Ahead of the cool curve

Muted hues pair with rounded features for a soothing vibe in this apartment

The use of light blond engineered wood on the kitchen cabinets and island counter creates a warm yet spacious feel. PHOTOS: MONOCOT STUDIO & STUDIO PERIPHERY
The muted palette gets pops of colour from cupboard doors and bedlinen. PHOTOS: MONOCOT STUDIO & STUDIO PERIPHERY
The muted palette gets pops of colour from cupboard doors and bedlinen. PHOTOS: MONOCOT STUDIO & STUDIO PERIPHERY
The monotony of angular shapes in the bathroom is broken by a backlit oval mirror (above). PHOTOS: MONOCOT STUDIO & STUDIO PERIPHERY

While browsing on Instagram, the home owners came across the work of Mr Mikael Teh, principal of home-grown interior design firm Monocot Studio, and fell in love with his sense of style and use of colours.

So they engaged him for the design and renovation of their two-bedroom condominium apartment in the Balmoral neighbourhood, which they moved into with their son in March this year.

Since space in the 1,150 sq ft unit was a premium, they had to be practical. The home owners wanted spatial flexibility, especially in communal areas like the kitchen.

Mr Teh addressed this by incorporating features such as a kitchen island, which doubles as a table for family meals. It is also designed to be portable, so that it can be moved to their next home.

The couple love colours and wanted a palette with a muted yet timeless and poetic feel.

Together with Mr Teh, they tested nine paint samples before settling on the final choices. The result is a colour scheme of cool neutral hues and pastels that creates a calming and contemporary feel.

The cool tones are also well-balanced with the use of plywood throughout the home, which lends warmth while keeping the whole look visually bright and spacious.

Light blond engineered wood features mainly on the kitchen cabinets, the island counter, an archway, the shelving in the study and the wardrobe in the master bedroom.

Mr Teh incorporated rounded elements to create pleasing curves that meet the eye - whether one is sitting in the study or passing under the archway.

The renovation took three months and cost $70,000.

He also helped curate the furnishings, selecting from brands such as Japanese minimalist label Muji, Scandinavian design brand Muuto, Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen and furniture label Herman Miller.

"I chose the pieces based on how well they went with the design. The &Tradition Flowerpot pendant lights, for example, complement the curves and colours in the kitchen."

• This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.

• Get the November and latest issue of Home & Decor now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2020, with the headline Ahead of the cool curve. Subscribe