The Chic Home: Family's bold all-black apartment anything but boring

Warm elements such as brass fittings, wood, and greenery help enliven the all-black palette. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY
Concealed blinds can be pulled down to convert the living area into a guest room or a darkened media room. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY
A compact bar and seating area turn the spacious balcony into an al fresco living space. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY
Dark marble laminate, paired with gold nonweight-bearing legs, lends glamour to the shoe cabinet in the entryway. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY

SINGAPORE - Educators Keng and Si Yi, who declined to reveal their full names, see every home as a new adventure.

With their two young children aged four and one, and pet dog Mika, the couple in their 30s moved into their new residence - a 1,108 sq ft, four-bedroom executive condominium unit in Anchorvale - in December 2020.

Since they see each move as a chance for them to create something unique, they asked Ms Carmen Tang, design director of boutique interior design studio Wolf Woof, to create a dramatic all-black look for this one.

The result is luxurious and functional. Because of Ms Tang's clever use of textures, lighting and greenery, black is the main focus, but it is far from boring.

A platform delineates the living room in the communal area. Lift-up doors and drawers under the platform not only distinguish it as a cosy nook, but also provide additional storage space. This way, Ms Tang says, "it becomes part of the floor, giving the space a different feel while maintaining an open view".

The living room can also be converted into a guest room by pulling down the roller blinds, tucked away just out of sight, sectioning off the area for privacy when friends or relatives stay over.

Adding furnishings like a tan leather sofa, a rug and artificial greenery softens the look. For texture, she used grooved laminate on the carpentry and walls.

When the family wants to hang out in a semi-outdoor setting, they gather in the spacious balcony area outside the living room, which has another seating area and a small bar with an overhead wine glass rack. Having different seating gives the family a variety of options for entertaining.

The four-year-old's room has the same dark palette - they wanted to keep it timeless, says Ms Tang - but with a Super Mario-themed feature wall. Toys and figurines are arranged on each "level".

Like the living room, the bed is on a platform and there is plenty of room for clothes, books and other necessities.

As both a designer and stylist, Ms Tang advises her clients on the choice and placement of art in their homes.

"One of my favourites is Ruben Ireland, and he specialises in black and white portraits with strong imagery and refreshing angles," she says.

His style fitted the design of this home so well that she introduced his work to the home owners, who liked it too. The artist's works now adorn the master bedroom and corridor.

Wolf Woof's Carmen Tang framed the artwork in the bedroom with two black strips for a “suspenders” effect. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY

This upscale boutique-hotel look cost $35,000 to achieve, not including furnishings, lighting and the design fee. It all came down to knowing where to splurge and where to save. For instance, the original flooring, inner doors and wardrobe were kept intact, hence saving on carpentry.

Ms Tang says: "We didn't want to replace the inner doors, so we worked with their existing colours, adding touches of the same brown throughout the space."

The home owners wanted to keep the children’s rooms timeless. PHOTO: VERONICA TAY

The little details that elevate a home need not be expensive to look luxurious. The green wall in the balcony, for instance, is finished with artificial turf and the shoe cabinet in the entryway has ornamental gold legs for a touch of class.

  • This article first appeared in the May 2022 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the June 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 Home & Decor website.

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