The Chic Apartment

Art of the home

The custom-built teak coffee table in the living room frames a Chinese wood window carving.
The custom-built teak coffee table in the living room frames a Chinese wood window carving.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
A painting by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua and a wood carving (both above) from Anhui province in China.
A painting by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua and a wood carving (both above) from Anhui province in China.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
The custom shelving in the study (above) is done in the same style as that in the living room.
The custom shelving in the study (above) is done in the same style as that in the living room.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Another painting by artist Liu Jianhua (above) takes pride of place above the bed. The bedroom is modelled on the rooms at Four Seasons Hotel in Guangzhou.
Another painting by artist Liu Jianhua (above) takes pride of place above the bed. The bedroom is modelled on the rooms at Four Seasons Hotel in Guangzhou.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Mr Clement Koh.
Mr Clement Koh.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

Mr Clement Koh's art collection, amassed during working stints and travels in the region, dots his two-bedroom apartment in Cavenagh

The design of Mr Clement Koh's home is a reflection of his extensive travels in different parts of Asia, where he also lived for certain periods of time.

A painting by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua hangs on a rustic marble wall. A 17-year-old teak coffee table from Thailand, custom-built to frame a Chinese wood window carving, sits in the cosy living room.

One of Mr Koh's favourite pieces of wood carving, from Anhui province in China, is displayed at one end of the marble dining counter. A gilded wood-carved bedframe, which he rescued from a rundown shop in Beijing about 20 years ago, is displayed in his study.

He says: "I got it for about $400. It was covered in grime. I cleaned it myself."

Mr Koh, vice-president of sales and marketing at luxury hotel group General Hotel Management, has worked in the hotel industry for 29 years - 11 were spent travelling around Asia - and has amassed a sizeable collection of wooden furniture and artworks. The 49-year-old returned to Singapore in 2010.

Describing the decor in his 900 sq ft two-bedroom apartment in Cavenagh Road as "contemporary with Oriental accents", he says he is particularly fond of wood carvings. "I like soft colours, earthy tones and wood. It balances my on- the-go and energetic personality."

I like soft colours, earthy tones and wood. It balances my on-the-go and energetic personality.

MR CLEMENT KOH on the theme for his apartment

In the living and dining area, floor-to-ceiling shelves with concealed warm lighting showcase a tightly curated mix of art and photography books and a few more pieces from Mr Koh's art collection.

The study, through a short hallway between the living and dining areas, also has similar custom wood shelving.

With a $90,000 budget, Mr Koh, who is in a relationship, worked on custom-built shelves with a Singapore interior design company and changed the kitchen's original white countertop to a marble one. The original wood flooring was stained a darker brown to match the carpentry.

Mr Koh, who lives alone, came up with the entire design concept and entrusted the choice of materials to the designers. He declines to reveal the company's name, but says it did good work with the carpentry.

He moved in in July last year after a three-month renovation.

Because of his line of work, he says he has had the opportunity of being exposed to the works of some of the world's best architects, such as Australian Kerry Hill and Belgium-born Jean-Michel Gathy, who designed Marina Bay Sands' rooftop infinity pool.

Inspired by the late Indonesian interior designer Jaya Ibrahim, who would decorate his showrooms with standing black candlestick holders with bell glass covers, Mr Koh bought similar ones from a shop in Bali that supplied them to the designer. He has placed them in the living and dining areas.

The master bedroom is modelled on the rooms at Four Seasons Hotel in Guangzhou because he likes "a hotel room vibe for my bedroom". Oversized lamps on the side tables were chosen to "accentuate" the room and help frame the painting above his bed.

After years of working abroad and living in rented apartments, Mr Koh is glad to have a home to call his own. His favourite space is the living area because it has the "highest concentration of my art and furniture collection".

He says: "I can see them and savour the results of my efforts."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Art of the home'. Print Edition | Subscribe