THE CHIC APARTMENT

Height of style

Lush greenery and a wooden deck on the rooftop terrace combine to give the space a resort vibe.
Lush greenery and a wooden deck on the rooftop terrace combine to give the space a resort vibe.

Besides the gorgeous views, this penthouse also has a stunning double-height bookshelf and walk-in wardrobe

Embracing nature

Penthouses have a lot to live up to, being synonymous with luxury and glamour.

This three-bedroom unit on the 24th floor of a condominium block in Upper Bukit Timah fulfils the expectations with knockout vistas of greenery, sleek interiors and enviable outdoor living space.

Being their third home, owners Shark Fung and Sharon Goh knew what they wanted the 2,347 sq ft space to look like.

Ms Goh called someone she has known for 20 years, Mr Mark Young from PIU Design, and zeroed in on a double-height bookcase he had designed some time ago.

"That was exactly what we needed for the tall living room wall to house Shark's collection of CDs and books," she says.


The steel-and-plywood bookshelf is the apartment’s focal point. PHOTOS: VERNON WONG; ART DIRECTION & STYLING: DON TAN & KAFFY TAN

To provide access to the upper storey of the bookcase, Mr Young eschewed the conventional movable ladder in favour of a modified spiral staircase that leads to a narrow catwalk. "I kept the catwalk to 800mm in width to comply with building regulations and designed a skeletal staircase that takes up minimal footprint," he says.

The style of the staircase, which has plywood planks as treads, is repeated in the bedroom-turned- walk-in wardrobe, which is also double-height as well as mirrored. This design roughly increases the couple's wardrobe space seven times.

Mr Young's boldest stroke lies in the kitchen, where he transformed the insipid wood and grey of the cabinetry and flooring into a showcase of jewel green.

"Green was a natural choice as it borrows from the apartment's surroundings. So I offered the couple a few choices. They went straight for the deep green which I call British racing green," says Mr Young.


By removing the kitchen walls and a small section of cabinetry, designer Mark Young turned the kitchen into an open-concept space, including an island that abuts the dining table.

The existing kitchen was closed off from the living room and felt annexed from the apartment's airiness and grand views. "It was a shame for Shark, who does the cooking, to be left out," says Mr Young.

The colour on the cabinet doors comes from powder-coated electro galvanised sheets, which replaced the former wood-like laminate cladding.

"They are rustproof, like stainless steel, but cost less compared with powder-coated stainless steel," says Mr Young, whose experience in commercial and furniture design has exposed him to non-standard renovation materials.

The former grey wall tiles were blasted with matching green epoxy paint and the floor and countertop were clad with mosaic in subtle variations of the main green hue.


Soft shades of green in the bedroom evoke tranquillity.

The penthouse's greatest surprise might be what lies above it.

The first delight is the grass lawn in the balcony.

"I've always dreamt of living on landed property and this is my compromise, so no artificial grass for me," says Mr Fung.

As pearl grass is slow-growing, it never needs mowing, which makes it ideal for apartments.

A short flight of steps leads to the rooftop terrace with a hot tub.

The idea here is to create a fully functional extension of the indoor living area and it includes elements such as cement pavers set into the grass lawn, a wooden deck, a trellis and a built-in barbecue pit with a side sink.

As an after-hours composer and musician, Mr Fung craves the openness to nature and embraces the elements as they provide balance.

"So many objects in urban life are man-made and we need the negative ions from the rain, thunder and trees to counter them," he explains.


• This article first appeared in the April issue of Home&Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the May and latest issue now at all newsstands and download the digital edition of Home&Decor from the AppStore, Magzter and GooglePlay. Also, see more inspiring homes on www.homeanddecor.com.sg


• If you have a Housing Board flat or condominium apartment you would like featured, e-mail your pictures, with the header The Chic Apartment, to stlife@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2016, with the headline 'Height of style'. Print Edition | Subscribe