The rooms we live in

FOUN­DA­TIONS.

Esquire (Singapore) - - The Esquire Guide To - Be­cause your bed­room and liv­ing room, and even bath­room can be at least a lit­tle bet­ter, which will make you feel bet­ter, too.

A Lament for the Den Be­fore we all built great rooms, a house had a den. Not much nat­u­ral light. The old couch. Un­hung art. An out-of-place ele­phant sculp­ture. A door its own­ers could close. It was a re­treat that let a fam­ily live to­gether as com­fort­ably, qui­etly and weirdly as it liked. It was for ev­ery­one— ev­ery­one ex­cept com­pany.

A good room gives you a feel­ing that you for­get is there. It’s not just the sim­ple plea­sure of re­lax­ing on a re­cliner whose colour you picked. Or know­ing you can nav­i­gate it in power-out­age dark­ness with­out stub­bing your toe. It’s deeper. It’s that low hum of feel­ing safe, and in con­trol, and like you have one thing you can rely on at any time of any day, and that it was you who built that re­li­able thing.

What goes in a good room, then, should age, but more im­por­tantly, im­prove with you over decades—like leather does. Ap­ply that think­ing to the most prom­i­nent el­e­ment of the room: the sofa. But don’t go for some­thing old, or young, ei­ther. Echo the

FIRST:

clas­sic with a stream­lined ver­sion of a Ch­ester­field ([ Room & Board Ma­calester leather sofa; SGD7,000; roomand­board.com).

Next, some­thing sturdy: a mar­ble coffee ta­ble ([ CB2 Slab Mar­ble coffee ta­ble; SGD419; cb2.com). (Or gran­ite.) It’s a hard sur­face that lasts far longer than wood.

Now en­ergy. There’s lit­tle vi­tal­ity in sim­i­lar­ity, not even with two items that are leather. Even less if it is a leather set. (Never buy a set. A set is a de­ci­sion made by one per­son for many peo­ple.) In­stead, a fab­ric chair ([ CB2 Suitor chair; SGD1,330; cb2.com), by be­ing dif­fer­ent, creates in­ter­est and en­ergy, even when in a neu­tral tone.

With three pieces, you have mo- men­tum—though it’d be good to note: men of­ten don’t trust their taste with this stuff. Not at first. You won’t al­ways be right. But if you think about your needs, you’ll find your­self strid­ing for­ward. So that mo­men­tum. With it, atop a foun­da­tion, you can shift.

Buck tra­di­tion. Get a sim­ple yet al­most sculp­tural lamp ([ Re­ju­ve­na­tion stand floor lamp; SGD560; re­ju­ve­na­tion.com). Then set the neu­trals alight with a bright-red bar ta­ble ([ B&B Italia Al­cor stor­age unit; price upon re­quest; bebitalia.com) that is clas­sic and re­li­able yet also as­pi­ra­tional, and wel­comes oth­ers to that feel­ing you know—as in: it’s ev­ery­thing, at once.

And that’s where you start.

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