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Sin­ga­pore na­tional rower Oz Ti­tus Hong de­votes the same pas­sion to the design of his bach­e­lor pad as he does to his sport.

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - PHOTOGRAPH­Y VEE CHIN ART DIRECTION NONIE CHEN

NOTH­ING WAS LEFT TO CHANCE. MUCH THOUGHT WENT INTO THE PLACEMENT AND CHOICE OF EV­ERY EL­E­MENT IN THE HOME.

A DIY MIR­ROR FEA­TURE CRE­ATES AN IN­TER­EST­ING VIS­UAL EL­E­MENT NEAR THE EN­TRANCE FOYER.

SEA Games bronze medal­list and model Oz Ti­tus Hong’s apartment is lo­cated a stone’s throw away from Sin­ga­pore Sports Hub where he trains. The multi-tal­ented ath­lete had been trained as an in­te­rior ar­chi­tect and used to spe­cialise in hos­pi­tal­ity design. He may have swopped his design wand for oars, but he rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity to be cre­ative when craft­ing his own liv­ing space.

“I tried to in­fuse my home with bespoke, un­der­stated lux­ury, through the use of ma­te­ri­als and all the lit­tle de­tails and per­sonal touches,” says Oz, not un­like the way he gave char­ac­ter to the nu­mer­ous lux­ury ho­tels that he worked on in the past.

LAYER YOUR WAY TO MORE SPACE

Per­haps it has to do with his per­son­al­ity, or maybe it’s at­trib­ut­able to his back­ground in design and his train­ing as an ath­lete, but Oz ad­mits to be­ing very par­tic­u­lar about the or­gan­i­sa­tion, lay­er­ing and framing of spaces. “I be­lieve that these add depth to an in­te­rior, es­pe­cially for small spaces,” he says.

He has pulled this off, framing the en­trance por­tal and the thresh­old be­tween the liv­ing room and the more pri­vate study and bed­room ar­eas, as well as in­tro­duc­ing screens to cre­ate a chore­ographed se­quence of lay­ers as you move through the apartment. It may be a mod­est 570 sq ft, but this lay­er­ing gives

A VARIATION ON THE PLUM BLOSSOM MO­TIF TO AC­COM­MO­DATE DOUBLE LEAF DOORS.

A COM­PACT BREAKFAST TABLE FOLDS OUT FROM THE SIDE OF THE KITCHEN IS­LAND.

the im­pres­sion of a much larger space.

IT ALL MATCHES UP

Oz is also very metic­u­lous when it comes to en­sur­ing that ev­ery el­e­ment in the apartment lines up neatly and fol­lows a da­tum, which is de­ter­mined by a hor­i­zon­tal line that is 900mm above the fin­ished floor level.

This ref­er­ence point con­trols the height of the kitchen counter and is even ex­pressed on the ve­neer-clad walls and doors, where the wood grain above and below the da­tum line are aligned ver­ti­cally and hor­i­zon­tally re­spec­tively. This seem­ingly small de­tail goes a long way in mak­ing the home more com­fort­able, vis­ually.

CUL­TURAL SHOW­CASE WITH A MOD­ERN TOUCH

The home’s Per­anakan in­flu­ence is a nod to Oz’s Per­anakan roots, but with a mod­ern take.

The most prom­i­nent Per­anakan ref­er­ence is the study, which was con­verted from one of the orig­i­nal bed­rooms. Two of the ex­ist­ing walls were hacked and re­placed by tim­ber screens. The screens ad­ja­cent to the liv­ing room are mov­able, while the panel fac­ing the cor­ri­dor is fixed. “Te­le­scopic slid­ing pan­els re­quire more depth al­lowance, which will en­croach upon the cor­ri­dor cir­cu­la­tion,” he ex­plains.

One wall in the study has been painted a shade of vi­o­let blue that is rem­i­nis­cent of the colour of Cheong Fatt Tze Man­sion, more com­monly known as The Blue Man­sion, a Unesco World Her­itage Site that is a his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and ar­chi­tec­tural land­mark in Pe­nang. Oz painted the wall him­self and the de­lib­er­ate paint drips add tex­ture and give the wall a rus­tic feel.

A Chi­nese el­e­ment that Oz in­cor­po­rated into the in­te­rior design is the plum blossom, a re­cur­ring mo­tif that serves to tie the var­i­ous spaces to­gether. The cor­ners of a cus­tomised side­board in the en­trance foyer are shaped like plum blos­soms, sim­i­lar to that found on the lat­tice work of the study room screens. The gold knobs for doors, cab­i­nets and draw­ers are shaped like plum blos­soms, and even the liv­ing room and bed­room cur­tains have plum blossom pat­terns on them.

SMALL, BUT SMART

“A small space also needs to be a smart space, such that ev­ery­thing serves a dual pur­pose,” Oz points out. From a breakfast table that folds out from the side of the kitchen counter to a cof­fee table that can trans­form into a din­ing table for six, he has de­voted much thought into the mul­ti­ple func­tions that ev­ery ob­ject serves so as to max­imise the use of space.

The most in­ge­nious con­trap­tion has to be the mov­able wall/door/shelf all rolled into one. Con­ceal­ing the house­hold shel­ter, it ap­pears to be just a reg­u­lar built-in, full-height shelf. It opens up to re­veal the house­hold shel­ter, but swing it 90 de­grees, and it be­comes a door that par­ti­tions off the bed­room from the rest of the apartment.

BELOW Ev­ery­thing has a dual func­tion so as to make the most of a small space. The cof­fee table can be con­verted into a din­ing table, while the sofa serves a triple pur­pose, in­clud­ing as a din­ing ban­quette and a sofa bed.

BELOW Even mun­dane drawer knobs be­come in­ter­est­ing when they take the form of plum blos­soms.

WHO LIVES HERE A Sin­ga­porean na­tional rower HOME A one-bed­room (for­merly two-bed­room) con­do­minium apartment SIZE 570sqf

This shelf con­ceals the house­hold shel­ter. When swung open 90 de­grees, it be­comes a par­ti­tion that screens off the bed­room and bath­room.

The bed­room has a pas­tel colour pal­ette. Hand-painted silk wall­pa­per from Just An­thony, porce­lain gar­den stools used as bed­side ta­bles and lamps from Ikea have been art­fully put to­gether to achieve a taste­ful look.

LEFT These full-height screens set the ori­en­tal tone of the apartment, and cre­ates pri­vacy for the study room when de­sired.

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