Though Mr Marvin Liang, 34, and Ms Chong Lingyi, 32, bought their four-room Housing Board flat in Depot Road just two years ago, their vision for their home started long before.
Years of bookmarked references and design inspiration gave the married couple a solid idea of their first home together. The organised and creative pair, who work in advertising, even collated their design brief and wishlists into a multi-page mood board as they scouted for a suitable interior designer.
They found a kindred spirit in Mr Mikael Teh of home-grown design company Monocot Studio and entrusted the renovation to him.
The couple wanted a mid-century modern vibe invoked by a dusky palette of dark wood and navy blue, filled in with tropical plants, rattan furniture and wall-hung art for a comfortable lived-in feeling.
Ms Chong says: "We knew we wanted things like rattan and certain colours, but we couldn't visualise them cohesively."
Mr Teh was able to bring the disparate details together in his 3D renderings, which the couple say helped bring their vision to life.
The four-month renovation cost about $65,000 and they moved into the flat in August 2018.
Off-white walls, arched doorways and concrete screed floors form a muted yet elegant backdrop in the living room, which allow the eclectic style of the 1,000 sq ft home to really pop.
Vintage Scandinavian furniture like their sideboard exists alongside a royal-blue velvet sofa and an outsized rattan lounge chair close to the windows.
Judging by the lush garden of indoor plants in their living room's "mini balcony", one would not expect that the flat actually receives little natural light.
Facing Telok Blangah Hill means the couple enjoy verdant views, but with the sun obscured, their interiors are fairly dim.
Still, they pressed on with the dark colour scheme and kept artificial illumination to a minimum.
For instance, the walls of their hallway were painted a shade of forest green and warmly lit with a trio of delicate pendant lamps.
Nicknamed their "floral corridor", it is decorated with frames of vintage pressed flower art and paintings of orchids by Ms Chong's grandaunt, artist Lim Chu Suan.
They reserved one bedroom as a guest room and converted another into a study.
Their favourite tomes - they are bookworms - sit on shelves built along the length of the navy-blue wall in their study, while mismatched chairs flank a handsome wooden desk they got second-hand.
The bookshelves, along with the rattan wardrobes in the bedrooms and dusty blue kitchen cabinets are just a handful of built-in furniture in the house, as the couple mostly wanted loose pieces that they could take to their next home.
They also found that instead of hiding their possessions behind storage units, displaying items contributed better to the lived-in look they desired.
"Our logic with storage was, the more storage space you have, the more you will buy and stash them and the accumulation of stuff goes unnoticed," says Mr Liang.
"So by keeping everything on display, it has influenced us to think through our purchases very carefully and get only the things we absolutely need."
• This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
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