The Chic Home: Life in monochrome

A projector instead of a television offers an old-school cinematic viewing experience in the living room.
A projector instead of a television offers an old-school cinematic viewing experience in the living room.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: KRISTY QUAH
The wall separating the living room and kitchen in the home of Ms Rachel Ong and Mr Ronald Wan (both above) was replaced by a bar counter to open up the spaces.
The wall separating the living room and kitchen in the home of Ms Rachel Ong and Mr Ronald Wan (both above) was replaced by a bar counter to open up the spaces.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: KRISTY QUAH
Each home owner has a bookshelf to display his or her collection of personal knick-knacks.
Each home owner has a bookshelf to display his or her collection of personal knick-knacks.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: KRISTY QUAH
The all-white palette in the bedroom creates a restful yet elegant ambience.
The all-white palette in the bedroom creates a restful yet elegant ambience.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: KRISTY QUAH
The couple recreated the chic look of their favourite Airbnb apartment with black, vintage-style fittings that had been sourced online.
The couple recreated the chic look of their favourite Airbnb apartment with black, vintage-style fittings that had been sourced online.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: KRISTY QUAH

The black-and-white palette creates a chic backdrop in this HDB four-room flat

Well-travelled home owners Ronald Wan and Rachel Ong were inspired by the many stylish Airbnb apartments they stayed at during their trips to Paris, London, New York and Bangkok.

Those homes were chic, simple and inviting - something the married couple believed could be achieved in their home, a four-room Housing Board flat in Tampines, by using the timeless palette of black and white.

"For us, the feeling of being home has to do with a space that is constant and consistent and the black-and-white scheme makes a good base for this. It's easy to match and coloured decor pops nicely against it," says Ms Ong, 29, a social media manager and stylist.

"To keep to our budget, Ronald and I planned our own mood board, while Gay Zhengcai from The Merry Men Interiors helped us realise it," she adds.

The $46,000 renovation for the 980 sq ft home, which took four months, included transforming one bedroom into an open study and combining the two remaining bedrooms into a master suite with a walk-in wardrobe. The couple moved into the flat in March 2017.

To create a restful and elegant ambience in the bedroom, the couple kept to an all-white palette - starting with a light wood-look vinyl by Evorich Flooring Group and white storage bed from Ikea - complemented by marble-look side tables and wardrobe doors.

Ms Ong says: "We engaged a separate closet designer for our wardrobe. We wanted a built-in look without paying the built-in price, so what we did was to place our customised shelves and racks against the existing wall - then we fitted a sliding door system in front of it."

The idea saved them about $1,000.

Each home owner has a shelf to express his or her interests.

Mr Wan, 35, a former entertainment writer who is now a digital communications manager, has a black bookshelf filled with film and travel memorabilia. The items showcase his diverse tastes, from a DVD of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) to the Harry Potter books to a snow globe of the Empire State Building.

The couple, who live in the flat with their two cats, recreated the chic look of their favourite Airbnb apartment by sourcing black, vintage-style fittings online as they could not find anything similar in local stores.

The marble and subway-tile theme continues in the bathroom too.

Ms Ong's work as a stylist in the fashion industry, as well as Mr Wan's love of pop culture, influenced the flat's interior. The result is a tasteful space designed with restraint, yet packed with details.

Among the choices they made were pairing a cushy suede chesterfield sofa with a minimalist coffee table, as well as opting for a projector instead of a television to recreate an old-school cinematic experience.

Mr Wan says: "We don't even need a hood as we mostly bake, steam and air-fry. If it does get smoky, we turn on the air purifier and open the windows - no big deal, and it encourages us to eat healthy."

• This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.

• Get the October 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 www.homeanddecor.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2019, with the headline 'Life in monochrome'. Print Edition | Subscribe