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Chic abodes: Two stylish women open up their homes

Susanna Kang's Sentosa Cove party home has rooms inspired by the four seasons

This story first appeared in the March issue of The Life digital magazine.

Always one to make a fashion statement, socialite Susanna Kang is not afraid of being bold when it comes to dressing up.

A fixture in society magazines, she is often seen wearing head-turning gowns and ensembles, complete with elaborate hairstyles.

She once dressed like designer Karl Lagerfeld, mimicking his trademark black outfit with a hint of a white high, starched collar when he was in town to launch the Chanel cruise 2013/2014 collection.

That creative streak was also apparent when it came to designing her Sentosa Cove house.

Standing on a 9,000 sq ft plot of land, the expansive house is a weekend home and features rooms inspired by the four seasons.


The cavernous basement of the Sentosa Cove home of socialite Susanna Kang. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

It is here that the family entertain friends and host dinners for close business partners about once a month, with as many as 100 people gathering at what has come to be known as the Party House.

Ms Kang, 52, is married to Mr Han Seng Juan, a former stockbroker who is a non-executive director and controlling shareholder of property development and management companies Centurion Corporation and Centurion Global.

The couple have a 12-year-old son, Ethan. 

With entertaining in mind, Ms Kang wanted a house that has the "wow factor".

She says: "It's not your regular home, where you would have more bedrooms and utilitarian furniture. I was willing to sacrifice a little for the aesthetics."

It was designed by W Architects' Mok Wei Wei and built in 2012.

From the outside, one can tell the house is not your average home.

A "curtain" weighing more than 2,721kg and made of high-grade stainless steel cloaks the perimeter of the second floor. It was imported from Germany.

Shimmering in the sunlight, it shields the house from prying eyes though its inhabitants can still enjoy a view of the sea. It can be pulled back to get an unblocked vista as one stands on the verandah.

The "curtain" is a talking point for guests and passers-by. Mr Mok adds: "It was chosen firstly for its sensual quality. It acts as a subtle backdrop for the 'after dinner' activities."

The house also has a stainless-steel curtain  cloaking the second floor.
A more than 2,720kg stainless steel curtain imported from Germany shields the inhabitants from the sun and prying eyes.  ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

The custom-made dining table can seat 22.
The 22-seater customised dining table on the first level dominates the space. The angular dining chairs are from Italian label Minotti. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

kumari nahappan chilli and bell pepper sculptures
Chilli and bell pepper sculptures by Singapore artist Kumari Nahappan play on the urban legend that planting chillies keeps the rain away. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Socialite Susanna Kang's Sentosa Cove house.
The bar area is furnished with Flod barstools by Spanish label Mobles 114. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM


Ms Kang bought the art piece with the image of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at a charity event. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

When guests arrive at the four-storey house, they descend a long flight of stairs into a cavernous basement. Ms Kang says: "I meant for it to be like a runway, where guests can sashay and strut their stuff down the stairs. It's also the perfect spot to see the rest of the house. As you look up from the stairs, you get a good look at what else there is to explore."  

The basement is filled with futuristic-looking furniture from well-known brands and designers such as Italian label Moroso and renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

An Hermes screen, made of a wood frame and scraps of crocodile skin taken from the cutting-room floor at the French luxury house's atelier, adds a luxurious touch.

A luscious green wall, filled with creepers growing under ultraviolet light, is encased behind a misty glass screen, creating a tropical spring feel - the theme for the basement. Adding to that wild factor are two taxidermied peacocks that preen regally next to the bar. 

For sit-down dinners, guests head to the first level, which has a 22-seat custom-made table with bronzed legs and a high-gloss finish - the result of multiple layers of lacquer. It beautifully reflects American industrial designer Karim Rashid's topograph-shaped chandelier that was made as part of Swarovski's Crystal Palace collection.

The upper floors were designed for smaller break-out groups.

On the second level is where guests will find three "glass boxes", each decorated in a different theme.


The winter room features a fluffy white carpet and an eco-friendly fireplace. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

karaoke and media room
The karaoke and media room is furnished with two Moroso Smock Swivel armchairs and a Ninfea coffee table from Italian label Poltrona Frau. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

autumn room
A brown leather Chester One low-back sofa by Poltrona Frau lends a masculine vibe to the autumn room. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

One box is a 900 sq ft karaoke and media room, complete with songs by artists such as British boyband One Direction and Chinese singer Faye Wong.

Cloaked in purple velvet curtains, a deep eggplant- coloured carpet and multi-coloured lights around the room's periphery, this room was inspired by the decor of KTV lounges for the "feel of the real thing", says Ms Kang.

The autumn box, about 750 sq ft in size, has a masculine vibe with a dark brown Chester One low-back sofa by Italian furniture-maker Poltrona Frau and a well-stocked wine chiller. Here, the men can kick back and relax with cigars.

Across the short passageway is the 750 sq ft winter box - an all- white space that would not look out of place in a chic ski resort cabin. 

Air-conditioning ducts have been trained on this area so that the blast of cold air creates that icy feeling. The floor is covered in a fluffy, white carpet and there is a fireplace that runs on ethanol. It produces flames, but not heat.

For parties around the pool, guests head to the summer room in the attic that is designed to look like a ship's cabin. Even though it has been a few years since the house was built, a fresh wood smell still lingers.

The summer room in the attic is designed to look like a ship’s cabin.
In the summer-themed attic, the woven pattern chairs are from B&B Italia, the Inox round tables are from Italian company Pedrali and the glass stools from Club 21. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

attic with panoramic view
The attic affords a panoramic view of sea and sky. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM


This bathroom next to the karaoke room is decorated with white and 22K gold tiles from luxury tile brand Bisazza. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

custom-made bed
The custom-made bed is from American mattress specialist, Sealy and the sheets are from Frette, a luxury Italian textile company. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Sofa beds face the infinity pool outside. For movie nights, a hidden projector comes down and guests can kick back or sleep over if they want to and wake up to a sea view.

Ms Kang once turned the space into a Moroccan souk as guests partied like they were in the Arabian Nights.

She counts this part of the house as her favourite space, where she stretches out and does yoga. "I get my respite here. It's quite peaceful looking at the blue, open sea."

The Party House is very different from the family home, a good-class bungalow in Bukit Timah. She does not live on Sentosa because of its distance from the mainland as it would be difficult for her son and mother-in-law, who lives with her, to get around for their activities. 

She describes her Sentosa home as a "modern kelong" as it is surrounded by water. Still, she loves it for pushing the boundaries of what a typical house could be. "I wanted to have a house that wasn't a typical rendition of a house as we know it. I wanted to have the design and architecture trending for its adventurous ideas."

• This story first appeared in the March issue of The Life e-magazine.

• To access past articles from The Life e-magazine, go to http://str.sg/lifemag


Cindy Chua-Tay is surrounded by art in her New York home


Photographs by American pop artist Andy Warhol dot a hallway in the New York home of Singaporean Cindy Chua-Tay (above), while Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s DOB in gold and silver (2012) hangs in the master bedroom.  PHOTO: BARRY WILLIAMS

With its white, curvilinear walls and sloping facade, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum occupies a special place in New York City's cultural landscape.

But the institution's reach extends far beyond the Big Apple, all the way to Singapore, with the appointment of Singaporean Cindy Chua-Tay to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's board of trustees. 

The 46-year-old art enthusiast, who has sat on the Guggenheim's International Director's Council since 2013, says the invitation to join the board in October last year came as an exciting, if surprising, one. 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'Party in season'. Print Edition | Subscribe