A WORLD OF IN­SPI­RA­TION

A look at a home in­flu­enced by de­sign ideas around the globe.

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - Contents -

A look at a lo­cal home in­flu­enced by de­sign ideas from around the globe.

WHO A bach­e­lor in his 30s

HOME Three- room re­sale HDB flat at Ever­ton Park

SIZE 904sqf

Home for Joel Ang is a three-room HDB re­sale flat at Ever­ton Park, a quiet es­tate that he de­scribes as hav­ing a lot of warmth. In re­cent years, the quaint, old-school neigh­bour­hood has seen cafes and restau­rants set up shop, adding to the ap­peal of the area.

Joel was at­tracted to the area for its vibe and its con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion. When asked about the aes­thetic of his home, he ref­er­enced sev­eral key ideas. He loved the Ja­panese phi­los­o­phy of wabi-sabi, the art of find­ing beauty in im­per­fec­tion. Among other things, he be­lieved that less is more. Over­all, he wanted his apart­ment to have an old-made-new, child-like feel.

Opt­ing to de­sign it him­self, he cross-pol­li­nated these ideas into his first home mas­ter­fully. Joel, an engi­neer in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, also brought his ex­act­ing eye for de­tail into craft­ing each space with care. The re­sult is a space that show­cases his creative spirit. Rough-hewn con­crete sur­faces work with matte fin­ishes to cre­ate an un­der­stated abode. The avid glo­be­trot­ter also found unique dec­o­ra­tive ac­ces­sories on his trav­els, which now pep­per the spa­ces.

Is this your first home?

Yes, I bought it when I turned 35. I came across this flat by chance. I was look­ing for a home in the town area. One day, I hap­pened to be in the area to check out a cafe. I didn’t know that there were HDB flats here. So, very quickly, I searched on­line. Through one of the first agents I met, I saw this flat, and I liked it. I bought it two weeks af­ter I saw it.

How did you come up with the de­sign con­cept?

I travel a lot, and that gives me a lot of ideas. I was also al­ready pre­par­ing to buy a home. So, while stay­ing in ho­tels and go­ing to restau­rants over­seas, I paid at­ten­tion to ideas. They are very avant­garde in how they use dif­fer­ent tex­tures. I also looked at in­te­rior de­sign mag­a­zines and In­sta­gram a lot. More im­por­tantly, I love fur­ni­ture. In de­sign­ing my home, I looked at fur­ni­ture first and then the space. I re­late more to the fur­ni­ture, and I want the space to fit them.

Which places gave you the most in­spi­ra­tion?

Lon­don and Copen­hagen gave me a lot of in­spi­ra­tion. For Lon­don, think the new Tate Mod­ern wing!

I like the con­cept of wabi-sabi, but it’s not re­stricted to only Ja­panese aes­thet­ics. The Danes have done a pretty good job at achiev­ing a full wabi-sabi ef­fect. It’s more cos­mopoli­tan and less cul­tur­ally in­flu­enced. An ex­am­ple is Restau­rant Noma.

What did you want to con­vey in your home?

Ba­si­cally, I want to project in my liv­ing spa­ces the en­ergy of a city yet the peace that in­di­vid­ual be­ings so des­per­ately seek. Think Tokyo, bustling and al­ways stim­u­lat­ing – yet with pock­ets of green­ery, Zen gar­dens and min­i­mal­ist in­te­ri­ors. So my choice of this apart­ment in a very old es­tate, hid­den out of sight from the fa­mous Pin­na­cle@Dux­ton, ex­em­pli­fies city liv­ing while not be­ing in the city cen­tre. Think com­mu­nal HDB liv­ing on a floor that has only four units. Very con­flict­ing ideas, I know.

Why did you de­cide to de­sign it your­self?

As a creative per­son, I re­spect creative folks and pre­fer to let them use their ideas. When I go to a hair­styl­ist, I would let them de­cide what’s best. How­ever, the in­te­rior de­sign­ers I met had ideas that did not match the main con­cept I had in mind. I also couldn’t find good chem­istry. My home is a small space. So, for ex­am­ple, many of them pre­ferred to re­move the walls to make it an open con­cept. How­ever, I pre­fer the Ja­panese style of in­te­ri­ors, where spa­ces are hid­den and don’t re­ally in­ter­act with the liv­ing area. I also wanted to cre­ate some­thing dif­fer­ent.

What were the main chal­lenges you faced?

I knew what I liked in terms of my per­sonal style, aes­thet­ics and taste, but I didn’t know how to de­sign or put my thoughts and ideas into work­able de­signs. Hav­ing zero in­te­rior de­sign experience didn’t help. Be­cause I de­signed ev­ery­thing, I had to de­cide every sin­gle de­tail. I had to vi­su­alise ev­ery­thing very quickly. There was also a lot of quick re­search and show­room or fur­ni­ture shop vis­its for many on-thes­pot de­ci­sions. I had to know all the spec­i­fi­ca­tions and be very nim­ble. The worst was sourc­ing for ma­te­ri­als my­self. The tiles spe­cially im­ported from Italy were a lot thin­ner than most tiles. Cut­ting into odd-sized tiles was dif­fi­cult and I didn’t or­der that many spare pieces.

Tell us about your favourite spa­ces in your home.

I don’t have any favourites, as a home is a home, in all hon­esty. But I do use some spa­ces more than oth­ers. The Ja­panese room is where I spend time hav­ing some tea and read­ing. My friends hang out here for sake as well. I like the kitchen mainly be­cause it took a lot of time de­sign­ing it. It has many el­e­ments there that add in­ter­est. It’s a nice place to hold gath­er­ings over potluck or a meal. The liv­ing area has a sound sys­tem de­signed for movie nights over drinks, which I also love.

A fre­quent trav­eller, this in­trepid home­owner found ideas for his home styling from coun­tries like Ja­pan, Den­mark and the UK. Black vase, House Doc­tor small and large wire star or­na­ments, Al­pha­bet tea towel and teak knife board, all from Jour­ney East.

B E LOW The com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent styles re­flects the home­owner’s care­free and out­go­ing per­son­al­ity. Grey and pat­terned cush­ions, both from Jour­ney East. OP­PO­SITE The sit­ting area ex­udes an at­mos­phere of peace and seren­ity with its min­i­mal­ist de­sign in­flu­enced by Ja­panese tea houses.

OP­PO­SITE The walk-in wardrobe is equipped with a slid­ing door, al­low­ing the home­owner to stow his mess away when guests are around.

ABOVE & ABOVE, LEFT Every room in this apart­ment was de­signed by the home­owner, who has no for­mal de­sign train­ing.

LEFT A sim­ply de­signed bath­room counter is jazzed up with the use of fresh flow­ers.

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