The Chic Apartment

Industrial-chic flat in Commonwealth reflects a love for toys and games

Upcycled wine crates are used as shelves in the living room, especially for the toy collections of home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan.
Upcycled wine crates are used as shelves in the living room, especially for the toy collections of home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Upcycled wine crates are used as shelves in the living room, especially for the toy collections of home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan (below, with their son, Logan Finn). The nursery (above) and master bedroom (right).
The master bedroom.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The flat of Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan has plenty of pop culture memorabilia, including Godzilla toys in the bedroom

Married couple Marcus Wong, 33, and Gayle Tan, 32, love pop culture so much, they named their newborn son Logan Finn, after the Marvel Comics character Wolverine and the protagonist of the American animated series Adventure Time.

So, it is no surprise their home, too, reflects their passion and hobbies.

Mr Wong, a digital marketing manager, is a self-professed geek and Ms Tan is, well, an accommodating wife. He is responsible for most of the design choices in their four-room Housing Board flat in Queenstown.

"He has a good eye for design, so I left those aspects to him. I just wanted something cosy," says Ms Tan, a communications manager.

The couple also hired interior design firm Fuse Concept to renovate their 83 sq m flat, which has an industrial theme.

A warm-toned faux-brick wall, created from craftstone, is the focal point of the living room and the backdrop for Mr Wong to display some of his Transformers action figures and a 65-inch television set.

Other decorations include comic books, film posters and a Great Gatsby cushion that offset the cement screed walls and floor with touches of colour.

Upcycled wine crates are used as shelves in the living room, especially for the toy collections of home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan (above, with their son, Logan Finn).
Home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan (above, with their son, Logan Finn). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Initially, the couple had reservations about whether their home would look too hipster. "But we decided that as long as we injected a lot of personal touches, like little knick-knacks from our childhood, that would pull it back from being hipster, which connotes elements you have no real history with but are co-opting," says Mr Wong.

Ms Tan adds: "We put in small touches of whimsy that also hold our memories."

To warm up the living room's industrial elements, the couple "added a lot more wood and natural, organic textures", says Mr Wong.

Take, for example, the upcycled wine crates they approached Wine Connection for. The bar sold them its discarded crates for $10 each. The crates were mounted on the wall to create display shelving for their toys, such as Ms Tan's vintage Polly Pocket collection and figurines from the video game Bomberman.

The couple moved into the flat two years ago after a five-week renovation that cost $80,000.

While her husband made most of the design decisions, there is one room in the apartment where Ms Tan wears the pants - the walk-in wardrobe which she wanted. "We removed one wall and turned two bedrooms into a bigger master bedroom, so we could play with the space," she says.

A storage wall, finished in cement screed to match the living room, separates the bed from the wardrobe area, which also leads into the bathroom.

The bedroom, although rather minimalist, bears traces of Mr Wong's penchant for grown-up toys.

Upcycled wine crates are used as shelves in the living room, especially for the toy collections of home owners Marcus Wong and Gayle Tan (below, with their son, Logan Finn). The nursery (above) and master bedroom (right).
The nursery. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

"I have to live with Godzillas in my bedroom," Ms Tan laments wryly.

"They are very tastefully selected," her husband insists.

Even the nursery, which served as a study until their six-week-old baby came along, has not been spared. More of Mr Wong's Transformers collection is displayed on a shelf.

But the rest of the room's decor is age-appropriate. For a cosy yet airy look and feel, the couple decorated the nursery in pastel tones and natural wood. They installed modified Ikea wall shelving to display new editions of books they read and loved as children, such as the Babar, Tintin and Peter Rabbit series. A framed poster of a polar bear illustration, a $50 purchase from e-commerce site Etsy, hangs above the cot.

"We also wanted to make sure the room could grow with the baby," Ms Tan says. "The Leander cot we got from Motherswork, a gift from his grandparents, can be expanded and used up to the age of 10."

At that point, it will be up to him to make his own design choice between Godzillas and Transformers.

•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 October 07, 2017, with the headline 'Lounge with Godzilla and Transformers'. Print Edition | Subscribe