Check out how Interior designer Joey Khu transformed an ageing apartment into his very own bachelor pad, reflecting his taste and lifestyle.
“THE MAIN CHALLENGE WAS TO ACCOMMODATE ALL THE SPACES THAT I WANTED, AS WELL AS FIT IN THE FURNITURE AND OTHER PIECES IN MY COLLECTION.”
WHO LIVES HERE A bachelor who is an interior designer Four-room apartment
When Joey Khu, director of Joey Khu Interior Design, purchased this four-room flat, it was in a rundown condition, having been built over 40 years ago. That gave him the opportunity to redo the entire interior.
He wanted a simple, modern luxe concept that would be warm and welcoming, with a play on contrasting colours and textures. “The main challenge was to accommodate all the spaces that I wanted for various activities, as well as fit in the furniture, lamps and other pieces in my collection,” Joey says.
To achieve that, he hacked away the walls of a room adjacent to the kitchen, thereby creating a bigger space that could be reconfigured to suit his needs. That became the dining area and dry kitchen. A structural beam and column posed a challenge but Joey ingeniously turned the latter into a space divider.
The column would have “segmented” the dining table into two, so he adjusted the positioning, with the dining table moved to one side of the obstacle and, on the other, placing a small work desk.
The flat had only one small common bathroom and a separate WC, so Joey reduced
the size of the wet kitchen, in order to make space for a bigger bathroom – complete with a proper vanity area and a separate shower compartment. That decision was also a result of efficient space-planning.
“I designed a zig-zag wall that separates the wet kitchen from the bathroom. On the side facing the bathroom, I fitted in the vanity counter nicely, while on the other side, I installed a kitchen counter,” he elaborates. This creates additional space to place cooking appliances.
As for the spacious living room, it has one drawback: a low ceiling. To address this, Joey used vertical elm wood wall panelling to create the impression of height. The choice of a darker wood colour enhances the vibrancy of the surrounding greenery, bringing into the interior an element of nature.
Two of the existing bedrooms were combined to make up one large master suite. Instead of walls, Joey used floor finishes to demarcate the sleeping area, walk-in wardrobe and balcony within the suite. In the same vein, colours were used to distinguish this private realm from the living room. For instance, the colour scheme in the master suite is stronger and darker to create a relaxing and cosy ambience.
Joey carved out part of the floor area in the bedroom for a balcony-like space. “I love balconies and I wanted a cosy, cave-like space as an extension of the bedroom,” he shares. For this space, he opted for a dark grey vinyl resembling slate, to clad the floor, walls and ceiling, in contrast to the greenery outside.
Having worked on countless homes for clients, Joey describes the experience of designing his own home as one that is “very exciting but also very difficult”.
He reveals: “I have designed homes in a myriad of styles and learnt many valuable lessons from past projects. So, for my own home, it was really about distilling the features I love.”
Being a perfectionist may have made the process more difficult but, ultimately, Joey enjoyed the freedom of designing his bachelor pad exactly the way he wanted.
THE COLOUR SCHEME IN THE MASTER SUITE IS STRONGER AND DARKER TO CREATE A RELAXING AND COSY AMBIENCE.
This artwork was selected for its monochromatic colours, so it wouldn’t vie for attention with the colourful pieces in the living room, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin floor lamp and the Bertoia Bird Chair from Knoll.
BELOWJoey did not want the entire colour scheme to be too muted or monochromatic, opting to include some pops of colour.
LEFTVitra Standard chairs by Jean Prouve and a Verner Panton pendant lamp create visual interest within the small and simple dining area.OPPOSITE Joey opted for travertine-look homogeneous floor tiles that add a modern tropical touch.
ABOVEJoey has a huge collection of furniture, lamps and other knickknacks amassed over the years, and his new home provides the perfect showcase for these pieces.
RIGHTThe small work desk on one side of the column is a cosy, yet practical, space. FAR RIGHT Part of the original kitchen space was carved out to create a more spacious bathroom, with a proper vanity area and separate shower compartment, meeting Joey’s preference. Design boils down to the priorities of the individual.