Beauty in simplicity
THIS HOME ILLUSTRATES A GRACEFUL COMBINATION OF MINIMALIST AND INDUSTRIAL ELEMENTS.
When Roystern Goh and Low Chee Khiang, the founders of interior design firm 0932, were approached by a famous local photographer to turn his two-storey HDB maisonette into an edgy industrial space for his family, they hesitated. “The industrial style looks really good in photos, but it’s a different matter to live with it every day,” Roystern explains. Chee Khiang adds that while many homeowners hope to emulate the industrial decor found in restaurants and cafes, the truth is that these commercial spaces need regular housekeeping to maintain the look, whereas homes should be “as maintenance- and hazard-free as possible”.
And with the couple’s toddler in mind, Chee Khiang emphasised to the couple how the rough and unfinished surfaces, as well as the cold, sharp metal corners associated with the industrial look would not be conducive for their daughter. Enlightened by the designer’s professional advice, the homeowners eventually decided to take on a cleaner expression to enhance their home’s spacious layout, focusing on light industrial touches and a fuss-free approach for the RM360,000 makeover instead.
Roystern and Chee Khiang pared down the industrial details, translating them into a few sophisticated elements. One of the home’s most arresting features is the pair of double doors that separates the kitchen from the common area. The doors’ slender frame is made of mild steel, which was hand-painted in black for the brush strokes to bring out an unfinished appeal. Roystern adds that industrial decor doesn’t always have to appear raw, and that there are many ways to express the style in a subtler way.
That’s why only the balcony on the ground floor and bathroom within the master bedroom sport concrete screed walls, leaving the rest of the home bathed in a warm, neutral palette. “Hairline cracks are common when it comes to concrete screed as it’s applied manually, and these cracks become more obvious when the surface is wet,” says Chee Khiang, referring to the choice of using this raw finish for the bathroom walls. “But the homeowners see it as a kind of beauty rather than a flaw.”
Another notion both the designers and homeowners agreed on is that luxury doesn’t have to equate to something showy. For the missus, who is Russian, it means the privilege of enjoying a nice long bath (something she can do here because of the tropical weather). In order for the master bedroom’s en suite bathroom to accommodate a bath tub, it had to be expanded. The designers did so by taking in a section of the main corridor on the upper floor, which Roystern felt was unnecessarily wide in the first place.
In order for the interiors to have a clean-cut profile, the designers concealed as much of the wiring as they could, and held back on any furniture or builtin feature that might clutter up the space.