Furniture and interior designer Kelvin Teo's home is also his drawing board for ideas

Mr Kelvin Teo's design narrative was to create a different concept for each level that was based on a monochromatic palette.
Mr Kelvin Teo's design narrative was to create a different concept for each level that was based on a monochromatic palette.PHOTO: SPACE SENSE STUDIO
A variety of textures - such as the burnt wood-textured flooring, oak veneer wood strips, marble surfaces and acoustic wall panelling - enriches the setting.
A variety of textures - such as the burnt wood-textured flooring, oak veneer wood strips, marble surfaces and acoustic wall panelling - enriches the setting.PHOTO: SPACE SENSE STUDIO

The vintage architecture and pitched roof of this compact corner terrace house built in the 1950s sealed the deal for designer Kelvin Teo.

Drawn by the charm of its architecture, he retained its structure.

"I'd been on the lookout for property in District 13 for a while," says Mr Teo, 45, founder of Space Sense Studio. "The house was also in its original state, which was one of my criteria."

This gave him the freedom to transform the house - located in the Sennett estate with a built-up floor area of 1,900 sq ft - to his taste. The renovation, which took a year and eight months, cost $450,000. Mr Teo, his wife and their two children moved in late last year.

He dressed the facade with grey bricks and steel cladding, instantly giving it a contemporary update.

Past the main entrance, he overhauled the entire layout of the ground floor, creating an open- concept communal space with a "fireplace" cabinet beside the sofa, and used acoustic wall panelling with a fish-scale pattern for the feature wall.

Its installation was not without trial and error. The same went for concealing the bathroom door, fridge, pantry and storeroom door, which he tackled with L-shaped wood panelling.

The furniture and interior designer says: "My design narrative was to create a different concept for each level that was based on a monochromatic palette. Each space forms its own personality and identity and its theme was enhanced through the use of natural materials with strong, visible textures."

The dark flooring gives the ground level a bold, masculine vibe.

A variety of textures - such as the burnt wood-textured flooring, oak veneer wood strips, marble surfaces and acoustic wall panelling - enriches the setting.

Mr Teo's Paper Fold chair, which won Design of the Year at the President's Design Award in 2009, adds a splash of colour.

Farther in, the kitchen has a floating island counter that is connected to a pull-out dining table.

In addition to full-height windows, a glass roof lets in more natural light. Mr Teo says: "I like the feeling of standing in the rain without getting wet. That's the idea of having the glass roof. I get to experience the raindrops."

The second level, with epoxy flooring and brick walls doused in white, is a double-volume space.

Up above, the pitched ceiling sits over solid wood planks salvaged from other projects.


Inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, its wood-textured vinyl flooring complements the wood-clad ceiling. PHOTO: SPACE SENSE STUDIO

He says: "I've always liked interiors with attic roofs. It gives the emotional, laid-back and cosy feel of a cottage, a farmhouse or a summer house."

The sleeping space is in the loft and reachable by a narrow flight of steps. Inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, its wood-textured vinyl flooring complements the wood-clad ceiling.

With this home, Mr Teo says he enjoyed the challenges of birthing new ideas and implementing his experiments.

"As a designer, the nature of my role is to experiment with new things and to challenge myself. It's always exciting to create unique designs - even when I know I will be getting my hands dirty."

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