Home owners Dave Lua and Tan Ai Ling, both international trade managers, chanced upon a dining table from furniture chain Crate & Barrel and fell in love with it.
They bought the piece and told their interior designer friend, Mr Tommy Lai from tld., to design the living and dining spaces of their 1,184 sq ft Build-To-Order flat in Clementi Avenue, around this centrepiece.
"We have friends over quite frequently, so it made sense to have a large dining table as the heart of the home where everyone can gather," says Mr Lua, who is in his 30s.
Apart from the dining table, the couple gave Mr Lai carte blanche, but they did express an aversion to "Japanese-esque and Scandinavian" styles.
This meant staying away from a light-coloured interior, for instance.
"When I first visited the flat, I found the interior extremely bright because of the large windows and unblocked surroundings, so I proposed darker and warmer shades to help mitigate the glare," says Mr Lai.
"Besides, the home owners are whisky lovers, so a darker palette also adds to the whisky bar ambience."
The result is an industrial-style home that combines influences from Lower Manhattan warehouse lofts with subtle hints of a whisky bar.
By removing a short section of a wall dividing the kitchen and dining and living rooms, the three areas become one big, open-concept space within which the Phoenix dining table is the centrepiece.
Fabricated from reclaimed Brazilian telephone poles, its rustic quality is the perfect complement to the raw cement flooring.
Mr Lai did away with the original study corner and re-oriented the layout of the living room, so the sofa now faces the windows. "There is such an awesome view of the surrounding greenery, all the way to Bukit Timah Hill and beyond. It would be such a pity not to take advantage of this million-dollar view," he says.
The Greenwich sofa from Commune is arranged parallel to the dining table and helps segregate the living and dining areas.
Dark wood panelling is clad over the exterior of the common bathroom wall facing the dining and living room, and continues all the way to the kitchen. This creates a feature wall alongside the breakfast nook as well as conceals the large refrigerator and air-conditioner trunking.
One bedroom adjacent to the master bedroom has been converted into a walk-in wardrobe as part of the master suite.
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By re-positioning the original bedroom and bathroom doors, Mr Lai created a transition space within the master bedroom that serves as a threshold leading to the walk-in wardrobe, master bathroom and sleeping area.
The pared-down aesthetics of the home bring out the materials and detailing, as well as the relationship between spaces.
As Mr Lai puts it: "Interior architecture should not be limited to what is within the box. It should also embrace the possibilities that the surroundings may bring to the living spaces.
• This article first appeared in the January issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
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