seven weeks in all. “It was wonderful that Elaine and I had zero arguments between ourselves, or with our designer throughout the whole process!” says Alvin.
The monochromatic kitchen is spiced up with appliances in cheery shades of red.
A mustard-yellow Brother typewriter becomes a retro prop in the living room. below Large sliding windows allow a spare bedroom to be opened up to the living area, or closed for privacy.
The idea for the wardrobe doors was sparked by a slatted wood divider the homeowners saw in Vincent’s office. below Like the wardrobe, the sliding mirror frame and below-sink cabinet are raw plywood.