When home owner Tony Tan first met Mr Tommy Lai from TLDesigns, he gave a very clear brief for his two-plus-one bedroom condominium apartment: a modern interior that is luxurious yet understated, with a hint of "Asian-ness" to reflect his Peranakan roots.
The avid art collector, who works in the banking industry, also wanted plenty of space to hang his art pieces as well as a lighting scheme that would showcase them.
The bachelor in his 30s says: "Although the unit was well-maintained, I wanted some changes - to create an open-concept kitchen and an open-concept study that is versatile enough to serve as a guest room."
The four-month renovation, which took place after 1½ months of planning and design, cost $120,000. He moved into the apartment in January.
To meet Mr Tan's requirements, Mr Lai reconfigured the space in the 1,109 sq ft apartment in Mohamed Sultan Road - starting with the existing study adjacent to the main entrance, which has been converted into a wet kitchen and yard.
He says: "The demolition of the original kitchen walls to create an open area for lounging also allows more light into the living room."
The absence of a television console and audiovisual paraphernalia in the living room is in response to Mr Tan's request to have such equipment concealed when not in use.
Mr Lai integrated the projector screen and sound bar within the curtain pelmet, while the projector and the cable television boxes have been tucked in the ceiling space above the dry kitchen island.
"Doing away with a television console frees up valuable floor space in the living room, which can be put to better use, especially when entertaining guests," says Mr Lai.
The new dry kitchen next to the living room is envisioned as a space for pre-dinner cocktails or after-dinner drinks. The generously-sized kitchen island - clad in dark wood laminate with gold trim and a dark-grey Caesarstone quartz countertop - helps anchor the open-concept space.
The study was designed around a Moooi table and chair that Mr Tan fell in love with during the early stages of the interior design process.
Mr Lai says: "These being iconic pieces, I felt they ought to make a statement among the rest of the furniture and within the apartment. But Tony also wanted the study to double as a guest room, so it has to accommodate a queen-size bed that can be stowed away when not in use."
After exploring various options, he decided to build a platform that not only helps to define the open-concept study, but can also conceal the mattress.
A set of bi-fold doors gives Mr Tan the flexibility to close off the study-cum-guest room and adjust the amount of natural light and ventilation entering the dining room.
A black-and-white digital collage print by Malaysia-born artist Yee I-Lann is the inspiration for the design of the master suite.
"The artwork depicts women sitting by paddy fields and evokes the feeling of a Chinese landscape painting," says Mr Lai.
"I wanted the bedroom to be a calming space for Tony to relax in and the sound from the condominium's water feature outside the master bedroom balcony really brings you into the painting."
He adds: "This project reinforces our philosophy that design should not be just about aesthetics, it should also enhance the lives of its occupants."
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