To some people, this almost-50-year-old condominium in the East Coast area, with its simple, repetitive geometric form and plain concrete exterior, may appear old-fashioned or outdated.
However, Mr Terence Neo, design director of home-grown boutique interior company Eightytwo, recognised its potential to be transformed into an eclectic home for his family of four and their two cats.
"My wife and I love how the arched doorways and terrazzo flooring give the interior an effortless charm. I set out to retain this sense of nostalgia by repurposing and reusing some of the vintage elements of the unit, while updating the look using modern colours and accessories," says Mr Neo, who is in his 30s.
The couple have two daughters aged five and three. They moved into the apartment in April last year.
The 11/2-month renovation, which cost about $150,000, involved removing the walls separating the living area and kitchen, as well as another kitchen wall to create an alcove.
Mr Neo loves to cook and the alcove allows him to maintain visual contact with the dining area, especially when there are guests.
The 2,800 sq ft apartment with five rooms offers spaciousness, but also poses a challenge when it comes to ensuring the various spaces are well-connected.
"It is important that there is a fluid relationship between the spaces, such as the flow from the living area to the dry kitchen, the kitchen to the dining area and the girls' play area to the cats' room," says Mr Neo. "Despite the big space, it should also feel cosy and homely."
He opted for a whimsical palette that was inspired by the visual style of award-winning American film-maker Wes Anderson. "I feel it complements the old-world charm of the unit," he says.
The salmon hue of Living Coral, the Pantone Colour of the Year in 2019, combined with shades of peach and tuna give off vibrancy without being overpowering.
Designing his own home was both easy and tough - it was easy to implement his ideas, but tough because he had to live up to his own expectations, which he admits are very high.
He was able to push boundaries as a designer while not compromising his and his family's needs.
"I could give my vision free rein and I knew exactly what my family and I need and want. It was a liberating experience," he says.
• This article first appeared in the April issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
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